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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. collinwho - May 19, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    There is no doubt about the Twins entry. One of the most memorable games in Twins history (the following game being the only other which could compete).

  2. bfriley76 - May 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    RE: the Yankees: Hard to argue any of those Home Runs, but Jeter’s “Mr. November” shot might want to be included there. World Series Gamer Winner and post-9/11 atmosphere. Pretty powerful moment in NY.

  3. msherry24 - May 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Chisox – Personally, I will always remember Konerko’s grand slam with 2 out in the 7th of the 2nd ’05 world series game followed by Scott Podsednik’s solo shot to win that game in the 9th.

    There’s also the one that Jim Thome absolutely crushed to center field in the 7th inning of the “blackout game” (game #163) in 2008 against the Twins, which the Sox went on to win 1-0.

    • jackkoho - May 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      I agree about thome off of blackburn. Theres actually a plaque at the ballpark commemorating that homerun.

      My other personal favorite, although I know it doesn’t belong on this list, was Mark Beuhrle’s home run during interleague play last year.

    • purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      msherry… yes, I thought about the Pods and Paulie WS shots you reference above, but I still think that Blum’s was bigger if for no other reason than the reaction it got from Scrap Iron (Astro’s Manager Phil Garner).

      Once the ball cleared the fence, Scrap Iron picked up a folding chair in the dugout and slammed it as hard as he could against the back of the dugout wall, just to the left and below the phone to the bullpen. I still laugh everytime I think about it!

      Unfortunately the most memorable home run in White Sox history though occurred against them, and that was the Dodgers Charlie Neal’s home run in the 1959 world series in game 2 of the 1959 World Series at old Comisky Park.

      That home run was responsible for one of the most memorable photographs ever in baseball history as you can see the ball going over the left field wall at the same time a full cup of beer that was dropped by a patron reaching for the ball going right on top of White Sox left fielder Al Smith’s head!

  4. marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    Marlin’s – Cabrera’s homer off the Cubs in the 2003 playoffs…

    • Old Gator - May 19, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      That was an important shot, but the Gonzalez homer won the game and, I think, broke the Borg’s spirit so that Josh Beckett could wrap it. I’d have to give it to Gonzalez.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 6:11 PM

        This may be true…I watched that game and do not remember that homer though.

  5. youcantpredictbaseball - May 19, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Another possible choice for Tampa is Wade Boggs’ 3000th hit.

  6. marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Cardinals – Pujols off of Lidge is a close second as it derailed him for quite some time…

    • thefalcon123 - May 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      …but the Cardinals just lost the next day and that was that.
      My favorite Cardinal home runs of my lifetime:

      1. Molina in 9th inning of 2006 game 7 NLCS
      2. McGwire #62. Sure, the record was beaten by Bonds just three years later and the whole steroids thing…but it was still incredible.
      2. Ozzie Smith Game 5 1985 NLCS
      3. Pujols v. Lidge
      4. Edmonds game 6 walk-off in 2004 NLCS

      • marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        Right, they did…but people still talk about that homer. Losing the next day has nothing to do with the way that homer is remembered.

      • benjdwilson - May 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        And Carlton Fisk’s homer is not memorable because the Red Sox lost the next game.

      • bloodysock - May 19, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        So if Fisk’s isn’t tops because they lost the game, do you then go with Dave Henderson’s in the 1986 ALCS?

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

        As I said in the other thread, Ortiz’s homer in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS may be “bigger” than Fisk’s because it launched the only 0-3 comeback in history and brought the Sox their first title in 80 years.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 19, 2011 at 6:13 PM

        You may be right about that Ortiz homer…but people tend to remember the steal more than that homer.

      • mgflolox - May 20, 2011 at 2:47 AM

        Still think Jack Clark’s bomb in game 6 of the ’85 NLCS belongs in there.

    • spudchukar - May 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM

      The anecdote that accompanies Pujol’s bomb is almost as awesome as the homer. Later that evening on the flight to St. Louis, a sudden bolt of turbulence followed by a flash of light had many Astro players asking WTF was that? To wit, Astros’ catcher Brad Ausmus said, as he turned to Brad Lidge, “I believe that was the blast Albert hit as it passed us on the way to the stratosphere.”

  7. thefalcon123 - May 19, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Ozzie’s home run was great, but not NEARLY as great as Molina’s in the 2006 NLCS.

    1. Yaddy was a much worse hitter (batting a Helen Keller-like .216 that season)
    2. It was game 7, not game 5
    3. The Cardinals actually won the World Series in 06, the lost it in 85.

