It happens about already a week, Warren Morris says.
Maybe he’s walking the streets of Alexandria, area a 60-year-old man in jeans tells him he got so aflame aback Morris hit his game-winning home run that he fell off his backyard mower.
Or he’s sitting abaft his comfortable board at Red River Bank, area a woman, clad in amethyst and gold, launches into a account about how she absent the aboriginal bisected of a bells to watch Morris bang his championship-winning adjudicator 20 years ago.
Maybe he’s accessory a Little League Baseball game, area a middle-aged man explains that he and some buddies chock-full their car on the interstate, got out and circled the agent in anniversary afterwards audition Jim Hawthorne’s alarm of Morris’ attempt adjoin Miami.
Or he’s bistro banquet at a bounded restaurant, area a affiliated brace describes how, during Morris’ walk-off winner, they were purchasing a agent at a car dealership.
“They say they alleged that agent afterwards me,” Morris says. “The Warren Morris Car.”
Morris’ two-run, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth-inning bang gave LSU the civic championship in 1996, toppling Miami 9-8. Twenty years later, it charcoal the alone two-out, game-winning, ninth-inning adjudicator in a championship d in Academy Apple Alternation history.
It is the shot, a arrest bang heard about the academy baseball world, a smoker band drive that permeated the LSU community.
Morris’ adjudicator angry a accepted LSU abettor drillmaster — again an 11-year-old boy — into a Tigers fan while he watched with his ancestor from their home in Pensacola, Florida. The comedy about brought bottomward a Baton Rouge bar, images of burst bar stools and burst tables still ashore in the owner’s apperception two decades later.
Cars on Nicholson Drive honked in celebration, some of them absolutely endlessly amidst a agrarian arena aloof blocks abroad from Alex Box Stadium.
Weddings were missed. Some were fabricated — barely. One groomsman, during his ceremony, accustomed updates on the d from a acquaintance sitting in the abbey pews. They had formed out a signaling system.
Several bodies absent Morris’ home run completely, giving up on the Tigers afterwards Tim Lanier addled out for the additional out. One man absolved alfresco to baptize his grass, hasty into the abode abnormal afterwards afterwards appalling screams from his wife.
Fans at summer baseball amateur awash about carriageable televisions and radios. Officials at a softball clash in Bunkie chock-full the game, pumping the radio advertisement into the amphitheater speakers for all to hear.
Andy Cannizaro, the Tigers’ accepted hitting drillmaster and recruiting coordinator, was continuing at ambush during a summer abortion in Hammond aback Morris hit his homer. The stands erupted.
“Next affair you know, chat got from the dugout to the third abject drillmaster of the added aggregation to our third baseman to me,” he says. “It formed its way about the field.”
The Academy Apple Alternation championship alternation begins Monday. It is the 20th appellation annular aback Morris’ memorable blast.
Where were you during that doubtful homer? Every LSU fan has an answer.
“The Warren Morris home run is the Jack Ruby cutting Lee Harvey Oswald of LSU sports,” says Derek Ponamsky, a radio host on Baton Rouge’s WNXX-FM. “Everybody remembers absolutely what they were accomplishing and area they were.”
Says Kevin Shipp, LSU’s starting bullpen in the appellation game: “I had bodies acquaint me they were in the bathroom. It’s amazing. It’s a moment in history area bodies will go to their grave alive what they were accomplishing for that bristles minutes.”
“I consistently get that question: ‘What’s been the best allotment or the bigger change in my activity because of the home run?’ ” Morris says. “I anticipate that’s it. I don’t anticipate I’m altered from I was then, but because of that moment and hit, I’ve had hundreds of bodies appetite to allotment their stories.
“It amazes me how abundant detail they accept — area they were, what they were doing, how they celebrated. I’ve heard a lot of belief over the years.”
At the bar
In 24 years of owning Ivar’s on Perkins Road, Pat Quigley never saw a anniversary like he did June 8, 1996 — the day Morris airtight Robbie Morrison’s action out of Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium.
He restocked beer three times that day, and the bar didn’t aing until afterwards 4 a.m. By law, the acknowledged closing hour was 2 a.m.
“Guess I can accept to that now that I’ve awash the place,” Quigley says with a chuckle.
The watch affair at Ivar’s, a comfortable dive beneath Artery 10, drew added than 200 people. Quigley alike set up calm bleachers at one end of the bar.
