One of the worst things about baseball is that some of the best baseball moments are over in the blink of an eye. That’s why we thought it was essential to put together a list of the greatest MLB moments of all time.
That way, fans won’t be able to forget them. Over the years, there have been funny MLB moments and famous MLB moments, but we wanted to cover the best MLB moments. The moments that matter and reverberate throughout the great history of the game.
Best baseball moments
Naturally, it’s not easy picking out the best and biggest MLB moments in well over 100 years of baseball history. After all, we wanted to find the best baseball moments that all fans will view as significant and meaningful regardless of their favorite team. Of course, there is still so much debate about what qualities as one of the greatest MLB moments of all time. But we feel good about our list of the 25 best baseball moments in the history of the game.
25. Bill Wambsganass completes unassisted triple play
It’s been more than a century since the 1920 World Series, and yet nobody has completed an unassisted triple-play in the World Series.
To be fair, it was a fluky play with Wambsganass merely in the right place at the right time. But it’s still one of those amazing moments that will always live in the history books.
24. Dock Ellis throws No-Hitter
Granted, the no-hitter Dock Ellis threw on June 12, 1970, was one of many no-hitters in baseball history. But finding out later that he did so while under the influence of LSD makes the occasion even more special.
If nothing else, it’s one of those wacky baseball moments that should never be forgotten.
23. Miracle Mets win 1969 World Series
The word miracle isn’t tossed around lightly in baseball, but when the 1969 Mets won the World Series, that’s what it felt like. Keep in mind the Mets had only been a franchise since 1962, and since then they had put together some of the worst seasons ever witnessed. They had never even finished better than ninth in the National League standings that year.
But when the Cubs sputtered in the second half of the season amidst injuries, the Mets were there to take advantage. They also had to beat a heavily favored Orioles team in the World Series after Baltimore won 109 games during the regular season. That’s why when the Mets won Game 5 of the World Series to win their first championship in franchise history, it was considered one of the great miracles and one of the best baseball moments of all time.
22. Red Sox breaking World Series curse
If you believe the “Curse of the Bambino” the Red Sox finally winning the World Series in 2004 was surely a great moment. The fact that the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to get to that moment made it all the sweeter.
Given that Boston experienced four Game 7 World Series losses during the so-called curse helped to make this an important moment.
21. Cubs breaking World Series curse
Outside of Cleveland sports fans who saw their team blow a 3-1 series lead, most fans will agree that the Cubs breaking their supposed curse in 2016 was a big moment.
It was the team’s first World Series title since 1908 with countless heartbreaks during that time. For a drought that long to end for such an iconic franchise, it’s a big deal for the entire sport.
20. Bucky Dent homers to win one-game Playoff
Most would agree that the Yankees and Red Sox have the top rivalry in baseball. That’s what makes the one-game playoff between the teams in 1978 such a memorable occasion.
Of course, Bucky Dent’s home run is the most memorable part of that game, leaving a lasting impression on that timeless rivalry.
19. Mets comeback in Game 6 of 1986 World Series
For the Red Sox, it was heartbreak, but for the rest of the baseball world, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series is an iconic game that will never be forgotten. On two occasions, the Red Sox were one strike away from a championship.
But the Mets found a way to rally despite having nobody on base with two outs and trailing 5-3. It’s still mesmerizing how things unfolded in the bottom of the 10th, including the infamous error by Bill Buckner that allowed the winning run to score.
18. Frank Robinson breaks managerial color barrier
While this may not be as memorable as Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier as a player, it’s arguably just as important in baseball history. Frank Robinson pushed for years to be the first black manager in baseball with Cleveland finally giving him that chance as a player-manager in 1975.
It was another big step for racial equality in sports, coming a little less than three decades after Jackie broke the color barrier as a player.
17. Denny McLain wins 30th game
It’s almost certain that this feat will never be matched, which is why Denny McLain winning his 30th game in 1968 is such a big deal. At that point, it had been 34 years since the last 30-game winner Dizzy Dean, who was in the stadium when McLain won his 30th in 1968.
