The sport of baseball has created memories for its fans that they hold near and dear to their hearts. Ask any passionate baseball fan what their fondest memory is, and they'll smile while immediately recalling that one event that is forever etched in their minds.
Each MLB stadium throughout history has been host to some of the greatest spectacles in sports—from Lou Gehrig's famous speech at the old Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, to Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974 and to Pete Rose's record-breaking 4,192nd hit at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati on Sept. 11, 1985. Each stadium old and new has seen a number of great performances that have captivated fans and etched memories in their hearts and minds.
We will take a look at the greatest moments that have occurred in each current MLB stadium, events that have been awe-inspiring and memorable in their own ways.
When outfielder Luis Gonzalez looped a fly ball into shallow center field over a drawn-in infield to score the winning run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, fans at Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field) erupted, as the Arizona Diamondbacks won their first-ever championship.
The series itself had already been memorable, featuring the first postseason game ever played in November. The D-Backs overcame two crushing losses in Games 4 and 5 courtesy of pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim to give their fans a memory they won't ever forget.
When the Atlanta Braves started their incredible run of 14 straight NL East Division championships in 1991, John Smoltz was a young, fireballing pitcher who helped deliver that first title.
Fourteen years later, Smoltz was still there as the Braves' incredible run finally came to an end.
Smoltz won 210 games during his 20 years in Atlanta, but also saved over 150 games, the only pitcher in MLB history ever to win 200 or more games and save another 150 along the way. It's a testament to Smoltz' dedication and loyalty that led to him doing whatever it took to help his team, in whatever capacity they needed.
That dedication was honored on Friday night, as Smoltz took his rightful place in Braves' history as the ninth player ever to have their number retired.
On Sept. 6, 1995, one of the greatest achievements in MLB history took place at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Baltimore Orioles shortstop/third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the long-standing record previously held by the great Lou Gehrig.
For the fans at Camden Yards that day, it was a glorious sight to behold, as the game became official at the end of the fifth inning and the sign on the right field wall was changed to reflect the historic moment.
It was also a day and an event that helped bring fans back to baseball as well, as the strike that occurred in August of the previous year had seriously damaged fan support.
At a time when baseball ratings were sagging and football had become the favored sport in the United States, the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds came to the rescue in 1975.
With one of the most spirited matchups in World Series history, the Red Sox and Reds fought tooth and nail throughout, and Carlton Fisk's epic blast in the bottom of the 12th inning is still regarded as one of the greatest moments in Fall Classic history.
In the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, Babe Ruth faced Charlie Root in what would become one of the most famous at-bats in baseball history.
After taking a pitch for a strike, Ruth, who had been squawking back and forth with the Cubs' bench, appeared to "call' a home run with a gesture toward center field, a gesture that has long been argued.
Ruth did deliver, knocking the next offering from Root some 440 feet away over the center field fence.
When asked about the incident, Root said, “If he had made a gesture like that, well, anybody who knows me knows that Ruth would have ended up on his ass.”
No matter, it's still the most memorable moment in Wrigley Field history.
In Game 2 of the 2005 World Series at U.S. Cellular Field, the Houston Astros scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning off Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks to tie the game at 6-2.
Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge came on in relief in the bottom half, hoping to send the game into extra innings.
Leadoff batter Scott Podsednik came to the plate, and after working the count to 2-1, drove a Lidge offering over the fence in right-center field to give the White Sox a hard-fought 7-6 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
The Cincinnati Reds hadn't been to the playoffs since 1995, and had suffered through nine straight losing seasons entering play in the 2010 season.
However, things suddenly were different, as the Reds took control of the NL Central Division on Aug. 15th and never relinquished their lead.
On Sept. 28th, with the Reds hosting the Houston Astros at Great American Ball Park, the game was tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Right fielder Jay Bruce was at the plate, facing Astros pitcher Tim Byrdak.
On the very first pitch Bruce saw, he launched a home run over the center field wall, clinching the NL Central Division title and putting the Reds back in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
In 1995, the Cleveland Indians were playing in their first World Series since 1954, and the first at the almost-new Jacobs Field, renamed Progressive Field in 2008.
