26th Anniversary of an 'improbable' Braves HR

9:14 PM, Jul 4, 2011   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- July 4th in Atlanta is always defined by the AJC Peachtree Road Race, wonderful fireworks displays metro wide, and the Braves.

Twenty-six years ago, Braves pitcher Rick Camp hit one of the most improbable home runs in Major League Baseball history and the most improbable round tripper in Braves franchise history.

From 1976 to 1985, Camp was a solid right handed reliever in Atlanta. He was not much of a hitter. Camp's career batting average was .074.

The Braves and Mets played a game in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium that wouldn't end until shortly after 4 a.m. on July 5, 1985.

The rain-delayed battle lasted 6 hours, 10 minutes, and ended after 19 innings with the Mets winning 16-13.

The Braves trailed 11-10 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the 18th inning when they ran out of players, so they sent relief pitcher Rick Camp in to bat.

With an 0-2 count, Camp knocked one out of the park to tie the game.

It was the only home run of Camp's career.

11Alive's Jeff Hullinger spoke with the 59-year-old former Brave at Turner Field Monday afternoon.

Jeff asked the Trion, Georgia native if a week ever goes by where someone doesn't bring up "the home run."

Camp replied, "No. To be honest with you if everyone who has ever told me they were at that game were there, the stadium would have had 60 or 70 thousand people in attendance, in the stands before midnight they announced Marta stopped running."

The former Braves reliever has a special memory of that moment long ago.

"Terry Tata, I'll never forget this as long as I live, he was the home plate umpire, the count goes to 0-2, he said Camp hit it out and we'll play until daylight. I did. As I was rounding the bases he was shouting- - you S.O.B I didn't mean it!  And everytime after that evertime he saw me, he (Tata) would point toward left field, like I was Babe Ruth," laughed Camp.

In the 19th inning with the Braves running out of players, Rick Camp came to bat again. This there would be no magic. He struck out the end the game.

Mets win 16-13.

And the Braves organization began an ill-advised fireworks show at 4:01am waking up everyone who lived in Midtown.

A legendary home run, game, and fireworks show from 26 years ago.

"I still think about that home run. It's a great honor to be remembered for it," said the former West Georgia star.

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