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The most memorable home runs in each team’s history

May 19, 2011, 2:46 PM EST

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. cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Best homer by a blue Jay? Totally agree. It is indeed Oklahoma City’s own Joseph Christopher Carter on the occasion of the 1993 World Series in the Sky Dome, Toronto, October 23, Game 6.

    Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams was pitching and Lenny Dykstra was spoiling the outfield grass with chaw juice. The score was 6 – 5 for the evil chaw chewers and Mitch was sent out throw sliders all over the place. JC came to the plate with one thing on his mind; pwn Mitchie-poo. Pwn him like a little b!tch. Ricky Henderson (yes, THE Ricky Henderson) was on 2nd and Paul Molitor on 1st.
    Mitchie-poo unleashed a 2 – 2 slider and Joe promptly served it into the left field seats. A walk off, Series winning, 3 run, homer. There are no better kinds.

    • Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      D!CK! You just haaaaad to rub it in huh cake eater???

      • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        Jonny I went so far as to write this over an hour ago in preparation for Craig’s post. I wanted it to be the first in on the post list. I did that just for you.

        Still has some typos but the overall sentiment is just the way I wanted it.

        Cake eaters hit home runs and pie eaters serve ‘em up.

      • Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        LOL!!! Preparation I see. I guess that since there is no argument whatsoever on which was the finest home run in Jays history you have that option huh?

      • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        Hey 5, where’s you colleague, Hair? I feel cheated he hasn’t been around to relive that glorious day with us.

      • Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        I don’t know where he is… Maybe he’s getting ready to come back to Philly and play some ball??? I just hope he brings Chase with him, because the hair by itself is too small to hold a bat.

    • mercyflush - May 19, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      cur68, if you’re gonna leave a post like that, get your facts right. Williams threw a fastball, not a slider. It was supposed to be high and away, and it was right down the middle. Carter was swinging breaking ball, that’s why he pulled it to left field… far left field…

      • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        Really ‘flush? I remember the post game interview with Joe. He said quite clearly the only thing Mitch was throwing for strikes was the slider. That pitch even looked slider to me; it was middle low if I recall correctly. Right where Carter, with his golfer type swing, liked to hit.

        Whatever. One man’s slider is another man’s FB IMO. This was Mitch Williams throwing you know. He was not exactly Mr. Command and Control.

      • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        Also if it was a FB wouldn’t he a hit it to RF, Joe being a righty, swinging breaking ball (he’d a been late to swing)? His interview is what I’m going on. He said slider.

      • Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        Mr. Snappy says a slider is a fastball. I tend to agree with Mr snappy in this case. The movement slows the ball down just a tad.

      • mercyflush - May 19, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        trying to reply cur but for some reason it doesnt let me reply to your reply.

        maybe i am wrong but they just had the 2 of them on mlb’s 20 greatest games and mitch was talking about the pitch and how it was supposed to be a fastball high and away (to induce a popout) and he ended up throwing a meatball

      • curr68 - May 19, 2011 at 8:42 PM

        Also, I would like nothing more than to drink Jose Bautista’s bath water.

      • cur68 - May 20, 2011 at 12:09 AM

        eeeew, awkward. Sorry about curr68. He’s not quite housebroke around the decent folks yet. I fear he never shall be. The extra ‘r’ in his name makes him a bit of a fiend, the wee scamp.

        As to slider/fast ball, I’m sure Mitch felt he was throwing a FB and I’m sure Daulton (who, if memory serves, was catching) called FB, but what Joe saw was slider. Frankly I have difficulty distinguishing a mediocre cutter from an excellent slider, so who knows what that pitch was? With William’s off-balance-washing-machine delivery he might be just wishful thinking that was a FB. It was moment I’m sure he’d like to forget, bless his little cotton socks.

        In any case he pitched a something and Joe CLOBBERED a something. The greatest home run by any Blue Jay ever, including any hit by curr68’s awkward man crush, Jose Bautista.

        mini-curr you complete me…

  2. veryindifferent - May 19, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Rangers is Bengie Molina in ALCS Game 4.

    • Mike, the Mad Beard - May 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      That’s a good one. The one that came to my mind first was Nelson Cruz’s dagger in Game 6, which followed Vlad’s 2-run double.

      • veryindifferent - May 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        Yeah I can see that one too.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      The best homer in Rangers history, is the one that went of Canseco’s head while he was playing the OF for them…hands down!

  3. dt - May 19, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    As a Tigers fan, it’s hard to argue with Gibby in ’84. But, may I submit Magglio Ordonez’s walk-off home run to win the ALCS in 2006 for your consideration? It did send the team to the World Series and put an exclamation point on a shocking and unexpected turnaround of the franchise.

