As the Baseball Playoffs hit their stride and present us with two Game 5's today, I thought it a good time to re-count my Top 10 moments from the Baseball Post-Season in my baseball watching lifetime (my first memory is the 1980 World Series between Kansas City and Philadelphia).
10. Roy Halladay - Doc No-No (Video) - I have always like Roy Halladay. Probably because there is something old-school about him. He pitches complete games. He is not flashy. It was great to see him throw the only post-season no-hitter in my lifetime.
9. Curt Schilling - What is that Ketchup? (Video) - I preface that Curt Schilling is possibly my favorite pitcher of all-time. He was a mainstay on my fantasy teams in the 90's and 00's. The stage of the Red Sox-Yankees playoff series in 2004 was surreal anyway. Then in Game 6, Schilling comes out with the true "red sock" and sends it to Game 7. I was too young to vividly remember my hometown Brewers vs the Cardinals in 1982, so the Red Sox-Yankees series ranks as my favorite series of all-time. Plus the Brewers lost.
8. Jorge Orta - Ump you need glasses!! (no video) - I was rooting for the Royals. How could I like the Cardinals after 1982? Willie McGee was my least favorite player. All that said. Jorge Orta was out and the Cardinals really won the 1985 World Series. And without his Game 7 performance, Bret Saberhagen would have had a fairly average career bio.
7. Jack Morris - 10 innings by a starter (no video) - Probably the greatest pitchers dual in my 30 plus years. John Smoltz and Jack Morris going toe-to-toe. Kent Hrbek had already tossed Ron Gant off first base and Kirby Puckett had already been the Game 6 hero earlier in the series. Game 7 was about Morris and his dominance over not 9 but 10 innings. Poor Gene Larkin is hardly remembered for his walk-off hit.
6. Steve Bartman - The curse of the goat - (Video) - ESPN recently chronicled this one in-depth in their 30 for 30 series. I wanted the Cubs to lose. I think the curse is fun. The problem with it all is that the Bartman play was a foul ball and there is no guarantee Alou would have caught that. The Cubs still led the game 3-0 after Castillo ended up walking. Its the events after that led to an 8-run inning that are inexplicable.
5. The Earthquake - We now interrupt this program (Video) - Real life took over in 1989. It puts things in perspective. This is one of those events I will always remember because I was watching the baseball coverage.
4. Joe Carter - The Pitch from Mitch (Video) - I actually did not see this one live. I have seen it many, many times now. It still stands as the only World Series ending walk-off home run in my lifetime. As an aside, I really like Mitch Williams as an analyst.
3. Sid Bream - How slow can you go (Video) - It feels like this play lasted forever, as Bream beat the Barry Bonds throw home and the Pirates lost their best World Series chance in the last 30 years. I always like the David Justice tackle after he scores.
2. Kirk Gibson - I don't believe what I just saw (Video) - Gibson didn't use blood on his sock. He used a hitch in his giddy-up to provide one of the most thrilling sports moments I have seen. Eckersley was untouchable. The home run was improbable. The fist pump is unforgettable.
1. Billy Buckner - Through the 5 hole (Video) - Our entire 6th grade class had a bet on the 1986 World Series with our math teacher. He was a huge Red Sox fan and we all bet him a Kit Kat candy bar and we got the Mets. He was about to collect over 20 Kit Kat's with a 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the 10th. The first two batters were retired. Then things changed, culminating with the ball going between Buckner's legs. Quickly though, what would have happened had Buckner fielded the ball? Would the Red Sox have been World Series champs? Not necessarily, as the game had already been tied on a wild pitch and simply would have moved to the 11th inning. Everyone remember the Buckner mishap, but the game was already blown. And I eventually enjoyed a Kit Kat after Game 7.