Skip to content

The memorable homers I missed

May 20, 2011, 9:13 AM EDT

Nelson Cruz home run

As I suspected, I missed the most memorable home runs by a number of teams yesterday.  Here, based on reader feedback, are the most egregious oversights and a few other random observations:

Yankees

There wasn’t strong dissent here, probably because there was so much to choose from, but there were some interesting alternative suggestions. One person mentioned one I hadn’t considered: Chris Chambliss’ homer in the 1976 ALCS that killed the Royals.  The rationale: it was a bigger “we’re back” moment than Reggie’s World Series homers in 1977.  Interesting choice. I don’t agree with it, but interesting.

Red Sox

No super-strong opposition to the Fisk homer, but some people found the Bernie Carbo homer from earlier in Game Six more of a big deal as it happened. Again, respect for Carbo’s shot, but I’m staying with Fisk.

Blue Jays

There were a surprising number of Jays fans who contend that Roberto Alomar’s homer off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS was a way bigger deal than Joe Carter’s 1993 World Series game-winner. The thinking is that Alomar’s was an exorcism home run, symbolically casting out the demons of the Jays’ 1980s failures. This was a recurring theme in the criticisms of my choices — homers that meant for to a team’s fans based on past history than for the actual moment itself — and I suppose I understand it because, like I said yesterday, this stuff is subjective.  But to the non-hardcore Jays fans, Alomar’s doesn’t register twenty years like it did at the time. Hard to beat a walkoff World Series shot.

Rays

This one was a pure miss. Almost everyone says it was Dan Johnson’s big homer to fend off the Red Sox in the heat of the 2008 playoff race was the biggest. I have to agree.

White Sox

Another pure miss. There are two bigger homers than that Geoff Blum one I cited, both in Game Two of the 2005 Series: Paul Konerko‘s grand slam and Scott Podsednik’s game-winner.  All of the memorable White Sox homers are detailed by Brett Ballantini over at CSN Chicago.

Indians

Another monster whiff on my part. As Vince Grzegorek noted, there are many candidates bigger — or at least way more recent — than Ken Kelner’s 1948 shot: Tony Pena’s shot in Game One of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox and, later in that game, Albert Belle’s famous bicep-flexing after he hit a homer in the 11th and the Sox had his bat confiscated. But the biggest was probably Sandy Alomar’s homer off Mariano Rivera in the 1997 ALDS.

Rangers

Nelson Cruz’s shot in Game Six of last year’s ALCS, which put a dagger in the Yankees. Just plum forgot about it, which makes me wonder about my short term memory.

Athletics

A lot of people want to go with Jose Canseco’s moon shot into the eleventeenth deck of the Sky Dome or Mark McGwire’s game-winning solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1988 World Series.

Phillies

I figured that if I got this one wrong that I’d hear holy hell about it, what with the belief among Phillies fans that I hate them and everything they stand for. Yet there were only a couple of people who disagreed with Dick Sisler’s 1950 pennant-clinching shot.  Those couple of people have a pretty good argument, though, inasmuch as their suggestion — Mike Schmidt’s blast in the top of the 11th on the second-to-last day of the 1980 season, securing the NL East title over the Expos — was tough stuff. And has the benefit of actually being remembered by a decent number of living people.

Nationals

Everyone who had an opinion said it was Ryan Zimmerman‘s walkoff homer to beat the Braves on the debut night of Nationals Park a couple of years ago. Given that I was actually watching this game and cursing the television after it happened, you’d think I would have remembered it.

Cardinals

I didn’t get this one wrong — Ozzie Smith’s was the best — but I was surprised at how many people want to cite the Pujols-off-Lidge shot in the 2005 playoffs. Well, sorry. Great homer. A defining moment in a great career. But it is dwarfed by Smith’s on sheer WTF-ness alone.

Padres

People are way more enamored with Steve Garvey’s homer in Game Two of the 1984 NLCS, and I have to agree, I totally blew that one. But in my defense, I do like to write the name “Kurt Bevacqua.”

I think that’s it.  On everything else I believe that there are either (a) some disagreements but not so great to make me change my mind; or (b) no disagreement whatsoever.

  1. Jonny 5 - May 20, 2011 at 9:18 AM

    That’s more like it. That I remember. And the fact that it led to the 1980 WS which they won doesn’t hurt either.

