MLB: The Most Iconic Moment in the History of Each MLB Franchise
Every MLB franchise has a history. At one point in time in each franchise, its fans and the world have been captivated by a magical moment in baseball.
These "moments" are the reasons we love sports. The pure emotion a person can feel even while watching a game on TV is sometimes indescribable. Being at the game in person brings the emotion to a whole new level.
Enjoy this list of "The Most Iconic Moments in the History of Each MLB Franchise," knowing that it is because of moments like these that baseball is America's pastime.
30. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg Debuts
The day June 8, 2010 will always be near and dear to Nationals fans' hearts, as the franchise's savior—Stephen Strasburg—made his MLB debut.
There weren't really any iconic moments from the old Montreal Expos franchise, so Strasburg takes the cake here.
In what was no doubt the most hyped pitching debut in MLB history, Strasburg struck out 14 over seven innings en route to picking up his first MLB victory.
Hopefully, Strasburg and fellow young phenom Bryce Harper can create more iconic moments for the Nats franchise in the future.
29. San Diego Padres: Gwynn Gets 3,000
Robert J. Galbraith/Getty Images
28. Tampa Bay Rays: Baby Rays Head to World Series
The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are one of the best feel-good stories in MLB history—going from 61 wins the year before to 97 wins and an AL East title in 2008.
Before earning the right to go to their first World Series, the Rays had to meet the arch-rival Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.
The series was one for the ages, as the two teams combined to hit an ALCS-record 26 home runs. The Rays beat the Red Sox 3-1 in the seventh game to advance to the World Series.
27. Milwaukee Brewers: Brewers Clinch First Playoff Spot Since 1982
It could have gone to the '82 Brewers or even to Robin Yount's 3,000th hit, but to me—the biggest Brewers fan in the world—the most awesome moment was when they clinched a playoff berth in 2008.
I was there. I saw the excitement and the rejuvenation of a city. It was louder at Miller Park than it was at this past Super Bowl. I know—again, I was there.
Mark Attanasio is by far the best owner in baseball, hands down. Watch the video, see the excitement and then know that it'll be 10 times greater when the Brewers win the NL pennant in 2011.
26. Los Angeles Angels: K-Rod Notches 58th Save
25. Colorado Rockies: Rox Win One-Game Playoff in 13 Innings
Yes, the Colorado Rockies did make it to the World Series, but nothing in their history was as dramatic as the one-game playoff against the San Diego Padres in 2007.
The Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games to force the playoff, with the winner being the NL wild card winner.
The Padres scored two runs in the top of the 13th inning to take an 8-6 lead before Trevor Hoffman came come out to make the save.
After tying the game at eight, Matt Holliday scored on a sacrifice fly in what was one of the most controversial calls in modern-day MLB. Replays appear to show that Holliday in fact never touched home plate.
24. Seattle Mariners: Ichiro Gets No. 258
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Back during the 2004 season, Ichiro Suzuki took down George Sisler's 84-year-old record of 257 hits in a single season. Ichiro's new record of 262 has a good chance of lasting just as long.
I could not embed a video, but you can watch it here.
23. Florida Marlins: Counsell Scores Winning Run in Bottom of 11th
The ending was one for the ages. The Marlins scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at two and send it to extra innings.
In the bottom of the 11th, the Marlins' Edgar Renteria lined a ball that grazed off Charles Nagy's glove and into center field, while Craig Counsell ran home to score with his arms high in the air to win the World Series.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez's Walk-Off in 2001
Led by the dynamic duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks won the first and only championship in Arizona's professional sports history.
The home team won all seven games of the 2001 World Series, with four of the games decided by one run.
The New York Yankees went into the bottom of the ninth up 2-1 with Mariano Rivera on the mound. After Arizona tied the game, Luis Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded bloop single to plate Jay Bell and win the World Series.
21. Philadelphia Phillies: Doc's Playoff No-No
I probably could have gone with something different for the Phillies, but Roy Halladay accomplished such a rare feat that it only seemed right to include it on this list.
