50 Unforgettable Baseball Memories We'll Tell Our Grandkids About

Mark MillerCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2012

50 Unforgettable Baseball Memories We'll Tell Our Grandkids About

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    With baseball being a game entrenched in history, we all, no doubt, have moments that we won't soon forget.

    Whether it's a walk-off home run from your favorite team, a pitching performance by the ace of your staff or a memorable call from the best announcers the game has to offer, everyone will take something with them throughout their lives.

    Much of what makes the sport great is the history that's not only remembered, but passed down for generations.

    The longstanding traditions of the game have taken their place in encyclopedias, but for the purposes of this slideshow, I tried to segment some of the more memorable moments in recent (post-1975) baseball history.

    I'm sure I omitted a number of memories that you may have (and would love to hear what they may be), but here are 50 of the greatest memories that some of us will certainly remember for years to come.

2003: Clemens Notches 300th Win and 4,000th K on Same Night

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    It's not every day a fan gets the opportunity to witness a pitcher record his 300th career win, but it's almost unheard of to see two remarkable feats in the same evening.

    That's exactly what Yankee fans were treated to in June of 2003, as Roger Clemens would record win No. 300 and strikeout No. 4,000 during an interleague tilt against the St. Louis Cardinals.

2001: Jack Buck Brings Baseball Back in America

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    With the country reeling after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Jack Buck's speech marking the resumption of baseball struck a chord with anyone who was watching, and it is certainly one of the most memorable moments of his illustrious career.

1983: George Brett Loses It After Pine Tar Incident

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    In July of 1983, George Brett was on top of the world after a clutch hit off of Yankee closer Goose Gossage.

    The joy was short lived after umpire Tim McLelland called Brett out for the excessive pine tar on his bat. Not surprisingly, Brett was furious and laid into the umpire in what would become one of the most infamous tirades in league history.

2011: Derek Jeter Enters 3,000 Hit Club in Style

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    One of the greatest to ever put on a Yankees uniform, Derek Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club this past July in the best way possible.

    Facing David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeter took the pitch over the left field, becoming just the second player in baseball history to reach 3,000 with a home run (Wade Boggs).

1991: Rickey Henderson Breaks Lou Brock's Stolen Base Record

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    With a multitude of stolen base records to his name, Rickey Henderson surpassed the previous record holder, Lou Brock, with his 939th stolen base.

    Henderson wasn't done there, as he'd finish his career with an astounding 1,406 career steals in addition to the single-season record of 130 steals he recorded in 1982.

2010: Roy Halladays Tosses Postseason No-Hitter

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    After years of effective pitching, Roy Halladay still had yet to make a postseason appearance as of the 2010 season.

    That all changed when he faced off against the Cincinnati Reds during game one of the NLDS.

    Halladay responded to the challenge better than anyone could have expected as he hurled a no-hitter, becoming just the second pitcher in baseball history to do so.

1996: Jeffrey Maier Gives the Yankees a Helping Hand

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    Twelve-year-old Jeffrey Maier became an unsuspecting star in 1996 when his deflection of a ball during the ALCS would give his Yankees a boost after the ball would be ruled a home run despite Maier clearly reaching into fair territory.

    The home run tied the game and the Yankees would ultimately go on to defeat the Baltimore Orioles en route to a World Series appearance.

2008: Josh Hamilton Destroys Home Run Derby Record

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    After getting off to a blistering start in the 2008 season, Josh Hamilton took his hot bat to the Midsummer Classic, where he would take part in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium.Β 

    He wowed fans early with a record 28 home runs in the opening round, but he would ultimately come up short in the end as Justin Morneau would take home the Derby trophy.

1991: Jack Morris Wills Twins to Another World Championship

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    Known as a big-game pitcher, none were as big as Game 7 of the 1991 World Series for Jack Morris.

    With immense pressure and a home crowd cheering him on, Morris would pitch 10 innings of shutout baseball to lead the Minnesota Twins to a world championship. He would take home World Series MVP honors for his efforts.

2001: Big Unit Blasts a Bird

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    Even more than a decade after its occurrence, Randy Johnson's infamous birdball is still widely regarded as one of the funniest bloopers in baseball history and has to be one of the most-watched baseball videos on YouTube.