In Game 3, with the score tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Indians second baseman Carlos Baerga doubled and was immediately replaced by speedy pinch-runner Alvaro Espinoza.
After Braves reliever Alejandro Pena issued an intentional walk to Albert Belle, designated hitter Eddie Murray, who was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts at that point, came to the plate. Murray stroked a line drive single to center field, scoring Espinoza with the winning run and giving the Indians their first World Series victory in 47 years.
On Sept. 15th, 2007, the Colorado Rockies lost to the Florida Marlins 10-2, and were now 6.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West and 4.5 games behind the San Diego Padres in the race for the wild-card slot.
Two weeks later, the Rockies had won 13 of 14 games to pull into a tie with the Padres for the wild card; a one-game playoff would determine who would move on.
At Coors Field on Oct. 1st, the Padres and Rockies still couldn't decide things at the end of regulation, with the score tied at 6-6.
In the top of the 13th inning, Padres left fielder Scott Hairston ripped a two-run homer to give San Diego an 8-6 lead.
But the Rockies were not to be denied. After Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Holliday provided run-scoring hits to tie the game back up, backup third baseman Jamey Carroll lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Holliday with the winning run and sending the Rockies to the postseason for just the second time in franchise history.
The date of October 14th was pretty special for the Detroit Tigers. On that day in 1984, they won the World Series, and 22 years later, Magglio Ordonez would add to the great memories of that one day out of the year.
In 2006, the Tigers and Oakland Athletics were knotted at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning with the Tigers holding a commanding 3-0 ALCS series lead.
A's closer Huston Street was working into his third inning, having come on in the bottom of the seventh. Street got two quick outs but then gave up back-to-back singles to Craig Monroe and Placido Polanco.
Ordonez then drilled a Street offering far into the night, over left field and into the bleachers to send the fans at Comerica Park into a complete frenzy.
The Houston Astros haven't had a bushel-full of memories during their existence, having made the playoffs only eight times in the team's first 43 seasons.
However, on Oct. 9, 2005, the Astros were involved in one of the most memorable games in MLB postseason history.
With the Astros holding a 2-1 lead in the NLDS over the Atlanta Braves, the two teams locked in battle in Game 4. The game was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation play, and the battle would continue long into the night and early morning.
Neither team budged, and when the Astros were running out of pitchers, manager Phil Garner called upon team ace Roger Clemens to pinch hit in the bottom of the 15th. Clemens successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the Astros were unable to capitalize, grounding into a double play to end the threat.
Clemens came out to the mound for the top of the 16th, and proceeded to mow down the Braves through three innings. In the bottom of the 18th, backup outfielder Chris Burke finally ended the epic battle with a solo blast to left field, putting the Astros into the NLCS to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Kansas City Royals were down to their final three outs at Kauffmann Stadium on Oct. 26, 2005 in Game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Royals needed two runs to extend the series to a seventh and deciding game, and they would have to do it against reliever Todd Worrell, who had tied a World Series record in Game 5 by striking out six batters in succession.
However, on this night, things were different. Worrell gave up back-to-back singles to Jorge Orta and Steve Balboni, putting runners on first and second with no one out.
After a botched sacrifice bunt attempt by Jim Sundberg, Worrell intentionally walked Hal McRae to load the bases, and Dane Iorg came to the plate to pinch-hit for closer Dan Quisenberry.
Iorg, who had been up to the plate only one other time in the entire series, blooped a single into right field, scoring both Onix Concepcion and Sundberg and giving the Royals the right to play for the World Series title the following night.
At Edison Field (now Angels Stadium) on Oct. 27, 2002, the Anaheim Angels were on the brink of finally achieving baseball glory—their first-ever World Series championship.
Forty-one years after owner Gene Autry agreed to purchase a new expansion team to begin play in Southern California, the Angels finally reached the top, defeating the San Francisco Giants in a hard-fought seven-game series.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers were set to face the heavily-favored Oakland Athletics in the 1988 World Series, they would likely have to do so without their star slugger, Kirk Gibson.