The abode animated when, bottomward 8-7, LSU’s Brad Wilson led off the ninth with a bifold bottomward the left-field line. Justin Bowles ashore out to first, affective Wilson to third, afore Lanier’s strikeout on a full-count curveball.
Forty-three abnormal anesthetized amid Lanier’s accepted absence and Morris’ championship-winning attempt off the aboriginal pitch.
“The abode aloof erupted,” Quigley says. “I had never apparent an admission like that — alike aback the Saints won the Super Bowl or LSU won the civic championship in football or LSU exhausted Alabama. That was craziest day in Ivar’s history. I can’t activate to acquaint you how abounding shots we caked afterwards that.”
People on the top row of the calm bleachers leapt so aerial their active went through beam tiles. At atomic three bar stools were larboard in pieces. A brace of tables were burst above repair. Attic tiles were ruined, and the bathrooms — oh, man, the bathrooms.
“The abode was a wreck,” he says.
That championship d began at 12:10 p.m. and concluded at 3:19 p.m., according to the box-score. That larboard affluence of time for admirers to leave their watch parties and extend the one at Ivar’s. Bodies filtered in and out until 4 a.m. Aback addition new absolved in, the aboriginal catechism was consistently the same: “Where were you?”
“Everybody had a altered story,” Quigley says.
No one had a adventure absolutely like Herb Vincent, again LSU’s sports advice director, who was at the championship game. He alternate to Baton Rouge that black on then-athletic administrator Joe Dean’s clandestine alike and collection beeline to Ivar’s to accommodated some friends.
About bristles hours afore he absolved into Ivar’s, then-LSU baseball drillmaster Skip Bertman put Vincent in allegation of the civic championship bays — a attitude that began during the Tigers’ aboriginal appellation beneath Bertman in 1991. Bertman would duke Vincent the bays on the acreage at Rosenblatt.
“Take affliction of this,” he’d acquaint him.
Vincent pulled into the Ivar’s parking lot that night with the 1996 CWS championship bays in the block of his car. A few account later, it begin its way into the bar.
“One of my friends, John Haefner — we alleged him ‘Beef’ — absolved in with it and captivated it over his head,” Vincent says. “The abode went crazy. They put it abaft the bar the blow of the night.”
In the stands
“I don’t affliction if you address it,” Joy Hammatt says. “I peed my pants.”
You ability apperceive Hammatt added by her nickname: Bead Lady. That’s what some alleged her, at atomic in Omaha, aback she showed up for LSU amateur at Rosenblatt Amphitheater with amethyst and gold chaplet slung about her close and draped over her easily — accessible admission for parade-like tossing.
Hammatt has gone to Omaha 16 times, including three trips in which LSU didn’t accomplish it. The then-41-year-old sat several rows abaft the third-base dugout, the one LSU occupied, during that 1996 appellation game. A few rows in advanced of her were Sandy Bertman, Skip’s wife, Joe Dean and accompany of the Bertmans, Richard and Susan Lipsey.
Standing aing to Dean, in the aisle, was Chris Guillot, accepted to abounding as the LSU baseball program’s “Super Fan,” a then-33-year-old whose booming articulation was agreeable those aforementioned chants admirers apprehend today at Alex Box.
He had aloof concluded a “Here we go, Tigers!” carol aback Morris banged his home run.
“Next affair I knew, I was hugging,” Guillot says. “Next affair I knew, I was crying. Aing affair I knew, I was on the top of the dugout. I aloof thankfully had my pants on.”
Speaking of pants …
“I actually peed my pants,” Hammatt says.
People were high-fiving and adhering complete strangers. Guillot, as he noted, concluded up on the roof of the dugout. Sandy Bertman rushed bottomward to the acreage to be with her husband.
Marvin Dugas, bigger accepted as The Big Ragoo, leapt from a camera angle area he and a associate had watched the d in folding chairs. The camera angle was alike with the on-deck circle. He got one of the best angle of anyone. Morris’ band drive chased bottomward the right-field band and austere the bank in about 4 seconds.
“Most amazing affair I anytime saw in my life,” Dugas says. “I preceded to go basics and jumped off the camera stand.”
And again what? A 47-year-old distinct man at the time, Dugas ran up and bottomward the aboriginal row abaft that third-base dugout.
“I kissed all of the appealing girls,” he says.
In the dugout
Lanier bare to be reminded that there was one added out.
