Monday, February 18, 2008

Yankees top-10 Homers

I'm having trouble ranking them, and haven't to this point. I have it narrowed down to 36 (is that narrow) moments. I'll use the Sully method for writing it out:

Honorable Mention Non-Playoffs

Alex Rodriguez vs. Orioles April 8th, 2007
- After getting booed for not coming through in big moments for all of 2006, ARod gets his first huge chance in 2007. With the Yankees down a run in the 9th, Oriole closer Chris Ray gets the first 2 guy out, and then puts the next 3 guys on, setting the stage for ARod. With 1 ball and 2 strikes, Rodriguez comes through with Grand Slam, getting in better with the NY fans, and riding it to an MVP Award.

Don Mattingly vs. Boston Red Sox, September 29th, 1987 – Mattingly hits his MLB record 6th Grand Slam of the season off Bruce Hurst. Mattingly is an unlikely person to have the single-season grand slam record as his career total for Grand Slams, also 6.

Don Mattingly at Texas Rangers, July 18th, 1987 - Mattingly caps an unbelievable stretch hitting a home run for the 8th straight game (10 home runs total). The pull-hitter, actually hits this one the opposite way.

Reggie Jackson vs. Chicago White Sox, April 13th, 1978 – Reggie said years earlier, that if he ever went to New York they’d name a candy bar after him. So after his 3-home run performance to clinch the ’77 World Series, they did. At the Yankees home opener for 1978 they gave each of the fans a Reggie Bar. In the first inning and to huge applause as he went into the batters box, Reggie hit a 3-run home run and hundreds of fans threw their Reggie Bars onto the field.

Mickey Mantle at Washington Senators, April 17th, 1953 – Mantle’s home run on this day created the term tape-measure home run. The ball left Griffith Stadium, and was measured from the person’s yard it landed in to home plate.

Lou Gehrig vs. Phildelphia A’s, June 3rd 1932 – Lou Gehrig becomes the first player to hit 4 home runs in one game. He was actually one of 6 Hall of Famers to hit a home run that day (Ruth, Lazzeri, Combs, Cochrane, and Foxx). The Yankees scored 20 runs and Tony Lazzeri hit for the cycle.

Babe Ruth vs. Boston Red Sox, April 18th, 1923 – The very first day of Yankee Stadium. More than 80,000 fans in attendance and Babe Ruth doesn’t disappoint, hitting the first home run in Yankee Stadium history in a Yankee victory.

Honorable Mention in Post-Season Non-World Series Winning Years

Jorge Posada, 2001 ALDS Game 3 – All anybody remembers from this game is “The Play.” The Yankees were down 2 games to none in the ALDS, and in the 5th inning, Jorge Posada, off Barry Zito, got the Yankees first (and one of only 2) hits of the game, a home run. It would hold up for a 1-0 win, as the Yankees would go on to win the Division Series.

Jim Leyritz, 1995 ALDS Game 2 – In a back and forth game, where Ruben Sierra and Don Mattingly hit back-to-back home runs in the 6th inning to tie the game and take the lead, we got our first flash of Jim Leyritz’ post-season heroics. Griffey Jr. hit a home run in the 12th for the Mariners, but Ruben Sierra hit a double off the wall to tie it in the bottom half. Then Jim Leyritz, at 1:22am, in the 15th inning, hits the Walk-Off home run. The Yankees did not win the series though.

Alfonso Soriano, 2001 ALCS Game 4 – The Mariners had crushed the Yankees 13-4 in game 3, and the 116-win team was trying to tie the series up. In the 9th inning of Kaz Sasaki, Alfonso Soriano hits the Walk-Off Home Run, helping keep the Yankees 125-win season (including the postseason) intact.

Mickey Mantle, 1964 World Series Game 3
– Mantle hits a walk-off home run to take a 2-1 series lead.

Honorable Mention – ALCS Leading to Championship Years

Derek Jeter, 1996 ALCS Game 1 – Jeffrey Maier, need I say more.

