Top 10 Home Runs (League Playoffs)
To celebrate the anniversary of Joe Carter’s World Series winning walk-off home run, we are compiling a list of the top ten home runs in league playoffs (part 1) and the World Series (part 2).
Part 1 begins and ends with one phrase – “the Giants win the pennant,” with a five Yankee and Red Sox home runs in between.
Bobby Thompson – New York Giants v. Brooklyn Dodgers (1 Game Playoff)
Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the 9th inning, the Giants began to rally. They cut the lead to 4-2 and had two men, when Bobby Thompson stepped to the plate to his “the shot heard round the world”. “The Giants Win The Pennant, The Giants Win the Pennant!” They would lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Chris Chambliss – New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals (ALCS Game 5)
The New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals would meet in the ALCS three years in a row and four out of five years beginning with this series in 1976. In the deciding fifth game, the teams were tied 6-6 when Chris Chambliss stepped to the plate. Chambliss batted .504 in the Series and was responsible for 1/3 of the Yankees runs in the Series, including this pennant winning blast. The Yankees would lose 4-0 to the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
Bucky Dent – New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox (1 Game Playoff)
With the Yankees down 2-0 with two-outs in the 7th inning, batting ninth was their weakest hitter Bucky Dent (who unbeknownst to him was using a cork bat). His three run homer over the Green Monster put the Yankees up 3-2 and the Yankees held on to win 5-4. Dent did not hit another home run in the post season, but did bat .417 with 7 RBIs in the World Series to earn MVP as the Yankees beat the Dodgers. Dent would only hit 2 home runs the entire next season.
Steve Garvey – San Diego Padres v Chicago Cubs (NLCS Game 4)
In the San Diego Padres first playoff appearance, they were facing elimination down 2-1 in the series. In the bottom of the 9th, Steve Garvey hit a two-run shot to send the series to a decisive Game 5. The Padres would win the series before losing to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series 4-0.
Dave Henderson – Boston Red Sox v California Angels (ALCS Game 5)
The California Angels and pitcher Donnie Moore were one strike away from their first World Series. I had actually just turned on the television when Dave Henderson came to bat and remember yelling to my wife, “come watch, the Red Sox are about to get eliminated.” Henderson’s home run did not win the game, as the Angels scored an equalizer in the bottom of the 9th to send the game into extra innings where the Red Sox won in the 11th. The Red Sox would win the remaining two games at Fenway Park, before losing to the Mets in the World Series 4-3. The home run haunted Moore, who would later commit suicide.
Aaron Boone – New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox (ALCS Game 7)
The Red Sox were five outs from going to the World Series when the Yankees tagged a tired Pedro Martinez for three runs to tie the game. In the bottom of the 10th, Aaron Boone, who was batting .125 in the series, won the Yankees’ 39th pennant.
David Ortiz – Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees (ALCS Game 4)
Down 3-0 in the series and trialing by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Red Sox tied the game to send it to extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th, Manny Ramirez led off with a single and then David Ortiz hit a blast to right field that launched began the Red Sox’s 8-game winning streak that ended with a World Series victory over St. Louis.
Ortiz also had an extra-inning walk-off homer to complete a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS.
Magglio Ordonez – Detroit Tigers v Oakland A’s (ALCS Game 4)
In the bottom of the 9th inning, the Detroit Tigers had two men on base with two outs and only needed one run to complete a sweep and return to the World Series for the first time since 1984. Magglio Ordonez, who was 2-13 in the first three games, clinch the series with his second home run of the game. The Tigers would lose to St. Louis in the World Series.
Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers (ALCS Game 2)
It was the bottom of the 11th inning, no outs and bases loaded. Nelson Cruz had hit a home run in the 7th inning to tie the game and his grand slam would win Game 2. He would have 6 home runs in the series, as the Rangers made their first trip to the World Series, where they lost to St. Louis 4-3.
Travis Ishikawa- San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals (NLCS Game 5)
While three-ALCS series have ended with walk-off home runs, the Giants Travis Ishikawa became the first to do so in the NLCS with his 9th inning shot in Game 5 against St. Louis. The Giants would win the World Series 4-3 over the Kansas City Royals.