    • chrisdtx - May 19, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      I agree on Maggs. First of all, it was a walk-off. That makes it more memorable in my view. Secondly, Gibson’s HR, while memorable and great, was an insurance HR as the Tigers were in the lead at the time. And like you said, the Maggs HR put an exclamation point on an amazing turnaround (119 losses to AL pennant in 3 years), while Gibson put an exclamation point on one of the more dominant single-season teams in history. Interestingly, in both cases it was their 2nd HR of the game (everyone forgets Ordonez also homered to tie that game).

    • Detroit Michael - May 20, 2011 at 6:39 AM

      Craig got it right: it’s the Gibson homer for the Tigers.

  4. Craig Calcaterra - May 19, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I’m already reminded that I forgot Ray Knight in Game 7 in 1986, so save it.

    • nixonotis - May 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      DUDEZ!? How culd u forgetz RaY nite?

  5. Cyn - May 19, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I was all set to write how David Ortiz’s walk-off home run to end Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS was more important to the team historically when I remembered you were calling this the most MEMORABLE home runs and, you’re right, there is no doubt for a larger group of baseball fans (not just Sox fans), Fisk’s was more memorable (much to Joe Morgan’s chagrin).

  6. burmart - May 19, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I think Dan Johnson’s Home Run to fend off the Red Sox in 2008 is probably the biggest Home Run in Rays history. At least, as a Rays fan, its the first one that comes to my mind.

    Here’s the story.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2008-09-10-1289700384_x.htm

    • ramedy - May 19, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      Absolutely this.

      And don’t let anyone tell you it was Boggs’ 3000 hit.

  7. Paul Zummo - May 19, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    There are a pair of Piazza homers that stick out: the homer that clinched the ridiculous comeback against the Braves in 2000 when the Mets were down 8-1 entering the 8th, or the homerun in the first sporting event in New York after 9/11. They’re both regular season, but the latter did have more emotional impact.

    • nixonotis - May 19, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      I made the argument for Jeter’s homer in the 2001 WS for similar reasons. There was something overwhelmingly cathartic about that night. I remember being in the bleachers as “New York, New York” played over the PA system and the fans simply refused to leave. They must have played the song 5 times the crowd singing along to every word and completely ignoring instructions to make our way to the exits. Incredible stuff.

      • Paul Zummo - May 19, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Good one. I hate the Yankees and even I appreciated that moment.

    • aleskel - May 19, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      I was going to suggest the post-9/11 homer too. That was memorable for reasons that went beyond baseball

  8. levistahl - May 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    During the rain delay earlier today, KMOX played the seven minutes leading up to and immediately after Ozzie’s homer in the NLCS. It was the first time I’ve heard more than just the “Go crazy, folks!” part since it happened, and it was fascinating. As Smith came to the plate, Mike Shannon said, “This one’s just got extra innings written all over it, doesn’t it?” And then, one pitch later, he said, “He’s trying to pull the ball,” incredulous, since Smith was batting lefty against hard-throwing Tom Niedenfuer. And then after the at-bat, Jack Buck talked about how Ozzie was swinging for the fences, almost coming out of his shoes, and he was surprised given the situation and Smith’s lack of power from that side.

    It was a good way to spend the rain delay.

  9. clydeserra - May 19, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    A’s: maybe Hatteberg’s HR for the game winner for 20 wins in a row.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      Or Canseco’s 5th decker at the Sky Dome…

    • Loren - May 19, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      I’ll second Hatteberg’s homer. Walkoff shot after the A’s had blown an 11 run lead and the A’s tie the record for most consecutive wins (with a great call by Bill King as a bonus). You could have run over my cat and I still would’ve been smiling that day.

    • scatterbrian - May 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      McGwire walk-off in Game 3 of the ’88 Series. After Eck coughed up that homer to gimpy Gibson in Game 1, and getting shutout on a three-hit gem by Hershiser in Game 2, this homer gave A’s fans some hope the series could be salvaged.

  10. alamosweet - May 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    For the Astros, I’d have to put Chris Burke’s 18th inning home run to win the 2005 NLDS. The game itself was epic drama, and the end result took the Astros to the World Series for the first time in their history. I was a tad too young to remember the Hatcher homer, so this is my most “memorable.”

    • aarcraft - May 19, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      I agree. Either Burke’s in 05 or Kent’s against the Cardinals in 04. But the Astros lost the Kent series, and won the Burke series, so I would go with Burke’s.

  11. youcantpredictbaseball - May 19, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off HR in the first game at their new stadium comes to mind.

    Rays – Gonna have to go with Dan Johnson in this game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS200809090.shtml

    • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 19, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      Completely agree, speaking as Nats fan. Can’t think of any better. Rauch blew the save and a large part of the crowd was groaning at the thought of a sunday night game, late start, in very cold weather going extras. Then Zimmerman steps up and crushed a ball out against the tough reliever Moylan. I’ve never heard that stadium louder.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/WAS/WAS200803300.shtml

  12. aleskel - May 19, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Indians – Sandy Alomar off of Mariano Rivera, 1997 ALDS

    • rkil - May 19, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      Ketner’s homer might be more important, but you’d have to be about 68 to remember it. I have to go with Tony Pena in Game 1 of the ALDS. His homer in the bottom of the 13th gave the Indians their 1st post-season win since 1948. Either that or the Fernandez homer in the top of the 11th to win the ’97 ALCS.

