What Is the Most Memorable Moment at Every MLB Team's Ballpark?

Jacob Shafer@@jacobshaferFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2020

What Is the Most Memorable Moment at Every MLB Team's Ballpark?

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The 2020 MLB season will be different for a number of reasons, including the fact that games will be played in mostly empty stadiums.

    We're glad the game is coming back, but it will be odd to say the least.

    While we wait for the day when fans can congregate at the yard and share the communal experience of live baseball, let's look back and recall the most memorable moment at every big league field.

    This is a subjective exercise, obviously. In some cases, it was tough to narrow it down. Also, we're only considering the parks where teams currently play, so memorable moments at Ebbets Field, say, or the House That Ruth Built don't count.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Field: Luis Gonzalez's World Series Walk-Off

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    In Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and the score tied 2-2.

    Facing Hall of Fame New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Gonzalez fisted a ball into shallow center field to plate the winning run.

    It capped an incredible postseason charge led by aces Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and sealed the only championship in D-backs history before an ecstatic Chase Field crowd.

Atlanta Braves, Truist Park: Ronald Acuna Jr.'s NLDS Grand Slam

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    In Game 3 of the 2018 division series between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, Ronald Acuna Jr. faced Walker Buehler with the bases loaded.

    It was a great young hitter against a great young hurler. Acuna worked the count to 3-0 and then casually took a pitch he thought was high for a called strike one.

    Acuna rebounded and deposited the next offering, a 98 mph Buehler fastball, into the left-center field stands for a grand slam. The Braves went on to win 6-5. While they lost the series in four games, it was an unforgettable moment for the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year and Truist Park, which opened in 2017.

Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards: Cal Ripken Jr. Breaks Lou Gehrig's Mark

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    In 1995, baseball was coming back from the disastrous strike of '94 that wiped out the World Series and damaged the game's reputation. The sport needed an untarnished hero.

    Enter Cal Ripken Jr. On September 6, 1995, the Baltimore Orioles shortstop cut through the cynicism and lingering resentment when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking the hallowed record held by Yankees great Lou Gehrig.

    Ripken's iron man pursuit, capped by a confetti-strewn victory lap around Camden Yards, was exactly the post-strike antidote MLB required.

Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park: Dave Roberts' ALCS Steal

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    In 2004, the Boston Red Sox won their first championship since 1918 and busted the infamous Curse of the Bambino.

    There were, naturally, a number of memorable moments along the way. But nothing can top Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. 

    Trailing the archrival New York Yankees 3-0 in the series and 4-3 in Game 4, the Red Sox sent pinch-runner Dave Roberts to first base with one goal: steal second and get the tying run into scoring position. On the first pitch by Mariano Rivera, Roberts did exactly that, narrowly beating the throw by Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. 

    A single by Boston third baseman Bill Mueller plated Roberts, and the Sox came roaring back to win the game, the series and, ultimately, a long-overdue Commissioner's Trophy.

    (There is an argument to be made here for Carlton Fisk's game-winning 12th-inning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, though that one's bittersweet for Sox fans considering they lost Game 7.)

Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field: Babe Ruth Calls His Shot

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    Since the Chicago Cubs played their first game at Wrigley Field in 1916, the ivy-adorned yard has been home to innumerable memories. 

    Butconsidering the Cubbies clinched their drought-ending 2016 World Series victory on the roadthis one belongs to a visiting player.

    In Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, with the scored tied 4-4 in the fifth inning, Yankees slugger Babe Ruth came to the plate. After taking a called strike one, Ruth appeared to point to the left-center field stands and then seemed to repeat the gesture after taking strike two.

    Ruth then deposited a home run over the center field wall, and the legend of the called shot was born. The Bambino said he called it. Others, including Cubs pitcher Charlie Root, claimed he was merely holding up two fingers to indicate he had one strike left. Either way, it might be the most iconic home run by the most famous home run hitter of all time.

    (If we're going with a Cubs-centric moment, we'll choose Kerry Wood's 20th strikeout on May 6, 1998.)

