Every fall brings the chance of a magical moment that will be forever associated with baseball lore. However, for every team, fanbase, and generation, there are a handful of postseason events that stand shoulders above the rest. Here is a look at the memorable or noteworthy moment for each MLB franchise in their playoff history.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez’ World Series Walk-off, 2001
With the Yankees at the peak of their turn of the century dynasty and a few outs away from a fourth-consecutive World Series title, upstart Diamondbacks –in just their fourth year of existence— didn't seem like a truly credible foe to stop their run. But they came out fighting and pushed the series the distance. With the game tied up in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7, Gonzalez put an end to their run, when he connected for a single in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 against postseason immortal Mariano Rivera –causing the only blown save of his 43 playoff opportunities— and bring home Arizona’s lone World Series title.
Atlanta Braves: Cabrera and Bream Become Unlikely Heroes, 1992
In Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, backup catcher Francisco Cabrera became one of the most unlikely heroes in postseason history. With two outs –and two strikes— in the bottom of the ninth inning vs the Pirates, Cabrera lined a single into left field which caught Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds in an awkward spot, that scored two runs (including a famously lumbering Sid Bream) to end the series and send Atlanta to the World Series. It remains the first and only time in postseason history a team was one out away from elimination in a winner-to-take-all game that was won on the last pitch.
Baltimore Orioles: Hoover’s Iconic Play, 1970
One of the most iconic defensive plays in history came during the 1970 World Series when Brooks Robinson further cemented his standing as the greatest defensive third baseman ever. While Robinson hit .429 in the series, he is best remembered for when he broke to his right to field a hit down the line by Lee May, backhanded the catch while leaping into foul territory, spun, and made a leaping one-hop throw to beat May in Game 1.
Boston Red Sox: Carlton Fisk Waves One Fair, 1975
The Red Sox entered Game 6 of the 1975 World Series on the brink of elimination and found themselves down three runs heading into the 8th inning, before a three-run homer by Bernie Carbo sent things into extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th inning, Carlton Fisk launched a high drive down the left-field line towards the Green Monster. Meanwhile, Fisk famously seemed to will the ball to stay fair, waving his arms while hopping down the first baseline until the ball bounced off the foul pole and extended the series to Game 7.
Chicago Cubs: Cubs get the Goat off their back, 2016
A World Series run that was 108 years the making was capped in a tense fashion, that included an unlikely game-tying homer from Rajai Davis in the bottom of the ninth for the Indians, which was compounded by a rain delay before extra innings could start in Game 7. But when play resumed, Ben Zobrist doubled to put the Cubs up by one, followed by a Miguel Montero single that brought in the difference-making run (as the Indians scored again in the bottom of the 10th). But the Cubs endured to finally get the Billy Goat’s curse off theirs –and four generations of their fans— collective backs.
Chicago White Sox: Scott Podsednik’s World Series Walk-off, 2005
The most notable event in the postseason history of the White Sox came via the Black Sox scandal of 1919. However, the most triumphant one came via the unlikely bat of Scott Podsednik, who connected for a walk-off homer in Game 2, to put the Sox up two games to none over the Houston Astros. The home run was especially rare, as Podsednik had not homered in 591 plate appearances on the year until this moment.
Cincinnati Reds: Tony Perez Clears ‘The Monster’, 1975
In the decisive Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, the Reds found themselves down 3-0 in the sixth inning. This was until Perez connected for a two-run homer against Bill Lee, who tried to sneak his famous eephus pitch past Perez. Perez’s game-tying blast cleared Fenway’s Green Monster, landing on Landsdown Street behind it. While hits from Pete Rose and Joe Morgan clinched the comeback, it was the seismic blast from Perez that changed the tide –and ultimately the outcome— of the series.
Cleveland Indians: Eddie Murray’s World Series Walk-off, 1995
Game 3 of the 1995 World Series was the first such game hosted in Cleveland in 41 years, and it did not disappoint. Although Murray had only two hits in 19 at-bats in the series, he made his second one count. In the bottom of the 11th inning, the veteran DH singled against Braves closer Alejandro Pena to give the Indians their first World Series win since Game 6 of the 1948 Fall Classic.
Colorado Rockies: A truly wild, Wild Card Play-in game, 2007
While not truly a postseason moment in the true sense of it, the winner-takes-all showdown between the Padres and Rockies was one of the tensest –and controversial— ends to a high stakes game in history. In the 13th inning, Matt Holliday connected for a game-tying triple, before being brought home on a sacrifice fly. However, a collision at the plate between Holliday and Padres catcher Michael Barrett left it unclear if Holliday actually touched the plate. A delayed call from the umpire ultimately called Holliday safe and sent the Rockies to their first postseason appearance, which ultimately reached the World Series.
Detroit Tigers: Magglio Ordonez seals the sweep, 2006
The 2006 Tigers wasted little time in disposing of the Oakland Athletics, defeating them in a clean sweep to move on to the World Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet in the ninth inning of Game 4 in Detroit, Ordonez brought the series to a definitive end, crushing a three-run, walk-off homer against A’s closer Huston Street. It was the eighth, series-ending homer in postseason history at the time.