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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.

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