Camp was the last man in the Atlanta bullpen that night, July 4, 1985. Camp would make 66 appearances for the Braves that season, just 2 as a starting pitcher. Camp had spent a significant part of the 1982-1984 seasons starting games for the Braves after pitching primarily in relief for them from 1976-1978. His best seasons were as a reliever for the Braves in 1980 and 1981. In 1980, he was 6-4, 1.91, 22 saves in 77 games and he followed that up by going 9-3, 1.78, 17 saves for the Braves in the strike shortened 1981 season. All in all, Camp would spend his entire 10 year career with the Braves.
The game was interesting enough since it was on the 4th of July and a fireworks display was to follow completion of the game. Dwight Gooden, in the middle of his 24-4 season, got the start for the Mets while Rick Mahler started for the Braves. The Mets came into the game at 40-35 and the Braves were just 34-41. Len Dykstra CF, Wally Backman 2B, Keith Hernandez 1B, Darryl Strawberry RF, Gary Carter C, George Foster LF, Ray Knight 3B, Rafael Santana SS vs Claudell Washington RF, Rafael Ramirez SS, Dale Murphy CF, Bob Horner 1B, Terry Harper LF, Ken Oberkfell 3B, Rick Cerone C, Glenn Hubbard 2B.
The game got off to an interesting start as both starters struggled with their control. Gooden walked 4 and was taken out in the 3rd inning with the game tied at 1. Of course, the long rain delay was the reason Gooden was taken out and replaced by Roger McDowell. Mahler was removed the following inning after the Mets scored 4 times against Mahler and reliever Jeff Dedmond. After the Braves scored another run, the Mets ran their lead to 7-4 going into the bottom of the 8th. Jesse Orosco would procede to struggle, giving up a run before the Braves loaded the bases and Doug Sisk came in. Sisk would promptly allow all three inherited runners to score, giving the Braves the lead again. The Mets would tie the game in the top of the 9th against Bruce Sutter. To this point, the crowd had already gotten its money's worth and I am sure would have not minded going home.
Sisk and Terry Forster would throw scoreless ball for the next 7 half innings, taking the game into the 13th inning. Knight would get a two out single and Howard Johnson would hit a 2 run HR to give the Mets the lead. But reliever Tom Gorman would give up a 2 out- 2 run HR to Harper to tie the game again. After that, Gorman for the Mets and Gene Garber and Camp for the Braves would combine to keep each other off the boards for the next 4 innings. Camp's error on a bunt led to a Mets run in the 18th inning.
This leads to the improbable moment where Camp hits the miraculous HR off Gorman to tie the game. However, it was obvious that Camp used all his energy on his only MLB HR as he gave up 5 ER in the 19th inning. Ron Darling came in to finish the game off, but he had his struggles as well. A 1 out error by Hernandez, followed by back to back two out walks loading the bases. Harper, who had tied the game in the 13th, singled in two to make the game 16-13. The next batter was no one other than Camp, once again representing the tying run. Instead of the Mets PA announcer announcing "pitcher Rick Camp", he called out "slugger Rick Camp". With 2 strikes, Camp took the biggest swing of his entire career. Unfortunately, he came away empty as Darling got him on strikes to end the game.
More interesting facts on this game. Rusty Staub came up as a pinch hitter in the 19th inning, as he for some reason was still available, and drew a walk, scoring one of the 19th inning runs. Strawberry and Davey Johnson were ejected in the 17th inning for arguing balls and strikes. The Braves manager was none other than Eddie Haas, his only season as a big league manager. Hass was fired later in the season and replaced by Bobby Wine. With Camp's passing, he became the 3rd member of the Braves 1985 pitching staff to die joining Mahler (2005) and Pascual Perez (2012).
After Camp retired, he became a farmer and eventually a state lobbyist. He would spend three years in prison from 2005-2008 for conspiring to steal over $2 million from a hospital in Georgia. In spite of that and his good career he had with the Braves, his home run will always stand out and will remain one of the most shocking moments in regular season history. And yes, when the game ended (at 3:55 am), fireworks were let off as the fans were promised.