There are just four teams remaining in this year’s postseason, but every fan, even those of the Mariners (the team with the longest postseason drought, now up to 17 seasons), can relate to what it feels like to be in the playoffs. The late nights, the constant tension, the stakes so high you can barely breathe … and when something wonderful happens, the release and the pure, unbridled jubilation.
With that in mind, we take a look at the greatest postseason moments of the division era. Even if your team isn’t a postseason team, you can remember your great October moments … and if it is, you can dream of maybe having another one this month that’s even better.
(For the purpose of this exercise, we are going back to 1969, which is the start of divisional play and the birth of the postseason as we know it.)
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Joe Carter’s World Series walk-off, Oct. 23, 1993
The Blue Jays might not have that many postseason moments, but the greatness of this one more than makes up for that. Runner-up: Jose Bautista‘s ALDS Game 5 bat flip, Oct. 14, 2015.
Video: 93 WS, GM 6, [email protected]: Joe Carter touches them all
Orioles: Brooks Robinson’s incredible play, 1970 World Series, Oct. 10, 1970
The best part about this play, which might be the greatest defensive play in World Series history, is how surprised the umpire looks. Even he can’t believe what he just saw. Runner-up: David McNally’s grand slam, World Series Game 3, Oct. 13, 1970.
Rays: First and only World Series trip clinched, Oct. 19, 2008
A decade ago, and still pretty jaw-dropping that all this happened. Runner-up: Grant Balfour strikes out Ken Griffey Jr. to clinch the first ALDS victory, Oct. 6, 2008.
Red Sox: First World Series title since 1918, Oct. 27, 2004
You might remember when this happened. (It’s when lifelong Red Sox fans Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore got on television.) Runner-up: David Ortiz’s ALCS grand slam vs. the Tigers sent a cop joyous and turns the Fall Classic around on Oct. 13, 2013.
Video: Must C Classic: Red Sox win first WS since 1918
Yankees: Reggie Jackson’s three homers in 1977 World Series
There’s a reason no one else gets to be called “Mr. October.” Runner-up: Mr. November — Derek Jeter’s World Series Game 5 walk-off homer on Nov. 1, 2001.
Video: 1977 WS Gm6: Reggie becomes Mr. October
Indians: Eddie Murray’s walk-off, Game 3, 1995 World Series, Oct. 24, 1995
It was Cleveland’s first World Series game in 41 years, and ended with a Hall of Famer sending the crowd into euphorics. Runner-up: Rajai Davis‘ home run off Aroldis Chapman, 2016 World Series, Nov. 2, 2016
Royals: Royals win 2015 World Series, Nov. 1, 2015
It was a magical season and a magical World Series that just seems more improbable each year that goes by. Runner-up: The Don Denkinger play, and aftermath, 1985 World Series, Oct. 26, 1985.
Tigers: Magglio Ordonez sends Tigers to World Series, Oct. 14, 2006
The sounds that crowd makes the minute the bat meets the ball still gives you chills 12 years later. Runner-up: Kirk Gibson’s Game 5 homer, 1984 World Series.
Twins: Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 walk-off, 1991 World Series, Oct. 26, 1991
The original “We Will See You Tomorrow Night.” Runner-up: Twins win 1987 World Series, their first in Minnesota, Oct. 25, 1987.
Video: Must C Classic: Puckett crushes a walk-off homer
White Sox: White Sox win 2005 World Series, Oct. 26, 2015
A game that was razor-tight, in a series that was much closer than anyone remembers. Runner-up: Scott Podsednik’s Game 2 walk-off, Oct. 23, 2015.
Angels: Scott Spiezio’s game-tying homer, Game 6, 2002 World Series, Oct. 26, 2002
The most Rally Monkey of all the Rally Monkey moments. Runner-up: Troy Percival gets last out to win 2002 World Series, Oct. 27, 2002.
Astros: Charlie Morton finishes the Dodgers off, 2017 World Series, Nov. 1, 2017
This was so long ago you might not remember it, but trust me, it was wonderful. Runner-up: Chris Burke sends everybody home after 18 innings, 2005 NLDS.
Video: 11/1/17 MLB.com FastCast: Astros win ’17 World Series
Athletics: Eck closes out the 1989 World Series, October 28, 1989
When in doubt, go with the Hall of Famer closing out a series for an all-time great team. Runner-up: Joe Rudi’s amazing catch, World Series Game 2, Oct. 14, 1973.
Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. slides home to win the 1995 ALDS, Oct. 8, 1995
Basically, everything wonderful about the history of Mariners baseball, happening in one play. Runner-up: Mariners win most recent postseason series, 2001 ALDS over Cleveland.
Video: Griffey slides home to clinch the ALDS in 1995
Rangers: Neftali Feliz sends Texas to its first World Series, 2010 ALCS, Oct. 22, 2010
Over the hated Yankees, no less. Runner-up: Josh Hamilton’s 2011 World Series Game 6 homer, which was this close to being one of the greatest baseball moments of recent memory.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Only World Series win in Atlanta, Oct. 28, 1995
It still seems amazing that this is the only one they ever got. Runner-up: The Sid Bream Slide, Oct. 14, 1992.
Marlins: Edgar Renteria’s walk-off to win 1997 World Series, Oct. 26, 1997
Poor Cleveland. Runner-up: The Bartman play, and all that followed, 2003 NLCS.
Video: WS1997 Gm7: Fish win first WS on Renteria’s walk-off
Mets: Bill Buckner’s error, Game 6, 1986 World Series, Oct. 25, 1986
The most Mets play of all-time … except it happened for the Mets. Runner-up: Miracle Mets win 1969 World Series.
Video: 1986 World Series, Game 6: Red Sox at Mets
Nationals: Jayson Werth‘s 2012 NLDS walk-off, Oct. 11, 2012
After this, there was nothing but pain. Runner-up: None. We honestly feel sort of bad saying the words “Nationals” and “postseason” together.
Phillies: Brad Lidge gets the last out of a long game, 2008 World Series, Oct. 27, 2008
It took a couple of days for this game to actually finish, but no Phillies fan would ever complain. Runner-up: Roy Halladay’s no-hitter, 2010 NLDS against Cincinnati.
Brewers: Paul Molitor’s inside-the-park homer, 1982 ALCS, Oct. 6, 1982
Runner-up: Nyjer Morgan‘s walk-off over Arizona in 2011 NLDS, particularly when called by Bob Uecker.
Cardinals: David Freese‘s triple to tie 2011 World Series Game 6, Oct. 27, 2011
The walk-off homer in the 11th gets more air time, but this was truly one of the most insane hits in World Series history. Runner-up: Ozzie Smith’s 1985 NLCS homer off Tom Niedenfuer, the “Go Crazy, Folks” moment.
Video: WS2011 Gm6: Freese saves the Cards with a huge triple
Cubs: History in 2016
This was … not a tough call. Runner-up: Kyle Schwarber‘s shot atop the Wrigley scoreboard, Game 4, 2015 NLDS.
Video: Cubs win first World Series title in 108 years
Pirates: Willie Stargell’s homer, 1979 World Series, Game 7, Oct. 17, 1979
And to do it in such beautiful threads … Runner-up: Pirates fans scare Johnny Cueto into dropping the ball, 2013 NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park.
Reds: Yaz pops out to end one of greatest World Series ever, Oct. 22, 1975
It’s only East Coast Bias that makes you think of Carlton Fisk when you think of this series. Runner-up: Reds sweep heavily favored A’s in 1990 World Series.
D-backs: Luis Gonzalez off Mariano Rivera, 2001 World Series, Nov. 4, 2001
Ah, the perils of playing the infield in … Runner-up: Tony Womack’s hit in 2001 NLDS.
Video: Must C Classic: Gonzalez walks off, wins World Series
Dodgers: Kirk Gibson pulls himself around the bases, 1988 World Series
Runner-up: Juan Uribe’s 2013 go-ahead homer in Game 4 NLDS against Atlanta.
Video: Must C Classic: Gibson’s 1988 WS walk-off home run
Giants: First World Series win in San Francisco, 2010 World Series, Nov. 1, 2010
It’s never better than the first time. Runner-up: Madison Bumgarner‘s dominance in 2014 World Series.
Padres: Tony Gwynn’s bad hop double, 1984 NLCS, Game 5, Oct. 7, 1984
The biggest hit of Gwynn’s career was a bizarre one, but it got the job done. Runner-up: Padres finish off Braves to win 1998 NLCS.
Rockies: The Holliday slide, Oct. 1, 2007
He touched the plate … well, eventually. Runner-up: Rockies sweep D-backs to reach 2007 World Series.
Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.
Source : MLB