Chicago White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field: Scott Podsednik's Game 2 Walk-off HR

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    In 2005, the Chicago White Sox won their first title since 1917. They clinched the series in Houston, but Game 2 ended in memorable fashion before the South Side faithful.

    After the Astros tied the game 6-6 with two runs in the top of the ninth, White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik launched a walk-off solo homer to give Chicago a 7-6 win and a 2-0 series edge.

    The White Sox would take the trophy in a sweep, but it was a thrilling Fall Classic in which every game was decided by two runs or fewer.

Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park: Todd Frazier Wins 2015 HR Derby

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    In 2015, the Cincinnati Reds hosted the MLB All-Star Game. During the Home Run Derby, Todd Frazier gave the hometown fans something to cheer about.

    Then in his fifth season with the Reds, Frazier bested Prince Fielder and Josh Donaldson in the Derby's first two rounds before a final showdown against Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson.

    Frazier iced the competition with a line-drive blast to left field that sent the red-clad Great American Ball Park spectators into hysterics.

Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field: Rajai Davis' Game 7 HR

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    The Cleveland Indians haven't won the World Series since 1948, the longest active drought in baseball, but they came tantalizingly close in 2016.

    In the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7 against the Cubs, Indians center fielder Rajai Davis blasted a two-run homer off flame-throwing Chicago reliever Aroldis Chapman to tie the game 6-6.

    The Cubs would ultimately win 8-7 in 10 innings after a cinematic rain delay. But for a glorious moment, Davis gave the Progressive Field fans a thrill.

Colorado Rockies, Coors Field: Winning the 2007 Pennant

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    In 2007, the Colorado Rockies made the playoffs as a wild card after winning 14 of their final 15 regular-season games, including a 13-inning tiebreaker contest against the San Diego Padres.

    Colorado then streaked through the postseason and won the only NL pennant in franchise history by sweeping the Diamondbacks.

    The Rox won the deciding Game 4 at Coors Field when Manny Corpas induced a check-swing grounder off the bat of Eric Byrnes and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's throw just beat a headfirst-diving Byrnes to first base.

Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park: Magglio Ordonez's 2006 Pennant-Winning Walk-Off

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    In 2006, the Detroit Tigers swept the Oakland Athletics to win the AL pennant.

    In Game 4, right fielder Magglio Ordonez punched the Tigers' World Series ticket with a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

    Detroit would lose the Fall Classic in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals, which made Ordonez's blast the defining moment of that season's run and Comerica Park's 20-year history.

Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park: Alex Bregman's Game 5 Walk-Off Hit

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    Game 5 of the 2017 World Series between the Dodgers and Astros was a back-and-forth affair that featured multiple lead changes and seven combined home runs.

    The Astros finally prevailed, 13-12, on a walk-off single by Alex Bregman in the bottom of the 10th at Minute Maid Park.

    They'd go on to clinch the series in Game 7 at Dodger Stadium, though in hindsight the title would be stained by Houston's sign-stealing scheme.

Kansas City Royals, Kauffman Stadium: Winning the 1985 World Series

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    The Kansas City Royals lost Game 7 of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium to the San Francisco Giants. They won the deciding Game 5 of the 2015 World Series on the road against the New York Mets.

    So this moment takes us back to 1985, when K.C. clinched its first championship in Game 7 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

    The series featured one of the most egregious blown calls in postseason history, but the Royals ultimately won Game 7 in a blowout, 11-0.

Los Angeles Angels, Angel Stadium: Scott Spiezio's Game 6 Home Run

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    In Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, the Anaheim Angels were trailing the Giants 5-0 in the seventh inning and staring down elimination.

    That's when first baseman Scott Spiezio hit a three-run home run off Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez. It sent the home fans and their ubiquitous Rally Monkeys into a frenzy and keyed a 6-5 come-from-behind win.

    The Halos would take Game 7, also at home, and win their first and only title.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodger Stadium: Kirk Gibson's Game 1 Walk-Off HR

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    In Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Dodgers and A's, Kirk Gibson hobbled to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers trailing 4-3 and a runner on.