Gibson's knees were pretty much shot, and along with a bruised hamstring, was unlikely to see any action at all, making the Dodgers even more of an underdog.
However, as we all know by now, Gibson's only at-bat in the series produced the most thrilling play in Dodger Stadium history.
By now, Miami Marlins fans are well aware of the power possessed by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. That power was on display on May 21, in a manner of speaking.
With the bases loaded against the Colorado Rockies, Stanton hit an absolute rocket high over the left field fence, bouncing off the new high-definition video display and knocking out power to part of the screen.
They say that a tie game is kind of like kissing your sister; it's an "ew" experience. That was certainly true in the case of the 2002 MLB All-Star Game played at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
With the game tied at 7-7 heading into the 11th inning, managers Bob Brenly and Joe Torre had used up every single one of their players, with Vicente Padilla pitching for the NL and Freddy Garcia on the mound for the AL.
Brenly and Torre met with MLB commissioner Bud Selig to discuss what they should do, and it was decided that the game would be declared a tie if the NL was unable to score in the bottom of the 11th.
Garcia retired the NL in order, and the game ended in a 7-7 tie, bringing roars of displeasure from the fans in attendance at Miller Park.
That's why the All-Star Game now "counts."
Target Field opened for play in April 2010, so the Minnesota Twins haven't had many opportunities as of yet to build a large library of great moments. However, on July 17, 2011, designated hitter Jim Thome created one with just one swing.
Thome lifted a mammoth shot to right-center field for his 596th career home run. The ball traveled an estimated 490 feet, beating the previous longest home run hit at Target Field, also hit by Thome at 480 feet.
It only took 50-plus seasons and 8,020 games, but on June 1st, New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana finally broke the drought.
Not one Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter in franchise history, although on 35 occasions they had thrown one-hitters. Santana's 134-pitch effort on that night was indeed special.
There should be absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was already a first-ballot Hall of Famer before the events that took place on July 9th, 2011 at Yankee Stadium.
On that day, Jeter did something that no Yankee before him had ever accomplished. For all of the achievements of great Yankees teams and players over the years, not one player had ever collected 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform.
Until July 9, 2011, that is.
On Oct. 17, 1974, the Oakland A's put the finishing touches on a run that saw them become the first dynasty of the 1970s.
At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (now O.co Coliseum), reliever Rollie Fingers set the Los Angeles Dodgers down in order in the top of the ninth inning, giving the A's a 3-2 victory and their third straight World Series championship. Fingers would later be named the World Series MVP.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been a part of the National League since 1883, yet prior to the 2008 season had won only one World Series championship.
They would add one more in 2008.
The Phillies dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays in five games to capture their second-ever World Series title, giving fans at Citizens Bank Park a chance to see something not often seen in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have called PNC Park home since 2001, yet have been unable to host a winning team during that time.
The 2006 All-Star Game remains to this day the biggest moment in that park's history, as the rest of the baseball world actually got to watch some good baseball played there, even if only an exhibition game.
For some, no doubt that seeing country recording star Carrie Underwood belt out the national anthem was a big deal as well.
The San Diego Padres had won their division only three times prior to the 2005 season, but that year, in just the second season at their new home in Petco Park, the Padres added another.
On Sept. 28, 2005, the Padres crushed the San Francisco Giants 9-1, returning to the postseason for the first time since being swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series.
In 2002, the San Francisco Giants made the playoffs as the NL wild-card team, posting a record of 95-66. After a tough five-game NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, the Giants moved on to play the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Giants quickly moved out to a 3-1 series lead, hosting Game 5 at Pacific Bell Park (now AT&T Park). With the game tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, Cardinals starter Matt Morris, who had been brilliant all night long, got two quick outs, giving the Cards hope that they could stave off elimination.
However, Morris then gave up back-to-back singles to David Bell and Shawon Dunston, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa made the call to the bullpen, summoning reliever Steve Kline to face Giants center fielder Kenny Lofton.
