Ranking the Best Home Runs in Red Sox History

Jess Lander@@jesslanderContributor IIIMay 3, 2013

Ranking the Best Home Runs in Red Sox History

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    Though Red Sox fans will go on about the constant suffering endured until the team finally won a World Series in 2004—and again in 2007—there have been plenty of momentous events throughout Boston's long history.

    Many of those memories came by way of home runs, and they are implanted in the minds of Sox fans forever. 

    It is tough to say which bombs were better than others. The importance of the game, the result of the home run (walk-off, series-clinching, etc.), the caliber of the player and the quality of the home run itself were all factors that played a role these rankings.

    Whether they marked a milestone, saved the day or shocked the world, here are the Top 15 home runs in Red Sox history.

15. Bill Mueller, July 24, 2004

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    A moment cherished by all Red Sox fans happened on July 24, 2004 in a game against the Yankees, just a few months before Boston's historic comeback in the ALCS. Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek shoved his glove in the face of Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez during an altercation at home plate, causing both benches to clear.

    In addition to the brawl, there was one other important part of the day that really sweetened the deal. The game ended in Boston's favor when Bill Mueller hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth off Mariano Rivera.

14. Ted Williams and the Red Bleacher Seat at Fenway

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    Ted Williams hit a lot of home runs—521 to be exact—but only one of them is commemorated on a daily basis. 

    There is one seat that stands out in the bleachers of Fenway Park for being bright red in a sea of green. Located in section 42, row 37, seat 21, it's the very spot that the Splendid Splinter hit one of his most famous home runs. 

    It happened on June 9, 1946 when the Red Sox were facing the Detroit Tigers. Williams hit the home run off Fred Hutchinson, and it travelled 502 feet—the longest home run ever hit at Fenway.

    It hit spectator Joseph A. Boucher right on the head.

    The Red Sox won 11-6 in a game that would've otherwise been lost to history if not for Williams' blast. Instead, it got its own seat.

13. Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Home Runs

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    At the beginning of Boston's 2007 World Series campaign, the Red Sox showed just what they were packing in this early-season game.

    On April 22, 2007—against the Yankees of all teams—four Red Sox players hit a home run...consecutively. 

    The Sox were down 3-0 in the third but quickly took the lead when Manny Ramirez, JD Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs off Chase Wright.

    Lowell hit another home run later to give Boston the win, marking the first time in 17 years that the Sox swept the Yanks at Fenway.

    It was also only the fifth time in MLB history that a team hit four consecutive home runs.

12. Tony Conigliaro's 100th

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    The pitch that Tony Conigliaro is most known for is the one that struck him in the cheekbone and ruined his Hall of Fame-bound career on August 18, 1967. 

    But before that tragic day, Tony C., just 22 years old, was having an incredible season. He was a crucial player on the "Impossible Dream" team.

    On July 23, in the first game of a double-header in Cleveland, Conigliaro hit his 100th career home run. He was the youngest player in American League history to do so, and the second youngest in all of baseball. 

11. Ted Williams' 500th, August 9, 1960

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    Just a few months shy of retirement, Ted Williams joined the exclusive 500 Home Run Club. Of the 25 players currently in the club, he was the oldest to join it at age 42.

    No. 500 came on June 17, 1960. Williams hit the two-run blast off Wynn Hawkins in Cleveland, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory.

    At the time, he was just the fourth player to reach the milestone. 

10. Nomar Garciaparra, Twin Grand Slams

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    On May 10, 1999 Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra joined an elite club of just 12 other players when he hit not one, but two grand slams in one game against Seattle en route to a 12-4 victory.

    The first came early in the game's opening inning, the second in the eighth.

    Oh, and let's not forget another two-run home run that he sneaked in during the third.

9. Ted Williams' Last at-Bat

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    It wouldn't have been right for Red Sox legend Ted Williams to go out any other way. 

    On September 28, 1960, Williams stepped up to the plate in front of a sparse crowd at Fenway in the bottom of the eighth against the Baltimore Orioles. He took a ball on his first pitch, a strike on his second and sent the third one deep for a home run in Teddy-like fashion.

    It was home run No. 521.

    It wasn't any more notable than the other 520—especially with the Red Sox being far out of the pennant race—except that it was the last at-bat Williams would ever take.

    He managed to say goodbye in a way that every player dreams of and every fan remembers. 

8. The $14 Million Grand Slam

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    Sometimes, the significance of a clutch play is greatly magnified when it comes from the player you least expect to come up big. Such is the case of the $14 million grand slam.

    It was Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS, and the Red Sox were facing elimination at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. In the bottom of the first, lefty JD Drew stepped up to bat with the bases loaded.  Boston fans groaned in unison.

    Drew was in the first year of a five-year, $70 million contract, and so far was a disappointment, finishing the regular season with a .270 batting average. 

    But instead of striking out like expected, Drew hit a grand slam. The Red Sox ended up winning the game 12-2 and went on to win their second World Series title in four years.

    In one swing, Drew proved his $14 million value.

