Baseball is a game where some of the most meaningful plays are routine and some of the most eye catching plays are meaningless. A single in the 12th inning can be, and usually is, more valuable than a homerun in the first. Baseball is a game of timing and that’s why it is hard to judge what plays are truly the best.
Is it better to judge the play solely on difficulty? Or does it make more sense to rely more heavily on how much the play meant in terms of winning? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Great plays don’t happen in April when games are just about meaningless, they happen in October. Great plays aren’t routine, they tiptoe the line of improbable and impossible. Great plays happen by great players.
Here are the top 5 plays in MLB history.
- Carlton Fisk’s Walk-Off Homerun
It was the bottom of the 12th, in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. The Red Sox were on the brink of elimination in a potentially series ending game. Fisk steps to the plate and on just the second pitch of the at bat, he rips a ball high into left field. With the ball sailing towards the foul pole Fisk (and presumably the tens of thousands of fans in attendance) began waving his hands, jumping in the air. The ball struck the foul pole on top of the Green Monster to force a game seven and potentially end the cities 57-year World Series drought. Though they lost in game 7, this moment will always be seen as one of the most exciting moments in all of baseball.
- Derek Jeter’s Backhand Flip
Derek Jeter is the type of player that always seems to be in the right place at the right time. With the Yankees were down 2-0 and on the brink of elimination in the 2000 ALDS, every run counted. Jeter made that clear when he made one the greatest defensive plays in all of baseball. With Jeremy Giambi running down the third base line hoping to score on a ball hit in the outfield, Right Fielder Shane Spencer attempted to throw him out from the outfield. But after a bad throw to the cut off, it appeared Giambi would score with ease. However, Jeter came all the way from his shortstop position to scoop the ball from the first base line, and flip it to Posada to save the run and the series, which they went on to win.
- Willie May’s Catch
Willie May’s catch is arguably the most famous play in baseball history. Every little leaguer has seen and tried to mimic the way he caught that ball. That catch and throw saved 2 runs on what would have been a 4-2 lead. The play is so high on this list because of its level of difficulty. To make a catch on the run, with your back turned to the ball, and then have the intelligence to turn around and immediately throw the ball back is nothing short of spectacular.