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The most memorable home runs in each team’s history

May 19, 2011, 2:46 PM EDT

Gibson homer

UPDATE:  I obviously missed a bunch, so here’s a post updating this list.

As I mentioned this morning, one of my Twitter correspondents asked me last night to name each franchise’s most memorable home run.  With the caveat that (a) this can be subjective; and (b) in some cases, there are many great choices and in others none too many, let’s give it a try.

Oh, and final caveat: I’m doing this on the fly and I’m sure I’ll miss some and whiff badly on others. So let’s make it collaborative. If I get one wrong, tell me in the comments and if you’re convincing, I’ll update accordingly.

Yankees

One could say Babe Ruth’s called shot, but that may not have even happened, depending on who you believe.  Others may say Bucky effing Dent’s dinger in 1978.  I’m guessing some of you younger people may say Aaron Boone, but that seems like way less of a thing to me. My personal choice would be Reggie Jackson’s homers (or pick the third one) in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, simply because for me and people around my age, that was what introduced the New York Yankees as a major force in the baseball world. We learned all of the other stuff later.

Red Sox

Carlton Fisk seems like the only serious candidate here. It was THE highlight of what MLB Network just voted as the best World Series game of all time, so there’s that too.

Orioles

For a franchise with as rich a history as the O’s, one doesn’t scream out at you, does it?  If I had to say right now — which I guess I do — I’d say Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson’s back-to-back home runs in the first inning of Game 1 of the 1966 World Series off Don Drysdale which, in my view, announced the Orioles’ dynasty of the late 60s and early 70s with authority.  You could also go with Cal Ripken hitting a homer in the game in which he broke Gehrig’s consecutive games mark, but that wasn’t quite as significant for the team, of course.

Blue Jays

Joe Carter. What, you think I was gonna say Ernie Whitt?

Rays

Help. I looked at the 2008 Series and saw that the Rays hit no homers in the one game they won. How about the ALCS, when Willy Aybar hit an insurance home run in Game 7?

White Sox

Geoff Blum‘s game-winner from the 14th inning of Game 3 of the 2005 World Series. Which seems wrong to me for a team with so much history, so help me out Chisox fans.

Tigers

Gibson’s 1984 World Series Game 5 home run off Goose Gossage — who had previously owned Gibson — springs to mind.  Hank Greenberg hit one to clinch the 1945 pennant, but I’ll take Gibby, if for no other reason than it makes him the only one to have two entries here.

Indians

Another one that I’m probably gonna get wrong, but I can’t think of a particularly memorable Indians’ homer in recent history. So, let’s go with Ken Keltner who, in a one-game playoff for the AL pennant against the Red Sox in 1948, hit a three-run shot in the 4th inning, giving Cleveland the pennant that led to their last World Series title.

Twins

“And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” Puckett. Mad props, even if it killed me at the time.

Royals

Has to be the pine tar homer, right? If you’d prefer less infamy, give it to Brett for his big blast in Game 3 of the 1980 ALCS.

Rangers

I’m blanking again.  Does Hank Blalock in the 2003 All-Star Game off the then-indestructible and PED-fueld Eric Gagne count?  Josh Hamilton‘s homers in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in 2009?

Angels

There may not be a less-regarded player on this list than Scott Spiezio, but his homer in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series helped launch the comeback from a 5-0 deficit and win the game, forcing a Game 7.

Athletics

Jimmy Foxx in the 1930 World Series?  I’m really struggling with memorable A’s homers.  Bert Campaneris in the 1973 World Series? Gene Tenace in the 1972 Series? He hit four, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard or read about any of them being significant for its own sake. This is another one where a fan of the team would do better than me.

Mariners

Most of the great moments in team history were either pitching-related or team-related (think 1995).  I’ll go with either (a) Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. going back-to-back in 1990, which was pretty spiffy; or (b) Edgar Martinez’s grand slam in the penultimate game of that LDS in ’95. Which would normally be the winner here, but it was really overshadowed by the heroics in the last game.

Braves

Has to be Hank Aaron’s 715th.

Phillies

People argued about this in the comments earlier, but no one said Dick Sisler’s pennant-clinching home run for the Whiz Kids in 1950.

Mets

Another team with a lot of great team moments, but not so many that are strictly home run related. I’d have to say it’s either (a) Al Weiss off Dave McNally in the 1969 World Series; (b) Dykstra’s homer against the Astros in the 1986 NLCS — which was an epic series; or (c) Robin Ventura’s “Grand Slam Single” in the 16th inning of Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS which, if the Braves hadn’t come back and won when the series shifted back to Atlanta, may have forever changed my impression of Ventura.

Marlins

Hurm. How about Alex Gonzalez‘s homer in the bottom of the 12th in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series. Runner up: Devon White grand slam in the 1997 NLDS over the Giants?  I’m struggling here, because I didn’t even remember Gonzalez’s homer. Had to Google around for memorable Marlins’ moments that didn’t involve Edgar Renteria.

