May 19, 2011, 2:46 PM EDT
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joe Carter. What, you think I was gonna say Ernie Whitt?
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?
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.
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.
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.
“And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” Puckett. Mad props, even if it killed me at the time.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Has to be Hank Aaron’s 715th.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
It begins and ends with Mazeroski in the 1960 World Series, of course.
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’.
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.
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.
The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Please, like it would be anything else.
Kurt Bevacqua’s game-winning home run in Game two of the 1984 World Series?
Matt Holliday‘s three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2007 NLCS, which proved to be the game-winner.
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.
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- There is still a racial divide in baseball (112)