Stahead.com has a statistic that can calculate the percent change in World Series Chances based on a single play in a game. I used this data to find the most important homerun in every single team’s history. I am going to make six separate posts for each division going through every single team’s biggest homerun. The data is from 1961 to 2020, though I should say, if a homerun doesn’t have video, I am going to mention it but use the second biggest homerun ever so you guys have something to see. Enjoy!
Toronto Blue Jays
1993 World Series Game 6, Blue Jays lead series 3-2
Joe Carter vs. Mitch Williams
Ranks as the 3rd most important homerun of all time.
This epic video comes from the 1993 World Series when Joe Carter walked it off for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the 9th with one out, down one run. The count was 2-2, and you can just see in his eyes as he stepped into the box that the screams and cheers of 50,000 crazy Canadian fans was not phasing him at all. He was completely focused in. Williams threw him what looked to be a slider riding in and Carter absolutely mashed it deep to left field. The views from that stadium, as the ball is in the air, is amazing as Toronto is one of the coolest places in the MLB during playoff time. Before that at-bat, the Blue Jays had a 69.72% chance to win the World Series. After that at-bat, they obviously had a 100% chance, which is a 30.28% change. That swing will go down as the most important swing in Blue Jays History.
New York Yankees
Note: The Yankees biggest homerun ever is from the 1964 World Series. Tom Tresh did the unthinkable and took the legendary Bob Gibson deep in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, down 2 for a 2 run homerun. It ranks as the sixth biggest homerun of all time but unfortunately there is no film of it so I am going to use the Yankees’ second biggest homerun ever.
2001 World Series Game 5, series tied 2-2
Scott Brosius vs. Byung-Hyun Kim
Ranks as the seventh most important homerun of all time.
The sounds that come out of Yankee stadium from big homeruns is different than every other stadium. You could feel the tension in the stadium as the Yankees were facing going down 3-2 in the series, and the city so desperately wanted to win. Definitely not one of the bigger names on that team, Scott Brosius steps to the plate in the bottom of the 9th down 2 with 2 outs and as the tying run. He took the first pitch for a ball. The next pitch, Kim throws him what looks to be a hanging movement pitch that ends up falling right down the middle of the plate. Brosius turns his hips and pulls a moon shot down the left field line. He knows it is gone as he immediately lifts his arm and watches it as he jogs to first base. The ball lands in about the 5th row of the left field bleachers and you can see the entire stadium start to jump all at once. That swing made it 24.19% more likely that the Yankees would win that World Series. The Yankees ended up losing the World Series that year, but if they won it, I believe that homerun might be as famous as the one hit by Aaron Boone, which ranks as 27th most important homerun ever for any curious Yankees fan.
Boston Red Sox
1975 World Series, Reds lead series 3-2
Bernie Carbo vs. Rawly Eastwick
Ranks as the eighth most important homerun of all time.
At this time, the Red Sox curse was still fully functioning and you can see and hear the Boston fans and how much they wanted the curse to end as this ball was hit. The Reds were leading the game 6-3 in the Bottom of the 8th. They had four more outs to become World Series Champions. Carbo steps up to the plate with two runners on, making him the tying run. He had a favorable righty-lefty matchup, and managed to work the count to 2-2. Eastwick then makes his biggest mistake as he throws a pitch that’s slightly outside, but Carbo uses all of his strength to drive it to deep center field. It may not have looked like a bomb off the bat but the ball just kept going and going until it cleared the Mini Monster in center field to tie the game at 6. Carbo basically sprints around the bases in pure excitement, as maybe even he was surprised at how far he had just hit the ball. That homerun made it 23.76% more likely that the Red Sox would win that World Series. The Red Sox went on to win the game but lose the series, though the Red Sox fans’ pain would finally come to an end in 2004 when David Ortiz hit some rather important homeruns himself.
Tampa Bay Rays
2020 World Series, Dodgers lead series 2-1
Brandon Lowe vs. Pedro Baez
Ranks as the 61st most important homerun of all time.
The Rays made it to their second ever World Series in 2020 hoping for better results than their first appearance. Game 4 was a wild game that became a must-win for the Rays, because beating the Dodgers three times in a row was seemingly impossible. The Dodgers led 4-2 as Lowe stepped into the box. The Dodgers had gotten to their fairly reliable bullpen as Baez was on the mound trying to get the team to the 7th with a 2 run lead. There were men on first and second when Lowe stepped in and worked the at-bat to a 2-2 count. Baez then threw him what really wasn’t a bad pitch, a ball moving away from the plate that Lowe was able to put really solid contact on and drive it the opposite way to left field. The ball kept going and going and going and the homerun became real as Chris Taylor hit the wall and saw the ball float over his head. This homerun feels different than all other homeruns because of the lack of fans, and doesn’t give justice to how important a homerun that was to the Rays chances of winning the 2020 World Series. That homerun raised the Rays chances of winning the World Series by 12.88%. This homerun likely won’t be the play most remembered in the game as this was the game with the wild walk off hit from Brett Phillips.
Note: The Orioles’ biggest homerun ever came during the 1979 World Series. Rich Dauer took Jim Bibby deep in the Bottom of the 3rd in Game 7, which gave the Orioles the lead and raised their chances of winning the World series by over 10%. For some reason, there is no video of this play and I didn’t want to post the full 3 hour game and have you guys find the homerun so I used their second most important ever.
1983 ALCS, Baltimore leads series 2-1
Tito Landrum vs. Britt Burns
Ranks as the 101st most important homerun of all time.
To set the scene, it was the Top of the 10th as the Orioles and White Sox stormed into extra innings. The White Sox needed to win this game to not go down 3-1 in the series and keep their World Series hopes alive. The White Sox got the 1st out of the 10th before Landrum walked up to the plate. Landrum took the first pitch at the knees for a strike. The announcer then goes on to say “Landrum, not the deep threat” before pitch 2 warning the White Sox not to get to Ripken because he was the power threat. Burns then winds up and tosses a meatball that Landrum absolutely crushes to left field. He knew it was gone immediately as he dropped his bat and watched the ball soar into the second deck. This is the only homerun so far that was on the road, but you can just feel the anger in that stadium as they watched a moon shot ruin their World Series dreams. The announcer realized that he had pretty much jinxed that play into occurrence as he watched Landrum round the bases. That homerun made the Orioles 10.21% more likely to win the World Series in that season.
Thanks for reading part one of this six part series. In the next few days, I’m going to be doing this same thing for the other divisions in the League. Up next, we’ll look at the AL Central teams’ biggest homeruns. Stay tuned!