Ranking Baseball's Most Incredible Wall Grabs of the Past 20 Years

Ben Stepansky@@benstepanskyCorrespondent IMay 1, 2013

Ranking Baseball's Most Incredible Wall Grabs of the Past 20 Years

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    There's a long fly, deep left center. The center fielder retreats, back, BACK...he leaps and makes an amazing grab!

    It's a familiar call on robbed home runs and wall-crashing catches. Baseball has seen its fair share of incredible defensive plays, much to the dismay of disgruntled hitters. 

    Who ranks at the top of the most incredible wall grabs of the past couple decades? Click on to find out!

17. Franklin Gutierrez Steals One from Howie Kendrick

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    We begin the countdown with a spectacular grab from Seattle Mariner Franklin Gutierrez.

    The Mariners had a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth against their division-mate Los Angeles Angels when Howie Kendrick put a charge into a fly ball to center field. Gutierrez made a full-extension grab to preserve the lead.

    This late-season matchup provided prime evidence to Gutierrez's first, and only, Gold Glove award in 2010.

    The catch can be viewed here

16. Kenny Lofton Brings One Back

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    Kenny Lofton became an iconic figure in the Cleveland Indians' outfield during the 1990s, winning his four career Gold Glove awards in consecutive seasons from 1993 to 1996. 

    Skip ahead to the 1:00 mark in the video to watch him climb the wall and fully stretch his arm to rob a home run—not an easy feat for a player standing at just 6'0''.  

15. Roger Bernadina Makes a Game-Winning Catch

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    Not necessarily a household name, Roger Bernadina of the Washington Nationals made an outstanding game-winning grab in Houston that will make your jaw drop.

    On a well-struck ball racing toward the alley in left center field, Bernadina tracks it down and makes a leaping catch before disappearing behind a padded part of the wall.

    Triumphantly raising his glove, Bernadina saved the game for the Nationals.

14. Curtis Granderson Robs Grady Sizemore

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    Like many of the catches on this list, Granderson's home-run-preventing snag provided a meaningful out along with some athletic flair.

    With one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Detroit Tigers gripped a 1-0 lead over the Cleveland Indians as Justin Verlander worked on a complete-game shutout.

    What could have been a walk-off home run quickly transformed into the second out of the inning as Granderson propelled himself up the wall and hurriedly tossed the ball back to the infield.

    One of the most unbelievable plays you'll see indeed!

13. Torii Hunter Robs Barry Bonds in 2002 All-Star Game

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    One of the most notorious bandits roaming center field is Torii Hunter.

    Winning nine straight Gold Glove awards from 2001 to 2009, we knew Hunter would make an impact during the 2002 All-Star Game, just not on the level we all witnessed.

    With Barry Bonds at the plate, fresh off a 2001 campaign in which he hit an MLB-record 73 home runs, the San Francisco Giants' slugger belted a ball to deep right center field. Hunter ranged over, timed his jump and pulled back the potential home run.

    Of course, a grin appeared on Bonds' face. 

12. Gabe Kapler Leaps into Stands

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    Gabe Kapler never may have been to an All-Star Game or won a Gold Glove award, but his wall grab for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 was epic.

    In the bottom of the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium, Russell Martin smashed a ball to left field when Kapler decided to risk it all and dove headfirst over the short wall.

    The catch saved a run and gave him a spot on this list.

11. Bo Jackson Runs Up the Wall

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    "Get up that wall!"

    While not truly a heavy-contact catch, the speedy and athletic Bo Jackson played "track and field" with the wall in this spectacular running grab in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.

    Racing back on a well-hit ball to right center, Jackson makes the grab and carries his momentum with three quick steps up and around the wall.

    An entertainer in multiple sports, Jackson was a thrilling athlete to watch and a fan favorite no matter where he played. 

10. Dewayne Wise Saves a Perfect Game

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    Mark Buehrle had faced 24 batters and set them all down when he entered the ninth inning of a 2009 match up with the Tampa Bay Rays. On a 2-2 pitch, the ball was driven to deep left center.

