There have been countless unforgettable moments throughout baseball’s revered history.
But for America’s national pastime, those more recent memories have not yet been categorized with the best of all-time. Someday they will, however, and you’ll want to be able to tell those around you about each of them.
So in case you missed any of these historic moments, or they’ve just slipped your mind, I’m here to help. In this post I provide you with what I view as the most incredible, unbelievable, and memorable moments of this young 21st century.
But first, a note…
When recently asked the question “Why do you watch sports?” it really got me thinking. The final answer I concluded upon was that I wanted to see something memorable, something special, something I’d remember watching years from now. So this list is focused around those memory-laden events.
We don't see his name brought up as much as it used to be, but for this post, Barry Bonds is back. Photo courtesy "User Onetwo1" via Wikimedia
First, let’s start off with a couple of moments that didn’t quite make the cut, but still deserve mention…
Ichiro breaks the single-season hits record
Before this record belonged to Ichiro, not many of us would have been able to name who owned the record for most hits in one regular season. George Sisler’s record of 257 hits in 1920 stood for 84 years until Suzuki shattered it in 2004, so it was obviously a very prestigious accomplishment.
Cal Ripken Jr. is honored at the 2001 All Star Game
One of the most renowned players in recent history is longtime Baltimore Orioles’ infielder Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken was voted into the 2001 All Star Game as his career was winding down. For most fans of this era, we’ll always remember watching Ripken Jr. play, and this midsummer classic served as the ultimate tribute.
Aaron Boone sends the Red Sox packing
In the 2003 ALCS, Aaron Boone hit a walk off grand slam for the Yankees to defeat the Red Sox in Game 7 and head to the World Series. Why didn’t such an extreme moment in the greatest rivalry in baseball make the cut? Well for one, the Yankees didn’t go on to win the World Series, being defeated by the Florida Marlins. But mainly it missed the cut because it’s normally referred to as only a stepping stone to a much more memorable moment that occurred in ’04, which we’ll get to later.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 MLB moments of the 21st century…so far.
10. Stars called to testify about steroids
In what is probably the biggest controversy in baseball since the “Black Sox” of 1919, issues surrounding steroid use in the game have overtaken our country at times throughout the past 10 or so years. One of the most riveting moments surrounding the steroid era was when players were called to testify about the topic.
The most famous moments from that day were Sammy Sosa forgetting how to speak English, Mark McGwire being near speechless and dodging questions, and Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger in front of what came out to be a bold face lie.
If it slipped your mind, remember that he went on to test positive for steroids a short time later.
9. The Mets take on the Yankees in “Subway Series” of 2000
As the Yankees were trying to defend their World Series title for the third straight year, they found themselves facing off against their rival from Queens, the New York Mets. It brought in all of the attention that you’d think it would.
Between legendary manager Joe Torre of the Yankees, polarizing Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine, the large market of New York, and story lines surrounding the Yankees dynasty, there was no shortage of headlines.
In game 2 of the series, things got extremely heated, as Roger Clemens threw a broken bat at hitter Mike Piazza. That is probably the most memorable image from the iconic series.
It’s the type of event that a baseball purist would love to see every year. Heck, seeing it once in your lifetime is awfully special. Next we just have to root for a White Sox/Cubs crosstown showdown. Ha…right.
Photo via SportsGulp.net
8. White Sox win the World Series
In case you’re unaware, I’m a die hard White Sox fan, and have been my whole life. For myself personally, this is number 1 on the list. But I do recognize that the 88-year drought and “Shoeless Joe” curse were much less renowned than a couple other curses in MLB lore. I’d even understand if some argued that this shouldn’t be on the list.
But I mean come on, it was an 88-year drought. The Red Sox drought, which you heard much more about, was only 86 years!
Not to mention, nothing was expected of the ’05 White Sox. They were an afterthought going into the season by most experts, but they proved them all wrong as they went on to win 99 games in an AL Central that also had a 93-win Cleveland Indians squad.
Plus, in the ALCS the Sox had four straight complete games from their starting pitchers. Take a minute to process that.
In what I feel is the greatest baseball city in the world, Chicago went crazy after the championship was won. The parade brought in millions, as a city with two major league teams got to celebrate for the first time since 1917.
Pregame ceremony before Game 1. Still can't believe I was there. Photo courtesy US Navy's Dwayne Snader via Wikimedia
7. Barry Bonds breaks the single-season home run record
This is only Bonds’ second-best record breaker on the list, but we’ll get to the other one later.
In 2001, Barry Bonds’ broke Mark McGwire’s remarkable record of 70 home runs in one season, as he his his 71st on October 5th.
Home run records are by far and away the most renowned records in baseball, which is why this gets the spot at no. 7.
With the honorable mention and moments 10 through 7 out of the way, it’s time for the best of the best moments from this century:
- A walk-off bloop to give David a win over Goliath.
- A new Home Run King
- A curse broken
Plus steroids, a scapegoat, and a nation coming together.
Read on to see the top six MLB moment of the 21st century…so far.
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