Mitch wasn’t quite a one-year wonder, but at this point it seems like he was, and yes, it was a wonderful 1989 season. Read some of the Chronicle’s game story for a 7-6 win over the Braves in Fulton County Stadium on June 2:
Kevin Mitchell hit the longest ball of the evening, but the biggest run of the Giants’ 7-6 win over Atlanta last night came off a walk.
On a night when balls and fielders were pounding the outfield walls of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, it was Ernest Riles’ bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth that ended up scoring the deciding run in a game that Mitchell seemed to have guaranteed and the Giant bullpen seemed hellbent to return.
Mitchell hit two homers – one coming within 10 feet of being only the 10th ball ever to clear the first deck of the stadium – to steal the show from Rick Reuschel, who won his 10th game of the year; Robby Thompson, who homered and doubled to improve his average to .282, and Riles.
Mitchell doesn’t mess with ground balls. He aims for the stratosphere, sometimes pushing the envelope a bit. His second homer, which followed [Robby] Thompson’s sixth homer of the season and fourth in 11 games, was an enormous thing, one which bounced off the bottom of the auxiliary scoreboard in left and soberly was estimated at 440 feet.
“”That wasn’t my longest,” Mitchell said. “”Nothing was as long as the one I hit against Fernando (Valenzuela on April 12). His (pitch) was a fastball. This was a changeup.”
He did allow, though, that it might have been the longest home run he ever hit off a changeup. The victim was Tom Glavine, who was pounded for six runs in four-plus innings.
“”I love hitting here,” Mitchell raved. “”The ball really carries here. You don’t have to be a strong man to hit a ball out of this yard. If you don’t get out of here with 20 homers a year, you’re not going to hit 20 in any park.”
Mitchell’s season total currently stands at 17, with 51 RBIs.
When Mitchell caught a foul ball bare-handed in late April in St. Louis, it provided what wound up being the enduring highlight of his season, but the Chronicle noted that Willie Mays had done the same in a game against the Pirates: he couldn’t reach across with his glove to snag a hooking line drive, so he reached out and caught the ball with his bare hand.
In the dugout, Mays asked manager Leo Durocher, “Leo, didn’t you see what I did out there?”
“No,” Durocher retorted. “And you’re going to have to do it again before I believe it.”
By the All-Star break, Mitchell had 31 home runs and 81 RBIs through 87 games. That pace didn’t last, but he and Clark were the two star hitters on a Giants team that wasn’t stacked with the level of talent the A’s had.