    If Smith didn’t hit that home run, the Cardinals had a much better chance of winning the series than they would have if Molina hadn’t hit his. Give him some love.

    • spudchukar - May 19, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      There are two others that come to mind to me. First Jack Clark’s blast off of Tom Niedenfuer. That homer completely changed the series, and Niedenfuer never recovered. The other was a shot by Mike Shannon, off of Whitey Ford in the 1964 World Series. Boyer also hit a memorable grand slam, and McCarver also had a big homer, but the “moon shot” by Shannon, shook up the Yanks, and the Cards, thanks mostly the unbeatable Gibson prevailed.

  8. aleskel - May 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Red Sox – Pudge’s has to be up top, but for a runner-up:

    “… and Downing goes back … and it’s GONE!”

  9. Jonathan C. Mitchell - May 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Rays – Either Bogg’s 3000th hit or Dan Johnson’s off of Papelbon at Fenway in September of 2008 the day he got called up to keep Rays in 1st place.

    • jehzsa - May 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      Dan Johnson’s. That homer symbolized the whole season. And look where we are now.

    • indaburg - May 19, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      Dan Johnson’s without a doubt. It was what immediately popped into my head.

  10. reds37win - May 19, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    REDS: I would think Eric Davis’ homer off Dave Stewart in Game 1 of the 1990 series would take the top spot. The A’s were heavily favored and this homer set the stage for an epic Red’s sweep.

    • philsieg - May 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

      You must be a young fan. ;-). Davis’ homer was Game 1 and, while important in the context of that game, really didn’t come close to setting up a sweep. It was the Rijo and the bullpen that delivered the sweep.

      Once again I’ll tout game 5, 1972 NLCS, bottom of the 9th. Reds down 3-2 to the Pirates. Bench’s leadoff HR ties the game and sets up Foster scoring the pennant winner on a WP. No way a Game 1 HR, even in the WS, tops that one.

  11. jamie54 - May 19, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    More famous for SD is the Garvey home run against the Cubs in the ’84 playoffs. It got them to their first WS and signified they finally arrived.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070720&content_id=2099251&fext=.jsp&c_id=sd

    • micker716 - May 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

      Yup, definitely Garvey’s.

      • joebolt33 - May 19, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        As a long time Padre fan I would definitely say the Garvey home run. The only World Series game I ever attended was the one with Bevacqua’s homer, and I still say Garvey. Heck, the team retired his number based almost entirely on that 1 shot.

  12. Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Man my dad wasn’t even around for the whiz kids yet.

  13. uyf1950 - May 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    For me as a Yankees fan there are many. I will just give you 4 that stand out in my mind. Bucky Dent’s 3 run home run in the one game playoff in 1978 that sent the Red Sox home and the Yankees to the post season. Aaron Boone’s famous 11 inning home run in 2003 off Tim Wakefield that again sent the Red Sox home and gave the Yankees the ALCS. Roger Maris’s 61st home run in 1961 in the last game of the season and I believe his last at bat. And finally Mickey Mantle’s purported 565 foot home run. Whether real or imagined as to it’s actual distance it certainly makes for good story telling.

    • yankeesfanlen - May 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      Well done as usual, uyf. Personally, I like this:

      which had been preceded by this”

      Exactly 3 years apart, as predicted.
      Sorry, no You Tube or MLB.com for the Babe, Lou, Joe D. MM, Roger, etc.

      • yankeesfanlen - May 19, 2011 at 3:39 PM

        Oh, well, user error

      • uyf1950 - May 19, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        yankeesfanlen – I like your style.

    • jimbo1949 - May 19, 2011 at 5:46 PM

      All fine examples.
      For your consideration: Chris Chambliss 1976 ALCS; his first-pitch, walk off home run off Mark Littell of the Kansas City Royals gave the Yankees their first trip to the World Series since 1964

  14. sincerelyninja - May 19, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    For the Mets, it might be Todd Pratt’s walkoff HR in the NLCS that sent them into the Subway Series in 1999.

    For the Phillies, I don’t know if a plurality will agree with me. My pick for the most memorable HR is the Matt Stairs bomb off Jonathan Broxton in game 4 of the 2008 NLCS. I’m a Phillies fan, and no HR has ever made me go nuts as much as this one.

    • Paul Zummo - May 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

      The Pratt homerun came in the NLDS and sent them to the NLCS against the Braves, which they lost. Still, it was a great moment, and I was there for that one.

  15. shaggylocks - May 19, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    If we were limiting the list to the last decade, my vote would be Manny’s ALDS Game 2 homer in 2007 for the Red Sox.