    Facing Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley, the injured Gibson swatted a one-legged walk-off home run and pumped his fist emphatically.

    Los Angeles won the series in five games, but Gibson's homer remains the signature moment of the Dodgers' most recent championship.

Miami Marlins, Marlins Park: Dee Gordon's Emotional Home Run

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    In 2016, Miami Marlins ace and two-time All-Star Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident. On Sept. 26 of that season, Miami played its first game at Marlins Park after Fernandez's death, and every Marlins player wore Fernandez's name and No. 16 on the back of his jersey.

    In the bottom of the first inning, Dee Gordon led off. A close friend of Fernandez's, Gordon took the first pitch from the right side, Fernandez's side, and imitated the pitcher's stance. 

    Then, Gordon hit his first home run of the season. As hrounded the bases, tears welled in the light-hitting second baseman's eyes—and it's safe to say he wasn't alone.

Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park: Nyjer Morgan's NLDS-Winning Walk-Off Hit

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    In Game 5 of their 2011 division series matchup against the Diamondbacks, the Milwaukee Brewers advanced thanks to Nyjer Morgan.

    In the bottom of the 10th with the score tied 2-2, Morgan—aka "Tony Plush"—hit a walk-off single that plated Carlos Gomez.

    The Brewers lost to the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series and have never been to the World Series since Miller Park opened in 2001. But the quirky Morgan solidified his place in Brew Crew lore.

Minnesota Twins, Target Field: Joe Mauer's Final Game

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    During his 15-year career with the Minnesota Twins, Joe Mauer made six All-Star teams, won an AL MVP award and cemented his place as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

    The veteran and lifetime Twinkie was treated to a fond farewell in his final game at Target Field on Sept. 30, 2018.

    Appreciative fans showered him with cheers, and Mauer delivered a double in four at-bats in a 5-4 Minnesota victory.

New York Mets, Citi Field: Johan Santana's No-Hitter

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    On June 1, 2012, Johan Santana threw the only no-hitter in Mets franchise history against the Cardinals.

    It came with controversy. The 33-year-old Santana threw 134 pitches in the game after missing the entire 2011 season following shoulder surgery. After the no-no, he posted an 8.27 ERA over his final 10 starts and never pitched in the big leagues again. Then there's the liner past third by the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran that was incorrectly ruled foul.

    Never mind. A no-no is a no-no, and the Citi Field fans get to keep this one forever.

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium: Derek Jeter's Final Home Game Walk-Off

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    Playing his final game at Yankee Stadium in 2014, shortstop Derek Jeter came up in the bottom of the ninth against the Baltimore Orioles with the score tied 5-5 and the winning run on second base.

    In classic fashion, The Captain laced the first pitch he saw for a single the other way and walked off to a chorus of adoring Bronx cheers.

       

    Note: We're talking about the new Yankee Stadium only, which obviously excludes a lot of memories.

Oakland Athletics, Oakland Coliseum: Rickey Henderson Breaks Stolen Base Record

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    On May 1, 1991, the Athletics' Rickey Henderson stole third base against the Yankees. As he did so many times, Henderson swiped it easily.

    This one was unique, however, because it was his 939th, which broke Lou Brock's all-time record. In typically gregarious fashion, Rickey pulled the bag out of the dirt and held it aloft in front of the roaring Oakland fans.

    He'd finish his Hall of Fame career with an astounding 1,406 thefts, a mark that may never be broken.

Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park: Phillies Win 2008 World Series

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    In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the second championship in franchise history and their first since moving into Citizens Bank Park in 2004.

    After defeating the Brewers in the division series and besting the Dodgers in the NLCS, the Phils took the Fall Classic in five games from the Rays.

    The deciding contest began on Oct. 27, was interrupted by rain in the sixth inning and was finished on Oct. 29, with Philadelphia prevailing by a final of 4-3.

Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park: Crowd Flusters Cueto in 2013 NL Wild Card Game

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    In the 2013 NL Wild Card Game, the Pittsburgh Pirates played host to the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates hadn't been to the postseason since 1992, and their fans were enthusiastic to say the least.

