Top Ten Baseball Moments
2002 by Tony Medley
I know politically correct crap when I see it; I don’t need to smell
it. And baseball’s
recently announced top 10 moments is at the top of the list.
Following are some of those moments that are not in the top
thousand of baseball’s top moments:
Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s record
Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s lifetime home run record
Williams hitting .400 (how about Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby, each of
whom did it 3 times, or Nap Lajoie or George Sisler or Bill Terry?
McGuire’s 62nd home run
Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s hit record
aren’t moments, except, maybe, for Williams who is mentioned, I
guess, because he played that last day and got six hits.
A “moment” is a “brief interval of time.”
In this context, it’s one play, something memorable that
happened in an instant. It’s not the end of a streak like Ripken, or a lifetime
record like Aaron and Rose, all of which, incidentally, when they
occurred, were inevitable.
hit his home run with a golf ball-like souped-up baseball and steroids.
Does anybody really believe that he could have hit 60 home runs
using the same ball Ruth and Maris hit and without drugs?
Would a guy like Sammy Sosa (who hit 60 home runs 3 seasons in a
row with this super-juiced ball) hit even 50 home runs one time using
that ball? McGuire hit it
early in September with several weeks left in the season.
Maris hit his 61st in his last game of the season (as
did Ruth hit his 60th).
If you want moments that were not inevitable, those were moments.
are my top 10 “moments.”
Thomson’s 1951 home run in the bottom of the 9th inning of the third
and final playoff game with the Dodgers leading 4-2 (nothing is close to this as the best moment
Ruth’s “called shot” in ’32 (was it or wasn’t it?
Whatever, it has engendered controversy ever since).
Gibson’s game-winning home run in the first game of the ‘88 World
Series with a man on first and the Dodgers trailing by one run, limping
off the bench to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th, barely able to
Mays’ catch off Vic Wertz in the 8th inning of the
first game of the ’54 Series
Merkle failing to run to second and getting forced after Johnny
Evers wrestled a ball from Iron Man Joe McGinnity and tagging the
bag in 1908
Cleveland Alexander striking out Tony Lazzerri with the bases full
in the seventh inning of the seventh game of the ’26 Series.
Martin’s diving, stumbling catch of Jackie Robinson’s popup with
two out in the 7th inning of the 7th game of
the ’52 series with the bases loaded and the entire Yankee infield
scratching their noses as Dodgers were scrambling around the bases
Owen dropping Hugh Casey’s third strike on Tommy Henrich with the
Dodgers leading 4-3 with two out and nobody on in the 9th
inning of the 4th game of the 1941 Series at Ebbets Field; the
Yankees came back to score 4 runs and win the game 7-4.
Slaughter scoring from first on a single to win the ’46 Series over
the Boston Red Sox in the seventh game.
Wamsganss’ unassisted triple play against Clarence Mitchell of the
Dodgers in the 5th game of the 1920 World Series (later
in the same game Elmer Smith hit the first Grand Slam home run in
World Series history)
I’m not limited to ten, two more that could have been included:
Mazeroski’s home run winning the 1960 World Series for the Pirates
(“They broke all the records, but we won the Series,” said
center fielder Gino Cimoli.). But
to be truthful the biggest hit of that game was catcher Hal
Smith’s 3-run home run in the bottom of the 8th that
gave Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead. Without
that home run, the Yankees win.
Cub center fielder Hack Wilson losing a fly ball in the sun as
Philadelphia scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to overcome an 8-0
Cub lead in the ’29 Series.
have always felt that Carlton Fisk’s 12th inning home run
in the 6th game of the ’75 Series was overrated as a great
moment. The clutch hit in
that game was Bernie Carbo’s two-out pinch-hit 3 run home run in the
bottom of the 8th to tie it up.
Without Carbo the Reds win in 9.
The Red Sox don’t necessarily lose if Fisk doesn’t hit his.
This is considered a “great moment” because it was on TV and because
of the shot from the camera in the left field scoreboard that showed
Fisk as he watched the ball sail over the fence.
Incidentally, I’m sure nobody cares, but at the beginning of
the top of the 8th in that game a friend called me and asked
me what was going to happen. I
replied, “Bernie Carbo’s going to hit a pinch hit 3 run home run in
the bottom of the 8th to tie it up.”
one of these made baseball’s list.
But, then, I'm a fan who loves the game. As an aside, I wrote
this in 15 minutes off the top of my head without reference to anything.
Could “baseball” have done that?