|Baseball's other great moments|
From the Page 2 mailbag
This summer, MasterCard sponsored the compilation of the 30 most memorable moments in major-league baseball history. Earlier this week, Page 2 listed its choices for the 10 most memorable baseball moments left off the official Top 30. We thought our readers might still be able to come up with a few more worthy additions, so we opened it up to you in this week's List.
We received about 500 letters on the topic, and here's how our readers ranked their top 10 overlooked moments. Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the baseball moment that most deserves a spot on the master list of memories.
Remember, this only includes moments not appearing in MasterCard's Top 30.
1. Babe Ruth's called shot (71 letters)
The incident is part of U.S. legend ... George Washington chopped down the apple tree, Paul Bunyan had a blue ox ... Babe Ruth called his shot. His entire life is a legend and the most memorable moment of his baseball career was the day in Chicago that he raised his right arm toward center field and then delivered.
The call made the difference between baseball the game and baseball the pastime. He is the legend whose mythical appeal cannot be replicated or infused in today's world of sports ...
2. Kirby Puckett homers (68 letters)
A side note that made that moment even more memorable ... in the locker room before Game 6, Kirby told his teammates "Jump on my back boys, I'm carrying you tonight." With his team facing elimination, he more than backed up his Namath-like guarantee with one of the greatest clutch performances of all time. And don't forget, Puckett's home run led to one of Jack Buck's greatest calls, "And we'll see you tomorrow night!"
Why is Gibson's Game 1 dinger bigger than Kirby's? Kirby's was more clutch -- an extra inning game ender to force a Game 7. He just had the misfortune of playing in "fly over land," not L.A. ... put Kirby in Dodger blue and his home run would have made that list.
3. Bucky Dent homers (61 letters)
Bucky Dent. Home run. ... It still doesn't sound right!
Maybe I was just at the right age for, but the drama of that moment culminating a long pennant race puts it just ahead of the Alexander-Lazzeri duel and Babe's called shot. As for a great moment, though, the reaction of players and fans to Ted Williams at the All-Star Game at Fenway earns a spot in my personal Top 10.
First off, let me say that many of the nominees aren't "moments" at all. Ted hitting .406, Ruth being sold to the Yankees, and Ichiro winning the MVP are impressive accomplishments or significant events, but not "moments," which are sudden, thrilling, often improbable snapshots frozen in time. Mays' catch or the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," or Gehrig's farewell speech or when Jackie Robinson took the field for the first time ... those moments qualify under my definition.
All that being said, Dent's home run over the Monster gets my vote. Mays' catch was great, but he had made dozens before and since. Bobby Thomson was known as a slugger throughout his career. But Dent ... that homer spawned a whole new wave of believers in the Curse.
4. Francisco Cabrera's hit scores Sid Bream (59 letters)
The scrappy Braves chased Pirates ace Doug Drabek (who had been completely dominating up to that point) with three straight hits and then, with two outs and the score 2-1, pinch-hitter and third string (!) catcher Francisco Cabrera comes to the plate against Stan Belinda and smacks a line-drive to left. David Justice scores easily from third and then, on a bang-bang play at home, Sid Bream slides in ahead of the tag to win the game 3-2 and send the Braves to the World Series ... where they lost ... of course.
Ask any Braves fan -- they can tell you where they were when Sid slid.
First I was outraged at the experts leaving it off, and then you guys do it too? The defining moment in baseball in the Southeast was without a doubt Sid's slide in the '92 NLCS. The Chop Shop was packed to the gills with chanting Atlantans to see their Braves take on Bonds and the hated Pirates in Game 7. ... Fate steps in ... Sid Bream scores ... Braves win ... stadium erupts ... Sid and Francisco forever linked as Braves heroes. Magical.
If for no other reason, it created the indelible image of Sid Bream, the slowest human alive (and a former Pirate to boot), laboring around third and scoring just ahead of Mike Lavalliere's tag to give the Braves the pennant and keep Barry Bonds out of the World Series for another decade.
5. Haddix throws 12 perfect innings and loses (46 letters)
It's gotta be Harvey Haddix's perfecto. Hands down, the greatest game ever pitched. The loss -- that's a heartbreak. Not making the list -- now that's a travesty.
Late-inning dramatics happen often enough. Ruthian legends are just that -- legends, we wish we could confirm. But 12 perfect innings? That will never happen again. Not with today's bullpens and fears of injuring the team ace. A repeat of 12 perfect innings, followed by a loss in the 13th? Yeah, right.
6. Pete Rose plows Ray Fosse (44 letters)
That play was the epitome of what it meant to be "Charlie Hustle."
7. Merkle's boner (31 letters)
Imagine if today's media would cover this situation. Did Merkle touch second? Probably not. Did Johnny Evers actually have the game ball when he touched second base for the force? Or did Joe McGinnity dispose of the game ball? The events of that afternoon took place more than 94 years ago and we're still talking about it ... it deserves a spot among the most memorable moments.
Far back in baseball history, (pre-radio), but still remembered. A great controversy, lasting weeks and eventually even involving the New York State Legislature. Unlike the great feats on the list, this, a memorable blunder.
Great theater, great drama. It's too bad everyone, including ESPN, forgets about games with no video or film. Some of the most memorable games were played "back in the day." It's an outrage that so many great moments are forgotten because of the lack of footage.
8. Baseball strikes in 1994 (29 letters)
Red Bank, N.J.
When the "Powers that Be" canceled the 1994 World Series, they thereby doomed the Montreal Expos to a future of irrelevance.
Why? First time in 90 years there was no World Series. It brought the reality of labor woes home for fans. Prior work stoppages were short -- this one effectively killed an entire season! It opened our eyes to the great lengths players and owners will go to beat each other.
I'm a huge baseball fan, it's the only sport I can genuinely say I've watched for as long as I can remember. That said, memorable means memorable, it does not mean the greatest.
My most memorable moment, without a doubt, is the day they announced that the remainder of the 1994 season and the subsequent World Series would be canceled because of the labor strike. After reading some of the moments on the list, I guarantee you that "The Strike" is more memorable than at least 10 glorified moments on that list.
9. Dodgers win 1955 World Series (22 letters)
As always, the Yankees were the dynasty that could not be beaten. They represented the powerful white-collar workers of New York who got whatever they wanted from the blue collar men -- enter the Brooklyn Dodgers. The championship gave every laborer in the city the hope that they needed to survive in life. A glimpse at the possibility that perhaps the Bums could beat the elite.
I grew up in the Bronx a Dodgers fan. (There were a few of us.) I remember crying at age 13 when Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot." I also remember almost singlehandedly wrecking the CCNY chem lab while celebrating the Dodgers' first, and long-awaited, World Series victory!
10. Miracle Mets win 1969 World Series (20 letters)
After losing Game 1, it seemed as though the Mets' luck had run out. Inexplicably, they managed to win the next three games. Game 5 at Shea Stadium proved to be the clincher as the Miracle Mets completed the impossible dream of 1969. The long-shots had delivered a shot of their own and walked into the sunset with the World Series championship.