MLB Playoffs 2011: Greatest Postseason Moment in History of Each Playoff Team
The final day of the 2011 Major League Baseball season proved again to the world why baseball is America's true pastime. Never in my life have I witnessed so many breathtaking moments in such a short amount of time.
As those moments quickly cement themselves into baseball lore, they will sit alongside hundreds of other awe-inspiring moments in the sport's history.
With baseball instantaneously back in the spotlight in a capacity we haven't seen since the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa home run chase of 1998, we will all sit and wait, hoping for more of the unexpected this October.
Until then, here is a list of the greatest postseason moments in the history of each 2011 playoff team. Hopefully, we'll have some new greatest moments in the very near future.
Texas Rangers: 2010 ALCS, Game 6
The Texas Rangers entered the 2010 playoffs having never won a postseason series, but that would soon change after taking down the Rays in the ALDS, which would earn them a shot at the Yankees for a trip to the World Series.
The Rangers capitalized in every way, humiliatingly outscoring the Yanks 38-19 to take the series in six games.
In the fitting end to Game 6—the series clincher—closer Neftali Feliz struck out former Ranger Alex Rodriguez to send the underdogs to the World Series.
This video is chilling, to say the least. Are we ready for October yet?!
Tampa Bay Rays: 2008 ALCS, Game 7
What is it with the Tampa Bay Rays and their ability to capture America's attention? The 2008 Rays were 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 their arch-rival in the ALCS. Who else other than the Boston Red Sox?
The series was one for the ages, as the two teams combined to hit an ALCS-record 26 home runs. The Rays beat the Sox 3-1 in the seventh game to advance to the World Series.
Milwaukee Brewers: 1982 ALCS, Game 5
The Milwaukee Brewers don't have a very playoff-rich history, but they staged a monumental comeback against the California Angels during the 1985 ALCS.
Led by Reggie Jackson and Fred Lynn, the Angels outscored the Brewers 12-5 in winning the first two games of the best-of-five series.
With their backs against the wall, "Harvey's Wallbangers" fought back to force a fifth and deciding game, with the winner heading to the World Series.
The Angels held a 3-2 lead entering the bottom half of the seventh inning before disaster struck. The Brewers loaded the bases with two singles and a walk before slugger Cecil Cooper lined a two-run single to give his team a 4-3 lead and ultimately its first and only AL pennant.
Philadelphia Phillies: 2010 NLDS, Game 1
Just last season, Roy Halladay captured America by tossing a no-hitter in his first career playoff start.
While fans of the Phillies may argue that the 2008 World Series championship was the greatest moment in their history, what Halladay accomplished was such a rare feat that it only seemed right to include it on this list.
Halladay became the second player in MLB history—joining only Don Larsen—to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs. He was one walk away from a perfect game.
Detroit Tigers: 1984 World Series, Game 5
With all due respect to Magglio Ordonez's ALDS series-clinching walk-off homer in 2006, no Tigers playoff moment tops Ernie Harwell calling the World Series-clinching Game 5 of the 1984 World Series.
The 1984 squad was easily the most dominant in team history, as it jumped out of the gate to go 9-0 before at one point being an astonishing 35-5.
The Tigers took down the San Diego Padres in the World Series, led by Kirk Gibson's first glimpse of postseason heroics. Gibson hit two home runs during Game 5 to give the Tigers an 8-4 victory and a World Series title.
St. Louis Cardinals: 1946 World Series, Game 7
Up against the heavily favored Boston Red Sox in the 1946 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals fought tooth and nail to keep pace with their American League counterparts.
The Cardinals trailed 3-2 in the series before notching a 4-1 victory in Game 6 to force an all-deciding seventh game.
In the eighth inning of Game 7, with the score tied 3-3, Enos Slaughter stood at first base with Harry Walker stepping up to the plate.
With a hit-and-run called by the Cards, Slaughter took off right as Walker lined the ball to center. As center fielder Johnny Pesky double-pumped, Slaughter made his mad dash around the bases and narrowly beat out the throw at home plate to score what proved to be the winning run.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 2001 World Series, Game 7
Led by the two-headed monster of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the Diamondbacks stormed through the 2001 postseason before being locked in a staredown with the Yankees for a chance at the World Series title.
After taking a commanding 2-0 series lead, the D-Backs lost three straight games to find themselves on the brink of elimination.
Arizona stomped the Yanks 15-2 in Game 6 to force a one-game, winner-take-all matchup for the championship, where the team trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth with Mariano Rivera on the mound.
After tying the game on a Tony Womack double, Luis Gonzalez hit a bloop single to center field to plate the winning run and give the Diamondbacks their first World Series title.
New York Yankees: 1956 World Series, Game 5
Mr. October and Mr. November. Brosius, Boone, Bucky and Babe.
The New York Yankees have more great postseason moments than the rest of Major League Baseball's 29 other teams combined.
Home runs are a regularity in baseball, but perfect games are, well, they're perfect. They are the rarest of moments that we as fans are ever able to see, happening only 18 times over the last 111 years.
Major League Baseball just surpassed 200,000 games played, which means a perfect game has been thrown at a rate of exactly 0.00009 percent.
Now imagine you're Don Larsen—a pitcher who went only 81-91 over his career and showed up to the ballpark before Game 5 without even knowing he'd be getting the start. In the World Series, no less.
Larsen showed up in a big way on the biggest of stages, cementing his name into baseball history and providing us with one of the all-time greatest postseason moments in baseball history.
Watch this video, shed a tear and look forward to some more legendary moments this October.
Jeffrey Beckmann is a MLB Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow Jeffrey on his new Twitter account for all of his latest work. You can also hear him each Friday at 1 p.m. EST on B/R Baseball Roundtable.