With his walk-off homer on May 17, 1971, Ralph Garr ties a major league record for the most round-trippers in extra innings when he goes deep in the 10th and 12th frames in the Braves’ 4-3 victory over New York.
The Atlanta left-fielder, called the ‘Road Runner’ by his teammates, is the fourth player to accomplish the feat, and the first to do so since 1966 when Art Shamsky went yard in the 10th and 11th in a losing cause for the Reds at Crosley Field.
Rico Carty injured his left knee playing Winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and was lost for the entire 1971 season. Garr seized the opportunity, batting over .400 through the middle of May.
He became so popular with fans in Atlanta that the Braves negotiated exclusive big-league baseball rights with Warner Bros. Cartoons to use animated scenes of the Looney Tunes character Road Runner on the scoreboard, while the calliope erected behind right field went “beep-beep” like the cartoon character every time Garr reached first base.
By the end of the season, Garr’s batting average cooled off to .343, good for second best in the National League to the St. Louis Cardinals’ Joe Torre. He also scored a career high 101 runs batting second in the Braves’ batting order.