1998: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa Battle for Maris' Record

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    In a summer that saw baseball fans more engaged than they had been in quite some time, Mark McGwire surpassed a record that was seemingly going to stand for all time as he ousted Roger Maris from the top spot for home runs in a season with a blast to left field.

    McGwire would finish the season with 70 home runs while Sammy Sosa, who also surpassed Maris' mark, would end the season at 66.

2004: Boston's Miraculous Comeback Against Rival Yankees

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    After falling into an early hole against the rival New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox led a historic comeback and would ultimately make history in knocking off the Yankees in a memorable Game 7 that provided some of the best drama that baseball has ever seen.

1991: Nolan Ryan's 7th No-Hitter

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    Having already broken Sandy Koufax's record for career no-hitters, Nolan Ryan was into his 40s when he would amazingly throw another no-hitter, his seventh career no-no and yet another record that likely won't be broken.

2011: Tampa Bay Rays Showcase Last-Minute Heroics

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    This gentleman's introduction to the video sums it up pretty well, since I really can't remember a crazier day of regular-season baseball as long as I've been alive.

    The final day of this past year's regular season showcased everything that's great about baseball, as the Tampa Bay Rays would complete their improbable comeback in great fashion, overtaking the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild-Card berth.Β 

1995: Cal Ripken Jr. Breaks Lou Gehrig's Streak

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    Another record that likely won't ever be broken, Cal Ripken Jr. made history on Sept. 6, 1995 when he broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, a record that has been voted the most memorable moment in baseball history.

2001: Bonds Bests McGwire's Home Run Tally

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    Just a few years after witnessing Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battle for home run dominance, Barry Bonds would set the bar even higher, eclipsing McGwire's mark and finishing the season with an astounding 73 home runs.


    The record has since been somewhat tarnished due to his situation regarding PED usage, but nevertheless, it's a mark that may stand for generations to come.

2007: Insects Take over Indians-Yankees Postseason Tilt

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    Almost as if they were giving the Cleveland Indians a helping hand, a swarm of tiny insects would overtake the late innings of an ALDS tilt against the New York Yankees.

    The swarm was bad enough at one point that play was stopped, and Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain was clearly irritated with the pests, as he'd throw more balls than strikes during the game en route to a blown save.

2009: Ernie Harwell's Farewell Speech

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    One of the most well-known announcers in baseball history, Ernie Harwell was the voice of the Detroit Tigers for generations of fans and will be forever missed.

    His farewell speech struck a chord with a fanbase that extended far past Detroit, as baseball fans everywhere owe him a debt of gratitude for the passion he brought to the mic every game.

1993: Mark Whiten Goes Deep 4 Times, Drives in 12 Runs Against Reds

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    In one of the most impressive individual performances in baseball history, Mark Whiten took to the field in the second game of a doubleheader and went off.

    Four home runs and 12 RBI later, Whiten put his name in select company in baseball's record books.

1976: Rick Monday Saves the American Flag

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    During a game at Dodger Stadium in 1976, the nation's bicentennial year, Chicago Cubs center fielder Rick Monday was manning center field when two protesters took to the field and attempted to burn an American flag.

    Monday quickly swooped into action, immediately taking the flag from the protesters. When asked about the incident, Monday recalled his emotions during the incident:


    I was angry when I saw them start to do something to the flag, and I'm glad that I happened to be geographically close enough to do something about it.

1985: Pete Rose Passes Ty Cobb on All-Time Hit List

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    It's unclear as to whether Pete Rose will ever be allowed back in baseball and take a seat in the Hall of Fame, where many will argue he belongs.

    What is clear is that he's one of the most prolific offensive players in baseball history, and it's doubtful that anyone will eclipse his all-time mark.

2000: Subway Series Gets Testy

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    In what was the first postseason Subway series since 1956, the New York Mets and New York Yankees squared off against each other in the Fall Classic of 2000 with everything on the line.

    Tempers flared in Game 2 when pitcher Roger Clemens shattered Mike Piazza's bat, with a part of the broken bat flying out towards the mound.

    Clemens then did what came naturallyβ€”he hurled it in the direction of Piazza, who was jogging up the baseline.

1993: Joe Carter's World Series-Ending Home Run

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    Clinching the Toronto Blue Jays' second consecutive World Series title, Joe Carter's Game 6 walk-off home run would put Canadians in a frenzy and made for one of the most memorable moments in World Series history.