  16. juicejuicer - May 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    As a Dodgers fan, I cannot argue with Gibby’s home run. However, I can say that a very close second is Finley’s bottom of the 9th grand slam in the last weekend the season agains the Giants to take the division, effectively eliminating the Gnats!

  17. dluxxx - May 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    I can’t really argue with Puckett for the Twins, but in memory of the Killer, you gotta admit that his blast to the 2nd deck bleachers in the old met stadium was pretty memorable. Didn’t he hit one out of old Detroit stadium as well?

  18. ningenito78 - May 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Not a Mets fan but to me it’s easy, especially if you were watching when it happened. Mike Piazza’s home run the first game after 9/11. One of the few times in my life where I got serious chills.

    • bennyblanco1 - May 19, 2011 at 4:38 PM

      I agree. I was going to post the very same thing.

      Great homer. And as lame as it sounds, I also got the chills.

  19. skipperxc - May 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    The only other one that comes to mind for Milwaukee is Ned Yost’s ninth inning two-out go-ahead three run shot (phew, enough adjectives?) at the end of the 1982 season that gave the Brewers a four-game lead with five to play. Sure, they proceeded to lose their next four before winning in the finale to head to the playoffs, but my dad would always gush about that one being really important for Harvey’s Wallbangers.

  20. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 19, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    [Yanks fan asking the question, but want an honest answer]

    For the Sox fans out there, was Ortiz’s walkoff in G4 bigger/better than Damon’s grandslam in G7? The former let you live another day, the latter essentially clinched the game.

    Personally, I hate games like G4 (or as a Yanks fan, G7 in ’03). I’d rather get the blowout early so I can relax. Even if we win, nailbiters give me agita.

    • 18thstreet - May 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      For me, the clincher was Bellhorn’s homer that clanged off the foul pole. Eighth inning, after Pedro had given up a couple runs to make the score 8-3. That’s when I let my guard down. We were actually going to win that game.

      I’m sure that a less-scarred fan would have been celebrated after Damon’s grand slam. I was thrilled. (I was actually listening to the game, with my fiancee driving back from class. I rushed inside in time to watch the replay of that grand slam but I didn’t see it live.) Hell, I might have been crying. But I’m sure that I didn’t think, “There’s no way we’re going to lose this game.” Not until Bellhorn hit the foul pole.

      G-d damn, I love those guys.

      Thanks, Church.

      • 18thstreet - May 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        After all, what would have been more Red Sox-ian than to lose that game even after taking a 6-0 lead after two innings in the 7th Game at Yankee Stadium, after making sure a comeback to force the game at all.

        Mike Barnicle once said — well, I’m sure lots of people have said it, but I’ve seen it attributed to him — that if the Red Sox win today, it’s only because losing tomorrow will be more painful. I’m not sure anything would have been more painful than losing Game Seven of that ALCS. I might have stopped watching baseball altogether.

  21. freon311 - May 19, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    skipperxc, Dale Sveum’s Easter Sunday one in ’87 was a memorable one.

  22. florida76 - May 19, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    For the Pirates, no one can argue with the choice of the Maz home run, it ranks among the greatest home runs in baseball history. That said, a solid runner up would be the memorable two run homer by Willie Stargell in game 7 of the ’79 Series, which provided the margin of victory. Unlike 1960, the 1979 Bucs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win another world title.

    • davemmm - May 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      As an Orioles fan the most memorable Pirates homer is Stargell in game 7. I was sure we had the series won.

  23. Jack Marshall - May 19, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Craig, I’d pick Fisk’s homer too, though being present at that wonderful game, I regard Bernie Carbo’s game-tying pinch-hit homer just as memorable.

    But there is certainly another very serious contender: Ted Williams’ homer in his very last at bat….a feat much rarer that a walk-off homer, and the perfect finale to the Kid’s career.

  24. purdueman - May 19, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Going all the way back to the late ’50’s I can’t offhand think of any “defining home run moment” in White Sox history (most of the White Sox teams that pre-dated the mid-’80’s were largely build on teams that featured speed, pitching and punch and judy style hitters), but Blum’s world series pinch hit one in 2005 is a good choice.

    Two others I’ll nominate though:

    1)Dick Allen’s blast off of Yankees reliever Lindy Mc Daniel. Allen became only the 4th (and final), player to hit a ball completely over the original 25′ dead center field bleacher wall 454′ from home plate at old Comisky Park on the fly (and it cleared the wall by a good 10 rows on the fly too); and

    2)Dave Nicholson’s shot that (as I recall), was the first home run ever to completely clear the left field roof at old Comisky Park.

  25. Max Power - May 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Can Jeter’s “Mr. November” homer be the most memorable for the Diamondbacks?

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