    • kellyb9 - May 20, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      I don’t. Most memorable Phils homeruns in my lifetime were basically on all in the same playoffs run unfortunantly. Joe Blanton in the World Series, Victorino’s grand slam off of CC, and Matt Stairs home run against the Broxton.

      • Jonny 5 - May 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        I was only 5 at the time. So while I remember it happening it’s a very foggy memory for me. I remember it being talked about by the adults at the time mostly and seeing the replays.

    • phillydano - May 20, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      I was not quite alive yet when Schmidt hit the homer in 1980. But I understand by all accounts it was epic.

      I was a baseball phanatic little leaguer when the Phils were hot in 1993, but I cant say that any one particular Lenny Dykstra home run stands out to me. Nothing against Lenny, he was my hero back then. LOL

      I’d say, for my generation, it has to be Victorino’s slam off of CC. The whole build up to that hit was incredible.

      • professor59 - May 20, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        I’m also voting for Victorino. Tremendous drama. The Brett Myers working a ridiculous walk off Sabathia to keep the inning alive…
        Plus, in 1980, the Phillies were going to win the division that week regardless of who knocked in the winning run. It didn’t exactly go down to the last day. It was nice nice exclamation point, and memorable, but if we’re giving credit for the WTF factor, come on!

    • schmedley69 - May 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM

      I was 9 at the time. My dad, brother and I listened to it on the radio. I think it was Andy Musser who called the shot: “He buried it!” Great childhood memory.

  2. sdelmonte - May 20, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    And what about Roy Hobbs’ shot in The Natural? Does that get an honorable cinematic mention?

    • royhobbs39 - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      Best Knights HR ever!

  3. nps6724 - May 20, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    A little late to the game, but for Houston how about either of 2 HRs hit vs. the Braves in 2005 NLDS? Brad Ausmus hit a game-tying 2-out HR off Kyle Farnsworth in the bottom of the 9th and then Chris Burke hit the game-winner off Joey Devine in the 18th. That game was friggin’ crazy. It included Houston using both Wandy Rodriguez and Roger Clemens in relief, Adam Laroche hitting a grand slam, and Dan Wheeler striking out Brian McCann with the bases loaded in the 14th.

    • aarcraft - May 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM

      It appears Craig has blocked that game from his memory, as it was brought up yesterday, but he is still convinced a homerun that tied a game which was eventually lost in the 14th is more memorable that a walk-off shot in the 18th.

      • nps6724 - May 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        As a fellow Braves fan, I don’t blame him. That was also our last playoff game.

        But damn, what a game it was.

    • natstowngreg - May 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

      Don’t know if it was the most incredible game I’ve ever seen, but it would be on the ballot. As I recall, if the game had gone any further, Clemens was going to play in the OF and Jason Lane pitch. Phil Garner seemed to use up his bench and bullpen a lot with that team.

  4. Joe - May 20, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Bernie Carbo? Seriously? I didn’t read through the comments, but somebody actually suggested Bernie Carbo? I love me some Bernie Carbo, and that was a tremendous moment – but WTF?

    • Joe - May 20, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      If you are delusional enough to not go with Fisk, you might as well go with Dave Henderson. Or maybe Bill Mueller’s “grand slam from each side of the plate” homers.

  5. hcf95688 - May 20, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    The most memorable home run in A’s history has to be Reggie’s roof shot at Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All Star Game.

  6. The Dangerous Mabry - May 20, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    For me, the most memorable Indians’ homer has to be Cerrano’s famous “F#*% you, Jobu, I do it myself” shot. Turning point of the season.

    • kellyb9 - May 20, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Yeah, but that only won the division…. I remember them getting trounced by the White Sox that year.

  7. bicyclee - May 20, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    For the Yankees, how about the Jeffrey Maier, uh, I mean Derek Jeter home run in the 1996 ALCS against Baltimore? That’s the first Yankees home run that came to my mind.

    • ningenito78 - May 20, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      If that’s the first HR for the Yanks that came to your mind then you must be an Orioles fan.

    • jimbo1949 - May 20, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      I’d nominate that one as the most memorable HR for the O’s myself. 15 years later and they’re still bitchin’ about it.

      Who’s yer daddy?