1999: Yankees Sweep Their Way into the Record Books

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    In sweeping the Atlanta Braves to win the 1999 World Series, the Yankees became the first team since 1939 to sweep consecutive World Series championships, a record held by the Yankees of DiMaggio's era.

1986: 'It Gets Through Buckner!'

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    The words "It gets through Buckner" haunted Boston Red Sox fans for many years, as they saw a World Series championship slip through their hands.

    Luckily, their World Series championship in 2004 helped heal some of the wounds and ultimately allowed Bucker the opportunity to return to Fenway.

2007: Barry Bonds Hits No. 756

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    Barry Bonds' legacy may forever be tarnished, as the shroud of alleged steroid use hangs over him.

    His place in the history books isn't in question at this point, however. His 756th home run put him past Hank Aaron on the all-time list.

1989: Kevin Mitchell Barehanded Catch in Left Field

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    As if playing outfield wasn't hard enough as it is, San Francisco Giants left fielder Kevin Mitchell made charging for a line drive even harder when he barehanded an Ozzie Smith fly ball in St. Louis, making for one of the finer web gems of the 1989 season. Mitchell would take home NL MVP honors that same year.

2003: Aaron Boone's ALCS Walk-off Winner

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    The Boston Red Sox once again saw their dreams of a World Series championship halted prematurely as the Bronx Bombers got in the way, with Aaron Boone lifting the Yankees to the World Series after hitting a walk-off home run to clinch the 2003 ALCS championship.

1999: Boggs and Gwynn Join 3,000 Hit Club on Consecutive Days

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    The summer of 1999 saw two of the best players of the past decades reach career milestones in consecutive days as Wade Boggs would hit the 3,000-hit mark on August 7, just one day after Tony Gwynn reached the 3,000-hit mark himself.

1986: Clemens Notches First 20-Strikeout Performance at Age 23

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    At just 23 years of age, Roger Clemens made history on April 29, 1986, as he would become the first pitcher in major league history to strike out 20 batters in a game.

2001: President Bush Throws out First Pitch in World Series

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    With the nation reeling from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, baseball's Fall Classic took to New York City in what would become one of the most memorable World Series of all time.

    Before the first game in New York got underway, then-President George W. Bush took to the mound and delivered the game's ceremonial first pitch, a perfect strike that electrified the crowd as they chanted "USA, USA, USA" while enjoying the freedoms that make this country great.

1998: Kerry Wood Ks 20 at Just 20 Years Old

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    Almost 12 years to the day after Roger Clemens became the first pitcher to send down 20 batters in a game, Chicago Cubs star Kerry Wood would match that total at the age of 20, three years younger than Clemens when he reached the feat.

1998: David Wells Tosses Perfect Game...with a Hangover?

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    After contemplating retirement just weeks earlier, David Wells proved to himself and everyone else that he had something left in the tank, as he'd throw a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins.

    Years later, Wells brought the game back to the forefront when he noted that the very perfect game he pitched was done while he had a hangover.

1988: Kirk Gibson's Game 1 Walk-off Home Run

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    One of the most memorable home runs in World Series history, Kirk Gibson's improbable Game 1 walk-off home run set the tone for the 1988 World Series, which the Dodgers would win in five games.

1997: Marlins Clinch World Series Title in Extra Innings

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    With the Miami Marlins clearly having sights on returning to glory this season, they'll likely look back on the 1997 Marlins team for inspiration.

    In what was the first World Series in which a wild-card team competed, the Marlins overtook the Cleveland Indians in extra innings of Game 7, only the third time a Game 7 went to extra frames.

1977: Mr. October

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    Stepping up and providing consistent results during a World Series is hard enough for any star in the league, as we've seen a number of the league's best fizzle out when the Fall Classic rolls around.

    That wasn't the case in 1977, as the self proclaimed "Mr. October" would go deep three times in one game against the Dodgers, giving him five for the series and putting him in the history books.

1989: Battle of the Bay aka the Earthquake Series

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    First tabbed as the Battle of the Bay, the 1989 World Series, contested by the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, is best remembered for the earthquake that struck prior to game three, causing a 10-day delay before play was resumed.

2003: The Steve Bartman Incident

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    Taking a page out of Jeffrey Maier's playbook, Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman became the most hated man in the Windy City in the fall of 2003 when he would interfere with a foul ball during Game 6 of the NLCS.

