Writer’s Roundtable: Memorable Home Runs

This one is all about the Home Run, mostly because MLB’s Home Run Derby is upon us, but also because “Chicks dig the long ball!”

What is the most memorable Home Run that you got to see in person? What you say is the most memorable Phillies HR ever? Is there a non-Phillies HR that helped get you hooked on baseball growing up?


Don McGettigan: I was lucky enough to be at 2008 NLDS Game 2… where with the Phillies already holding a 1-0 advantage in the series, the most unimaginable things occurred against one of baseball’s best pitchers, C.C. Sabathia. With a runner on 2nd, Brett Myers worked a 9-pitch Walk, followed by Jimmy Rollins free pass on four-straight balls. The bases now loaded, Shane Victorino stepped to the plate and hit a Grand Slam into the seats in left field to give the Phillies a lead they would not surrender. It was at that moment I realized the Phillies could beat any pitcher that postseason and that winning the World Series could actually happen.

I think the most memorable Phillies HR ever would have to be Mike Schmidt’s 500th… because I’m not sure we’ll ever see it happen to any other Phillies player.

There isn’t one specific HR that got me hooked as a kid, but watching Ken Griffey Jr. highlights all the time always left me wanting more, and ESPN Sports Center around the clock was about the only way a kid could get his Mariners’ fix. The other one that sticks out a lot is Kirk Gibson’s Game 1 game-winner off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series. Since I was born in 1983 that play was shown over and over along with Kirby Puckett’s 1991 WS Game 6 game-winning HR, and some guy in Toronto who hit one to win something in 1993, but I don’t want to talk about it.

Eric Seidman: For me, the most memorable Phillies home run belongs to Matt Stairs. The go-ahead two-run homer in the 2008 NLCS was the moment that I really felt, holy shit, the Phillies could actually win the World Series. It was just such a majestic home run that I get goosebumps just thinking about it. The most memorable homer I saw in person was kind of a random one, from early on in the 2001 season. The Phillies were losing to the Braves and Kevin Jordan hit a grand slam in what was a 5-6 run inning and they moved ahead to win the game. While I was a fan prior to that season, that 2001 team was the first one where I really started watching 162 games per season and being in attendance at that game, it felt like a special Phillies team.

Alex Lee: Fred McGriff’s upper deck shot in Game Two of the 1993 NLCS was the most memorable long ball for me… I was 10 and seated in the first row of the upper deck behind the left field foul pole at the Vet. I remember thinking there was no way anyone could hit it up there, and then McGriff did it, albeit to the opposite side of the stadium. As for a Phillies home run, I’d have to go with Shane Victorino’s grand slam off C.C. Sabathia in the 2008 NLDS. I was sitting along the first base line. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium, including the night the Phils won it all.

Amanda Orr: Walk-off home runs are the most memorable homers that I have gotten to see in person. I’ve never been to a playoff game or a milestone home run game, so the walk-offs are easiest for me to remember. Chase Utley’s walkoff homer in 2005 against the Padres is the first to come to my mind for some reason.
Most memorable Phillies home run ever? At least that I can remember -the Matt Stairs moonshot. I don’t think an explanation is needed.

Growing up, the Phillies were really the only team I watched, but it was the steroid era that got me interested in what was going on with other teams. It was entertaining to follow the home run races between Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Say what you want about the steroid debate, but at the time that was fun baseball to watch.

Ian Riccaboni: The Moonshot! Matt Stairs bomb in Dodger’s Stadium had me literally leap of the couch and you can count me in the group that felt that that was the moment I knew the Phillies could win the 2008 World Series. The most memorable homer I saw in person? Jayson Werth’s first inning shot off of Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3 of the 2009 NLCS put the Phils ahead and they stayed ahead, winning a 10-0 laugher.

Ryan Dinger: I happened to be in the seats at CBP on June 27, 2007, when the Phillies fell to the Reds 9-6. This would be an otherwise forgettable game and date, if not for Ryan Howard. For it was on this day that Howard set the record for the longest home run at CBP, blasting a 505-foot moonshot over the batter’s eye in center field. Never have I been so impressed by a home run, and I doubt I’ll ever witness such an incredible feat of strength in person again.

