Baseball fans have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, as the 2013 season was full of memorable moments. Here are the ten that stick out the most:
10. April 5: Chris Davis hits fourth home run In four games
Four days. Four home runs. Orioles fans were thankful for Chris Davis all season long, starting on April 5 when he belted a go-ahead grand slam in the O’s season opener against the Minnesota Twins. Davis went on to set a franchise record with a league-leading 53 home runs.
9. July 8: Carlos Gomez robs home run for final out
Joey Votto was inches away from giving the Reds a lead in the top of the ninth on July 8, but Carlos Gomez leaped over a bench to make the final out. Gomez robbed the Reds slugger of a homer and secured a victory for the home Brewers. Milwaukee’s center fielder earned his first Gold Glove for his heroics with the leather.
8. May 25: Angel Pagan’s walk-off inside-the-park home run
Sure, walk-off homers are fun. But walk-off inside-the-park homers are just an absolute blast. The defending world champion San Francisco Giants were unable to return to the postseason, but stayed in the spotlight with a number of memorable moments. On May 25, Angel Pagan drove in the tying and game-winning runs on an inside-the-park home run against the Colorado Rockies.
7. May 7: Matt Harvey allows one base runner
Matt Harvey’s story captivated the baseball world and gave Mets fans hope for the future. On May 7, he allowed just one runner to reach base in nine innings against the White Sox. (Alex Rios beat out an infield single by a step.) Unfortunately for Harvey and the Mets, the sophomore starter didn’t earn the win as the Mets were unable to score until the bottom of the 10th.
All eyes were on L.A. after their flashy offseason spending. On June 3, one of their acquisitions, Yasiel Puig, went 2-for-4, and helped the Dodgers to victory by making a catch near the warning track and throwing out Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia at first base for a game-ending double play. Puig followed his debut performance with three hits in his second game, and a grand slam in his fourth.
After watching five no-hitters in 2012, baseball fans expected a plethora of no-no’s again in 2013. It took until July 2 to get our first, as Homer Bailey didn’t allow a hit against the Giants in Cincinnati. Bailey became the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1975 to have thrown the last two no-hitters in the league, and the 26th pitcher to throw more than one.
Bailey was matched up against Tim Linecum on the night the Giants were no-hit in Cincinnati. Eleven days later, it was Linecum who threw a no-no in San Diego. The Giants righty threw 148 pitches, the most thrown in a no-hitter since Edwin Jackson in 2010, and Petco Park fans witnessed the first no-hitter in the history of the stadium.
3. Sept. 23: Pirates advance to postseason
Pirates fans were incredibly thankful for a 2-1 Buccos victory over the Cubs on Sept. 23. Why? For the first time in 21 years Pittsburgh, had clinched a postseason berth. Clint Hurdle’s club went on to win 94 games and top the Reds in the NL wild card play-in game before falling to the Cardinals in the NLDS.
2. April 20: David Ortiz’s speech, Boston strong
Following the tragic events at the Boston Marathon, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz took the field in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park and declared Boston “our [expletive] city.” The city rallied around Ortiz and the Red Sox; Boston went from last place in the AL East to winning the World Series, and Ortiz was named World Series MVP.
1. July 16: Mariano Rivera’s final All-Star game
Every baseball fan is thankful for Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer to ever play the game and the last man to wear the now-retired No. 42. Mo’s season was filled with highlights as he was cheered in cities across the country during his farewell tour. The most memorable highlight came on July 16; Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” played as baseball’s all-time saves leader ran out of the bullpen and to the mound in Citi Field during his final All-Star game. Mo’s American League teammates delayed taking the field to allow fans to give him a much deserved ovation. Rivera proceeded to pitch a perfect eighth inning and earn MVP honors after the American League’s 3-0 win.
What baseball moments are you thankful for this season? Tune in to MLB Network Radio’s year in review on Thanksgiving beginning at 7 am ET with encore presentations at 1 pm and 7 pm.