Nationals

Whether you include the Expos or just go with the Nats, I’m struggling to think of a single truly memorable home run by this franchise. I looked up every memorable moment in each team’s history and none of them involved home runs.  I think Jonah Keri is gonna have to help me out here.

Cardinals

Ozzie Smith’s homer in the 1985 NLCS.  “Go crazy, folks!”  By the way, I think I have Jack Buck as making the call on three of these. Maybe more, actually.

Reds

This is one where I feel like I’m totally gonna whiff, but I’ll take Tony Perez’s shot in Game 7 of the 1975 World Series that woke up the Big Red Machine and helped them clinch the title.

Brewers

Maybe I’m missing one in 1982, but how about Ryan Braun‘s two-run shot in the eighth inning against the Cubs in the last game of the regular season to help Milwaukee clinch the wild card?

Pirates

It begins and ends with Mazeroski in the 1960 World Series, of course.

Astros

Not a game-winner — in fact, they lost the game — but Billy Hatcher hit a homer in the bottom of the 14th inning to tie the score 4-4 in Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. They went on to lose in the 16th, but boy howdy that was somethin’.

Cubs

Gotta go back a ways, but The Homer in the Gloamin’ by Gabby Hartnett seems like the winner. Mostly because the Cubs haven’t had many other winners since then.

Dodgers

If anyone has a candidate other than Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series bomb, you may feel free to enter it into the competition for second place.

Giants

The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!  Please, like it would be anything else.

Padres

Kurt Bevacqua’s game-winning home run in Game two of the 1984 World Series?

Rockies

Matt Holliday‘s three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2007 NLCS, which proved to be the game-winner.

Diamondbacks

Can Luis Gonzalez’ single in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series count as a homer? No? Well, then, crap. I’m stumped.

OK, that was both more fun and harder work than I thought.  Now have at me in the comments.

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    By far and away, THE defining play in Chicago Cubs long and storied history had nothing to do with a home run, but a foul ball. I’m referring of course to the 2003 NLCS Game 6 foul ball that one Steve Bartman went after. The rest, as they say, is history! (LOL! ROFLMAO!! I’m eternally grateful for Bartman’s decision to have attended that game in person too!).

    • 18thstreet - May 19, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      Oh, shut up. No one wants to hear it.

      • purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        LOL! Actually, ALL of us White Sox fans LOVE to hear about the story of Bartman and the foul ball! ESPN thinks that it’s such a memorable moment too that they’re in the process of releasing an entire movie based on it! Pass the popcorn!

    • scatterbrian - May 19, 2011 at 5:59 PM

      “LOL! ROFLMAO!!”

      Wow, I guess it doesn’t take much these days, does it?

      • purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

        scatter… to understand my obvious delight in recalling the infamous Bartman moment in Cub history, you’d have to have been a lifetime baseball fan who grew up in Chicago. As I’m sure it’s apparent, I grew up on Chicago’s south side, but was a big fan of both the Cubs and White Sox until syndicated columnist Mike Royko wrote his asinine and polarizing column during the 1984 NLCS.

        That column more than anything else turned many of us White Sox fans off on the Cubs, and it started the turnover of Cub fans from mostly life long true Cub fans to the johnny come lately’s who started to climb on the bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong though; I loved Royko, but Royko’s column set off a feud between Cub and White Sox fans that’s simply grown and grown bigger every year since.

        When the Cubs finally put lights up at Wrigley Field (1988), all of a sudden the “yuppie night creatures from the affluent north shore” suddenly overwhelmed the Cubbie bandwagon, and then the Cubbie gasbag grew and grew to epic proportions until that fateful night at the NLCS in 2003 when it burst like the Hindenburg going down on that Bartman foul ball.

        What’s really funny though is that the Cub bandwagoners all to this day still blame Bartman for the Cubs failure to get to the World Series in 2003, yet it was a routine ground ball to that their shortstop muffed that opened the floodgates for the Marline to win.

        The whole thing is just so, well, so Cubbie!!! (LOL!)

  2. andrebeingandre16 - May 19, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    as a dodger fan its amazing to see how many of these home runs happened against us!

  3. remember1007 - May 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Indians – Single best-known HR is probably Frank Robinson on Opening Day 1975, in his first at bat as the Indians’ (and first African-American) manager, off Doc Medich. Would also nominate (going way back to one of the Tribe’s two world titles) Elmer Smith’s grand slam in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series, the first ever in a WS. Also, Tony Pena ending Game 1 of the 1995 ALDS (first Indians post-season game since 1954) in extra innings off Zane Smith.

    Nationals – Easy! Ryan Zimmerman walk-off to end first game at Nationals Park, 2008, off Peter Moylan of Braves.

    Rays – Try Akinori Iwamura in Game 2 of 2008 ALDS off Buehrle – put the Rays up in that game to stay – they went on to win ALDS and ALCS. Or try Baldelli’s 3-run HR in the 8th inning of 2008 ALCS Game 3 at Fenway, to break that one open and put the Rays up 2-1 in the series.

