It was the third month of the season, Matt Kemp was out of the Dodger lineup with a hamstring injury and the Dodgers found themselves with a rookie outfielder making is debut.
Without the services of Carl Crawford and Kemp, the Dodgers had nowhere else to turn, but called up a 22-year-old rookie from Double-A: Yasiel Puig.
Back on that Monday in June, the Dodgers were 23-32 and taking on the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers had called up Puig hoping he could provide a spark, or at least a healthy body to play in the outfield.
The Dodgers got much more than what they bargained for.
Puig played right field and was thrust into the leadoff spot in the lineup. In his first at-bat, he hit a little flare base hit that got the crowd excited.
Puig would finish the day with two hits, but his presence was felt on defense.
With the Dodgers clinging to a one-run lead and struggling closer Brandon League on the mound, Puig saved his best move for last. League walked Chris Denorfia, bringing up Padres slugger Kyle Blanks.
Blanks hit a shot to right field that sent Puig back. Puig made a catch right before the wall, spun around and fired a strike to first base that doubled off the runner and preserved the Dodgers 2-1 victory.
The play sent the crowd into a frenzy and the legend of Yasiel Puig was born. Puig would go on and hit .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs as he’s become one of the most talked about players in baseball.
On this Throwback Thursday, the Dodgers can only hope that Puig’s flair for the dramatic in debuts can continue as they take on the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS.
Here’s the GIF of that memorable play:
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!