We're officially calling October 8-14 "Walk-Off Week", as there is a #Playversary of a playoff walk-off home run for 7 days straight. Relive the moments below...
In what turned out to be a precursor for the most clutch postseason performance of all-time, David Ortiz helped his Red Sox team of destiny to an ALDS sweep of the Angels by hitting a walk-off home run over the Green Monster in the series’ decisive Game 3. The blast was Papi’s third-career playoff home run. Ortiz hit .545 in the series; they don’t award an ALDS MVP, but he’d have won it. See the PrintOctober 9
Mark Teixeira was one of a few key acquisitions who drove the Yankees to the 2009 World Series Championship, and never was he more clutch than when he came to bat vs. the Twins in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS. Tex snuck a ball over the left field porch to give the Yanks a thrilling 4-3 win and a 2-0 series lead. Teixeria’s blast was his first-career postseason home run. Of his over-400 regular season homers, he has hit precisely 0 walk-off four baggers. Gotta love October heroics. See the PrintOctober 10
Speak softly and carry a big boomstick: words Nelson Cruz lives by. The Rangers’ slugger was on another level in the 2011 Postseason — one of his signature moments came in extra innings in Game 2 of the ALCS. The Rangers started the 11th inning with three straight singles, which brought Cruz to the plate with the bases juiced and nobody out. He crushed a 1-2 pitch deep to left for the first walk-off grand slam in MLB history. The slam was Cruz’ second home run of the game and third of the series.
After starting the playoffs off 1-15 in the ALDS, Nelly launched an ALCS-record 6 home runs en route to a record-tying power display in which he hit 8 homers in the 2011 Postseason. Cruz’ slam would have been the second-ever walk-off playoff grand slam, but Robin Ventura’s infamous “Grand Slam Single” is not an official home run because he stopped rounding the bases after he reached first base. See the PrintOctober 11
The Nationals were pushed to the brink early on in the 2012 playoffs, despite having the league’s best record. Down two games to one to St. Louis in the best-of-five NLDS, Washington was playing a must-win game at home. The game was a pitcher’s duel, with the score knotted at one and just five total hits between the two teams entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Jayson Werth led off the frame for the Nats and an epic battle ensued between he and the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn. On the 13th and final pitch of the at bat, Werth sent his team home winners.
“The Werthquake” was the first postseason walk-off homer in Nationals/Expos franchise history. The game-winning shot gave the Nats the first home postseason win for a Washington baseball team in nearly 80 seasons. It was only the third time a player hit a playoff walk-off home run against the Cardinals in over 200 games. See the PrintOctober 12
After losing Yadier Molina, their veteran clubhouse leader, to injury and blowing a 4-3 lead in the top of the 9th inning in Game 2 of the NLCS, the Redbirds needed something to lift their spirits. Enter rookie second baseman Kolten Wong. Wong lifted a Sergio Romo pitch to right for a solo home run to win the game and even the series at a game apiece.
Wong’s clutch homer was the Cardinals’ fourth of what was an unlikely power surge; in 2014 the team homered just 105 times, good for dead last in the NL. The Cardinals would not win another game in the series and the Giants won the National League pennant for the third time in five seasons en route to their third World Series Championship in that span. See the PrintOctober 13
Every kid grows up dreaming of being the hero in the same scenario: World Series. Game 7. Tie game. Bottom 9. Going, going, gone. Championship. The Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski is only the kid in history who has made that dream come true. His World Series-winning homer gave the Bucs their third-ever championship and the team’s first title in 35 years over the mighty Yankees.
Thanks to clutch hits like Mazeroski’s home run, the Pirates won a World Series they really had no business winning. The Yankees outscored Pittsburgh in the seven-game series, 55-27. In fact, the Yankees offense was so potent that their second baseman, Bobby Richardson, was named Series MVP; Richardson is the only Series-losing player to be named World Series MVP.
Since the 1960 World Series, the Series-ending walk-off home run has occurred just once, in 1993, when Toronto’s Joe Carter won the decisive Game 6 for his Jays. See the PrintOctober 14
Ozzie Smith is the source of perhaps one of the most unlikely postseason walk-off home runs ever hit. In his over 10,000 plate appearances in the regular season, the sure-handed shortstop left the yard just 28 times. His heroic homer in the ’85 NLCS was his lone playoff home run in 42 postseason games played.
Jack Buck, longtime Cardinals broadcaster, famously told fans to “Go Crazy!” after The Wizard of Oz jolted the Cardinals to a 3-2 win in Game 5 of the NLCS. The Cardinals would win Game 6 to clinch the series before losing the 1985 World Series. See the Print