Forgotten Friar: Paul McAnulty and a Moment of Glory
For today’s Forgotten Friar feature, we venture back to the not-so-distant past: September 2006. You remember that season, right? The Padres won the NL West for their last playoff appearance, holding off the LA Dodgers with a record of 88-74. In any season like that one, there are moments when you have to rely on someone unknown who comes up big. Games that you aren’t supposed to win or deserve to win you do win in unexpected ways. So for today’s post, I harken back to one of those heroes of that near forgotten season: Paul McAnulty.
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McAnulty came up in 2005 after hitting .344 with Triple-A Portland and drawing Paul Bunyan comparisons to slugger John Kruk. In 2005, he only appeared in 22 games and got just 5 hits. So back to Triple-A he went before being called up in September for the Padres in the heat of the pennant race with the Giants and the Dodgers. Time to play the hero.
It was a close game the night of September 6th, 2006. Clay Hensley and the Rockies Jason Jennings had dueled for seven scoreless innings before turning the game over to the bullpens. Scott Linebrink had done his thing in the 8th for the Padres. King Trevor Hoffman got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 9th by striking out the next two hitters and the game went into extra innings.
Todd Walker started things off in the 11th with a double, just the third Padre to get past first base that night. Up came McAnulty, in just his 31st career at-bat. He faced off against Rockies reliever Nate Field. On the second pitch of the at-bat, he launched a towering home run over center field for a walk-off, 2-0 Padres victory. As he stated at the time:
“It’s unbelievable. To have my parents here, my dad, my mom, they’ve been following me throughout my whole career. They’ve been behind me, supporting me. For them to be here to see it, it’s some day I’ll never forget.”
It was his only home run that year.
McAnulty played in 20 games in 2007 and 66 in 2008 for the Padres, starting a good amount of games that season before being released and finishing up a few games with the Angels in 2010. A couple more years in the minors before ending things in 2012. In between he had a couple minor league stints with the Red Sox and Rockies. Recently he announced that he will be the 2014 co-hitting coach for the Orem Owlz, summer rookie league for the Angels.
McAnulty only had a moment of glory, but for that moment he made the most of it. I was fortunate enough to be at that game in 2006, and remember the power which he struck the ball that won the game. It’s a shame he couldn’t harness it for more homers, but unlike many others who tried before him, he was able to get that one signature moment in the major leagues. Not forgotten.