Favorite Baseball Catches of My Lifetime
Alex Gordon made a great catch this week. Nolan Arenado made one earlier this year. Great catches are great. Here are my all-timers in my less than all-time on this emerald checkerboard of life
- •Gary Matthews Jr, way over the wall, 2006http://bit.ly/1Qpconl The speed in which he scales the wall is the first part of it, but the reach --- so much further than you think is possible-- is what makes this the best. He realized he wasn't going to catch the ball when it was 5 feet over his head, readjusted in milliseconds of milliseconds, and hauled it in. His flexibility is Pilatial. The contract the Angels gave Gary Matthews Jr defied logic and reality. This catch defied logic and reality and physics.
- •Jim Edmonds, 1997http://bit.ly/1Ka0Sb8 Edmonds was a glorious, big play fielder. I sometimes thought he'd purposely slow up on balls to make diving catches instead of routine ones. This, was not that. This was Willie Mays on steroids. His back is completely to the ball and his dive is full speed, full force. And most amazing, he never takes his eyes off the ball. At the end of it, he's bent like a cobra but still keeping eye contact. And the capper is the look he gives Tim Salmon, he can't even believe it.
- •Ken Griffey Jr, over the wall, 1990http://bit.ly/1JhM0K2 Junior owned the Yankees. He would go on to have a huge ALDS in 1995 and no human ever ran faster than he did to score the series winning run in Game 5. This was to rob Jesse Barfield of his 200th career home run and was pre-peak 'Griffey the baseball player' but prime-peak 'Griffey the athlete.' If I didn't have to get on the set for Around the Horn in 2 minutes this list would include Ken Griffey Sr's catch at the end of the vid. I was at that game but missed it
- •Kevin Mitchell, barehanded, 1989http://bit.ly/1JhM0K0 Kevin Mitchell was a fun player. The stories of him on the 86 Mets - the stories of everybody on the 86 Mets!!! - are enough for an entire career. By 1989 he was a surprising MVP for the Giants and this catch is his legacy. For a 10-year-old boy it guaranteed I would never go through another Little League practice without trying to snag one with my non-gloved hand. Most underrated part of it: it hurts! PS - I had a flip book of this catch.
- •Masato Akamatsu, 2010www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaxpAkOWNM0 We did this on PTI and if I remember correctly when Wilbon first saw it his reaction was, "I've seen that before." What?!?! In Major League 2, maybe. And not as good. The fences are lower in Japan and have railings but that doesn't downgrade this in the least. If MLB were smart they'd put in a similar rail to promote catches like this...and invoke my rule to reward teams whose home fans catch a home run ball and throw out the home run hitter at the plate.