Most exciting plays in Red Sox history (for the Casual Fan)

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MDLzera
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M0ckduck gave us a poser in the Ortiz-slam thread (remembering 2013), and then fleshed out a scenario:
Was this the most exciting play in Red Sox history from a casual fan's perspective?

I mean, if you'd been suffering for 86 years with this team, then the Roberts steal (or one of many other moments from 2004 ALCS) was more important, for sure. But the excitement of those moments is largely dependent on the context of having been drenched in miserable Sox-Yanks rivalry for decades. If you brought an alien back to earth, gave them a rudimentary understanding of baseball and had them watch games with you, this seems like the play where they'd be jumping around the living room and waving their tentacles. Bases loaded... two outs... Benoit... BOOM... Hunter... Officer Whatshisface.... Pandemonium.
We had some early nominations:
I would pick the Victorino slam over this one to be honest. It basically clinched the penant.
Obligatory mention of Fisk in 1975. Higher stakes, larger stage (being a World Series elimination game), longer title drought, walk-off.
And Bernie Carbo in the same game a few innings earlier.
...so now, let's get the rest of 'em in and vote.

1975 WS Game 6 (Fisk) is obviously up there, probably leading the list.

2013 ALCS Game 2 was a snoozer up until Ortiz, but Game 6 (Victorino) was certainly exciting.

I think any list has to have 1986 ALCS Game 5 high up on it, Hendu's homer. That game might be one of the greatest playoff games in baseball history - it's not quite 1960 Game 7 or 2016 WS Game 7 but it's in the top tier.

What else makes the list? Let's get some nominations and then we'll do a poll.
 
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1974pawsox

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M0ckduck gave us a poser in the Ortiz-slam thread (remembering 2013), and then fleshed out a scenario:

We had some early nominations:



...so now, let's get the rest of 'em in and vote.

1975 WS Game 6 (Fisk) is obviously up there, probably leading the list.

2013 ALCS Game 2 was a snoozer up until Ortiz, but Game 6 (Victorino) was certainly exciting.

I think any list has to have 1986 ALCS Game 5 high up on it, Hendu's homer. That game might be one of the greatest playoff games in baseball history - it's not quite 1960 Game 7 or 2016 WS Game 7 but it's in the top tier.

What else makes the list? Let's get some nominations and then we'll do a poll.
The Tony Clark at-bat against Keith Foulke needs to be on the list.

And speaking only for myself, I'd say Elston Howard's at-bat against Billy Rohr.
 

CaptainLaddie

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Yeah, the Victorino slam is definitely up there. I was DJing a huge sports bar in DC that night, dance floor was packed, they had huge 30 foot screens showing that game and some college football games, and the place erupted on Victorino's slam... in DC. It was a pretty wild moment even if you weren't a fan of the team.
 

RedOctober3829

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Some nominations from me.
--2004 ALCS Game 4 and Game 5 walkoffs by Ortiz
--Bill Mueller's walkoff HR off of Fruitbat in the A-Rod/Tek fight game
--Johnny Damon's grand slam in 2004 ALCS Game 7
--Mitch Moreland's mammoth HR off of Jansen in 2018 WS
--Troy O'Leary grand slam in the '99 ALDS
 

cannonball 1729

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I guess I'd put Brunansky's slide on the same level as the Victorino or Ortiz's home run, though I don't think either one holds a candle to The Steal or Fisk. But I'll throw it in for completeness.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Nixon HR against the A's (I think it was Divisional '03) and DLowe's game winning chop K. I was in a "proper" restaurant in Brooklyn at the time and lost it and acted like a total inappropriate asshole (couldn't help it....) whooping and hollering.
 

m0ckduck

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If we're really running with the premise of "most exciting" (rather than most important), I'd nominate the Ellsbury's straight steal of home, although that's a different animal than all the playoff moments being nominated here.
 

jmcc5400

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Eduardo Nunez's play and Pearce's stretch to end the 2018 ALDS against the MFY
 

jmcc5400

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If we're really running with the premise of "most exciting" (rather than most important), I'd nominate the Ellsbury's straight steal of home, although that's a different animal than all the playoff moments being nominated here.
In a similar vein, Nixon's bomb off of Clemens in the Clemens-Pedro duel in early 2000.
 