Just last season—in his first ever postseason appearance—Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. He was one walk away from a perfect game.
Halladay became the second player in MLB history—joining only Don Larsen—to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs.
20. Chicago Cubs: Bartman Extends "Curse of the Billy Goat"
Only in Wrigleyville can an iconic moment be this bad, and that's exactly what Billy Sianis wanted when the "Curse of the Billy Goat" came about.
I feel bad for Steve Bartman; I really do. Bartman was one of many Cubs fans reaching for the ball—yet he was the unfortunate one who happened to touch it.
Anyway, this video is pretty hilarious.
19. Texas Rangers: Nolan Ryan's Headlock
This was an awesome moment.
Back in 1993, Nolan Ryan threw a pitch that hit Robin Ventura square in the ribs. After momentarily appearing to shake it off, Ventura sprinted out to the mound to get a piece of Ryan.
That is when the aging, gray-haired Ryan put Ventura in a headlock and proceeded to pound his face in. The video clip is still shown before every Rangers home game.
I couldn't find a video of only the Ryan-Ventura fight, so you will have to suffer through the top nine baseball fights of all time. The Ryan-Ventura fight is obviously No. 1.
18. Detroit Tigers: Tigers Win 1984 World Series
The 1984 season was a memorable one for the Detroit Tigers, eventually beating the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
The Tigers opened the season 9-0 and were at one point a mind-boggling 35-5. From start to finish, it was never really a contest for this Tigers squad.
Check out the video to listen to legendary announcer Ernie Harwell call the game.
17. Minnesota Twins: Twins Shut Out Braves 1-0 in Game 7
The Twinkies won the Series in seven games, with five of the games separated by only one run, while three went into extra innings.
It was intense—exactly the way true baseball fans wish all World Series were.
16. Oakland Athletics: Rickey Henderson Is "Greatest of All Time"
Rickey Henderson owns dozens of MLB records, but none are greater than the feat he accomplished on May 1, 1999.
Rickey stole his 939th base to break Lou Brock's all-time record—eventually ending his career with a staggering 1,406 stolen bags.
In many ways, Rickey truly was the greatest of all time.
15. Cleveland Indians: 1948 World Series Champions
The 1948 Cleveland Indians won the second World Series in the franchise's history, albeit it was a much more eventful season than just that.
The Indians ended the season tied atop the division and were forced to play the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff—the first in AL history.
More importantly, Satchel Paige made history by appearing in his first game on July 9 and later became the first black pitcher to appear in the World Series.
14. Chicago White Sox: The 1919 Black Sox
The 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal is among the worst in professional sports history, where eight members of the team took bribes to throw the World Series.
This video is pretty interesting for those of you who don't know much about what happened. There was a movie made about the scandal, Eight Men Out, which was recently ranked one of the Top Baseball Movies of All Time.
13. Houston Astros: Mike Scott's No-Hitter to Clinch Playoffs
The Houston Astros had a good squad in 1986. Up by two games in the NL West, Mike Scott came to the mound on September 25 with the Astros needing one victory to win the division.
Scott showed up in a big way, striking out 13 batters while no-hitting the San Francisco Giants. Houston got to celebrate a no-hitter and a division title on the same day.
I couldn't embed a video, but you Astros fans can watch it here.
12. Cincinnati Reds: Rose Takes Down Cobb's Hits Record
While I could have gone with the scandal involving Pete Rose betting on baseball, I'd rather give him credit for taking down Ty Cobb's all-time hits record with his 4,192nd hit.
"Charlie Hustle" accomplished the feat on September 11, 1985 against the Chicago Cubs. It is very unlikely that this record will ever be broken.
Pete Rose, you are a Hall of Famer in my book.
11. Kansas City Royals: The Pine Tar Incident
Everyone knows about the pine tar incident. Back during the 1983 season, George Brett hit a monster home run at Yankee Stadium to give the Royals a 5-4 lead.
