Magglio Ordonez is retiring after playing 15 seasons in the major leagues. He was a six-time All-Star during his time with the White Sox and Tigers. He won a batting title, three Silver Sluggers and was the runner-up for the 2007 American League Most Valuable Player award.
But his greatest highlight and his place in history will always be his walk off, ALCS clinching home run that propelled the Tigers into the 2006 World Series. The team that lost 119 games in 2003 made it to the World Series in just three years. And Ordonez's blast against Oakland's Huston Street capped the amazing turn around.
His home run would have been memorable in any era. But in the age of camera phones and YouTube, the home run is not only recorded, but it can be seen from just about every possible angle.
To honor Ordonez's career and his greatest highlight, let's take a look at the 10 best amateur videos of one of the most dramatic moments in Tigers history.
This video doesn't capture the home run very clearly, but it stays remarkably steady during the celebration. What it truly captures is the happiness of Tiger fans in this great moment, punctuated with a few "World Series Baby!" calls thrown in there.
There are also more than a few "Holy Sh*t"s in there for good measure.
You can excuse that. They were World Series-bound.
I like that this video starts with the coach visit to the mound. Also Placido Polanco, the eventual MVP of the series, talks with first base coach Andy Van Slyke. It is a nice set up of the tension.
The home run is around the 1:00 mark and, as with each of the videos, there is a moment of excitement knowing that just a base hit would win the pennant. You can hear the excitement rise the longer the ball stays in the air.
The shot is best when zoomed totally out. At one point you can see another camera recording the celebration. I wonder if that clip is on YouTube as well.
It's nice that this video starts with a shot of their tickets. No doubt those are currently priceless. Camera man William F. Smith (he's credited) also effectively sets the scene, showing the Polanco hit to put Monroe in scoring position and the entire coaches' visit to the mound.
Panning over to the scoreboard is a nice old-school touch. The score, hitter, inning and outs are all preserved. How would Smith know that history was about to be made?
I wonder why the scoreboard operator felt it was necessary to tell the crowd to "Make Some Noise." If you need to be reminded of that with the pennant on the line, maybe you shouldn't be at a clinching playoff game.
What makes this video truly great is that the home run (which takes place at 2:13) is pretty clear. And the camera stays with Magglio for a few extra seconds, long enough to see him style at home plate. Most camera operators' instincts would be to follow the ball. But here we get to see a little Ordonez cockiness from above.
One of the shorter videos, Tiger fan schmakj has a clear shot of Placido Polanco's hit before Ordonez at bat. We also get to hear Ordonez's Latin intro music.
Schmakj gets in an "Oh my Goodness" before the insanity begins. Much classier than Opusx69 yelling "Holy Sh*t."
This is my personal favorite. I love that it's shot from an unusual angle. Most of the Ordonez shots are from behind home plate. But this one is from near where the ball lands.
Around 0:08, the guy in the black sweatshirt points up at the ball. It reminds me of a scene from Close Encounters when someone points up at the UFO. I also love the assumption that if he hadn't pointed out the ball, his fellow fans would have missed it.
Then came the so hopeful "Get up! Get up!" You can tell that these are die-hard Tiger fans who are realizing that they are getting their amazing "I was there" moment. If that ball stays up, they can tell their friends, for all time, that they witnessed the Ordonez homer.
After the homer cleared the fence, the two guys up front could not stay in the air long enough. That was pure joy and no doubt a sense of relief that they stuck with their team through the bad years to be rewarded like this.
I am sure those fans are saluting Ordonez tonight.