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"Seat Cushion Night" is the name of two famous St. Louis Cardinals baseball games at which fans were given seat cushions as a promotion. Both games were dramatic come from behind walk-off victories for the Cardinals that caused the fans to throw the seat cushions they had been given on to the field in celebration. Seat Cushion night has also produced World Series appearances for the franchise in the same season, losing to the Minnesota Twins in the 1987 World Series and defeating the Detroit Tigers in 5 games in the 2006 World Series

April 18, 1987

The first "seat cushion night" occurred during a wild game befitting what was then one of the game's best rivalries, the Cardinals and the New York Mets. The game featured a seat cushion promotion for fans, and the giveaways were tossed on the field repeatedly over the course of the night. Because the game was so intense, the Mets and Cardinals swapped leads multiple times. Frustrated (and excited) at every sway of the score, fans began throwing their seat cushions. On a few occasions the game had to be stopped to clean up the cushions, and at one point the announcer came on to announce that if anymore cushions were tossed onto the field, the game would be forfeited by the Cardinals. From then on the cushions were held onto, until the 10th. With the score tied at 8 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Cardinals second baseman Tom Herr hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game. As Herr rounded the bases, the seat cushions began raining down out of the stands as thousands of them were thrown onto the field. What's sometimes forgotten is how remarkable the game itself was. The Cardinals led, 6-5, going into the ninth before RBI singles from Kevin McReynolds and Howard Johnson put New York ahead. Ozzie Smith tied it in the bottom of the inning when he stole third and scored on Gary Carter's error. The Mets led again in the 10th on a wild pitch, and Tom Pagnozzi tied it with a single in the bottom of the 10th before Herr's grand slam. Herr later commented on the game saying, "At every opportunity, they were throwing them on the field, the game had to be stopped at a couple of occasions. Then the game went to the 10th, so whoever still had their seat cushion threw them on the field after the home run. I don't think they had another seat cushion night after that."

Off the stretch, Orosco, here's the pitch...swing and a long one into left field! Way back in the corner...GRAND SLAMMMMMAAHHH! A grand slam home run for Herr! And that's a winner! Twelve to eight!
—Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck.

June 28, 2006

Indeed, it would be nearly 20 years before the next time the Cardinals gave away seat cushions at a game. That would occur at an inter-league game between the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians. This game occurred while the Cardinals were on an 8-game losing streak, their longest since the 1988 season. After blowing a 3-1 lead in the 8th inning, the Cardinals trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the 9th and looked well on their way to losing their 9th straight. So Taguchi would lead off and end up on second after catcher Kelly Shoppach dropped his pop-up in front of home plate. After as sacrifice bunt from Yadier Molina, Taguchi would score to tie the game on an RBI double by Aaron Miles. Miles would then advance to third on a fielder's choice play. Then, with two outs, shortstop David Eckstein hit what appeared to be an inning ending ground ball to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, but his throw to first was out of the reach of first baseman Victor Martinez and Eckstein would be safe allowing Miles to score the winning run on the Indians' second error of the inning.

The Cardinals rally was fueled by the seemingly spontaneous eruption of clapping seat cushions from the 44,628 fans in attendance. In fact, the sound explosion started with a lonely cushion clapping from a visiting Detroit Tigers’ fan in the first row of Section 132 (along the first base line). In a spirited effort to gain some advantage for the Tigers from an Indians loss, Shoppach’s pop drop prompted a solo seat cushion clap. A group of children in Section 132 joined in, and with Molina’s bunt, fans in surrounding sections took up the refrain. Within minutes the entire stadium had joined in a cacophony of deafening noise. The Cardinals responded to the super-thunderous applause, and the Indians were no match for the fans.

Again, seat cushions poured down from the stands as fans threw them onto the field, ecstatic over the dramatic victory, and that the losing streak was finally over. Coincidentally, the Cardinals would go on to win the National League pennant both seasons, and in 2006 they defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

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