They have set the stadium alight and silenced more than a few home fans – home runs have always been special. However, there is something extra special about these babies! Let’s take a look at some of the most important home runs in baseball playoff history.
10. Chris Burke
The longest postseason game in MLB history ended because Chris Burke hit one out of the park. Apparently, after 18 innings and 6 hours of baseball, Burke decided to bring things to a close by hitting Joey Devine out of the ballpark. That hit put the Houston Astros into the National League Championship Series, which they won and then in the World Series, which they also won after a 44-year gap.
09. Carlton Fisk
Game 6 of the 1975 World Series saw Carlton Fisk hit Reds’ pitcher Pat Darcy along the wee edges of the foul line. No one can forget Fisk jumping up and down, trying to will the ball into staying ahead of the foul line. The ball hit the foul pole and got the Boston Red Sox the win they were looking for. Had this won them the world series, the hit would have ranked higher, but the Reds won Game 7 and took the World Series title.
08. Magglio Ordonez
The first pennant winning home run since 2003, Ordonez gave the Detroit Tigers a 4-0 clean sweep over the Oakland Athletics. With the game tied at 3-3 at the bottom of the ninth, and with two runners on base, Ordonez hit a three run homer and gave the Tigers their first pennant in over two decades.
07. Aaron Boone
It was 3-3 at the 2003 ALCS with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox going back and forth. In the final game, the Yankees dragged a 4-0 Red Sox lead to tie to score at 5-5 and send the game into extra innings. Boone stepped up, in the bottom of the 11th and hammered Tim Wakefield over left field to beat their arch rivals and bring their 39th pennant title in history.
06. Chris Chambliss
Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS saw the Yankees up against the Kansas City Royals. It had been a dozen years since the Yankees had won the title and Chambliss’ walk-off home run at the bottom of the ninth gave the team a 7-6 win over the Royals.
05. Kirby Puckett
The Minnesota Twins went into Game Six of the 1991 World Series, against the Atlanta Braves, needing a win. After blowing a one run lead in the 7th inning, Kirby Puckett was brought in to bat in the 11th inning. Tied at 3-3, the match changed course after Puckett sent the ball into the stands, forcing Game Seven. The Twins would eventually go on to win Game Seven as well.
04. David Ortiz
It may not have been a series ending shot but Big Papi’s championship season with the Boston Red Sox had a sensational closing in hand. With the Yankees facing them in the 2004 ALCS and looking strong, the Red Sox managed to force an extra innings in the ninth inning. It wasn’t until the 12th inning that Ortiz finally got a chance and smashed home a two-run home run. The Red Sox would go on to win that game and every single game for the rest of the season, beating the Yankees over seven games and then sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918.
03. Kirk Gibson
At the 1988 World Series, the Oakland Athletics were the favourites for the title. To top it off, for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kirk Gibson was injured. In the series opener, at the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers were trailing 4-3, with a runner on first. Gibson hobbled on to bat, hit a few foul balls, let the count reach 3 & 2, before picking up a slider and sending it into the bleachers over right field. The sight of Gibson hobbling around the bases, fist in air, became one of the most famous shots in the history of baseball. The Dodgers got the confidence to go on and win against the mighty Athletics in just 5 games.
02. Joe Carter
Playing the 1993 NL Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the defending World Series Champions, the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to battle it out. With the Blue Jays leading 3-2 in the series, the Phillies were looking to fight back and had a 6-5 lead at the bottom of the ninth, in Game Six. While Mitch Williams took to the mound, and two runners on bases, Joe Carter hit a three run home run to end the World Series. This was only the second time in the history of baseball when the World Series was ended with a walk-off home run.
01 Bill Mazeroski
And this was the first! In Game Seven of the 1960 World Series, the New York Yankees were favoured heavily to win the title. The game was topsy-turvy, with the Pittsburgh Pirates taking a 4-1 lead. The Yankees then came back to make it 7-4 before the Pirates again turned things around to 9-7, in their favour! At the top of the ninth, the game was tied at 9-a-piece. However, at the bottom of the ninth, Mazeroski stepped up and hit Ralph Terry over left field to end the game. Despite being dominated throughout the series, the Pirates came back to win the title in the dying moments.