The Eutaw Street Chronicles (#17): Lee Stevens, May 30, 1998
Lee Stevens had two career home runs at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and both of them reached Eutaw Street. The first hit the Warehouse on a bounce. The second, on May 30, 1998, hit Boog's BBQ. It was the 17th Eutaw Street home run in Camden Yards history.
Stevens stepped to the plate in the top of the eighth inning and dug in against rookie Sidney Ponson. Ponson replaced Arthur Rhodes, who had pitched four shutout innings in a long relief role, and was looking to preserve the Orioles' hard-earned 6-5 lead.
Trailing 5-0 after three innings and two Juan Gonzalez home runs totaling 801 feet, the Orioles rallied for six runs without the ball leaving the park. A pair of RBI singles and a pair of RBI doubles were all the O's needed to erase a disastrous three-inning outing by Bobby Munoz who made his lone career start for Baltimore that day.
Ponson and Norm Charlton combined to allow another five runs in a little more than an inning of work that put the game out of reach for the Birds. Back-to-back ninth inning homers by Roberto Alomar and Rafael Palmeiro were too little, too late.
The Rangers' rally started with Stevens' two-run homer on Ponson's first pitch to him. The ball traveled 415 feet and struck the top of Boog's BBQ. Rafael Palmeiro hit Boog's BBQ with a Eutaw Street home run several years prior. In that case, writers at the game had a difficult time determining whether the ball had actually reached Eutaw Street or bounced off the fence.
Palmeiro sat atop of the Eutaw Street home run leaderboard at the time of Stevens' homer with three bronze bombs. Stevens' shot moved him into a second place tie with Brady Anderson on the list with two Eutaw Street homers.
The Rangers' win on May 30, 1998, was their first at Camden Yards in nine games dating back to June 1996. It also ended the club's five-game losing streak. Gonzalez left the ballpark that day with 15 home runs on the season and a league-leading 66 RBI. He ended the season with 157 RBI and the American League MVP as the Rangers won the A.L. West.
The 1998 Orioles, who had baseball's largest payroll, finished in fourth place with a 79-83 record, the first of 14 consecutive losing seasons in Baltimore.