My 10 Favorite Baseball Catches Ever

Kevin Stott@@KevinStott11Senior Analyst IMay 24, 2012

My 10 Favorite Baseball Catches Ever

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    Great catches in baseball, as well as in football, are a subjective thing and I have seen so many life that it’s hard to remember them all at this point in my life.

    But I have diligently scoured YouTube and the Internet for you, the readers, to try to provide you with 10 minutes of website bliss in your busy day.

    So grab a beverage and a slice of something. Cheese. An apple. An orange. Maybe pizza. I don’t know. It’s your life, brother.

    Here we go.

10. Derek Jeter Catches Ball Going into Stands

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    I know, I know.

    It’s probably not even in the top 100 catches in Major League Baseball history but for me this catch by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter against the Boston Red Sox on July 1, 2004 has to be on my list because of the memory it created.

    So bring on the wrath readers, but know two things: these are my favorites and Major League Baseball has copyright issues and has pulled down many of the best in the big leagues from YouTube and other outlets.

    Anyway, Jeter makes this very memorable catch in the top of the 12th inning on a pop fly to short left field by Trot Nixon with runners on second and third base.

    Jeter rushes to catch the ball in fair territory then his momentum carries him headfirst into the stands at Yankee Stadium where he busted his chin open.

    The play simply shows Jeter’s strong intent to catch the ball and his fearlessness of the stands he knew were ahead.

    And that’s good enough for me and my list, Susie.

9. Minor League Player Runs Through Wall to Make Catch

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    Ouch.

    Rodney McCray of the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League in Triple-A, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, crashed through the right field plywood wall at Civic Stadium (now named PGE Park) to catch this long fly ball off the bat of Portland’s Chip Hale on May 27, 1991.

    The play was eerily similar to a scene in the movie The Natural where Bump Bailey of the New York Knights crashes through an outfield wall to make a catch.

    McCray was not seriously hurt on the play and the video clip of this great memory is now part of the blooper reel at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    The catch was so memorable the part of the outfield in the stadium near the wall is now referred to as “McCray Alley.”


8. Kevin Mitchell’s Barehanded Catch

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    The San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Mitchell overruns this fly ball off the bat of Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith down the left field line at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in 1989 but recovers to reach back and catch the ball in foul territory with his bare right hand.

    Pretty funny.

    And the look at the end of the clip on his catcher’s face is just as amusing. Good stuff.

7. Minor Leaguer Dives over Wall to Make Catch

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    Mobile Baybears outfielder Brian Burgamy dove head first over the wall to make this catch in 2005 against the Jacksonville Suns.

    Three things I noticed about this clip: Burgamy was lucky the wall was about two-feet high and that there was a nice, grassy-landing strip on the other side. The runner from third base tagged up and scored on the play.

    Freaky.

6. An Absolute Beauty from the Land of the Rising Sun

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    No he di’int!

    Amaya Sochiro of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp used the small padded wall before the outfield fence as a quick ladder to rob the Yokohama Baystars’ Brett Harper of a home run in this fantastic clip from Japan’s Central League on Aug. 22, 2010.

    And the look on his pitcher’s face, who was throwing a shutout, says it all.

5. Great Catch After Ball Bounces off Minor Leaguer’s Head Turns into Triple Play

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    Nashville Sounds center fielder Logan Schaefer made this incredible catch off the bat of the Omaha Storm Chasers (great nickname) Clint Robinson, and he threw the ball back into the infield to double- and triple-off the runners on first and second,

    The ball first bounces off Schaefer’s glove, hits him on the top of the head before he snatches it before it hits the ground.

    "I felt like I didn't have enough time to turn around and I reached up my glove," Schaefer said. "[The ball] went straight up, hit me in the head and I tried to scoop it up. It was a whole lot of luck and it was pretty crazy."

4. Japanese Baseball Player Catches Ball with His Uniform

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    Konichiwa, fireballer.

    This pitcher for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in Japan's Central League can thank his uniform for a lucky assist on the line drive back to the pitcher’s mound that counted as a “catch.”

    I like how the umpire makes sure he could see the ball and that it was secured before signaling the out.

    Just plain cool.

3. Willie Mays Historic Catch in Center Field

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    I wouldn’t dare forget this one people.