Returning to the dugout afterwards he addled out, Lanier put abroad his helmet and bat, took off his gloves and glanced bottomward at an abandoned dugout bench. Everyone adequate his anxiety on the aboriginal or additional footfall of the dugout.
Lanier took a few abnormal to sulk afterwards that strikeout.
“(Assistant coach) Jim Schwanke turns about and says, ‘Let’s go. Get up. This thing’s not over yet,’ ” Lanier says. “It airtight me aback in the moment. I go to footfall up on the top footfall (of the dugout), and by the time I get one bottom up, he hit it.”
Bertman adequate a bottom on the top footfall of the dugout. As Morris absolved to the plate, the alone anticipation to access the coach’s apperception was the broad aperture amid Miami’s aboriginal and additional basemen.
“Warren could hit one through there and tie it up,” Bertman says he thought. “I didn’t get abundant adventitious to anticipate of annihilation else, because he hit the aboriginal pitch.”
There was no dugout balustrade aback then, aloof two to three accurate accomplish arch out of the dugout’s accurate attic and assimilate the field. Kevin Shipp stood on the top step, too.
Lanier’s strikeout had an already-depressed Shipp biconcave lower. Actuality were the things active through his head:
“Oh, man, I’m the accident pitcher.”
“Oh, crud, this could be it.”
“The division is over.”
Forty-three abnormal afterwards …
“Wow,” Shipp says. “We rushed out and went crazy. A lot of guys were angry us and captivation us aback to accomplish abiding he affected home plate.”
Paul Mainieri, LSU’s accepted baseball coach, and Greg Deichmann Sr., the ancestor of LSU’s accepted aboriginal baseman, didn’t apprehend it then.
But they were both accomplishing the aforementioned affair at about 3 p.m. June 8, 1996 — sitting on the bend of a bed, their eyes focused on the television while dressed in their finest bells garb, ushering abroad their wife and kids during the acute moment.
Mainieri, his additional year as Notre Dame’s drillmaster aloof complete, absent the aboriginal allotment of his sister’s bells in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while cat-and-mouse for that d to end. Deichmann about fabricated the alpha of his friend’s bells in Cincinnati.
Deichmann’s son, Greg Jr., served as a amateur for Warren Morris during the filming of an SEC Network documentary on the play. “The Walkoff” premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday.
“They came to practice, and they got the bat out of the Hall of Fame,” the ancient Deichmann says. “They put Morris’ jersey on Gregory. They filmed him in the batter’s box accomplishing what (they) capital him to do.”
But aback to that day in 1996 …
“I was alert to the TV,” Deichmann says.
Mainieri, too — so abundant that wife Karen and his two adolescent accouchement larboard him to go to the wedding. He accustomed several account later, sliding into a front-row pew and whispering into his wife’s ear.
“I said, ‘LSU won. You won’t accept it!’ ” he recalls.
Her response: “Shut up. You’re in church. Your sister is accepting married.”
A brace of hours afore Mainieri’s wife agitated at him, Vincent Borne and his wife were actuality anchored at Abbey of Assumption in Franklin. The bells began a few innings into the championship game.
“I had a acquaintance giving me signals of the account during the wedding,” says Borne, now a accompaniment cloister commune adjudicator in St. Mary Parish. “The priest mentioned the game. He started out the ceremony, ‘We accumulate actuality to adjure for the LSU Tigers.’ ”
Dogpiles and beam fans
Monticello, Mississippi — that’s area Lisa Reid was, at a alliance of her husband’s ancillary of the family, mostly Mississippi Accompaniment and Ole Absence fans.
Then 29, Lisa was seven months’ abundant with a boy she would name Chris.
“We came central against the end of the game. They weren’t watching it. They were all Mississippi fans. They said, ‘Game is over with, man. Watch all you want,’ ” she says. “We got to run alfresco and acquaint them, ‘It wasn’t absolutely over!’ ”
Chris Reid now starts at third abject for the LSU baseball team.
Nolan Cain is LSU’s advance abettor and a above Tigers bullpen — two things that ability not accept happened had Morris not rocketed that brawl out of Rosenblatt. That day, watching in his active allowance with his father, he became an LSU fan.
“I didn’t apperceive annihilation about LSU baseball. He hit that walk-off homer, and I fell in adulation with LSU. It’s awe-inspiring to think, you know?” he says. “If I don’t see that play, you alpha to admiration if I would accept gone to Florida, gone to Mississippi Accompaniment or Ole Miss.”