Lofton lined a ball into right field, and J.D. Drew's throw home was wide, scoring Bell with the winning run and sending the Giants back to the World Series for the first time in 13 seasons.
On Oct. 1, 2004, Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was on the verge of baseball immortality. Heading into the game, Suzuki had collected 256 hits on the season, just one shy of the all-time record held by George Sisler, a record set 84 years earlier.
At Safeco Field against the Texas Rangers, Suzuki wasted no time, singling in the first inning to tie Sisler. Just two innings later in Suzuki's next at-bat, he singled once again, breaking Sisler's record and sending fans at Safeco Field into a complete frenzy.
The St. Louis Cardinals began play in their brand new home stadium in April 2006 after spending 40 seasons at Busch Memorial Stadium.
The new Busch Stadium was a fine specimen of a park, with all of the latest state-of-the-art amenities to enhance the overall fan experience.
However, the Cards stumbled through their first year there, and despite a record of just 83-78 still managed to capture the weak NL Central Division by 1.5 games over the Houston Astros.
The Cardinals essentially got hot at the right time, beating both the San Diego Padres and the favored New York Mets to move on and face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
The Tigers proved no match either, as the Cards swiftly dispatched Detroit in five games to capture their 10th overall World Series championship and first in their brand new home.
Sept. 28th, 2011 will likely go down as one of the greatest days in MLB regular season history, as several games featured teams fighting to get to the postseason. The Tampa Bay Rays were one of those teams, facing the New York Yankees in Game 162 at Tropicana Field.
Things looked bleak for the Rays as the Yankees built a 7-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. But the Rays fought back fiercely, putting six runs on the board in that frame, highlighted by a three-run homer from third baseman Evan Longoria.
Still, the Rays needed one more run to tie the game. Pinch-hitter Dan Johnson delivered, hitting a solo blast in the bottom of the ninth to square the game at 7-7.
The two teams continued battling for three more innings. In the bottom of the 12th inning, Longoria, facing Scott Proctor, took a 2-2 pitch and hit a screaming line drive into the left field corner, just barely clearing the short fence and giving the Rays a wild 8-7 win, completing their improbable climb over the Boston Red Sox and into the postseason.
The Texas Rangers had been in place for 49 seasons without having even sniffed a chance at an American League pennant. In fact, they had only been to the playoffs three times, winning just one game in the process.
So, in 2010, the Rangers finally looked like they had an opportunity, winning the AL West Division in decisive fashion over the Oakland Athletics and winning a hard-fought five-game ALDS series over the Tampa Bay Rays.
However, in came the defending World Series champion New York Yankees. The Rangers pressed through undaunted, taking a 3-2 series lead back home to Arlington Ballpark on Oct. 22nd.
Behind the brilliant three-hit effort by starter Colby Lewis, the Rangers soundly defeated the Yankees 6-1, giving them the first American League pennant in franchise history.
On Oct. 23rd, 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays were at home in the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre), facing the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 of the World Series. One more win and the Jays would successfully defend their World Series championship.
However, things looked bleak for the Jays heading into the bottom of the ninth. Up 6-5, the Phillies brought in closer Mitch Williams to close it out.
The Jays weren't about to be intimidated by the Wild Thing, however.
Rickey Henderson opened with a walk, and after a flyout by Devon White, Paul Molitor then ripped a single to center, putting runners at first and second with one out.
Jays right fielder Joe Carter then stepped to the plate. With the count 2-2, Williams threw a slider inside, and Carter turned on it, putting it over the left field fence for a three-run, series-winning home run.
On June 8th, 2010, the long-anticipated debut of Stephen Strasburg took place at Nationals Park, and it was indeed memorable.
Strasburg, the No. 1 overall draft choice in 2009 by the Washington Nationals, took the mound for his major league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. To say his debut was impressive would be a massive understatement.
Strasburg fanned 14 Pirates in seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits, walking no one. The debut was not only a sellout for the Nats, but a record number of press passes were also issued for the highly-anticipated event.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.