Walk-off. Inside-the-park. Opposite-field. Line shot. There are many varieties of home run, but some capture our imagination more than others. Join us as we go back…back…way back to remember some of the most memorable homers in baseball history.
1. Kirk Gibson, World Series homer, 1988
“Gibby” turned his only at-bat of the 1988 World Series into one of baseball’s defining moments. The L.A. Dodgers trailed the heavily favoured Oakland A’s 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth with the game’s premiere closer, Dennis Eckersley, on the hill. After hobbling to the plate on two injured legs, Gibson quickly fell behind 0-2. He gamely worked the count full before homering to right on an “excuse-me” swing. Gibson’s fist-pump as he rounds second still raises goose bumps 25 years later.
2. “Joltin’’ Joe Carter, walk-off homer, 1993 World Series
The defending World Series champion Blue Jays trailed the Phillies 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 6 at what was then called SkyDome (now Rogers Centre). But with the Phillies’ unpredictable closer Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams on to close out the game, the 50,000 fans in attendance – as well as the millions watching on TV – still had hope. Their faith was rewarded when Carter deposited Williams’ pitch over the right field fence, inspiring late Blue Jays play-by-play man Tom Cheek’s famous call, “touch ‘em all Joe.”
3. Jose Canseco’s upper deck at SkyDome
Along with teammate Mark McGwire, Canseco formed part of the Oakland A’s feared twosome known as the “Bash Brothers.” The steroid charges were still in the future when the A’s faced off against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1989 ALCS. Canseco’s 500-foot moon shot into the upper deck still stands as the longest home run ever hit at what is now the Rogers Centre. (Canseco at 6:47 video mark)
4. Jose Bautista becomes first Blue Jay to club 50
The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder had never hit more than 16 homers in a season prior to his breakout season in 2010 – when he erupted for a league-leading 54 long bombs. He had already surpassed George Bell’s single-season record of 47 homers when he stepped in against Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Sept. 23 and deposited a 96 mph fastball over the left-field fence for number 50. Fittingly, it was the only run in a 1-0 Toronto victory.
5. Daniel Nava’s “grand” debut, 2010
It was a drizzly day at Fenway when Boston Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava stepped in for his first big-league at-bat with the bases loaded. It lasted only a few seconds. Nava smacked the very first major league pitch he saw into the Boston bullpen, becoming only the fourth player in major league history to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat, and only the second player to do it on the first pitch.
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