As for the Phils most memorable home run, I will go with Matt Stairs. That silky smooth swing launching the ball deep into the L.A. night replays in my mind regularly, and it still gives me chills watching the video. As for a non-Phillies HR that got me hooked on baseball, none come to mind, as it was the ’93 Phillies that really got me into the game. However, a home run did come that year that still stands out to me. It came off the bat of Milt Thompson in the first ever Phillies game I attended, which happened to be in July of that year. Thompson launched a two-run shot into the seats in right, exactly where I was sitting. Now, I didn’t catch the ball (This isn’t Hollywood), and I didn’t even come close. But it was at the moment, seeing a big league home run in person, and one that landed just a section over from where I was sitting, that I became enamored with the sport I still love today.

I also often think back on Griffey’s bomb off the warehouse in Baltimore during the home run derby, which was also in 1993, just a few days after I saw Thompson’s blast. From then on, I was hooked.

Kenny Ayres: I was at the Phillies-Reds game in June of 2007 with my Dad, grandfather and great uncle (who had never been to CBP because he was old and couldn’t get out much). We had third base seats-the perfect angle to see Ryan Howard’s 100th career, 505 foot home run to dead center into Ashburn Alley. The sound of the bat was like nothing I ever heard before or since, and my uncle, who had seen Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx hit homers at Shibe Park, said it was the farthest shot he had ever seen. I remember the Phillies sometimes put the “how far did it fly?” graphic on the board and when I saw it went 505 feet and I couldn’t believe it.

The other homers I got to see in person that gave me goosebumps were the four hit in Game 4 of the World Series in 2008 (Howard twice, Werth and Joe Blanton). The Blanton HR was just ridiculous for obvious reasons, but just seeing the Phillies take the longball to the Rays and blow them out of the water to get within one game of a championship was something I will never forget.

There is one home run that hooked me as a kid, and I didn’t even get to ever see a video of it. When I first started getting interested in baseball my dad got me the Ken Burns “Baseball” documentary set and we watched the Babe Ruth video together. At one point Ruth was describing his called shot in the 1932 World Series, and my Dad was telling me the story of what happened. I think that definitely got me interested in the lore and history of the game.

Pat Gallen: The most memorable home-run that I got to see in person would probably be Ben Francisco’s 3-run jack in St. Louis. I was out there covering the game, my first long road trip, and it was a weird game before that. The Cardinals knocked the ball around that day, but ended up leaving 14 men on base. Ben Francisco charged one into the bullpen for all the runs the Phillies would need on the day. If the Phillies don’t lose that Game 5 in Philly, 1-0, Ben Francisco is a legend in Philly. It’s a shame he did not get his due. But such is baseball.
From afar, two stand out. Matt Stairs moonshot is right up there. I was at a house party and the place went absolutely berserk. Just about a dozen of us, but it could have been 100.

Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run also comes to mind instantly. Everyone enjoyed that summer, and the Joe Buck call still gives me goosebumps.

Jon Nisula: The most memorable home run that I’ve seen in person came this year and was memorable to probably only me. It was a Michael Young opposite field home run that landed 2 rows directly ahead of me. It was memorable because, on the Phillies broadcast I was seen going nuts and that was just so awesome and hilarious to me.

My most memorable Phillies home run is easy to pick–the Matt Stairs moonshot in the 2008 NLCS. It made us all really believe that the Phillies had the magic that could win us a World Series. Stairs will be remembered in Philadelphia for a very long time for that home run. If you look at his Twitter page, there are dozens of people telling him how much they love him for that home run every day. He’s a folk hero here.

There wasn’t any particular home run that got me hooked on baseball but I remember a few players whose home runs got me hooked. The 1998 home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa really had me, as a seven year old, glued to my TV. Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. also got me hooked. I remember turning my hat backwards like Griffey in the HR derby and pretending I was him as a kid.