  8. umrguy42 - May 20, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    I think Pujols-off-Lidge in 2005 was more memorable for Lidge – kind of destroyed Lidge as a closer for a while, seemed to haunt him (or at least, TV announcers kept claiming so) until well after he went to the Phillies.

  9. ningenito78 - May 20, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Still whiffed on the Mets. It was without a doubt the home run Piazza hit in the first sporting event in NY after 9/11. Not only is that the most memorable for Mets fans it may be the most memorable for most New Yorkers/New Jerseans.

  10. brianmoline - May 20, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Craig, you got the Padres homer right with Garvey, but it was Game 4 of the NLCS. How do I know? I’m a Cubs fan and will never forget being up 2-0 in that series and seeing that assclown Garvey hit the homer off of Lee Smith to win that game and even the series at 2-2. We all know what happened in Game 5…

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SDN/SDN198410060.shtml

  11. Chris Fiorentino - May 20, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    As a 40 year old Phillies fan, my most memorable Phillies Home Run was still Schmidt’s 500th. I know it didn’t win anything or help the Phillies to a World Series. But again, this was one of the last non-steroid tainted Home Run milestones and I will never forget the way Schmidt celebrated after hitting it. Plus, Harry the K’s call was awesome, as usual. Maybe because I was watching it with my dad, who was in the later stages of his battle with cancer, help me remember it as well.

    Victorino’s slam is definitely second for me, mostly because I was holding my 1 year old daughter and when I screamed, it took me a good 30 minutes to settle her down because I scared her so badly.

    • Jonny 5 - May 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      I have Harry calling the 500th on my phone. I was working on a project the night of Victorino’s slam, I was listening to the radio and went nuts too. It was pretty funny because all the non baseball fans around me, whom I forced to listen thought I was nuts.

      • schmedley69 - May 20, 2011 at 8:11 PM

        I got to witness Victorino’s slam in person. There is no doubt that the crowd completely rattled CC.

  12. Chris Fiorentino - May 20, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    I miss Harry almost as much as I miss my dad…that’s a true Phillies fan for you LOL

    • Jonny 5 - May 20, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      He was like part of the family. Almost always there when I was growing up.

  13. phillydano - May 20, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    As a youthful Phillies fan in 1993, I cant imagine how any Blue Jays fan would not believe that the Joe Carter (god I hate that name) homerun isnt the greatest. That single hit left a huge scar on the whole city of Phila. Its taken us almost 20 years just to forgive Wild Thing. But we will never forget. Not even the recent aquisition of Doc Halladay from the Jays can patch up the pain that the Jays left on us in 93.

    • Jonny 5 - May 20, 2011 at 1:34 PM

      “Not even the recent aquisition of Doc Halladay from the Jays can patch up the pain that the Jays left on us in 93.”

      Unless……

  14. Senor Cardgage - May 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    The Fisk home run might be a lasting image, but only because of his “waving it fair” at the plate. If he’d put his head down and run no one would remember it, especially since the Sox went on to lose the series.

    For my money, Johnny Damon’s grand slam in game 7 of the 2004 ALCS is the biggest home run in Red Sox history (even bigger than Ortiz’s in game 4). It blew the game open and completely deflated the Yankee crowd, and the Sox finally broke the so-called curse.

  15. cup0pizza - May 21, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    Too many Phillies comments. The team has been garbage for the overwhelming majority of it’s existence-you homers are aware of that, right?

  16. doittoitlars - May 22, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    Maybe not the most important HR, but I know I’ll never forget Bill Selby’s walk off grand slam off of Mariano Rivera at the Jake back in 2002.

  17. Devin Rambo - May 22, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    As for the Dodgers, Gibson is pretty clearly the choice, but it’s fun to think of the other two possible candidates. First is Rick Monday to beat Montreal in 1981. Second is the 4 solo home runs in a row in that crazy game against the Padres in 2006, especially considering what a light power team the ’06 Dodgers were.

  18. bwana - May 25, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Pirates-Mazeroski-1960

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

This was 'the perfect baseball game'
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. S. Kazmir (5116)
  2. G. Springer (3641)
  3. K. Uehara (3373)
  4. M. Machado (3124)
  5. D. Pedroia (2883)
  1. J. Chavez (2709)
  2. H. Ramirez (2684)
  3. J. Reyes (2651)
  4. T. Walker (2595)
  5. C. Granderson (2476)