For the record, McLain would go on to earn a 31st win before the end of the season. But winning his 30th game on September 14th, 1968, was the culmination of one of the great single-season pitching performances in baseball history.
16. Babe Ruth Calls His Shot
This is one of the great folk stores in baseball history. Since we don’t have video, it’s hard to say whether Babe Ruth was pointing to the bleachers or at pitcher Charlie Root, who yielded a three-run homer to Ruth earlier in the game.
Everyone who was at Wrigley Field on October 1, 1932, has their own interpretation of what happened. But the story has been romanticized so much that you almost want to think that Ruth called his shot and then delivered it by hitting a home run to center field.
15. Cal Ripken Jr. becomes baseball’s iron man
Lou Gehrig is such a revered figure in baseball history that it was truly monumental when Cal Ripken surpassed him for consecutive games played. Of course, we could see it coming for years, knowing that Ripken wasn’t going to allow himself to be taken out of the lineup.
It’s a record not of skill but durability and persistence, which is part of why fans hold the likes of Gehrig and Ripken in such high esteem and why this record captured the attention of all fans.
14. Carlton Fisk waves his home run fair
Surely, nobody believes that Fisk waving his arms helped his home run in the 1975 World Series stay fair. But it surely made the moment far more dramatic and memorable. Keep in mind it was a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the World Series to force a Game 7.
It would have been even better if the Red Sox had actually won Game 7, but it was a magical baseball moment nonetheless.
13. Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in World Series
There is perhaps nothing more difficult in baseball than throwing a perfect game. The fact that Larsen did so in a World Series game boggles the mind.
Given the situation and the pressure on Don Larsen, it was arguably the finest pitched game in baseball history and a moment that may never be matched ever again.
12. The Catch
When two words are all it takes to remind someone of an event, it has to be considered among the best baseball moments ever.
The actual catch that Willie Mays made in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series was just incredible and only could have been pulled off by one of the game’s elite players.
It also came in the 8th inning of a tied game, holding the tie for May and the Giants. While the Giants would go on to sweep the series, the course of the series changed with that catch, which is arguably the greatest defensive play in baseball history.
11. Reggie Jackson’s three home run game in World Series
What’s more memorable than hitting one iconic home run in the World Series? Hitting three of them in one game.
After hitting two home runs during the first five games of the 1977 World Series, Reggie Jackson smacked three balls over the Yankee Stadium fence in Game 6 against the Dodgers. All three homers came on the first pitch of his at-bat and against three different pitchers, which is part of what makes this among the best moments of all time. Those three homers by Jackson helped give the Yankees an 8-4 win while clinching the World Series in six games while also earning Jackson the name of Mr. October.
10. Kirby Puckett forces Game 7 of the 1991 World Series
While Kirby Puckett didn’t win the World Series with this homer, he came close. Minnesota was facing elimination in Game 6, and with the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th, Puckett made sure there was a Game 7 by smashing a home run to left-center field.
As soon as Puckett made contact, it was clear the ball was heading over the wall. The moment was made all the more memorable by Jack Buck’s line of “And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” after the crack of the bat. The following night, the Twins won again to win a world championship.
9. Kirk Gibson’s hobbling home run
It’s undeniable that one of the best baseball moments ever is watching a player who can barely walk without being in pain hit one of the most important home runs of his career. Kirk Gibson was nursing injuries in both legs heading into the 1988 World Series, keeping him out of the starting lineup. But in crunch time, he was called upon to face Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley. Not believing that Gibson was available, Eckersley pitched around Mike Davis, putting the tying run on base, only for Gibson to come to the plate.
After working the count to 3-2, Gibson homered over the right-field wall and proceeded to limp around the bases after a triumphant walk-off homer. It would become Gibson’s only plate appearance of the series, but it gave the Dodgers an early 1-0 series lead on their way to winning the series 4-1.
8. Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to win 1993 World Series
On our list of the best baseball moments ever, there are only a couple of home runs that top Joe Carter’s home run that ended the 1993 World Series. While it didn’t happen in Game 7, the Phillies were close to forcing a Game 7 with closer Mitch Williams on the mound.
But Carter made sure that didn’t happen, hitting a three-run homer to give the Blue Jays an 8-6 win and clinch the series. World Series rarely end in a more dramatic fashion, which is why Tom Cheek’s call of “Touch ’em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!” remains one of the most iconic broadcast moments in baseball history.
7. Pete Rose breaks all-time hit record
In terms of on-field accomplishments, this is surely one of the greatest MLB moments of all time.
For over 50 years, Ty Cobb’s record of 4,191 career hits stood. But Pete Rose finally caught up to him and passed him in September 1985 when he hit a single to left field against San Diego’s Eric Show. The game stopped while players on both sides recognized the accomplishment, as Rose broke a record that will in all likelihood never be broken again.
6. Mike Piazza’s post 9/11 home run
Anyone who remembers 9/11 will know what this home run meant to a grieving country. This came in the first game the Mets played at home following the September 11 attack. It was also the first major sporting event in New York after the attack.
Of course, before the game, the Mets and Braves, who were the most heated of rivals at the time, embraced each other, showing that the event was bigger than a game. Late in the game, Mike Piazza provided a brief moment of joy to the city of New York with his home run after all the city had endured over the past 10 days. It was such an important moment that it was mentioned on his Hall of Fame plaque. It was also a moment that will never be forgotten by anyone who saw it happen.
5. Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off home run
In the series between the Yankees and Pirates, Mazeroski would have been one of the last players you’d expect to hit the game-winning homer. But that’s exactly what Mazeroski did against pitcher Ralph Terry in front of the hometown fans at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, creating one of the best baseball moments ever, with the possible exception of Yankees fans.
4. The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
Part of what makes Bobby Thomson’s home run in 1951 a big deal is that it ended the first-ever televised game in baseball history. That alone is enough to make it one of the greatest MLB moments of all time.
On top of that, Thomson’s homer at the Polo Grounds helped the Giants to overcome a 4-1 deficit in the decisive game of a playoff with the National League pennant on the line against the rival Dodgers. There may have been a few more important walk-off homers in baseball history, but this might be the most memorable.
3. Hank Aaron sets all-time home run record
While Babe Ruth may forever be the biggest legend in baseball history, one of the best baseball moments ever witnessed was when Hank Aaron broke his record for the most career home runs.
The record had stood for over three decades, and to have it broken by a player of color and one of the last big leaguers to have played in the Negro Leagues was an enormous deal. On top of that, the all-time home run record is perhaps the most coveted record that baseball has, so seeing it broken was a remarkable moment.
2. Lou Gehrig’s retirement speech
This was undoubtedly one of the saddest moments to ever take place on a baseball field. Lou Gehrig was not only “the Iron Horse,” playing in 2,130 consecutive games, but he was also one of the greatest players of his generation.
It was shocking to see his performance decline so significantly when he started to feel the effects of ALS, a disease that now bears his name. It was also profoundly sad when he stepped up to the microphone at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, to announce through tears that he was retiring. There will likely be no speech in baseball history that’s more memorable or more important.
1. Jackie Robinson signs with Dodgers
Even if it’s not the most memorable thing in MLB history, this might be the most important. The end of segregation in professional baseball was a watershed moment for both the sport and the country.
Brooklyn’s Branch Rickey made the brave step of signing an African American player in 1947, opening the door for others and changing the landscape of the sport. It was also a huge step forward for racial equality in the country.
Fortunately, Jackie Robinson was the right person to be the first, handling the scorn and ridicule coming from some with grace and class in addition to being an exceptional player on the field. In other words, things were never the same after this.