    The Cubs had a 3-0 lead at the time but would end up falling at the hands of the Florida Marlins, and the curse lived on.

1987: Mike Schmidt's 500th Home Run

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    One of the best ever to put on a Phillies jersey, Michael Jack Schmidt made history on April 18, 1987, when he went deep for the 500th time in his career.

1998: Yankees Cap off Record Season with World Series Championship

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    After an AL record 114 wins during the regular season, the New York Yankees were widely regarded as a lock for the World Series title when they squared off against the San Diego Padres.

    Turns out everyone was right, as efforts from series MVP Scott Brosius would propel the Yankees to their 24th championship.

1990: Reds Shock the Bash Brothers

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    Heading into the 1990 Fall Classic as heavy favorites, the Bash Brothers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, were supposed to lead the A's to the title as they faced the underdog Cincinnati Reds.

    Things wouldn't go as planned for the Bash Bros, as their disappointing performances would lead to the Reds sweeping the A's in an improbable World Series finish.

1991: Kirby Puckett's Walk-off to Extend Series

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    In what was one of the best World Series of all time, the Minnesota Twins were propelled to victory in Game 6 thanks to a walk-off home run from center-field star Kirby Puckett.

    Jack Buck's "And we'll see you tomorrow night" still resonates with fans all over Twins Territory.

1978: Bucky Dent's Longball Heroics

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    Having gone deep only 40 times in his first 12 years in the league and manning the ninth spot in the batting order, Bucky Dent played the role of an unlikely hero in the fall of 1978.

    As the New York Yankees fought to get past the Boston Red Sox for postseason contention in a one-game playoff, Dent's memorable long ball propelled them into postseason play.

2004: The Big Unit Reaches Perfection at 40 Years of Age

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    Randy Johnson's longtime dominance of batters during his time in the league was reaffirmed at the age of 40, when in May of 2004 he showed he could still hang with the game's best talents, throwing a perfect game at Turner Field against the Atlanta Braves.

2009: Twins Take Down Tigers in Game 163

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    Staging a furious September comeback, the Minnesota Twins provided the Metrodome with some farewell fireworks during their last season before moving to Target Field.

    In front of a sold-out crowd, the Twins went back and forth with the Detroit Tigers before finally settling the score in extra innings, and earning themselves a postseason appearance with the New York Yankees.

2002: Halos Finally Win It All

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    Led by a three-home run, eight-RBI effort from third baseman Troy Glaus (the eventual series MVP), the Los Angeles Angels would win the first World Series championship during the 41-year history of the team, knocking off the San Francisco Giants.

1999: David Cone Tosses Perfect Game

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    Almost as if he took inspiration from the pregame ceremonies honoring Yogi Berra, the catcher of so many of the Yankees best all-time pitchers, David Cone took to the mound and gave Berra another performance to remember, as he tossed a perfect game in front of an energized crowd.

1975: Fisk Waves It Fair

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    As if the first nine innings of the Red Sox's tilt against the Cincinnati Reds didn't have enough action, Carlton Fisk's animated gestures as he watched his 12th inning home run fall just fair down the left field wall gave Red Sox fans one of the more memorable images of their franchise's history.

1996: Clemens Does It Again

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    Having become the first pitcher to strike out 20 batters in a game 10 years earlier, Roger Clemens would return to the days of old in reaching the same feat in September of 1996, in what would end up being his last win for the Red Sox.

1987: Dome Series Advantage

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    They don't call it home-field advantage for nothing, as evidenced by the 1987 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals.

    Never before had the home team won every game of the series, but that changed in '87 as the Metrodome faithful turned their indoor noisemaker into an advantage, helping the Twins take home the trophy in seven games.

2003: Pedro Martinez Downs Don Zimmer

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    It's never any surprise when the blood boils over during a matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

    When it's in the postseason, it can become too much to contain, as evidenced by the impromptu brawl between Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer.

2011: David Freese Finishes off Wild Game 6

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    In what turned out to be one of the most exciting World Series of all time, the most recent baseball memory to be etched in history comes courtesy of hometown boy David Freese, who ended a back-and-forth Game 6 in style, forcing a Game 7 that the St. Louis Cardinals would win to clinch their improbable World Series title.

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