With organized competitions dating back to 1876, no sport in the United States has more history than professional baseball. This rich history is continuously celebrated and honored every year by the players and fans. Despite the longevity of the sport, you are still guaranteed to see something new and special every time you watch a game. These are the three best plays in MLB history.
Kirk Gibson Walk-Off
Every baseball player dreams of hitting a game-winning home run when they are a kid. The walk-off home run is even more special when you can do it in the World Series. Kirk Gibson lived his childhood dream against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Gibson’s injured legs kept him out of the starting lineup, but they did not stop him from pinch-hitting in the game’s biggest moment. After he launched the winning homer into the stands, Gibson limped his way around the bases as the rest of the Dodgers celebrated.
The sport of baseball has seen its share of amazing defensive plays, but none of them were more important or impressive than Willie May’s over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. The dimensions of the Polo Grounds is what makes the play truly spectacular. The ball traveled nearly 480 feet in center field before it landed in the glove of Willie Mays. With the score tied, Mays’ spectacular catch helped the San Francisco Giants win the game and the series. This play was so memorable that die-hard baseball fans simply call it “The Catch.”
Ozzie Smith Diving Stop
The only other contender for the best defensive play in MLB history is Ozzie Smith’s great barehanded diving stop in 1978. Smith went to dive for a ball hit up the middle of the field before it hit a rock and took a horrible hop. The ball jumped back to the left forcing Smith to stick his arm completely behind his body. Not only did Ozzie grab the ball, but he also stood up and threw the runner out at first. There still has not been a defensive play like this one in baseball history, and it simply has to be seen to be fully believed.