Friday marks the 75th anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in baseball history as Lou Gehrig sadly announced his retirement from baseball.
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The “Luckiest Man” speech isn’t just one of — if not the greatest — speeches in sports history, it’s one of the most iconic moments in baseball history. Seventy-five years later, it makes fans appreciate what’s given in life, and not what’s taken away.
In honor of the 75th anniversary of this iconic speech, let’s take a look at 10 of the most iconic moments in baseball history.
No. 10 – “The Flip” (2001)
I believe this moment will only grow with time. Derek Jeter is still making memories, but when we reflect on his career, this play will resonate even further. When his career does end, we’ll go back and think, “Why was Jeter there?”
Jeter should’ve, by all means, been on the other side of the field, but was there to pick up two cutoff men on an overthrow to the plate and, in one stride, flip the ball from his position on the first base line to Jorge Posada at the plate to nab Jeremy Giambi at the plate. Of course it’s a fantastic, unbelievable play, but even more so in a one-run playoff like it was.
It’s one of those plays Jeter made that’s what made him the Hall of Famer he will be. Though he has more hits than any Yankee in history and has multiple World Series rings, it’s a play like this that separates him into another level. It’s also a moment that reminds all players to pay attention to what’s going on at all times.
No. 9 – “Touch ‘em all, Joe” (1993)
It’s special anytime you can end a World Series with a walk-off home run, and Joe Carter did just that in the 1993 World Series. Carter’s blast off Mitch Williams to give the Blue Jays back-to-back championships is one of the greatest endings one can ask for.
As Carter joyously skips around the bases with his arms held high, broadcaster Tom Cheek makes his famous “Touch ‘em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run” call on the radio. It’s a moment that’s fit for a Hollywood script ending.
Much like Joe Carter, Bill Mazeroski ended the World Series with one swing of the bat. Unlike Carter, Mazeroski’s was in the decisive Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. In one of the wildest postseason games in history, the Pittsburgh Pirates trailed the New York Yankees 7-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Pirates scored five runs to take a 9-7 lead into the final inning. However, the Yankees scored two in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 9.
Mazeroski then led off the bottom on the ninth with his walk-off shot to win the World Series for the Pirates. In doing so, he became the first player in baseball history to end a World Series with a walk-off home run. (Carter being the only other to do so).
When Carlton Fisk hit this, Boston was still in the middle of its championship curse. So when the ball was headed for foul territory, Fisk was willing to do anything for the ball to land in fair territory. It did, although it wasn’t enough to snap the curse. However, it did create a moment so iconic that every baseball fan knows this moment.
When Cal Ripken played his 2,131st consecutive game, baseball seemed to stop to take notice. The B & O Warehouse, a building behind Camden Yards, was lit with 2,131.
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