Before I hit you with the second Cardboard Appreciation tournament and the weekly polls that come with it, I thought I'd squeeze in one more poll before that.
Here's the deal:
I was watching that commercial that's playing during baseball games this season. I can't even tell you what they're trying to sell. Credit cards or drugs or something.
It's that one where they show little kids playing baseball, imitating famous home run moments of the past. The usual stuff: Carlton Fisk in '75 and Kirk Gibson in '88.
That made me think about something that I've thought about before. The Fisk home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series is pretty much the epic home run of that decade. (Sure, there was Reggie Jackson in '77, but he hit three of them in Game 6. The drama is in the quantity more than the timeliness). The Gibson home run in Game 1 of the '88 World Series is the epic home run of the '80s (Cardinals fans will argue Ozzie and Royals fans George Brett, but we're trying to be objective here).
There has been one definitive epic home run for each decade going back to the 1950s. Take a gander:
1950s: 1951, Bobby Thomson off of Ralph Branca in special playoff series.
I'd show a Thomson card, but I don't have any, and the Giants are stinking, sign-stealing cheaters. So I have the fine, upstanding Branca to show instead.
1960s: 1960: Bill Mazeroski off Ralph Terry in World Series.
It was a pitcher's decade, so there weren't a lot of epic home runs. And this was the first World Series walk-off ever.
1970s: 1975: Carlton Fisk off Pat Darcy in the World Series
I thought I'd give you a break from the Masterpieces "butt" card. The Red Sox went on to lose this Series, but Game 6 might be the most dramatic Series game ever. Crazy stuff in that game.
1980s: 1988, Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckersley in World Series.
I still don't believe what I just saw. It was really one of those "brain doesn't compute" moments.
1990s: 1993, Joe Carter off Mitch Williams in World Series
It's stunning how few cards I have of Carter as a Blue Jay. People must have hoarded them after that home run.
That brings me to the decade just past, 2000-09.
It's not easy finding THE epic home run from that decade. It's possible I'm just too close to the decade to review it. But here are the World Series epic homer candidates for that decade:
1. 2001 World Series, Game 4: Derek Jeter's "Mr. November" home run in the 10th inning to win the game and tie the Series against the Diamondbacks.
2. 2001 World Series, Game 5: Scott Brosius' walk-off home run in the 12th inning (each of these HRs came off of Byung-Hyun Kim, remember?) to give the Yankees a win and the Series lead.
3. 2003 World Series, Game 4: Alex Gonzalez's home run in the bottom of the 12th off Jeff Weaver giving the Marlins a 4-3 win over the Yankees.
4. 2005 World Series, Game 2: Scott Podsednik's home run off Brad Lidge in the bottom of the 9th in Game 2, giving the White Sox the victory. Podsednik hadn't hit a homer all regular season.
That's it for the Series. I don't know if I can pick from that. I want to say the Jeter home run, but what makes that more special than the Brosius home run, the fact he he it a couple minutes after midnight?
But if I throw in the Championship Series for the previous decade, that's where things really get interesting, because that's where the drama was the last 10 years.
1. 2003 ALCS: Aaron Boone's 11th-inning walk-off home run off the Red Sox's Tim Wakefield in Game 7 to send the Yankees to the World Series
2. 2004 ALCS: David Ortiz's two-run winning home run in the 12th inning in Game 4 against the Yankees, setting stage for Red Sox comeback from 0-3 series deficit.
3. 2004 NLCS: Jim Edmonds' walk-off, two-run home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 in the Cardinals' victory over the Astros.
4. 2005 NLCS: Albert Pujols' monster winning home run off the Astros' Brad Lidge in the 9th inning of Game 5.
5. 2006 ALCS: Magglio Ordonez's three-run home run for the Tigers in the 9th inning of Game 4 against the A's, sending Detroit to the World Series.
6. 2006 NLCS: Yadier Molina's two-run home run in the 9th inning of Game 7 against the Mets, giving St. Louis a 3-1 victory and a trip to the World Series (this came four innings after Endy Chavez's famed catch).
7. 2008 NLCS: Matt Stairs' home run in the eighth inning off of Jonathan Broxton in Game 4, giving the Phillies a 7-5 win.
8. 2009 ALCS: Alex Rodriguez's homer in the 11th inning against the Angels, tying Game 2, which the Yankees would win in 13.
How's that for drama?
I'm not exactly sure how to pick THE epic home run out of that crew. Possibly Aaron Boone?
So I'm going to put up a poll. I will select some (not all) from both the World Series and the Championship Series and let people vote for a week on what THE epic home run was for the first decade of the 21st century. (I refuse to add ALDS moments for consideration. It will just muddy things up).
Then we will send letters to George Will and Thomas Boswell and Ken Burns and Pepsi, and whoever else likes to get all dramatic about our favorite game, and declare that THIS is the home run of the decade. Let there be no dispute. I'll get it copyrighted and everything.
But I'm not going to put up the poll just yet. I'll let anyone who has any opinions on these home runs or others to make their comments. If I think a previously unmentioned home run deserves to be in the poll, then I'll throw it on there in the wee hours when I post the poll.
Who gets to join Bobby Thomson, Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Kirk Gibson and Joe Carter?
Poll will be up by the time you rise tomorrow morning.