The Five Biggest Home Runs Ever [VIDEO]
One of the highlights of MLB's All-Star Game week is the Home Run Derby, because whether or not you love the game of baseball, EVERYBODY loves a home run!
Like a knockout in boxing, there is a finality about it that you don't find in many other sports. It's a firm answer in a game that inspires a thousand questions.
A home run ball gets people out of their seats and behaving like kids to nab it. Catch one that's important enough and it could make you rich.
Prince Fielder won the competition a second time Monday night joining Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only men to accomplish that feat. Watching Fielder put his weight behind some of those moon shots is an impressive thing. Regardless of what you think about what kind of athlete he is, only a handful of people can punish a baseball the way he can.
Much respect, Son of Cecil.
Fielder's performance got the office thinking about the biggest home runs ever. There are certainly some big ones to choose from, but here are my Top 5…
Babe Ruth's Called Shot
This home run is big, but no one is certain that it actually happened the way some say it did. The legend that grew up around it, though, is what puts it on the list.
The legend came from Game 3 of Babe Ruth's last World Series in 1932 as the Bambino stepped to the plate against Chicago Cubs pitcher Charlie Root. News accounts of the day say the Cubs' dugout gave the Yankees slugger a hard time, but that Ruth just grinned and did...something. The papers never say exactly what.
Maybe he pointed at the fence. Maybe he was signaling the count. Maybe he was flagging the hot dog vendor to bring a couple down to the dugout after his at-bat.
Regardless, he drove Root's next pitch over the wall, and the Yankees drilled the Cubs in four straight games to win the World Series.
The goofy video to the left spoofing the old newsreels might have the best angle on it.
Roy Hobbs' Walk-Off Magic in "The Natural"
Okay, okay, this one DEFINITELY never happened, but c'mon -- "There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was!"
Look, I'm ambivalent about baseball. But, outside of "Hoosiers", there's no arguing that the very best sports movies are baseball movies. And the very best baseball movie ever was 1984's "The Natural".
Fine, come at me with your "Major Leagues" and your "Bull Durhams", your "Sandlots" and your "Field of Dreams". "The Natural" is still the best because it's A) a great movie, B) a great baseball movie, C) a great allegory about heroes and how greatness is so easily compromised. So many layers -- it's one of the few movies I can watch over and over again.
And if you want dramatic home runs, there are few scenes in all of filmdom better than the one to your left...
Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth's Home Run Record
I'll be honest -- I was close to picking Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's home record for this spot. Why? Because screw Bud Selig and baseball's hypocrisy over the whole steroid era! I saw Hank Aaron in the Commissioner's box at the Home Run Derby and wanted to throw something at the screen, specifically at Commissioner Selig who was obviously making a point by having Aaron in his box.
It has NOTHING to do with Hammerin' Hank, though, and there is no arguing that his 715th home run is so much bigger.
It didn't win a game, but it felled the record of a giant of the game.
Remember, that home run was hit on April 8th, 1974 -- many thought he would break the record at the end of the 1973 season, but it didn't happen, so Aaron had to endure an entire off-season filled with hate mail and death threats from people who didn't want a black man owning baseball's all-time home run mark.
And still, he did it...
Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World"
There's a great case to be made that this ought to be Number One, but I think there are two better because they're World Series classics. As great as Thomson's 1951 series-winning bomb was to lift the Giants over the Dodgers, it was in a playoff to determine who would be National League champions.
The homer capped an incredible New York Giants comeback, as the team went 37-7 over the last part of the season to erase a 13.5-game deficit. Nonetheless, they lost in six games to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
This is one of the most amazing bit of homer heroics in the history of the game, though, with the Giants trailing the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-2, with one out in the bottom of the 9th. Of course, everyone has heard Russ Hodges' famous call...
Kirk Gibson's Walk-Off World Series Homer
There is Bill Mazeroski's Game 7, Bottom of the 9th 1960 World Series walk-off classic. If I could make a 1A, I would put Maz's bomb to win the game and the series against the Yankees in this spot. Check out the link to that great moment below.
But Mazeroski was healthy and, though the Yankees were the favorites (when are they not?), Maz's Pittsburgh Pirates did take them to a 7th game. He was also the first batter up in Pittsburgh's half of the 9th.
To me, Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series Game One-winning homer was even more dramatic. Call it Gibson's Roy Hobbs moment. Broken down, beaten up, hobbled by injuries to both legs in the National League Championship Series, most everyone thought LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was crazy for putting in the aging former Tigers star as a pinch-hitter.
Add the fact that there were two outs in the bottom of the 9th in a game the Dodgers trailed, 4-3, and you wonder if Lasorda had OD'd on Slim-Fast.
The Oakland Athletics were also heavy favorites. They had won 104 games in the regular season, had both Bash Brothers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, in their prime, and the best closing pitcher in the game, Dennis Eckersley, was on the mound.
With a man on base, Gibson won the game with this homer that spurred the Dodgers to beat the A's for the World Series crown, 4-1.
It's what every kid dreams about doing. It's two-outs-bottom-of-the-9th hero time.
It's the biggest, best home run ever.