This is a list that is open to interpretation. It's a compilation of memorable home runs, record breakers, and game winners. Every man on my list is well known and each of their home runs can make a case for their notoriety to the casual fan.
I left the steroids era home runs off this list because there were so many records being set and Home Runs hit; therefore it was like an over saturated market. There just wasn't any value in the records broken relative to other times that I could justify them.
An Aaron Boone pennant clinching home run, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire or even my favorite Ken Griffey Jr. home runs were axed from contention.
What was needed was the drama, controversy or history changing plays that changed the shape of the game.
Here are my ten, for better or worse and please don't hold back any complaints. My tenth and ninth choices could easily be removed on another list.
Carlton Fisk's World Series home run: I know many would put this on the list, but I felt even with his arms waving to keep the ball in fair play, the Bo Sox still lost the Series. The Big Red Machine won the series, and that leads me to keep this home run just off the list.
Ted Williams' last at-bat: The last man to bat .400 in a season, Williams ended his career in high fashion by launching one into the stands. Not a bad way to go out.
It was a tense, tough series played between two teams that had gone from worst to first in their divisions that year.
There would be a great pitching duel in Game Seven between John Smoltz and the veteran Jack Morris. This only happened thanks to a blast by Kirby Puckett in extras that lead to the announcement: "We'll see you tonight." There were many great plays in this series on both sides, but Minnesota playing at home got the momentum and charge through Kirby's shot out to left center.
July 24, 1983: seemed like an average day to begin with. The Royals were playing the Yankees at old Yankee Stadium.
In the top of the ninth inning with two men out, George Brett launched a two run homer to put the Royals ahead 5–4. When Brett crossed the plate, the Yankees' head man, Billy Martin, mentioned to the umpires a rarely known rule that stated that any foreign substance on a bat could not go further than 18 inches from the knob.
The umps measured out the amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, which extended out to about 24 inches from the knob. Tim McClelland, the home ump, signaled Brett out, finalizing the game with a Royals loss. Brett stormed out of the dugout and was immediately ejected.
Kansas City protested the game, but the league upheld the protest saying that Brett's bat should have been excluded from future use but, the home run should not have been taken away. Through much animosity, the game was resumed on August 18 after the point of Brett's home run and ended up with the Royals winning. Quite a bit over a little pine tar incident.
I could have gone with Jackson's enormous, ridiculous All-Star Game home run, but that was in an exhibition state. It could be worth noting that they actually used to play All-Star games for worth, but that's for another time. I have to go with the 1977 World Series performance.
Not one, not two, but three Home Runs against the Dodgers in a series clinching performance. That's not just clutch; that's Mr. October.
The 1960 World Series was lopsided; at least if you looked at overall run differential. When the Pirates won, the games were nail biters, but when the Yankees won the games were absolute blowouts. Yet the Pirates were able to hang around and force the Series to seven games.
Mazeroski nailed Yanks pitcher Ralph Terry for the home run in the bottom of the ninth. He had many achievements during his Hall of Fame career, but nothing even came close to this one mammoth achievement.
No it wasn't the great Mickey Mantle who broke the single season record, it was the relatively overshadowed Roger Maris. It can be questioned whether or not he demands induction into the Hall of Fame, but what is not in question was the hostility he endured on his way to breaking the Bambino's record.
He was taunted, yelled at and somewhat belittled; but he kept on fighting towards the record. Depending on who you ask, No. 9 could still be the All-Time season home run record holder. Then again, depends on who you ask.
Personally, this is my favorite home run of all time, but I had to be fair about its placement and No. 5 is where I see it fitting correctly.
The home run Joe Carter hits off of Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams and the Phillies almost made you wonder why baseball had to go on strike. I mean, you had the great Series in '91 between the Braves and Twins, a solid '92 between the Braves and Jays, and then this furious finish in '93.
I will remember this fondly as many others because he showed the true essence of a kid playing at the sandlot hitting a home run like something out of a fairy tale.
There was joy and tragedy from both sides which made the Home Run even more compelling. The only thing that could have made this more dramatic is if the blast were in Game Seven instead of Game Six.
There is always controversy surrounding Babe Ruth on whether or not he truly called the "Shot." I don't know, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt based on his resume. Why wouldn't you believe the Babe could call out what he was going to do? He was hitting more home runs himself than some teams were hitting combined in a season.
Whether he called it or not, he hit another home run in the Series against Chicago that helped lengthen the pain that Cubs fans have been feeling for over 100 years now. Hey Chicago: at least you had Michael Jordan.
Speaking of the madness that Roger Maris endured, there was a little stress involved in the records being made by Hank Aaron. No, it wasn't Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle that would break Babe Ruth's record, instead it was the calm and cool Henry (Hank) Aaron. This tee shot into left field in Atlanta not only changed the record books of Baseball, but the culture in which it was played.
The lumbering, injured Kirk Gibson limping out of the trainers room barely able to walk in Game One of the World Series. Getting ready to pinch hit against the best closer/maybe pitcher overall at the time, Dennis Eckersley.
As Eckersley stated himself, he just wanted Gibson to come up to the plate and get the at-bat over with because he was getting irritated with the long wait of Gibson. Well, he would get an even longer wait called eternity to deal with after Gibson's home run would forever link them. Maybe the greatest home run of all time, at least on the West Coast.
Part of what makes this Home Run so special has got to be the commentary of Jack Buck with his infamous: "I Don't Believe What I Just Saw!" This Home Run would propel the heavily undervalued Dodgers to a surprise Series win over the A's behind Orel Hershiser's pitching.
The number one home run of all time is Bobby Thompson's "The Giants win the Pennant." Now, I leave this at No. 1 because the presentation and the clutch factor were huge. On deck was a young Willie Mays, but Thompson decided "Oh, we don't need you today Willie."
Thompson won the game in Game Three of a three game Playoff. He hit the shot off Ralph Branca which is a name many are familiar with.
These are the days before they had Playoffs outside of the World Series so the pressure was even more mounted. He is a man from Scottland (still living) who might be the most obscure of hitters to be on the list, but he sure made a lasting impact.
The Dodgers had a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, an almost insurmountable lead to give up given the circumstances of being a great Dodgers team. Yet, the Giants rallied and behind Thompson's homer won 5-4 at the old Polo Grounds.
If one still listens hard, they can faintly hear Gil Hodges saying: "The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!"