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Top 10 iconic moments in baseball history

Published: Thursday, July 3 2014 10:30 p.m. MDT

He, of course, did what he also did best that day, he hit a home run.

Who knows if Ripken’s streak will ever be broken.

No. 5 – “The impossible has happened" (1988)

Perhaps no baseball moment is re-enacted more in beer league softball games than Kirk Gibson’s fist pump as rounded the bases on one of the most improbable home runs in baseball history. Gibson, with two bad legs, couldn't even come out to be introduced to start the World Series game. However, he came on to pinch-hit with two outs in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series and smacked a walk-off home run to right anyway.

Legendary broadcasting voices Jack Buck and Vin Scully’s call added to the drama of the event. Buck's “I don’t believe what I just saw” line might be one of the best in baseball broadcasting history.

No. 4 – The shot heard ‘round the world (1951)

This is one of the greatest moments in baseball history. The New York Giants were the ultimate underdogs heading into a best of three with the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League pennant. That’s because before that, the Giants were down by more than 10 games in the standings in August, but stormed back to force the pennant playoff by the end of the season.

The teams split the first two games of the series and the Giants entered the bottom of the ninth down 4-1, but managed to pull within two runs by the time Bobby Thompson approached the plate. Thompson then launched a three-run home run to cap one of the greatest comebacks in professional sports history.

An unforgettable scene ensued, with the team carrying Thompson off on their shoulders. At the same time, Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges was yelling at the top of his lungs “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” It’s moments like that that make baseball magical.

No. 3 – Babe Ruth's called shot (1932)

If Kirk Gibson’s fist pump isn’t the most re-enacted moment from baseball’s fans, then Babe Ruth’s legendary “called shot” has to be. It’s debated whether it actually happened or not, but as the tale famously goes, Ruth pointed to the outfield bleachers at Wrigley Field, and then jacked a homer in that direction on the next pitch.

Now sure, this moment is more mythical than anything else, but almost every kid that played Little League or sandlot ball imitated this moment at least once. It’s also been exaggerated in various movies and TV programs throughout the years.

Nothing beats a good mystery, and that’s why this moment, whether it happened in the 1932 World Series or not, is where the legend of Babe Ruth grows beyond his almighty statistics.

No. 2 – Lou Gehrig’s speech (1939)

Could you imagine one of the best baseball players in history to suddenly announce his retirement halfway through the season? How about if said player did it while still one of the biggest stars in the game? That’s exactly what Lou Gehrig did, and he did it in a time when nobody really knew the severity of the disease he had even though he truly didn't realize the full impact of it either.

A couple of weeks after officially retiring, Gehrig returned to Yankee Stadium to deliver one of the saddest, yet most genuinely special moments to happen on the diamond. “I truly consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth” is not just arguably the greatest line from any baseball speech, it’s also one of the greatest lines in American history, especially knowing what he was up against.

ALS was an uncommon disease at the time. Gehrig was baseball’s “Iron Horse” and seemingly indestructible. In all reality, Gehrig probably even played his final year or two as a player with symptoms of ALS. But what made his speech so remarkable is how he knew what was ahead of him, but spoke about all the great things he was given. His words still give goosebumps to this day — 75 years later.

No. 1 – Jackie Robinson breaks the major league color barrier (1947)

There is a moment that’s debated if it actually happened, but Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese wrapped his arm around Jackie Robinson as fans were berating Robinson. Whether it happened or not, it’s the symbolic moment when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

Robinson opened the door for all diverse players to enter the majors for years to come.

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