54thMA

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I've got a few;

The Evans catch in game 6 of the 1975 WS.
The Carbo pinch hit home run in the same game; literally brought the team back from the dead, prior to that home run, I'd never seen my Dad react to a play like he did to that one before, he went postal.
The Lynn catch in either the first or second game of a double header sweep over the Yankees back in 1975 that basically put the nail in the Yankees coffin that year, the Sox lost the first game of that series but took the next three, including a double header sweep.................greatest catch I ever saw, a diving/sliding catch and Rice hurdled over him; had they collided, Lynn probably dies on the spot.
The Yaz catch to preserve the Rohr no hitter at Yankee Stadium.

Sorry everyone, I'm old school when it comes to the Red Sox.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The Victorino HR was absolutely stunning. The context of his body basically being totally broken down at that point and pulling that rabbit out of nowhere. Possibly the only time I was more surprised by a HR of that magnitude was Rajai Davis taking Chapman deep in the World Series.

I was going to suggest JD Drew's $70 million grand slam but somehow my brain had tricked me into thinking it was in Game 7 rather than Game 6, which blunts the importance a bit. But Cleveland basically never had a chance in the series after that perfect swing.

It was an early-inning at bat during a relatively unimportant midsummer game in a year of great moments for one of the most dominant teams in memory, but Mookie's 13 pitch grand slam was pretty emblematic of the entire vibe of the '18 team that could seemingly do no wrong.
 

Harry Hooper

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The ITP homer by Pokey Reese on SoSH day deserves a little mention here. Another very memorable regular season play was Boggs with the walkoff double to LF to score a streaking pinch-runner Laschelle Tarver from 1B back in 1986. Morgan Magic had a batch of exciting plays too.
 

tims4wins

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The Victorino HR was absolutely stunning. The context of his body basically being totally broken down at that point and pulling that rabbit out of nowhere. Possibly the only time I was more surprised by a HR of that magnitude was Rajai Davis taking Chapman deep in the World Series.

I was going to suggest JD Drew's $70 million grand slam but somehow my brain had tricked me into thinking it was in Game 7 rather than Game 6, which blunts the importance a bit. But Cleveland basically never had a chance in the series after that perfect swing.

It was an early-inning at bat during a relatively unimportant midsummer game in a year of great moments for one of the most dominant teams in memory, but Mookie's 13 pitch grand slam was pretty emblematic of the entire vibe of the '18 team that could seemingly do no wrong.
Plus on the Victorino slam, he was down 0-2 in the count, with the Sox down 2-1 in the game, and 1 out. A K might have ended the rally with the Sox still behind. As others have mentioned, when he got it up in the air I was mostly relieved because at least it was a sac fly to tie the game. It was absolutely stunning and exhilarating when it left the yard.

Edit: unsung moment: Papi's home run in game 1 of the 2004 World Series. Sox had come back against the MFY, Papi was the hero, first World Series game in 18 years, first inning, Papi comes to the plate with 2 on, and goes yard. I can't imagine the bedlam in the park. I am getting goosebumps writing about it.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xa1VqKh1Hk
 

m0ckduck

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I just watched the Victorino slam again. Bonus entertainment points for
  • the fact that it came on an 0-2 pitch (I'd entirely forgotten that) (Edit: whoops, covered directly above)
  • the crazy ricochet the ball takes off the top of the wall into the billboard sign above
  • Victorino's A+ reaction rounding the bases
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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Henderson's homer off of Moore. From the situation (2 strike, 2 out, down 5-4 in the ninth inning of an elimination game), to his reaction rounding the bases, to Michaels' call, it's an incredibly exciting moment in Red Sox history.

Truly an honor and a privilege to root for a franchise where we can have these discussions.
 

Sille Skrub

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Do Mookie's catches in the NLCS count?

But seriously, the Dave Roberts steal has to top the list. It changed the fortune of the series and the franchise.

Consideration has to be given to Pedro's relief stint against Cleveland in the '99 ALDS. It wasn't one play, but I was on the edge of my seat that whole time.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's fun to relive and remember a lot of the moments that have been brought up. But isn't the caveat of the original question the "for the casual fan"? I would think that eliminates any regular season moments right out of the gate, even the ones with significance to the team's postseason prospects. Like everyone here knows what the Brunansky sliding catch is, but does a casual fan?
 

scottyno

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It's fun to relive and remember a lot of the moments that have been brought up. But isn't the caveat of the original question the "for the casual fan"? I would think that eliminates any regular season moments right out of the gate, even the ones with significance to the team's postseason prospects. Like everyone here knows what the Brunansky sliding catch is, but does a casual fan?
I took the casual fan part to mean essentially you don't really need context beyond "hey, here's this really awesome play and why it was awesome in 5 seconds", which is why I went with the Beni catch, not only was it a great catch, but it's the only play that was going to end the game either way, with the added bonus of also being a hugely important game in context.

