Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Baseball Notes

These are some odds and ends of some of my favorite memories of watching baseball. They aren't in any order and although I tried to hit my normal 10, I felt after #8, that I'd just be throwing things in there, if I remember something later, I can always come back and update. This post is inspired by Derek Jeter getting his 3,000th hit. The player that to me is the #1 reason the Yankees have been so good for close to the last 20 years. (and the reason I'm so sad the Cleveland Indians drafted Paul Shuey at #2 that year)

1. Jeter's Flip, this play to me is the type of understanding and hustle that a great player does to separate himself from the good ones. (It doesn't hurt that it was in the playoffs)

2. Kirk Gibson's pinch hit home run off of Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley was beyond dominant that season, Gibson was a wreck after the LCS. The video is fairly long but the only one that captures a bit of the drama of him actually coming to bat. (Fast forward to about 3:30 to get close to the clip) This home run changed the series and the Dodgers quickly disposed of the A's.

3. Knoblach/Gagne fake tag from '91 World Series Game 7. This was Jack Morris' masterpiece, but it would have had a very different ending if not for Knoblach and Gagne's fake double play move to freeze Lonnie Smith. (8th inning of game seven at 4:50 in video)

4. Jack Morris pitching 10 innings of scoreless baseball in game 7 of the 1991 World Series. For the recap of the series see the video under #3 above. An amazing performance in a sport that doesn't often get a chance to let a player put it all on the line for one game.

5. Albert Belle and Tony Pena's home runs in the 1995 Division series Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately I couldn't find any video. This was the first playoff game for the Indians in my lifetime. Belle hit his homer in the middle of the game after the Red Sox had an umpire confiscated his bat for testing (for cork) at the request of the Red Sox. After the home run, the cameras caught Albert in the dugout pointing at his bicep and yelling over to the Red Sox "Cork this!" Pena hit his home run in the bottom of the 13th and ran so fast around the bases that if you blink you missed him. Since this was a 5 game series (the first year of division series) this let Cleveland fans breath a huge sigh of relief.

6. Kenny Lofton's 1995 Game 6 ALCS performance.. Cleveland fans were terrified of Randy Johnson as was the most of baseball in 1995. Luckily the Yankees forced the Mariners to use him a lot in the ALDS, which allowed the Indians to get a few less looks at him. Lofton in Game 6 of the ALCS with a moment inspired by the movie "Major League"

7. Orel Hershiser's 59 1/2 scoreless inning streak. 1988 was all about Orel Hershiser, in what I consider one of the most dominant seasons by a pitcher ever.

8. Ken Griffey Jr. hitting. One of the most perfect swings to watch. This was homer #629.

This was homer #100, grace in hitting.

At the end of their careers it will be very hard to decide who was better all time. Ken Griffey Jr. or Albert Pujols. Although as a left hander, Griffey's swing was far better to watch.

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