Bernie Williams, 1996 ALCS Game 1 – Actually I do need to say more. We all remember that as the Jeffrey Maier game, but there was a lot more. That home run tied the game in the 8th inning, but there were still 3 more innings of baseball afterwards. In the 11th , Bernie Williams clobbered one into the leftfield upper deck for the Walk-Off Home Run.

Bernie Williams, 1999 ALCS Game 1 – Bernie did it again, becoming the first player with 2 postseason walk-off home runs. This time it was against the Red Sox and Rod Beck.

Thurman Munson, 1978 ALCS Game 3 – For the third straight year the Yankees and Royals played in the ALCS. The series was tied at 1, and the Yankees had a 4-3 lead going into the 8th inning. Goose Gossage got hit for 2 runs in the top of the 8th, and then Thurman Munson hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to take the lead back and win the game 6-5. Back then the LCS was only a 5-game series.

Honorable Mention – World Series Victories

Derek Jeter, 2000 World Series Game 4 – The Yankees won the first two games at home and then lost game 3 at Shea. People were saying momentum switched with the borough change, and then Derek Jeter hits the first pitch thrown in game 4 out for a home run, and the momentum remains with the Yankees the rest of the way.

Chad Curtis, 1999 World Series Game 3 – In the 5th inning, with the Yankees down by 4 runs, Chad Curtis his a solo home run off Tom Glavine. The Yankees creep back and tie the game in the 8th inning, and then in the 10th inning Chad Curtis hits a walk-off home run, and then insults the announcers in the interview right afterwards.

Scott Brosius, 1998 World Series Game 3
– With the Yankees down 3-0 in the 7th inning, Scott Brosius leads the inning off with a home run. In the 8th inning, with the Yankees still down the Padres bring in the NL’s best, Trevor Hoffman, and Brosius hits a 3-run home run to give the Yankees the lead, which leads to a sweep of the World Series.

Tino Martinez, 1998 World Series Game 1
– The Padres come into the series known as giant killers, having already knocked off two 100-win teams. They take a 3-run lead into the 7th inning of game 1. Chuck Knoblauch ties it with a 3-run home run, and Tino gets the lead with a Grand Slam in the 7-run 7th.

Tom Tresh, 1962 World Series Game 5
– With both the series and the score tied at 2, Tom Tresh hits three-run home run in 8th inning.

Roger Maris, 1961 World Series Game 3
– With the score tied at 2, and the series tied at 1, Roger Maris continues his dream season by hitting a top of the 9th home run to give the Yankees a 3-2 win.

Gil McDougald, 1958 World Series Game 6 - With Yankees down 3 games to 2, Gil McDougald leads off the top of the 10th with a home run. Yankees score needed insurance run later and tie the series at 3.

Mickey Mantle, 1956 World Series Game 5 – This was best known as Don Larsen’s perfect game. However, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 4th, both pitchers were throwing perfect games. Mickey Mantle ended Sal Maglie’s bid and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Yankees would win the game 2-0.

Enos Slaughter, 1956 World Series Game 3 - With the Yankees down 2 games to none, and trailing with 2 outs in the 6th inning of game 3, Enos Slaughter hits 3-run home run. Without this the Yankees may not survive to get to Don Larsen’s perfect game.

Joe DiMaggio, 1950 World Series Game 2 – Joe DiMaggio hits a top-of-the tenth inning home run to give the Yankees a 2-1 win, en route to a sweep of the Phillies.

Tommy Henrich, 1949 World Series Game 1 – It was hard leaving this one out of the top 10, as it was the first postseason walk-off home run ever. Henrich hit it in the bottom of the 9th to give the Yankees a 1-0 win against Don Newcombe and the Dodgers.

Bill Dickey, 1943 World Series Game 5 - Spud Chandler throws a 10-hit shutout, allowing 13 base runners, but the only runs of the game come on Bill Dickey’s 6th inning, series clinching 2-run home run.