    Dewayne Wise had to cover a lot of ground before leaping and crashing into the wall, juggling the ball in his glove before securing the catch. It was a loud first out of the ninth inning, but Buehrle would go on to complete his perfect game thanks to an outstanding catch by Wise.

    The play can be viewed here.

9. Rajai Davis Times His Leap

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    During a 2012 matchup between the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, left fielder Rajai Davis times his leap perfectly to rob a would-be home run.

    As he approaches the tall wall in left, Davis slows his stride and kicks himself up off the wall to reach up and make the grab. 

    This video even highlights the spike marks Davis' cleat made on the padded wall.

8. Ken Griffey Jr. Slams into Wall

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    Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the most recognizable baseball players of the 1990s and has collected his fair share of wall-crashing catches. They all paid off, however, with 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1990, his sophomore season, to 1999. 

    This particular catch robbed Ruben Sierra of what would have been extra bases. Griffey Jr. runs full speed into the right center wall, smashing his face against the padding and rolling backwards.

    The catch occurs at the 0:17 mark of the video.

7. Endy Chavez Makes Spectacular Grab in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS

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    Only one stage is bigger than the League Championship Series, and Endy Chavez made his name known during the NLCS in 2006. 

    With a runner on and Scott Rolen at the plate, Chavez chased down a long fly ball to left field, leaped as high as his legs would take him and "snow coned" the ball into the webbing of his glove. As a cherry on top, he doubled up the runner at first base.

    It was a spark plug for the New York Mets, but they couldn't close out the game.

6. Kirby Puckett's World Series Snag

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    With his Minnesota Twins facing elimination in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett made a miraculous grab to steal a home run away from the Atlanta Braves. 

    On a ball heading for the stands in left center field, Puckett tracked the ball down, leaping to make the catch, before quickly returning to the ground and relaying the ball back towards the infield. 

    The Twins would go on to win Games 6 and 7 to finish the 1991 season as world champions.

    The catch can be seen here

5. Aaron Rowand Smashes into Center Field Fence

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    If Aaron Rowand was going to run full speed into the center field wall and break multiple bones in his face, including his nose and orbital bones, he wanted to make it count.

    With the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning of a 2006 game, Rowand, then playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, sprinted with his back turned to home plate, making the catch over his shoulder and colliding face first with the unprotected wall.

    The catch cost Rowand 15 days on the disabled list and some unscheduled surgery, but he got his team out of the early-inning jam.

    The highlight occurs at the 0:19 mark.

4. Mike Trout Skies for a Grab

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    What became commonplace during his rookie season, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels could dazzle in the field (as well as at the plate). 

    Arguably the catch of the year in 2012, Trout tracked down a towering fly ball to center field in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. He leapt like he was wearing a jetpack, extending his entire arm over the top of the wall to bring back a home run ball no more. 

    Trout's play begins at the 4:25 mark. 

3. Masato Akamatsu Makes a Spiderman Catch

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    This catch by Hiroshima Toyo Carp's Masato Akamatsu is out of this world.

    Playing in Japan's Central League, Akamatsu needs just two giant steps to scale the wall and make a catch never before seen. He initially plays it off as if he's done it a hundred times previously before a smile washes over his face. 

    A much-appreciative pitcher and amazed spectators can only applaud in awe.

    Entertainment at its finest.

2. Gary Matthews Jr. Robs Mike Lamb

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    In a 2006 game between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros, Mike Lamb crushed a ball to dead center field. As Gary Matthews Jr. retreated, he knew he'd have to go over the wall. 

    Sticking one foot up on the wall and pushing down on the top of the eight-foot wall with his throwing arm, Matthews Jr. extended and twisted to pull down Lamb's attempt at a home run. 

    Check out the amazing grab here

1. Ken Griffey Jr. Breaks Wrist in Wall Collision

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    Griffey Jr. makes another appearance for a similar, yet simply unbelievable grab.

    Covering a ton of ground and racing toward the right center field wall, Griffey Jr. has a violent collision with the padding while still holding on for the out. Unfortunately, his broken right wrist would sideline him for 73 games.

    The catch would go on to become one of his most famous during his 22-year career.

    Check out the grab here


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    Then there's this. No words.