  1. brooks

    July 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    All the homeruns mentioned are memorable and give goose bumps but one of my favorites was back in 1993, May 20th vs the Expos. The Phils had just come off a so so road trip and were facing the Expos who were frankly, their biggest competition at the time. Montreal had scored off Shilling in the top of the first and Jeff Fassero was looking pretty nasty on the mound for the Xpos in the bottom of the first inning. Nobody could touch Fassero – he struck out 2 batters but walked the bases loaded – although the Phils had the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, it just did not feel right until Inky came to bat. He launched a mortar shot for a grand slam and the Phils went on to win 9-3.
    Great home run, great memory…

    There are plenty more I can recall and I hope plenty more to see in the future.. it ain’t over!

  2. Don M

    July 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    One of the other HR memories I have from childhood… is Milt Thompson robbing one in San Diego in 1993 …. kind of started the hype machine going that season and got everyone excited

  3. George

    July 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I’m going to be diserent and say that homeruns were not what attracted me to baseball. I grew interested watching nearly impossible catches by Willie Mays, Clemente throws, and nasty curveballs. Home runs played some part, of course, but were never my major interest, possibly because I was rather small (still am!) and felt that homers were hit by huge guys with monstrous forearms. Many of those guys, like Covington or Frank Howard were never exactly big on finesse, and subtlety and strategy are still my main interests.

    That said, I have been rather amazed at times by home runs. One which astounded was a Mike Schmidt blast completely over the left field bleachers at Dodger Stadium (I used to live out there). It went nearly as high as it did far. I doubt if Jack Nicklaus could have done more with a driver and a golf ball, or that a mortar shell could have reached such altitudes.

  4. Dr. Dave

    July 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    1960 World Series. Just turned 9. I ran home from school. We had been listening to game 7 on the radio. Just as I got home and turned on the TV, Maz hit the HR to beat the hated Yankees. Bill Mazeroski was always my favorite second baseman! Then my beloved Phillies drafted this UCLA guy named Chase Utley. I grew up with Allen and Callison in 1964. Schmidt and Bowa in the 70’s and 80’s. Kruker, Daulton, and Dykstra in the 90’s. But my favorite player of all time is Chase Utley. Don’t ever forget the throw to home in the 2008 World Series!

    • Ken Bland

      July 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      What I wonder about Maz’s homer s to those of baseball conscious age, how that compared with the Bobby Thompson homer. What I mean is that was the first homer (Maz) I ever saw, and in the first game I ever watched. So I only knew it was special, not HOW special.

      It takes an awful, awful lot for a qualifier to satisfy best or most memorable. Finishing above second is ridiculously unique. That said, some of the other extremely memorable homers that would make my not quite there list would be…

      Callison’s all star homer.

      Lasorda letting Niedenfeuer pitch to Jack Clark

      As I remember, Pete Rose’s 3000th hit came out of 3 homers on a Saturday afternoon at Shea. I guess my lack of clarity makes that semi memorable. But I could swear that was the day Pete got 3k. Jeter hiot his 3000th hit out of the park..

      Callison hit 3 homers against the Braves, 14-8 during the losing streak, but I don’t remember that at all.

      Rick Wise hit 2 homers and pitched a 6-0 shutout in Game 2 of Bunning’s effort. No he didn’t…he hot 2 homers in a no-hitter he threw later on (1971?).

      Stairs is about as memorable as it gets. What a shot!

      Aaron Effing Boone.

      Lidge V Pujols.

      Many, many moonshots by Crash Allen. Rooftop minimums. I THINK he hot 2 the night he was on base 8 maybe 9 straighty at bats V The Giants that had high volume boos at twilight turned to standing o’s in the late night. Hypocrites.

      Ben revere’s first career homerun. Memories in Advance, Inc.