    In the bottom of the second, Bucs boosters managed to rattle Reds starter Johnny Cueto by chanting his last name, to the point where the right-hander dropped the ball on the mound while transitioning it from glove to hand and soon after surrendered a solo homer to Pirates catcher Russell Martin.

    Pittsburgh went on to win the game 6-2 before losing to St. Louis in the division series.

San Diego Padres, Petco Park: Adam Jones Robs Manny Machado in WBC

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    The San Diego Padres haven't won a postseason series since they moved into Petco Park in 2004, so this one goes to a non-Friars game.

    Specifically, we're looking at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, when outfielder Adam Jones (playing for the United States) robbed a home run from Manny Machado (playing for the Dominican Republic) with a leaping over-the-wall grab.

    Jones and Machado were Baltimore Orioles teammates at the time, and Machado showed respect by doffing his helmet. Game recognizes game.

San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park: Travis Ishikawa's Pennant-Winning Walk-off HR

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    The Giants won all three of their even-year championships—in 2010, 2012 and 2014—away from Oracle Park.

    So we'll turn to unlikely hero Travis Ishikawa, whose three-run walk-off homer in Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS propelled the Giants past the Cardinals.

    (You can also make an argument for Barry Bonds' 756th career home run on Aug. 7, 2007, which moved him past Hank Aaron on the all-time list.)

Seattle Mariners, T-Mobile Park: Felix Hernandez's Perfect Game

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    Of the 23 official perfect games thrown in MLB history, three were tossed in 2012. The final perfecto of that season, and the most recent one to date, belonged to Felix Hernandez.

    On Aug. 15, Hernandez retired 27 Rays hitters in succession, striking out 12 in a 1-0 M's victory.

    It was a notable bright spot for a Seattle club that's made the playoffs just twice since moving into T-Mobile Park in 1999, most recently in 2001.

St. Louis Cardinals, Busch Stadium: David Freese's Game 6 Walk-Off HR

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    In Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, with the score knotted 9-9, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese hit a walk-off home run to send the series to a seventh game.

    That came after Freese hit a game-tying triple in the ninth, which also deserves a place on this list.

    He followed those heroics with a pivotal two-run double in Game 7 as the Cards roared back to win the Fall Classic against the Rangers.

Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field: Rookie David Price Seals the Pennant

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    The Tampa Bay Rays built a commanding 3-1 lead in the 2008 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox.

    The Sox won the next two, however, setting up a pivotal Game 7 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay won it 3-1. Rookie left-hander David Price recorded four clutch outs, including a dramatic bases-loaded strikeout in the top of the eighth, to earn the save and send the Rays to their only World Series appearance. 

Texas Rangers, Globe Life Park: Winning the 2010 Pennant on A-Rod's Strikeout

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    The Texas Rangers won their first pennant in front of the hometown Arlington fans in 2010.

    They won the deciding Game 6 against the Yankees in particularly gratifying fashion, as Neftali Feliz struck out former Ranger Alex Rodriguez to seal the 6-1 victory.

    The Rangers would lose the World Series that year to the Giants and the following year's to the Cardinals, and haven't been back to the Fall Classic since. This year, they're moving into a shiny new yard with a chance to make some new memories.

Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Centre: Joe Carter's World Series Walk-off HR

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    In Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays needed one more win to bring a second trophy north of the border. 

    Joe Carter stepped to the plate in the ninth inning against Philadelphia Phillies reliever Mitch Williams with Toronto trailing 6-5 and two runners on.

    That's when Carter blasted a fastball over the left field wall and danced joyfully around the bases to the delight of the Canadian baseball contingent.

Washington Nationals, Nationals Park: Nationals Win the Pennant

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    The Washington Nationals won their first championship in 2019, but all four of their World Series triumphs came on the road against the Astros.

    The Nats' final home win of '19 was Game 4 of the NLCS, when they completed a sweep of the Cardinals with a 7-4 victory.

    It was the first pennant in franchise history and the first for a D.C.-based club since the Senators last made a Fall Classic appearance in 1933.

            

    All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.