If we're just asking what the most memorable positive play in red sox history is it's either the fisk home run or maybe the roberts steal and nothing else is even close
 

Monbo Jumbo

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Harry Hooper's bare-hand catch in game 8 of the 1912 W.S. This fellow has an account as told to him by his grandfather. My father told me how his father was always talking about it, leading me to believe my grandfather may have seen it too. It was still talked about many decades after it occurred.

" in the 1912 World Series Hooper took a home run away from the New York Giants by catching the ball barehanded while falling into the bleachers." N.E. Historical Society link.
 
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m0ckduck

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I took the casual fan part to mean essentially you don't really need context beyond "hey, here's this really awesome play and why it was awesome in 5 seconds", which is why I went with the Beni catch, not only was it a great catch, but it's the only play that was going to end the game either way, with the added bonus of also being a hugely important game in context.
As the poster who initiated this cheesy exercise, I'd say, yes, that's right. To put it a different way: imagine you had a reel of all-time Sox moments and you played them one after the other for someone who is steeped in Japanese baseball but knows nothing about MLB. Which moment would that person find most exciting?

It's pointedly not about Red Sox fans specifically and which moment is most important for the franchise's history or legacy.
 

Rovin Romine

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It's fun to relive and remember a lot of the moments that have been brought up. But isn't the caveat of the original question the "for the casual fan"? I would think that eliminates any regular season moments right out of the gate, even the ones with significance to the team's postseason prospects. Like everyone here knows what the Brunansky sliding catch is, but does a casual fan?
But would the casual fan understand the context that provides significance for some of the "big moments?" I took it as the proverbial alien who understands most of the rules of the game, and gets to see something amazing.
 

m0ckduck

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But would the casual fan understand the context that provides significance for some of the "big moments?" I took it as the proverbial alien who understands most of the rules of the game, and gets to see something amazing.
Alien understands things like, there are playoff series with game sevens that are exponentially more meaningful than regular season games. Alien also notices that fans and players are more excited by moments that happen in playoff games and is infected by that enthusiasm. Alien does not understand things like "Boston Red Sox lost to Yankees for decades, and so it was extra meaningful when we beat them."
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I took the casual fan part to mean essentially you don't really need context beyond "hey, here's this really awesome play and why it was awesome in 5 seconds", which is why I went with the Beni catch, not only was it a great catch, but it's the only play that was going to end the game either way, with the added bonus of also being a hugely important game in context.

If we're just asking what the most memorable positive play in red sox history is it's either the fisk home run or maybe the roberts steal and nothing else is even close
Even in that context, I think regular season plays fall short. I agree that the Benintendi catch is definitely worthy of consideration here. It's an exciting moment in and of itself, and then adding in the quick context of it being a do-or-die game ender increases the excitement more.

But would the casual fan understand the context that provides significance for some of the "big moments?" I took it as the proverbial alien who understands most of the rules of the game, and gets to see something amazing.
That's along the lines of what I'm getting at, and I see it similarly, which is aIl the more reason to eliminate regular season plays. The context of, say, Mueller's HR off Rivera in the Tek-ARod brawl game is a bit more in depth than can be easily explained. But Victorino's grand slam needs no more context than it took the team from losing to winning the game (and thus the series), plus of course the reactions of the players/fans in the moment.
 

54thMA

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Henderson's homer off of Moore. From the situation (2 strike, 2 out, down 5-4 in the ninth inning of an elimination game), to his reaction rounding the bases, to Michaels' call, it's an incredibly exciting moment in Red Sox history.

Truly an honor and a privilege to root for a franchise where we can have these discussions.
Myself and several of my friends had Patriots season tickets in 1986, we were in the parking lot after the game on that Sunday (it was a nutpunch loss, I think to the Seahawks?) watching the Red Sox game on a small TV..................in the ninth inning, about 20 of us were crowded around that TV, one of my friends was wandering around our tailgate area and I said "Get over here, you don't want to miss the last inning" and he said "Nope, I'm not watching those assholes celebrate going to the World Se.........." and just then Henderson hit the home run.........we all went ballistic, the whole parking lot erupted as groups of people were hanging out either watching it or listening on radio............after the last of the ninth, we piled into our cars and did our Gumball Rally impression breaking the sound barrier heading back to my friends house to watch the rest of the game............that was a great sports moment in my life, incredible really.
 

bob burda

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Koji's pick off of Wong, G4 2013 WS. The cameras totally turn it into a WTF moment, but that was a tense bottom of the 9th with a notorious clutch terror in Beltran at the plate - and >>poof<< the Cardinals go up in a cloud of smoke.