      So what I’m saying is I guess you don’t have to remember a homer for it to be memorable, specially since I’m leaving “There’s a new home run champion of all-time, and it’s Henry Aaron.
      But for me, in looking at the game by more than provincially, even topping the great Kirk Gibson moment, when Reggie Jackson hit his 3rd home run of the game against the Dodgers, the signature one. Three swings, 3 dingers. Following a last pitch homer from the night before. You can’t do a better 4 for 4 than that. You could almost feel the rampaging pulse inside Reggie as he circled the bases. What a high!

      Too bad this subject cane up on the day of Home Run Derby implying that tonight’s farce has some credibility as a home run related topic. That’s the thinking of those that voted for Hitler in Time’s Man of the Millenium competition because he had impact. And the widespread discussion of it has helped kill a once charm of a game, if not a meaningful one.

      Seems like Bernie Carbo’s big ’75 hit was a 3 run shot. V The Reds.

  5. Pamikedc

    July 15, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Another good one was Chases’ 2 HRs in Game 1 of the 2009 WS off of C.C. Chase had an unbelievable series.

    BUT- arods steroid induced HR off the camera was what won the series- that was like game 3 or 4?

    • George

      July 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm

      I remember that ARod Home run mostly because in my view, the umpires got it wrong. That stinking camera was protruding into the playing field. Had the clown operating it been a foot further back, ithat homer would have been a double, and the Phils would have still been in the game.

      • brooks

        July 16, 2013 at 5:54 am

        George you are absolutely correct. My season tickets are in the row directly behind the camera well (which at the time was almost always empty). The camera does protrude a few inches.
        Section 106, row4, seats 19 & 20 (row 4 is the first row behind the camera well).

  6. chappdaddy

    July 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    There is a single home run that got me hooked, but I would say that record setting HR’s are always memorable, Von Hayes’ two in June of 85 comes to mind. Also Big Joe in the World Series was a memory maker. As far as actually at a game the most memorable for me was May 6, 2012 at Nationals stadium it was my 15 year old twins first Phillies game and Hunter Pence hit a two run shot in the 4th and to get to see my kids reaction to it made it all that much more special to me. I know that seems kind of old for a first game but the Navy has kept me away from Philly for a long time. My most memorable HR at CBP was July 8, 2012 when Jason Pridie went yard against the Brave during the only game I’ve seen there.

  7. BenG

    July 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Oo! Can I play?

    1) Raul Ibanez’s home run off Phil Coke in game 5 of the 2009 WS. Memorable because it came just one batter after Utley’s 2nd dinger of the night, and was hit so hard it actually hushed the crowd into an audible gasp while we were still cheering. I swear it left a dent in the Jeep sign in right field.

    2) Shane/CC and Stairs/Broxton are up there, for all the reasons listed above, but one more that I feel truly put 2008 in the books was Joe “The Lumber” Blanton’s in WS Game 4. That, to me, said everything was really going our way.

    3) Honestly, no non-Phillies HR will stay with me longer than Joe Carter’s title-winner in 1993. That was the season that got me hooked, heartbreak and all, and it remains one my most vivid early memories of fandom.

  8. Jaron B

    July 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Not in-person, but on TV:

    Utley & Chooch go back-to-back last year on the day Utley returns from the DL.


    The two walk-off back-to-back homers against Chapman this year. Despite Lee getting picked off first, a win is a win.

  9. Bob in Bucks

    July 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I was privileged to see Victorino’s slam. The Meyers 9 pitch AB made the crowd believe they were affecting the game “CC…CC….CC….CC”. By the slam I thought the ballpark would levitate. Great fun!
    As for memorable (unfortunately not forgettable) dare I say it – Joe Carter game six 93 WS.

  10. George

    July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I remember one home run only by sound; I wasn’t there, and the game was not on T.V. In Ryan Howard’s early days, he cracked one against the Braves that was really loud even over the radio. I knew when I heard it, it was gone. No anouncement was neccessary. It also was the major factor in a Phils victory.

  11. jake

    July 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    This is a great topic. Reminds me why I love baseball.

