Nelson Cruz home run

The memorable homers I missed

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As I suspected, I missed the most memorable home runs by a number of teams yesterday.  Here, based on reader feedback, are the most egregious oversights and a few other random observations:

Yankees

There wasn’t strong dissent here, probably because there was so much to choose from, but there were some interesting alternative suggestions. One person mentioned one I hadn’t considered: Chris Chambliss’ homer in the 1976 ALCS that killed the Royals.  The rationale: it was a bigger “we’re back” moment than Reggie’s World Series homers in 1977.  Interesting choice. I don’t agree with it, but interesting.

Red Sox

No super-strong opposition to the Fisk homer, but some people found the Bernie Carbo homer from earlier in Game Six more of a big deal as it happened. Again, respect for Carbo’s shot, but I’m staying with Fisk.

Blue Jays

There were a surprising number of Jays fans who contend that Roberto Alomar’s homer off Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS was a way bigger deal than Joe Carter’s 1993 World Series game-winner. The thinking is that Alomar’s was an exorcism home run, symbolically casting out the demons of the Jays’ 1980s failures. This was a recurring theme in the criticisms of my choices — homers that meant for to a team’s fans based on past history than for the actual moment itself — and I suppose I understand it because, like I said yesterday, this stuff is subjective.  But to the non-hardcore Jays fans, Alomar’s doesn’t register twenty years like it did at the time. Hard to beat a walkoff World Series shot.

Rays

This one was a pure miss. Almost everyone says it was Dan Johnson’s big homer to fend off the Red Sox in the heat of the 2008 playoff race was the biggest. I have to agree.

White Sox

Another pure miss. There are two bigger homers than that Geoff Blum one I cited, both in Game Two of the 2005 Series: Paul Konerko’s grand slam and Scott Podsednik’s game-winner.  All of the memorable White Sox homers are detailed by Brett Ballantini over at CSN Chicago.

Indians

Another monster whiff on my part. As Vince Grzegorek noted, there are many candidates bigger — or at least way more recent — than Ken Kelner’s 1948 shot: Tony Pena’s shot in Game One of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox and, later in that game, Albert Belle’s famous bicep-flexing after he hit a homer in the 11th and the Sox had his bat confiscated. But the biggest was probably Sandy Alomar’s homer off Mariano Rivera in the 1997 ALDS.

Rangers

Nelson Cruz’s shot in Game Six of last year’s ALCS, which put a dagger in the Yankees. Just plum forgot about it, which makes me wonder about my short term memory.

Athletics

A lot of people want to go with Jose Canseco’s moon shot into the eleventeenth deck of the Sky Dome or Mark McGwire’s game-winning solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1988 World Series.

Phillies

I figured that if I got this one wrong that I’d hear holy hell about it, what with the belief among Phillies fans that I hate them and everything they stand for. Yet there were only a couple of people who disagreed with Dick Sisler’s 1950 pennant-clinching shot.  Those couple of people have a pretty good argument, though, inasmuch as their suggestion — Mike Schmidt’s blast in the top of the 11th on the second-to-last day of the 1980 season, securing the NL East title over the Expos — was tough stuff. And has the benefit of actually being remembered by a decent number of living people.

Nationals

Everyone who had an opinion said it was Ryan Zimmerman’s walkoff homer to beat the Braves on the debut night of Nationals Park a couple of years ago. Given that I was actually watching this game and cursing the television after it happened, you’d think I would have remembered it.

Cardinals

I didn’t get this one wrong — Ozzie Smith’s was the best — but I was surprised at how many people want to cite the Pujols-off-Lidge shot in the 2005 playoffs. Well, sorry. Great homer. A defining moment in a great career. But it is dwarfed by Smith’s on sheer WTF-ness alone.

Padres

People are way more enamored with Steve Garvey’s homer in Game Two of the 1984 NLCS, and I have to agree, I totally blew that one. But in my defense, I do like to write the name “Kurt Bevacqua.”

I think that’s it.  On everything else I believe that there are either (a) some disagreements but not so great to make me change my mind; or (b) no disagreement whatsoever.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.