I like Hendu's HR here too - Carbo's HR (as a 12 yr old) was the single most exciting moment of my adolescent fandom, my heroes were about to lose and suddenly they were tied. The event was magnified by how bad Carbo looked the pitch before (swatting Strike 3 away almost from out of Bench's glove) - you never expected he was about to ride to the rescue.

I would give an honorable mention to Ortiz's double off Foulke (of all people) in G4 of the '03 ALCS - that game did not seem like it could be won, and for him to hit a ball that well with the sun/shadows around the plate (he said he barely saw the pitch) was just shocking.
 

54thMA

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From a slightly different exciting perspective Lou Pinella's blinded by the light desperation snag of Remy's woulda coulda shoulda been the game-winner inside the parker in G163 in '78.

Instead according to legend and this youtube video it was Sias' favorite memory as owner of the MFY

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZWQK3HOr-U
He had no clue, as in zero percent, as in none, as in less than none where that ball was.........................talk about buzzards luck, that ball gets by him and the game is over.

So pre 2004 Boston Red Sox.
 

tims4wins

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Koji's pick off of Wong, G4 2013 WS. The cameras totally turn it into a WTF moment, but that was a tense bottom of the 9th with a notorious clutch terror in Beltran at the plate - and >>poof<< the Cardinals go up in a cloud of smoke.

I like Hendu's HR here too - Carbo's HR (as a 12 yr old) was the single most exciting moment of my adolescent fandom, my heroes were about to lose and suddenly they were tied. The event was magnified by how bad Carbo looked the pitch before (swatting Strike 3 away almost from out of Bench's glove) - you never expected he was about to ride to the rescue.

I would give an honorable mention to Ortiz's double off Foulke (of all people) in G4 of the '03 ALCS - that game did not seem like it could be won, and for him to hit a ball that well with the sun/shadows around the plate (he said he barely saw the pitch) was just shocking.
Ortiz double is a fantastic call. The building was shaking.

On similar lines, Trot’s walkoff in game 3 of the 2003 ALDS was electric. Strangers hugging strangers. Everyone knew they’d come back at that point.
 

jhp64

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Do Mookie's catches in the NLCS count?

But seriously, the Dave Roberts steal has to top the list. It changed the fortune of the series and the franchise.
In retrospect, yes, but (after Mueller's hit) at the time I was just thinking, "well, at least Rivera blew a save against us". It was still a tie game, we still had to win that one and three more. So important, yes, but not the most exciting when it actually happened. For me, anyway.

It still gives me chills to hear, "Back to Foulke. Red Sox fans have longed to hear it..."
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Alien understands things like, there are playoff series with game sevens that are exponentially more meaningful than regular season games. Alien also notices that fans and players are more excited by moments that happen in playoff games and is infected by that enthusiasm. Alien does not understand things like "Boston Red Sox lost to Yankees for decades, and so it was extra meaningful when we beat them."
"I'm just a simple alien. Your box scores and sabermetrics frighten me. I don't know what clutch is. But I do know that my client, David Ortiz, deserves both punitive and compensatory damages."
 

Humphrey

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He had no clue, as in zero percent, as in none, as in less than none where that ball was.........................talk about buzzards luck, that ball gets by him and the game is over.

So pre 2004 Boston Red Sox.
And, to compound that, Burleson, the runner, had no clue Piniella had no clue....could have been bluffing and caught the ball (it wasn't that much out in front of him, really); had Burleson known that, perhaps he could have left earlier and gone to third...Rice's ensuing fly ball was more than deep enough to score what would have been the tying run.
 

RedOctober3829

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Not historic, but one that still gets the room round me dusty - Daniel Nava's first ML AB after an incredibly unlikely rise from "too small to even play in college" to Fenway:
View: https://youtu.be/yf4k8hr1sv4
I was at this game. My dad and I almost missed the bottom of the 1st. We were watching England-USA World Cup game at Baseball Tavern and stayed until the end of that and walked over.
 

Leskanic's Thread

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speaking of Nava:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqyIaXfH8Po


First game post-bombing
Combine that with this:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW2BMwbuJqE


And it's an important entry. (Assuming you can explain to aliens what stochastic terrorism, citywide lockdowns, and police manhunts are.)

Also, if the idea is to show exciting plays in Red Sox history for casual fans who are not necessarily Red Sox fans...Buckner and Boone are high on the list.
 

kartvelo

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Yeah, the first thing that came immediately to my mind reading "casual fan" was Manny's high-five catch, but that's already here.