1968 was a magical year for the Detroit Tigers- and their pinch hitting specialist Gates Brown. If you would mention Gates Brown’s name to a long time Tigers fan I am sure they would smile and talk about his remarkable 1968 season. Brown was a bench player- he didn’t play much- he only had 92 at bats the entire season. He only started 16 games all season. He made every at bat count- especially when called upon as a switch-hitter- he hit .450 that season as a pinch-hitter most of pinch-hitting appearances coming late in the game. On the season he hit .370. Gates was never more magical than on this date- a doubleheader vs the defending champions the Boston Red Sox- in game 1 he hit a pinch-hit home run off Lee Stange in the 14th inning to win the game and in game 2 he came off the bench in the bottom of the 9th and hit a single off of Sparky Lyle -scoring Mickey Stanley and giving the Tigers a sweep in the doubleheader.
Gates Brown still holds the American League record for most career pinch hits- and pinch hit home runs. He played 13 seasons for the Tigers- was never a regular player-always a bench player but when called on- especially in 1968 he was as clutch as they came. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 73.
In Greg Iles excellent Natchez Burning trilogy -he has a character that goes by the name Gates Brown because that was the characters childhood hero.