    Continuing on the “Ryan Howard was a monster once” trend:
    The most memorable home-run iv’e seen in person was Ryan Howard’s rocket blast off of Mike Mussina in 2006. That year, despite winning the ROY in 2005, people still didn’t get how powerful howard was. In June, the Yankees rolled into town. WFAN was screaming that Philly wasn’t a baseball town.
    On the first night, Howard changed that. He hat seven RBIs on 2 homers and a triple. THe first shot off of Moose was the one I clearly remember.
    I was sitting in the 200 level of RF. Howard came to the plate and just uncorked one. Sounded like lightning struck. THe ball went straight over my head and was still rising.
    Hittracker says it went 441 feet.

    Having been under the ball I can tell you it wouldn’t have stopped for another 150 if the bleachers weren’t there.

    It was amazing.

  12. DavidE

    July 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    What about Mike Schmidt’s homerun in Montreal off of Steve Rogers in the 9h inning to put the Phillies ahead in a division clinching game? Two more homeruns that were very memorable were both hit off of Lee Smith. One in 1983 was a September game with the Phillies battling for the division title and Joe Morgan hitting his second homerun to beat the Cubs on his 40th birthday. Another was in 1993 when Mariano Duncan hit a grandslam off of Lee Smith with the Cardinals leading 5-2 in the 8th inning.

  13. Calhoun

    July 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    The ultimate home run for excitement — even when the game is not particularly significant– is the walk off grand slam in which the winning team wins by just one run. The Phillies have done this twice in the last 50 years. The first was on 2 Aug 1970 when Tony Taylor hit a ninth-inning grand slam off Mike Davison to beat the San Francisco Giants, 7-6. On 13 April 1983, it would be Bo Diaz’ turn as he hit a ninth-inning grand slam off the Mets’ Neil Allan for a 10-9 victory over the hated Mets. In Diaz’ homerun there were also two outs, which added to the drama. Neither of these games were particularly significant, but no one who was watching or listening will ever forget them. The Phillies were losing in the bottom of the ninth by three and it is looking bad, and then “boom” they win. It doesn’t get any better than that. The audio of the radio broadcast of Diaz’ homerun used to be on YouTube. If it is still there, have a listen and tell me if Kalas and Ashburn aren’t at their best and most excited, Kalas making the call with Ashburn screaming in the background.

  14. Double Trouble Del

    July 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Meanigful walk off… Bake McBride off of David Palmer September 26, 1980. I came home from Fordham for the weekend series with the Expos. This was a Friday night game…I thought the Vet was going to fall apart it shook so palpably.

  15. Dr. Dave

    July 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Earlier, I wrote about the first significant HR that I could remember. As for my all-time favorite Phillies HR: I have 2.

    1964 All-Star game. I was in Michigan visiting my cousins who were Tiger fans. Being from Muncy, PA, I was of course rooting for the NL. We were having a picnic and listening to the game on the radio. Johnny Callison hits the 3-run bomb off Dick Radatz to win it for the NL!

    My second involves Dick Allen. I don’t remember the year. But it was early in his career. The game was on a Saturday or Sunday (probably carried by Channel 8 out of Lancaster). It was the first inning against the Braves. The opposing pitcher walked the bases loaded. (I think he was a knuckleballer) On the first pitch to Allen, a fastball, grand slam!

    I remember getting Richie Allen’s autograph when he played for the Williamsport Grays in 1962. The 2 I’s in his first name had little circles over them instead of dots.

  16. Dr. Dave

    July 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Both my comments are based on childhood memories. I love the game of baseball and I live it everyday. Still 60 feet six inches. Still 90 feet. Only the mound has been lowered and we have 5 man rotations instead of 4. Both are reasons, in my humble opinion, why we have more arm injuries. Will soon be 62. Took my oldest grandson to his first MLB game 2 Sunday’s ago.

    There is a sign in our parlor that states: Faith, Family, Friends. There wasn’t room for Phillies in the 3 hole!