Babe Ruth, 1923 World Series Game 2
- After losing their first two WS appearances in 1921 and 1922 to the cross-town Giants, they face them a 3rd straight year, this time with a brand new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lose the first game at home on a 9th inning home run by Casey Stengel. Then in game two Ruth hits a 4th inning home run to take the lead, and a 5th inning home run for good measure.

The Top 11 (I tried to get it down to 10 but just couldn’t)

11. Ruth’s 60th Home Run
– Of course it was actually his own record of 59 that he beat.

10. Chris Chambliss wins the ’76 Pennant – If the Yankees went on to win the World Series this would have been much higher. Still, the walk-off home run to win the team’s first pennant in 12 years is pretty cool.

9. Mickey Mantle hits the fa├žade - May 22nd, 1963, Mantle comes oh so close to getting one out of the Stadium. Many people say the ball was still rising.

8. Ruth, Ruth, Ruth – Most people don’t realize it, but Reggie was not the first one to hit three home runs in a World Series clinching game. Ruth did it first. In game 4 of the 1928 World Series Ruth hit a home run in the 4th to take a 1-0 lead. He then hit a home run in the 7th to tie the game (Gehrig immediately followed with a home run to take the lead), and then Ruth capped it with a home run in the 8th as well.

7. Byung-Hyun Kim’s 3 home runs allowed – I’m not a big fan of putting things in from a lost series, but oh my. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in game 4, Tino Martinez hits a 2 run home run to tie the game, and just as the clock strikes midnight Derek Jeter hits the game winning home run in his Mr. November moment. Then the next night, off Kim again, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th again, down by two runs again, Scott Brosius hits the 2 run home run to tie the game that the Yankees win in extra innings. If they had won the series, this is #1.

6. The Wholers Slider – The Braves seemed too good for the Yankees. The crushed the Yankees by a combined 16-1 score in the (meaning the Braves had won their last 5 games by a combined score of 48-2), the Yankees won game 3 behind a gutsy David Cone performance. Still they were down 6-0 in game 4, and would be facing John Smoltz in game 5 who was looking to win his 30th game of the year (24 wins in regular season, the All-Star Game, and already 4-0 in postseason). The Yankees pulled within 3. The Braves decide to not take any chances and bring their closer in in the 8th inning. He lets two guys get on, and after getting ahead in the count to Jim Leyritz, he hangs a slider. The Yankees take the momentum and run with it, winning that game in the 12th inning, and finishing the series in 6 games.

5. Bucky Dent – After having to catch up from such a gigantic hole the Yankees had dug themselves the first half of the season, it all came down to 1 game to go to the postseason. And it was the unlikeliest of heroes for the Yankees. After Bucky Dent fouls a ball off of his foot, Mickey Rivers gives him his bat (which was odd since Dent hadn’t broken his), and sure enough Dent puts it over the Monster.

4. Reggie, Reggie, Reggie – 3 Consecutive pitches, 3 home runs, the last one into “The Black”, clinch a World Series at Yankee Stadium. Not a bad day.

3. Roger Maris hits #61 – One of the unlikeliest of people to top the great Babe Ruth. Maris’ 61 still stands as the AL Record. It was so memorable, they made a movie of it.

2. Aaron Boone – It was a pennant-clinching extra inning home run, from an amazing game, the rivalry, continued the curse, and gave Boone an explicative for a middle name. This was one of the very coolest home runs of all-time. However, the Yankees did not win the World Series.

1. The Called Shot – You can argue weather he called the shot or not, but the 1932 World Series home run is legendary. Depicted (incorrectly) in paintings, the called shot is a part of American culture. Ruth had already hit a home run in the first inning. It was in the 5th inning that he gestured, sure enough hit the home run. Gehrig immediately followed with his second home run of the game too. Charlie Root, the pitcher, says it didn’t happen. Lou Gehrig said right after the game that it did. Either way, it was the World Series, and legend.

1 comment:

Sully said...

Wow, I got 8 of the top 11. I can't believe I missed the Called Shot, though.