7. Bernie Carbo, Game 6, 1975 World Series

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    The Sox were trailing the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 in the World Series and facing elimination in Game 6, which turned out to be one of the best games in baseball history.

    In the eighth inning, the Sox were down 6-3 when pinch hitter Bernie Carbo stepped up to the plate. He fouled off—rather ungraciously—a 2-2 pitch, but on his next swing, he unleashed a three-run blast to tie the game. 

    This, of course, set the stage for another Red Sox hero; but more on that later. 

6. David Ortiz, Game 3, 2004 ALDS

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    David Ortiz's 2004 postseason heroics really got started in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Anaheim Angels. Up 2-0 in the in the best-of-five series, the Red Sox were well on their way to meeting the Yankees in the ALCS for the second straight postseason.

    The Sox led 6-1 after the fifth inning, but with the help of a grand slam from Vladimir Guerrero in the seventh, the Red Sox watched their lead dissipate over the fence. The game went into extra innings tied at six.

    That's when Big Papi stepped up to save the day—like he would many more times that postseason—hitting the series-winning walk-off home run over the Monster in the bottom of 10th inning.

5. Johnny Damon, Game 7, 2004 ALCS

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    Before Johnny Damon traded in his red socks for pinstripes, he was Boston's lovable idiot.

    Even the most bitter Red Sox fans will always feel indebted to Damon for his crucial part in leading Boston to the 2004 World Series.

    The Red Sox had dug themselves out of the 0-3 hole to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and forced a Game 7 that nobody saw coming. Their incredible comeback was completed as soon as Damon stepped up to the plate in the second inning.

    He hammered the first pitch for a grand slam, and it was all the runs Boston would need for the win. However, he decided to add a two-run insurance blast in the fourth, leading the Red Sox to a crushing 10-3 victory.

4. David Ortiz, Game 4, 2004 ALCS

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    It's the home run that changed everything for Red Sox Nation.

    It was Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Yankees had won the first three games, and almost all hope was lost for Boston. 

    The Red Sox kept themselves alive in the ninth when Dave Roberts stole second and eventually scored to tie the game at four and send it into extra innings.

    In the bottom of the 12th, David Ortiz stepped to the plate and hit a clutch two-run walk-off to stave off a Yankees sweep. And of course, that home run was the turning point that led to Boston's miracle rally and their first World Series victory in 86 years.  

3. Troy O'Leary, Game 5, 1999 ALDS

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    The 1999 ALDS between Boston and Cleveland headed to a decisive Game 5 on October 11. The Red Sox were trailing 5-2 going into the top of the third, where they put men on second and third.

    Next up was Nomar Garciaparra, who'd already homered in the first inning. When he was intentionally walked to load the bases, Troy O'Leary stepped up to bat.

    O'Leary promptly smacked the first grand slam in Red Sox postseason history. 

    But he wasn't done there. With the game tied at eight heading into the seventh, Garciaparra was walked once again. The Indians did not learn their lesson. O'Leary produced another bomb, this time for three runs. 

    With that—and Pedro Martinez's fantastic relief effort—the Red Sox advanced to face the Yankees in the ALCS.

2. Dave Henderson, Game 5, 1986 ALCS

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    In the 1986 ALCS, the Red Sox were down in the series to the Angels 3-1 heading into Game 5. The Angels looked to be on their way to the World Series with a 5-2 lead heading into the ninth inning. 

    Partly responsible for the Angels' lead was Dave Henderson, who accidentally deflected a fly ball off his glove and over the center field fence.

    The Sox were just two outs away from heading home when Don Baylor closed the gap with a two-run blast, which wasn't even the best home run of the game. 

    With two outs and the Sox down one run, Henderson was at the plate facing a 2-2 count. The Angels—ready to pop the champagne—were just one strike away from heading to the World Series. 

    One strike.

    And then, like a dream, Henderson's bat connected with the ball, sending it deep for a two-run home run.

    The Angels managed to tie the game and send it to extra innings, but it was Henderson once again who, in an effort to make up for his previous error, hit the sacrifice fly that gave Boston the win.  The Red Sox rode this momentum to an ALCS victory and a trip to the World Series.

1. Carlton Fisk, Game 6, 1975 World Series

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    The scene: The Red Sox are down three games to two in the 1975 World Series against the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds. It's Game 6 and the Red Sox are fighting elimination in the 12th inning with the score tied at six.

    Carlton Fisk steps up to bat against Pat Darcy, the Reds' eighth pitcher of the night. He connects on Darcy's second pitch, a high drive down the left field line headed for the foul pole.

    Fisk, in this soon-to-be iconic moment, is waving the ball fair.

    Somehow, the ball strikes the foul pole just above the Green Monster, and the Red Sox stay alive. 

    The Red Sox went on to lose Game 7, but that's not what's important. Fisk's walk-off homer ended a game in which the Red Sox lost a 3-0 first-inning lead—courtesy of a Fred Lynn three-run homer—and were trailing 6-3 in the eighth before Carbo's game-tying bomb. Then the Reds got out of a no-out, bases loaded jam in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

    It was do or die, and Fisk came through when the Red Sox needed him most.