  13. lawnovel - May 19, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    As a Rockies fan, it’s still the 1993 Eric Young lead-off home run in the first home opener at Mile High in front of 80,000+.

  14. heynerdlinger - May 19, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    How about number 521 for Ted Williams?

    • spudchukar - May 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      Hey, thanks. While it was hardly noteworthy as far as team success goes, it still has its place in the “should be mentioned” category. Updike’s piece, which I try to read as Spring Training starts every year encapsulates the episode perfectly. No more poetic justice homer in MLB history.

  15. Matthew E - May 19, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    I disagree about Carter’s home run for the Jays. I mean, okay, it’s an obvious choice, and certainly not a bad one.

    But I think the most memorable and significant home run in Toronto history was Alomar’s home run off of Eckersley in Game 4 of the ’92 ALCS. That was the one that ended the “Blow Jays” era; it signalled that the Jays weren’t just going to get washed out of the playoffs like every other time. It was the coming-of-age moment for the Jays’ franchise. An analogy: Alomar’s home run is to the Blue Jays as the battle of Vimy Ridge is to Canada. Carter’s home run was great but the Jays didn’t really need to prove anything by then.

    • nixonotis - May 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      But if you asked the average fan what Jays homer was the most memorable, wouldn’t almost everyone say Joe Carter? I mean, for a list like this, isn’t the obvious choice almost always the correct one?

      • Matthew E - May 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        I dunno. I remember ‘em both. And I think we’re using a fairly relaxed definition of “memorable” in this little exercise.

    • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      I could be persuaded by your arguments were it not for the fact of JC doing righteous work by keeping Dykstra’s baccy stained paws off the trophy.

      I remember the Alomar homer; The Eck looked just peeved. Tied the game 6 – 6. Its a gooder.

  16. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - May 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    For the A’s, what about Home Run Baker’s two shots in the 1911 World Series. One of them broke the tie in Game 2 and the other tied the game in the top of the 9th of Game 3, which the A’s went on to win.

  17. nine55dave - May 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    WHITE SOX: Right World Series, wrong home run. Scott Podsednik’s ninth-inning surprise dinger won the team Game 2 after Bobby Jenks blew the save.

  18. 18thstreet - May 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    For the Rays, I’d say Wade Boggs’s 3000 hit.

  19. heyblueyoustink - May 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Didn’t Strawberry it the roof of the Astrodome when with the Mets…..

    And the Stairs ballistic missle shot in the NLCS for the Phil’s is my personal favorite

  20. insatiableshadow - May 19, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    For the Indians, I’d probably go with Tony Pena’s home run to win it in extra innings against the Red Sox in the 1995 ALDS. Another possibility: Sandy Alomar’s homer off Mariano Rivera in the 1997 ALDS.

    A little less at stake, but Manny Ramirez’s “wow” home run off Dennis Eckersley also comes to mind.

  21. pittman25 - May 19, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Wouldn’t the Rays absolutely have to be Wade Boggs’ 3000th hit home run? If nothing else, that was one of the most over-the-top celebrations of all time.

  22. largebill - May 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    A couple Tribe fans have already chimed in with better choices than the Keltner shot, but they still didn’t get the call right. For me, the most memorable homer has to be Frank Robinson in his first game as manager of the Indians putting himself in as a pinch hitter and crushing one.

  23. yankeesfanlen - May 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    So, if you can re-consider the Colon-in-the-ninth from last night, in the earlier post I was being simplistic with the Bucky Dent, and really it was Reggie in 77-78. I’d been thinking that anyway but didn’t want to confuse the young-uns.

  24. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - May 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    For the Indians, it’s gotta be Tony Pena’s 13th inning walk off in the first game of the 1995 ALDS vs. Boston. It was the Tribe’s first postseason game in decades.

    A close second would be Sandy Alomar’s game winning bomb in the 1997 All Star game off of Shawn Estes, earning Alomar the MVP in front of the home town crowd.

  25. philsieg - May 19, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Reds – Game 5, 1972 NLCS, Reds down 3-2 to the Pirates in the bottom of the 9th. Bench leads off with the HR, which sets up a Perez single, Foster PR, Menke single and Geronimo SF. Foster then scores from 3rd on a Bob Moose WP. Pennant.

    The Perez HR off of Bill Lee’s second attempt to sneak an “eephus” pitch by him was important, but it came in the 6th and there was plenty of time left to come back in other ways. The Reds were still down a run after Doggie’s HR and didn’t tie the game until the next inning on a Rose single that scored Senior.

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