The Los Angeles Times in 1991 described how L.A. native Rodney McCray had broken down a fence in Portland on May 27:
While playing right field for the Vancouver Canadiens of the triple-A Pacific Coast League, McCray crashed through a section of the right-field wall at Portland’s Civic Stadium while trying to catch a fly ball off the bat of Portland’s Chip Hale.
Hale ended up with a run-scoring triple that knocked in the tying run, and then scored the game’s winning run.
Television sportscasters made McCray’s collision one of 1991’s most replayed plays.
“The ball wasn’t carrying all night long,” McCray recalled before a recent White Sox-Angel game. “But this particular ball just started carrying. I was really concentrating on the ball. I really had no idea I was that close to the warning track or the fence. I was just concentrating on catching the ball so much, the next thing you know, there’s the fence.”
The impact left McCray with “a few scars” on his face and a bruised shoulder. He remained in the game for the rest of the inning before being replaced but was in the lineup for the Canadiens’ next game.
A few years later, the L.A. Times added this on McCray:
McCray considers the play the highlight of his eight-season professional career.
“It’s good for baseball, seeing I’m OK and didn’t get hurt,” the 1981 University High graduate said. “It’s something that will never be forgotten.”
McCray was selected by San Diego in the ninth round of the January, 1984, amateur draft, spending four seasons in the Padre organization before being chosen by the White Sox in the 1987 minor league draft.
McCray’s minor league highlights include leading the Class A California League with 65 stolen bases in 1987, being named to the 1989 Florida State League All-Star team in 1989 after leading outfielders with a .987 fielding percentage and ranking second with a career-high 81 steals in the South Atlantic League in 1989.
McCray, who turned 28 on Friday, began his major league career May 1, 1990, walking in his first at-bat. He was recalled two other times last season, appearing in 32 games, mainly as a pinch-runner. He was hitless in six at-bats, but stole six bases without being caught and scored eight runs.