  17. Mazinman

    July 15, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I got to see Mike Schmidt hit a couple home runs in person. None as huge as number 500 but when you see the greatest third baseman ever hit a home run it is memorable.

    In recent memory it has to be Joe Blanton’s home run in game 4 of the 2008 World Series. I was lucky enough to be in that game and the moment that ball went out you could feel a wave of sheer joy move through the ballpark. If Blanton could hit a home run in the World Series then there was no way we were losing. Having my mom beside me only maked it better.

    Of course, any list like this has to include Matt Stairs. I almost died from that home run as I was driving back home from work and I lost all control of my hands as that happened.

  18. The Henry Farm

    July 16, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Easy for me. I live in LA now and I had taken my son to his first Phillies game and it just happened to be October 13, 2008 – the night Matt Stairs hit his pinch hit homer in the NLCS. I remember when Broxton came in, I had told my friend who was a die-hard Dodger fan that Stairs would go deep because Stairs only hits fastballs and that’s all Broxton throws.

    But as important and exciting as Stairs homer was, the Victorino one was bigger. The Dodgers had a fired up home crowd and were winning by two. Victorino’s homer was met by almost total silence. It was like 50,000 people were watching batting practice. It was as if they didn’t think it counted. No one knew what to do, they didn’t even groan or boo. It was the baseball equivalent of a sucker punch.

    That clutch win, and the fact that my then-2 year old son was with me the whole night, means those will forever be the most memorable Phils home runs for me.

  19. Olof

    July 16, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Most memorable in person: Jim Thome on May 9, 2003 — was sitting on the right field line at the Vet and the ball travelled a long, long way up towards right field and never seemed to come down.

    On TV: Hank Aaron #715.

    On radio: Mike Cameron hits 4 homers in one game May 2, 2002, and goes back to back twice with Bret Boone. Just missed a fifth.

    And yeah, Matt Stairs.

  20. The Original Chuck P

    July 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

    For some reason, I vividly remember Alfonso Soriano crushing a ball onto Ashburn Alley in 2006(?). I also remember Ryan Zimmerman hitting two monster home runs in one game… one which went directly over my head in left field and into the second deck (watching it fly well above my head at +100 MPH was jaw dropping, to say the least).

    Memorable for the wrong reasons… Joe Carter (enough said).

    The Stairs home run was awesome… I sincerely believe that series and THAT home run ruined J. Broxton’s chances of having a great career.

    There have been three great walk-off home runs this year (Mayberry’s GS, Frandsen as a pinch-hitter and the unexpected Galvis HR after Kratz tied it with a HR) – let’s hope they have a few more in the tank!

  21. Don M

    July 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I was there at Game 4 of the 2008 WS too… but did not actually see the Blanton HR . . . . see I had consumed a few .. … lets call them “sodas” … and with the pitcher spot up, I thought it was the perfect chance to go take a leak . . . . until the place erupted and those in the bathroom learned that Joe Blanton had just gone yard.

  22. Jeff Orbach

    July 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    The most memorable non-Phillie Home Runs I saw were:

    1) In the first game I went to Mets vs Cubs 1969, The day after Tom Seaver almost pitched a perfect game Ron Santo hit one into the last row of the upper deck in left field at Shea.

    2) I was there when Hank Aaron hit (I believe) his last grand slam at the Vet and beat us.

    The most memorable Phillies Home Run was when Luis Aguayo eliminated the Mets in 1987 in the bottom of the 9th with a Pinch hit Solo Shot. The Stadium was full of Mets Fans and we Phillies fans were laughing at them as they left!

  23. Ken Bland

    July 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Seemingly very underrated by no mention (that I saw) was Schmidt’s “he buried it” per Andy Musser to help wrap the ’80 divvy title against the Expos, and very underrated by not much mention Vic’s GS off CC. I guess some folks spoke strictly of games attended. Upon further review, I don’t know that there was that much separation in dramatic effect between the two, maybe some edge to Stairs.

    Also worth a mention would be the Fransisco homer in the playoffs, although that’s easy to forget because of the way the stupid series turned out.

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