The Top 10 MLB Moments of the 21st Century…So Far

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There have been countless unforgettable moments throughout baseball’s revered history.

But for America’s national pastime, those more recent memories have not yet been categorized with the best of all-time. Someday they will, however, and you’ll want to be able to tell those around you about each of them.

So in case you missed any of these historic moments, or they’ve just slipped your mind, I’m here to help. In this post I provide you with what I view as the most incredible, unbelievable, and memorable moments of this young 21st century.

But first, a note…

When recently asked the question “Why do you watch sports?” it really got me thinking. The final answer I concluded upon was that I wanted to see something memorable, something special, something I’d remember watching years from now. So this list is focused around those memory-laden events.

We don't see his name brought up as much as it used to be, but for this post, Barry Bonds is back. Photo courtesy "User Onetwo1" via Wikimedia

First, let’s start off with a couple of moments that didn’t quite make the cut, but still deserve mention…

Ichiro breaks the single-season hits record

Before this record belonged to Ichiro, not many of us would have been able to name who owned the record for most hits in one regular season. George Sisler’s record of 257 hits in 1920 stood for 84 years until Suzuki shattered it in 2004, so it was obviously a very prestigious accomplishment.

Cal Ripken Jr. is honored at the 2001 All Star Game

One of the most renowned players in recent history is longtime Baltimore Orioles’ infielder Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken was voted into the 2001 All Star Game as his career was winding down. For most fans of this era, we’ll always remember watching Ripken Jr. play, and this midsummer classic served as the ultimate tribute.

Aaron Boone sends the Red Sox packing

In the 2003 ALCS, Aaron Boone hit a walk off home run for the Yankees to defeat the Red Sox in Game 7 and head to the World Series. Why didn’t such an extreme moment in the greatest rivalry in baseball make the cut? Well for one, the Yankees didn’t go on to win the World Series, being defeated by the Florida Marlins. But mainly it missed the cut because it’s normally referred to as only a stepping stone to a much more memorable moment that occurred in ’04, which we’ll get to later.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 MLB moments of the 21st century…so far.

10. Stars called to testify about steroids

In what is probably the biggest controversy in baseball since the “Black Sox” of 1919, issues surrounding steroid use in the game have overtaken our country at times throughout the past 10 or so years. One of the most riveting moments surrounding the steroid era was when players were called to testify about the topic.

The most famous moments from that day were Sammy Sosa forgetting how to speak English, Mark McGwire being near speechless and dodging questions, and Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger in front of what came out to be a bold face lie.

 

If it slipped your mind, remember that he went on to test positive for steroids a short time later.

—–

9. The Mets take on the Yankees in “Subway Series” of 2000

As the Yankees were trying to defend their World Series title for the third straight year, they found themselves facing off against their rival from Queens, the New York Mets. It brought in all of the attention that you’d think it would.

Between legendary manager Joe Torre of the Yankees, polarizing Mets’ manager Bobby Valentine, the large market of New York, and story lines surrounding the Yankees dynasty, there was no shortage of headlines.

In game 2 of the series, things got extremely heated, as Roger Clemens threw a broken bat at hitter Mike Piazza. That is probably the most memorable image from the iconic series.

It’s the type of event that a baseball purist would love to see every year. Heck, seeing it once in your lifetime is awfully special. Next we just have to root for a White Sox/Cubs crosstown showdown. Ha…right.

Photo via SportsGulp.net

—–

8. White Sox win the World Series

In case you’re unaware, I’m a die hard White Sox fan, and have been my whole life. For myself personally, this is number 1 on the list. But I do recognize that the 88-year drought and “Shoeless Joe” curse were much less renowned than a couple other curses in MLB lore. I’d even understand if some argued that this shouldn’t be on the list.

But I mean come on, it was an 88-year drought. The Red Sox drought, which you heard much more about, was only 86 years!

Not to mention, nothing was expected of the ’05 White Sox. They were an afterthought going into the season by most experts, but they proved them all wrong as they went on to win 99 games in an AL Central that also had a 93-win Cleveland Indians squad.

Plus, in the ALCS the Sox had four straight complete games from their starting pitchers. Take a minute to process that.

In what I feel is the greatest baseball city in the world, Chicago went crazy after the championship was won. The parade brought in millions, as a city with two major league teams got to celebrate for the first time since 1917.

