Jim Edmonds and His Top-Five Defensive Plays (With Video)

Christina De NicolaCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2010

Jim Edmonds and His Top-Five Defensive Plays (With Video)

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    When Jim Edmonds retires, he will go down as one of the best defensive center fielders.

    For six MLB teams, the eight-time Gold Glove Award winner has made SportsCenter top plays that dazzled viewers and closed out victories.

    Opposing players and teammates alike stared on in disbelief. Diving catches became a regular occurrence for the long-time Angel and Cardinal.

    At 40 years old, Fullerton, Calif. believes he still has baseball left in him.

    With the Cincinnati Reds pushing toward an NL Central title, they traded for Edmonds and hope he can provide veteran leadership and experience.

    In honor of the recent move, here are five of his top defensive plays.

No. 5 Game Over

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    What better way to end the game than by making a diving catch at Wrigley Field?

    Well, that's just what Jim Edmonds did in a 9-6 victory over the Florida Marlins in 2008.

    Although he had his struggles with the infamous ivy wall during this season, Jorge Cantu's drive into the gap went nowhere near it.

    Edmonds had no trouble diving for the final out in left-center field. 

    Enjoy the catch at the 1:28 mark. It's one of Edmonds' trademark plays.

No. 4 Over the Hill

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    During his brief stint with the Chicago Cubs, Jim Edmonds faced a familiar NL Central foe.

    At Minute Maid Park in 2008, Edmonds got the best of the Houston Astros by making an over-the-shoulder catch on Tal's Hill.

    The 20-degree angled hill proved to be no match for the veteran centerfielder who had his back to the play.

    It became one of the 2008 TYIB Top Play Nominees. Check it out, starting at 1:57.

No. 3 Scaling the Wall

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    Ironically enough, one of Jim Edmonds' most iconic catches came against his new team, the Cincinnati Reds.

    The batter was Jason LaRue and the year was 2004.

    LaRue hit a deep shot to center field, but on a race to the wall, Edmonds scaled it and reached his entire right arm over the fence to catch it.

    Not only was it impressive. It ended the game.

    "The Top-50 Best Damn Amazing Catches" named it No. 13 on its list. Be sure to check it out, starting at 1:48.

No. 2 Bringing Home the Pennant

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    With a ticket to the World Series on the line, Jim Edmonds proved to be the difference maker for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    In game seven of the 2004 NLCS, the Houston Astros led 1-0 with runners on first and second and one out in the second inning.

    Looking to add onto the lead, Brad Ausmus drove a ball into the left-center field gap, but Edmonds dove, made the catch, and prevented two runs from scoring.

    "If the ball gets by Edmonds, you probably have two runs in and a man on second. It's a 3-0 game," Ausmus would tell reporters. "It was a spectacular play. It not out of the ordinary for Jimmy Edmonds. That may have saved the game for them."

    St. Louis would go on to win the game 5-2, and take the National League pennant. 

No. 1 Simply the Best

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    On June 10, 1997 at Kauffman Stadium, Jim Edmonds made arguably the greatest catch in Major League Baseball history.

    In an otherwise routine game between the Anaheim Angels and Kansas City Royals, the eight-time Gold Glover played shallow with David Howard at the plate.

    Two men were on with a tie score in the fifth inning.

    As soon as the ball was lined to straightaway center, Edmond turned around and raced toward the wall, diving and fully extending to make the catch over his shoulder.

    He landed on the warning track, not too far from the wall, and amazed teammates, opposing players, and umpires alike.

    "That was one of the greatest plays ever," umpire Dave Phillips would later tell the Kansas City Star. "That made Willie Mays' play look routine."

    "The Top-50 Best Damn Amazing Catches" made it No. 1 on its list. It can be found at the 3:20 mark.