Yankees manager Billy Martin protested to the umpire regarding the amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, and after debating, the umpire didn't allow the home run.
Although MLB reviewed the incident and ultimately overturned the call, seeing Brett charge out of the dugout is a classic baseball moment.
10. Baltimore Orioles: Ripken the "Iron Man"
On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's 56-year-old record by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game.
Baseball fans everywhere tuned in to see Ripken break the age-old record, as it still ranks as one of the most watched MLB games in history.
9. St. Louis Cardinals: Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash
Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" occurred in the seventh game of the 1946 World Series. His St. Louis Cardinals were up against the Boston Red Sox.
In the eighth inning, with the score tied 3-3, Slaughter stood at first base with Harry Walker stepping up to the plate.
With a hit-and-run called by the Cardinals, Slaughter took off right as Walker lined the ball to center. He made his mad dash around the bases and narrowly beat out the throw at home plate to score what ended up being the winning run.
8. Toronto Blue Jays: Joe Carter's Walk-Off in 1993
As a nine-year-old watching my first World Series, Joe Carter's walk-off home run is the sole reason I fell in love with baseball. Thanks, Joe.
With the Blue Jays up 3-2 in the series while trailing 6-5 in Game 6, Carter came to the plate with Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor on base.
On a 2-2 pitch, Carter hit a walk-off home run to left field, giving Toronto back-to-back World Series titles.
7. New York Mets: E-3
The 1986 New York Mets put together arguably the most iconic comeback in World Series history.
Down two runs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and the bases empty, the Mets garnered a couple of base hits to score a run before a passed ball scored the tying run.
Then the "Curse of the Bambino" struck again, as Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner let a routine grounder off the bat of Mookie Wilson go between his legs. The Red Sox would have won the World Series, instead losing in the seventh game.
6. Atlanta Braves: Hank Aaron Is King
Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's longstanding career home run record with his 715th shot on April 8, 1974.
Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully was calling the game:
"What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron. ... And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months."
5. Los Angeles Dodgers: Jackie Robinson Breaks Color Line
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color line in MLB when he made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Although racial tension existed within the clubhouse, the manager and management stood by Robinson's side by saying they would trade any player who wished not to play with him.
Robinson's play on the field earned him Rookie of the Year honor's in 1947, and his No. 42 has been retired throughout all of baseball.
Former teammate Pee Wee Reese said it best when speaking of Robinson, saying, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them."
4. Boston Red Sox: Carlton Fisk Waves It Fair
The Boston Red Sox entered Game 6 of the 1975 World Series down 3-2 and needing a win to stay alive.
In the bottom of the 12th inning, Fisk connected on a line drive that appeared to be heading foul. As Fisk jumped towards first base while waving it fair, the ball struck the foul pole to give the Red Sox a 7-6 victory.
3. New York Yankees: Don Larsen's Perfect Game
In one of the most magical moments in playoff history, Don Larsen threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series.
After being lit up in Game 2 of the series, Larsen didn't even know he'd be the Yankees' starter for Game 5 until he got to the ballpark.
It's a good thing for Larsen and MLB that he did, as he threw only the sixth perfect game in MLB history.
Watch this short biography. It's OK if you shed a tear—no one can see you.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates: Mazeroski's Walk-Off in 1960
Bill Mazeroski was not a home run hitter, garnering only 138 throughout his entire MLB career.
But during Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Maz hit a walk-off home run to give the Pittsburgh Pirates the championship.
It is the only time in MLB history that Game 7 of the World Series ended with a walk-off home run.
1. San Francisco Giants: Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World"
"The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
After overcoming a double-digit deficit in the standings over the final weeks of the 1951 season, the Giants were to play the Brooklyn Dodgers in a three-game series for the NL pennant.
With the series tied 1-1, the Giants trailed 4-3 in the ninth inning when Bobby Thomson stepped up to the plate with the tying run on second base.
Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" won the game and the pennant and is the greatest moment in baseball history.