Pregame ceremony before Game 1. Still can't believe I was there. Photo courtesy US Navy's Dwayne Snader via Wikimedia

 —–

7. Barry Bonds breaks the single-season home run record

This is only Bonds’ second-best record breaker on the list, but we’ll get to the other one later.

In 2001, Barry Bonds’ broke Mark McGwire’s remarkable record of 70 home runs in one season, as he his his 71st on October 5th.

 

Home run records are by far and away the most renowned records in baseball, which is why this gets the spot at no. 7.

—–

With the honorable mention and moments 10 through 7 out of the way, it’s time for the best of the best moments from this century:

  • A walk-off bloop to give David a win over Goliath.
  • A new Home Run King
  • A curse broken

Plus steroids, a scapegoat, and a nation coming together.

Read on to see the top six MLB moment of the 21st century…so far.

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About Zach Gropper

Zach Gropper is a sports broadcasting major at Indiana University in the beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. He is from Flossmoor, IL, a small Chicago suburb.
Zach was was the sports director for WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor his junior year of high school and Television Station Manager of Viking Television during his senior year.
He runs a White Sox blog at GrabSomeBench.com and also contributes and reports for AssemblyCall.com. Last summer, Zach interned for ESPN 1000 AM Chicago, working on programming for the Waddle and Silvy Show.
He is currently eager to get out into the professional world of sports media, wherever that may take him.

Comments

  1. jrwjr61 says:

    Wednesday Night September 28, 2011 the night the Braves and Red Sox September collapses concluded. Just an unbelievable chain of events.

  2. Aaron Boone did not hit a grand slam…it was the first pitch of the 11th inning against Wakefield. If you’re going to leav my favorite moment off of the list, a least know what you are talking about, Please. 

  3. Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 world series at yankee stadium, back to back, 2 out , down two runs in the bottom of the ninth homers (Tino and Broscius) to tie it up and the yankes going ton the win those games…..especially with the emotion of 9/11, the city really needed those wins to lift their spirits. And one of the best world series of all time (even though the yanks lost)

  4. Zgropper says:

    Sorry about the mistake with the Boone home run, Debora. And yes, the final night last season was great, but some great events had to get cut…

  5. Nylla0322 says:

    kirk gibson is not on the list? who made this list?

    •  Zach made it, and he also conspicuously titled it Top 10 MLB Moments of the 21st Century. That last part – 21st Century – makes Kirk Gibson ineligible, unless you think his managerial performance last year was THAT good.

  6. Dontforgetthemidwest.... says:

    How do you not include the Cardinals being down to their last strike twice in game six?  Most announcers have immediately called it one of the best world series games of all time…I notice a pretty significant big city (Chicago and NYC) bias….

  7. Zach Gropper says:

    Yep, I know the Cardinals performance was impressive. This list is merely my opinion of the 10 most memorable moments.

  8. I can’t accept either of Bonds moments as top ten.  He juiced.  You may have to say alledged, well actually you don’t.  Bonds admitted using steroids but denied he knew it.  So it’s not alledged and there is no way he breaks either hme run record with out PEDs.

  9. noeastern says:

    The A’s breaking the all time consecitive win streak should have been there. They made a movie about it for crying out loud.

  10. Kirk Gibson home run in game one.  It does not get more memorable than that.

  11. Ehs1946 says:

                     Rick  Monday saving OUR FLAG  from two idiots during a game
                in 1976.  Cubs at Dodgers.

  12. DavDavid Earleid Earle8 says:

    The greatest moment in Baseball for the 21st Century to date is Derek Jeters 3000th hit becoming the first ever Yankee in that category with an amazing day at the bat.  Special mention to Mariano Rivera for becomming the all time leader in saves, a record that will never be broken

  13. Ichiro breaking that single season for hits is the amazing one for me.  You knew with the number of small parks, the smaller strike zone, the bigger stronger players, that the home run record would eventually fall.  And I’m a Giants fan and a fan of Bonds the Baseball player.

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  15. Who even remembers Bonds breaking the all-time homerun record? Wouldn’t that be a criteria for memorable?

  16. CalFan says:

    Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played.  The game stopped for over 10 minutes and the feel was chilling and electric.  The lap around the stadium was unprecedented.

  17. Shawntompkins40 says:

    The cardinals barely making the playoffs and then winning the world series in probably was one of the most dramatic series in years.

  18. Toy Crawford says:

    Mark and Sammy ?  how do they get left off?

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