    So epic, it actually has a Wikipedia page dedicated to it and has forever been referred to as “The Catch” (sorry Dwight Clark).

    It’s New York Giants center fielder Willie Mays running straight back to deep, deep center and making an over-the-shoulder basket catch off the bat of the Cleveland Indians Vic Wertz at the Polo Grounds on Sept. 29, 1954 in Game 1 of the World Series.

    Anyone who has played baseball knows how hard is to get a reading on a ball over your head once you’ve turned around and started running with your back to home plate.

    But Mays made this play as if his life depended on it. And doing it with a 2-2 score in the eighth inning of a World Series game makes it all the more brilliant.

    A true classic.

2. ”Spiderman, Spiderman, Does Whatever a Spider Can”

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    Dubbed the “Spiderman Catch,” this is the second on my list of 10 catches made by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan’s Central League.

    This time it’s Masato Akamatsu, who uses the wall as leverage as he scales it to rob Yokohama’s Shuichi Murata of a home run in August of 2010.

    And the look on Akamatsu’s face is just priceless. He knows he’s committed robbery here. And he rightfully won the Golden Glove that year.

    So that’s two epic catches in one month (August, 2010) by the same team (Hiroshima Toyo Carp) made by the same position player (center fielder).

    Please pinch me, Herbert. I know I must be dreaming.

1. And My Favorite Catch Ever on a Baseball Field Is...

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    Say what? It isn’t even real? God I hate the friggin' Internet.

    I hate to break it those of you who don’t know, but this acrobatic catch purportedly made by a ball girl at a Triple-A game between the Tacoma Rainiers and Fresno Grizzlies and which made the rounds in Cyberspace, is a complete fake.

    The girl, stunt-woman Phoenix Brown, was helped up the wall with cables while creating an advertisement for Gatorade, though the television ad was never distributed—although it did run during the 2008 MLB All-Star Game.

    Gatorade ended its association with the agency that created the ad, Element 79, and a spokesman for Gatorade said she didn’t know how the video got posted on the Internet.

    A little reminiscent of Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson’s famous photo of the Loch Ness Monster.

Conclusion

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    I would absolutely loved to have put my real favorite baseball catch ever at the No. 1 spot in this slideshow but the grinches at MLB have taken down videos from YouTube for some stupid lawyer-ly reason.

    God knows what kind of danger those baseball videos could cause humanity.

    Anyway, the one that would have topped my list is the catch-of-all-catches Anaheim Angels center fielder Jim Edmonds made off the bat of the Kansas City Royals David Howard on June 10, 1997 at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

    The  eight-time Gold Glover raced quickly back, ala Willie Mays, as the ball whizzed over his head in straightaway center. Edmonds then dove head first, fully-extended to make the catch over his shoulder (pictured above) and landed on the warning track.

    Nice words, but so much nicer to see the real thing. C’mon Bud Selig. Do the right thing for us fans.

    The Best Damn Sports Show Period named Edmonds’ beauty No. 1 on its "The Top 50 Best Damn Amazing Catches" list.

    If you’re too young to have seen it, I hope you’re lucky enough to catch it on television someday, the baseball gods willing.

    If you have already seen it, well, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    And my real No. 2 favorite, Texas Rangers center fielder Gary Matthews, Jr. leaping catch over the center field wall to rob Mike Lamb of the Houston Astros of a home run in interleague play on July 1, 2006, also had copyright restrictions, but I felt the need to represent it with the cover photo on this story.

    His play was so phenomenal that Lamb even applauded Matthews’ effort after the catch.

    Rangers team radio announcer Eric Nadel called it the the best catch he had ever seen a Rangers outfielder make in his 26-year career broadcasting with the club.

    Matthews’ athletic snag was later named the No. 1 defensive play ever by The Best Damn Sports Show Period.

    So there you have it. Isn’t technology wonderful? You can talk to someone in Zambia or Spain on Twitter instantly but you can’t watch a player in baseball making a beautiful catch.

    It’s political correctness depriving us of a simple five-second pleasure. Thanks Bud. Some pretty lame stuff if you ask me. And now my blood pressure’s up.

    Guess it’s time for a another smoke Bubba...


    Follow me on Twitter: @KevinStott11

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