BRAVES RECALL: Ryan Klesko

At the age of 24, Ryan Klesko hit three home runs in the 1995 World Series, one in each of the three games in Cleveland.

But the last one, in Game 5, is the one he will always remember.

Down 5-2 in the ninth inning and the hard-throwing Jose Mesa on the mound for the Indians, Klesko drilled a two-out, 100-mph fastball over the right-field wall for a two-run homer. The Braves lost the game 5-4, but Klesko said, “I don’t think many people know this story about that homer. I lost my father early and my mother used to put on catchers gear to catch me when I was young. She worked two jobs to get me pitching lessons and for the first two games (in Cleveland) she sat behind home plate, but for the third one she gave my sister those tickets and went to right field to sit.

“I hit that ball to my mother and she almost caught it, but a man literally knocked into her and got the ball. We did end up getting the ball. He wanted a bunch of autographed things, but I think we gave him a Greg Maddux signed baseball for it. My mom still has the ball today. ’’

Today, Klesko is 44 and lives in Macon. He is married, has a 6-year-old son and buys and sells real estate. When the Braves won the title, he was in his second full season and three of his 16 at-bats in the World Series were homers.

Q: How good were the Braves that season?

A: We were not even favored to win it. Cleveland was the pick, and they had all the hitting. But we knew we had the pitching and despite the fact that they had one of the best offenses in major league history, they didn't score a lot of runs in those six games.

Q: You had to fight for at-bats that season and some times were upset when you were sitting on the bench?

A: I wanted to play and it bothered me, but I always had the utmost respect for Bobby Cox. He was the best, and I was just in my second year.'

Q: Speaking of sophomores, very few clubs have had better second-year players than you, Chipper Jones and Javier Lopez that season.

A: And we all had strong playoffs. We were so young, but we learned a lot from the older guys and we were always playing in front of big crowds. In fact, on both Atlanta and Cleveland, there were a lot of young players that really became big stars.

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