Baseball Memories That Will Give You the Chills
With no current MLB action, there are plenty of moments from the past to give you the baseball feels
It seems like it’s been approximately six years since a real baseball game has been played. With COVID-19 clouding the immediate future of the sport, there is no way to know when action will resume. Until then, looking to the past is the best way to get respite, as the game has produced many chill-worthy moments over the years that immediately remind fans why they love baseball so much.
Vin Scully Reciting the Field of Dreams Speech: There is little that elucidates the beauty of baseball like the voice of legendary announcer Vin Scully and the classic film, Field of Dreams. Put them together and you’re practically begging to see a fan cry. In the movie, James Earl Jones give a soliloquy on what draws people to baseball. His version is pretty damned good, but Scully delivering it takes it to a whole new level.
Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World: One of the best experiences in baseball is hearing the unbridled joy in an announcer’s voice as they call unexpected plays; especially those in the biggest of situations. The first call to truly go viral was in 1951 when New York Giants’ outfielder Bobby Thomson hit a walk-off home run against Ralph Branca and the Brooklyn Dodgers to send his team to the World Series. It was the first game ever nationally televised, but the most famous of the announcing calls was Russ Hodges, who couldn’t contain his excitement, as he broadcast for WMCA-Radio.
Carlton Fisk Waving His Home Run Fair: In 1975, the Boston Red Sox were in the midst of a stretch that had seen them go nearly 60 years without winning a World Series. That year, they made it to the Fall Classic, squaring off against the Cincinnati Reds. Facing elimination, star Boston catcher Carlton Fisk hit a game-winning walk-off home run in Game 6 at Fenway Park. The ball was lasered down the left-field line, and cameras caught Fisk attempting to wave the ball fair until it finally cleared the fence. Legend has it that the only reason his reaction was caught on camera was because the cameraman, who was stationed inside the Green Monster, was startled by a large rat, and in his panic neglected his duties of following the flight of the ball momentarily.
Kirk Gibson Hits Climactic 1988 World Series Home Run: The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 1988 World Series by taking four out of five games from the Oakland Athletics. The matchup got off to an all-time start when L.A. outfielder Kirk Gibson hit a walk-off home run against Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1. What made it so unforgettable was that Gibson, who was pinch hitting, was suffering from significant injuries to both of his legs and could barely move. Eckersley was the best reliever in the game, making the outcome almost unfathomable. As called by Vin Scully, there are few moments as delightful as this in baseball history (unless you’re an Oakland fan).
Ted Williams’ Appearance at the 1999 All Star Game: The Splendid Splinter was simply one of the best players and hitters in the history of baseball, spending his entire incredible career with the Boston Red Sox. Thus, his appearance at the 1999 All Star Game, held at Fenway Park, was a very special moment. Although he was in his 80s at the time and health issues had robbed him of his mobility, he entered the venue to roaring cheers. The moment when the All Stars from both leagues converged on him at the pitchers’ mound to shake his hand, get a word of wisdom and generally bask in his presence is a spine-tingling MLB memory.
Willie Mays Makes “The Catch”: The Hall-of-Fame center fielder made perhaps the most famous play in baseball history during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Playing for the New York Giants, in the eighth inning of a tie game, he sprinted to the deepest reaches of the cavernous Polo Ground and made an over-the-shoulder catch of a smash off the bat of Vic Wertz. He then immediately spun around and made a perfect throw to the infield to prevent a run from scoring. The Giants not only went on to win the game, they also took the Series. The announcer’s call of disbelief was all of us who have ever seen the play and still can’t figure out how Mays did it.