A majority of the tales Morris, Bertman and others apprehend from admirers absorb one of two things: a dog accumulation and a beam fan.
“About 40 to 50 percent of the belief absorb somebody jumping up and hitting their easily or arch on a beam fan,” Morris says.
Adds Herb Vincent: “People dogpiling. I heard added belief about bodies dogpiling in their active allowance and active to the backyard to dogpile.”
Ponamsky did that. His family’s cookout chock-full on the complete of Morris’ dinger, and they jumped on top of anniversary other.
“We dogpiled on the active allowance attic of my mom and dad’s house,” he says.
Luis Garcia’s adventure is added X-rated than any of them.
In 1996, Garcia was a 26-year-old who was aloof a few years removed from his arena canicule on the LSU baseball team. The Miami built-in abounding a South Beach basin and watch party. He remembers actuality the alone LSU fan there, decked in shorts, his old LSU baseball jersey and cap.
Badgered abundant of the game, Garcia let agrarian aback Morris’ brawl soared over that wall. He leapt assimilate a table and stripped.
“Some accessories of accouterment came off,” says Garcia, now a Miami restaurant owner. “I concluded up scantly clad, active about a South Beach poolside bar. I was clutching my LSU hat and annihilation else.”
Garcia raced about the venue, active nude between, at and about Miami fans. He ran, clothes-less, out of the bar and into his truck, area he sped home.
“I anticipate I ran mostly because I was embarrassed,” he says. “And again I ran mostly because I was activity to get in a fight.”
On the field
Striding bottomward the first-base line, Morris saw Daniel Tomlin jump off the arena from his position in the first-base coach’s box. That’s aback he knew he had hit a home run.
Running amid aboriginal and second, Morris saw Miami infielders splayed on the ground, broadcast on the clay like alone flies. That’s aback he knew he had won the Academy Apple Series.
“I wasn’t cerebration it was a home run,” Morris says of his actual reaction. “I knew aback it came off my bat that it was hit able-bodied and low. I was active adamantine aggravating to hit additional base.”
Tomlin, again a advance abettor apprenticeship aboriginal base, remembers jumping aerial into the air in the coach’s box as Morris cruised by. Quickly, his absorption angry to his job.
“Somewhere aback he angled second, I bethink seeing all of the guys activity crazy,” says Tomlin, now a bloom and PE abecedary at Alexandria High. “I was cerebration I charge to get bottomward there and accomplish abiding he touches home plate. Those guys were aloof activity nuts.”
Jason Williams had the beeline airing to the celebration. He stood in the on-deck amphitheater as the team’s starting ambush and leadoff hitter. Morris batted ninth in that game.
“I knew Robbie Morrison was one of the top closers in the nation that year. I was aggravating to get my timing down. I was aggravating to get ready,” he says. “It happened so fast because it was the aboriginal pitch. …
“Everybody rushed out of the dugout. I was bombarded by everybody. I was continuing there active the moment, watching Warren run the bases and the Miami guys collapse. I had the beeline walk, but I affectionate of stood aback and aloof watched the moment.”
Rudy Gomez wasn’t one of those burst Miami players. Gomez, the Hurricanes’ additional baseman, boring absolved to the dugout as Morris angled the bases.
He got a absolute appearance of Morrison’s breaking brawl — a low action that Morris golfed into the air.
“Robbie had the best breaking brawl on the agents that year. It was down. I see it over and over in my head,” he says. “(Catcher Jim) Gargiulo went bottomward to his knees to block it. He got the arch of the bat out and fabricated contact.”
Gomez, now a 41-year-old active in Miami, began to move against the outfield to handle a broadcast throw. He kept acquisitive it would break in the park.
“It’s one of the best adventures I had in my baseball career,” Gomez says. “I aloof happened to be on the amiss end of the stick.”
The ultimate “Where were you?” adventure belongs to Richard Dawson. Area was he? Sitting in the third row of the right-field bleachers.
He bent the home run brawl — well, almost.
“You could say I trapped it,” Dawson told The Advocate in 1996. “It landed in my easily and fell to the ground, and I best it up.”
Then a 38-year-old Omaha resident, Dawson traded the brawl to Morris for addition baseball Morris had autographed. Morris still has the ball, of course.
But no antiquity can top the amaranthine stories. The catechism and the answers will alive forever.
Where were you?
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.
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