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.
Hint -- Lou Gehrig's speech, Jackie Robinson's breakthrough, Bobby Thomson's shot, Kirk Gibson's homer and Cal Ripken's record are all included in the Top 30 ... that's why they're not on our list.

1. Babe Ruth's called shot (71 letters)
Unlike all the other moments, this baby has the potential to top the whole list! It was the biggest man, on the biggest stage, with the biggest signal and subsequent big blast. ... Can anything in any field symbolize more effectively than the Babe to baseball?
John F.
St. Louis

Babe Ruth
Did the Babe call his shot? 70 years later, the argument lives on.
It may or may not have happened but everyone who ever played the game in their front yard or in a sandlot or at the school yard has imitated the sign. In MLB, it has only happened once. Hank Aaron never did it, Barry Bonds has never done it ... Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Willie Mays -- never had the confidence or bravado to try it. Just Ruth.

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.
John McLaughlin
San Francisco

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 ...
Joel Elliott
Wilmington, N.C.

2. Kirby Puckett homers (68 letters)
Jack Morris' Game 7 shutout made MLB's list and was one of the greatest pitching performances in postseason history, but it wouldn't have happened without Kirby's heroics. Puckett's screaming and fist pumping -- that's the enduring image of that World Series.

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!"
Weston Johnson
Ashby, Min.

Kirby Puckett
The Puck homered in the eleventh inning to force Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
Kirby's game-winning, fist-pumping, chubby-hustling home run is the greatest moment ever. The fact the guy actually took the first three pitches was unforgettable. One of the greatest players of all time, has one of the greatest games of all time, in Game 6 to force a Game 7 ... c'mon, no doubt that this would be a top five moment if anyone from New York were involved.
Dan Signorelli
Edina, Min.

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.
Mark Brand

3. Bucky Dent homers (61 letters)
I remember coming home from school to watch the one-game playoff with great anticipation (more as a Yankee hater than a Red Sox fan). For two months, the BoSox's once mammoth lead had slowly shrunk. In addition, the great MVP debate of that summer was Boston's Jim Rice vs. New York's Ron Guidry. This series featured Yaz, Fisk, Tiant, Lynn, Rice, Reggie, Catfish, Goose and more of the biggest stars of the era, but, in the end, it's a role player Bucky Dent who wins the game.

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.
Craig Hixon
Roanoke, Va.

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.
Brian Wilson

4. Francisco Cabrera's hit scores Sid Bream (59 letters)
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7, the Braves staged a rally that no Atlantan -- and no true baseball fan -- will ever forget.

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.
Addisu Demissie

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.
Michael Elkon

5. Haddix throws 12 perfect innings and loses (46 letters)
Heartbreak Harvey Haddix and the single greatest pitching feat ever get my vote. When you think about all the perfect games and no-no's broken up by the last batter in the ninth, Haddix's three additional perfect innings rank among the most amazing baseball feats ever. Hell, when was the last time you saw a pitcher just plain go 12 innings ... under any circumstances?
D. Whitehead
Iron Mountain, Mich.

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.
Derek Traini
Silver Spring, Md.

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.
Aidas Kuolas
South Bend, Ind.

6. Pete Rose plows Ray Fosse (44 letters)
Pete Rose crashes into Ray Fosse at home plate to win the All-Star Game. Though the collision unfortunately ruins Fosse's career, it represents a moment in time when baseball players were out for the love of the game and will to win. Years later, the All-Star Game will be settled in a tie.
John Boehm
Lake Forest, Calif.

Rose and Fosse
Who can forget when Rose romped Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game.
I don't remember Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit that broke Ty Cobb's longstanding record ... but I will never forget the image of Rose running over Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game.

That play was the epitome of what it meant to be "Charlie Hustle."
Brett Neal
Jenkintown, Pa.

7. Merkle's boner (31 letters)
If I could go back in time to witness one event in baseball it would be Sept. 23, 1908. The controversy surrounding the famed Fred Merkle game which decided the Cubs-Pirates-Giants pennant race. The rules, the interpretation of the rules, and the actual facts of what occurred is open to speculation to this day. The fact the Cubs and Giants were bitter rivals underscored the situation.

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.
Dan Moir
Winnipeg, Manitoba

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.
Frank Riggs
Renton, Wash.

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.
Scott Fendley
Zionsville, Ind.

8. Baseball strikes in 1994 (29 letters)
I generally consider these lists rather silly. Not every baseball moment will be memorable for every fan in the same way. These moments are memorable because they had special importance to us as baseball fans, not because a bunch of writers voted on them. For instance, as a Yankees fan, Ichiro leaves little impression on me, whereas I will always remember Doc Gooden's no-hitter. That's the way it works, and that's one of the wonderful things about baseball ...

Baseball Strike 1994
The work stoppage of 1994 still leaves a bad taste in the mouths and memories of baseball fans
Except, of course, for 1994. No World Series? It still stuns me, thinking about it now. A year without a World Series. I don't think there's a baseball fan in the country who can't remember the shock, disgust and sheer anger we all felt when the baseball players went on that horrible strike. Sure, each year is special for one city, but that year was special for every city, and for all the wrong reasons. For me, that was probably the most memorable moment in baseball. You never forget the bad times.
Nicholas Kim
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.
Ben Edelman

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.
Jeremy Lehmann
Napa, Calif.

9. Dodgers win 1955 World Series (22 letters)
The whole 1955 World Series was magical for the Brooklyn Dodgers and their fans. In that series, one moment stands out -- Jackie Robinson stealing home. Who hasn't seen the footage of Robinson sliding in under the tag of Yogi Berra, who irately leaped up and yelled at the umpire as Robinson celebrated with his teammates? It is one of the greatest and most memorable moments in baseball history.
Kevin Griener
Pasadena, Md.

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.
Tim Schmitt
Rochester, N.Y.

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!
Sheldon Hechtman
Delray Beach, Fla.

10. Miracle Mets win 1969 World Series (20 letters)
If someone had told you in the beginning of the 1969 season that the Baltimore Orioles were going to lose the World Series to the New York Mets ... you would have told them to stop sniffing glue. The Mets were a 100-1 shot to win it all. Not only did they get to the big show, they were playing the juggernaut Baltimore Orioles.

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.
John J. Anania


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