    • natstowngreg - May 19, 2011 at 7:02 PM

      Agree on Zimmerman’s homer. He also hit a walk-off against the Yankees at RFK (think it was in 2006). But then, he’s hit several walk-offs.

      There are a few white seats in the upper deck at RFK, for Frank Howard moon shots, but the most memorable homer hit in Washington was most likely by Josh Gibson, as a member of the Homestead Grays (who played part of their schedule here). It wasn’t memorable because hardly anyone was paying attention.

    • raysfan1 - May 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM

      That’s certainly the most significant HR for the Rays, but the most memorable HR has to be Wade Boggs’ 3000th hit. It was practically the only highlight for what was then a craptacular team.

    • nightman13 - May 20, 2011 at 5:08 PM

      I’d have to say Pedro Cerrano’s 2 run shot against the Yankees in the bottom of the 7th on an 0-2 count to tie the game. That led to Jake Taylor’s bunt single that scored Willie Mays Hayes and gave the Tribe the win that kept Rachel Phelps from moving them to Miami.

  4. purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Must see short video clip (be sure your PC speakers are turned on):

  5. kountryking - May 19, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Yeah, Gibson’s was the greatest home run for the Dodgers. Second place in my book goes to ought-to-be Hall of Famer Gil Hodges’ fourth home run against the Boston Braves ‘way back in history.

  6. uuddlrlrbastart - May 19, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Between the three listed by Craig and three others listed in the comments for the Mets (Todd Pratt and two Piazza homers), I’m having trouble deciding which was most memorable. Mostly because, in the end, they weren’t *that* epic. It’s kind of like having a rotation full of a bunch of number 3-4 starters.

  7. gostros19 - May 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    The most memorable Astro home run has to be Chris Burke’s 18th inning home run against the braves in the 2005 NLDS. Yes, only a Division Series game. But come on. Everybody remembers that AND it was en route to the World Series…gotta go with that.

  8. cup0pizza - May 19, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Second place for the Dodgers is Rick Monday in game 5 of the nlcs in Montreal on 10.19.81

  9. schmedley69 - May 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    As a Phillies fan who started watching in the late ’70’s, my 3 most memorable homers are Mike Schmidt’s division clincher against the Expos in 1980, Dykstra’s homer off of Mark Wohler’s in game 5 of the ’93 NLCS (came immediately after another Mitch Williams blown save; turned the whole series around), and of course, Stairs’ moonshot against the Dodgers in the ’08 NLCS.

    As far as Ripken’s HR on the night he broke the record: it’s a well known fact that former teammate Shawn Boskie threw him a meatball and told him what pitch was coming. Doesn’t count.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - May 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    For me, the Phillies most memorable HR was Mike Schmidt’s 500th. Those were the days when 500 meant something and the way he reacted after hitting it was pure joy for me and my dad. Probably why I remember it so well. Thy and Harry the K’s call of it. Good times.

  11. capsboy - May 20, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    Diamondbacks:

    1999, Jay Bell’s grand slam won a fan a million bucks because she correctly guessed the inning and player when it would happen.

    My personal favorite; in 2001Tony Womack hit a home run on Father’s Day, his dad had died in April that year, I remember he became so emotional he almost broke down on the base paths. He was one of my all time favorites.

  12. mgflolox - May 20, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    As an A’s fin this hurts, but Gibson’s bomb in “88 is definitely the winner for the Dodgers. I think 2nd place, however, was struck by a former Athletic, Rick Monday against the ‘Spos to put LA in the “81 series. For the Cards, I would go with Jack “The Ripper” Clark’s HR that effectively ended the ’85 NLCS in game 6. For the A’s you probably have to go back to 1912 when Frank “home Run” Baker got his nickname.

    • umrguy42 - May 20, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      Nah, I think Craig’s got it here with Ozzie’s shot – admittedly, besides the sheer WTF-ness (as he put it), there’s the great call by Jack Buck (we miss you, Jack!) which cemented the memorableness (just as it did with Gibby’s in ’88).

  13. thereekshow - May 20, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    As for White Sox homers, Konerko’s Game 2 grand slam had a much bigger impact than Blum’s walk off. I was at Game 2 and you cannot imagine the energy and feeling inside US Cellular. It was our way of saying we are finally back, and we are here to win it. Can you say SWEEP?

  14. royhobbs39 - May 20, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    As a Nationals fan, I would have to go with the first game at Nationals Park. Opening Night baseball. President throws out the first pitch. HR wins the game. Local (sort of – VA) hero. Well worth the money laid down for the tickets. Unfortunately the crowds and the team have not come close to that level since. (Except for the Strasburg games.) Hopefully that HR will be replaced by many Harper moonshots.

  15. 1historian - May 21, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    I’ll go along with Fisk’s HR in the 1975 series as the #1 for the Red Sox, but methinks mention should have been made of Ted Williams’ last at bat being a homer.

  16. ladivinadivavzla - May 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    In the list Must be the Willir Mays four HR day with San Francisco

  17. cdboss - May 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    How about Tony Womacks inside the park grand slam.

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