My Top Baseball Moments

For many generations, baseball has been a favorite pastime for many families and with both sides of my family, it is no different. Many of my relatives grew up watching the Cleveland Indians and it’s not uncommon for the game to be on during our summer family cookouts. Growing up with a big baseball family and watching the Indians during the glory years in the mid-90s made me a baseball fan for life.

Over the years, there are several moments with and without the Indians that are among my favorite memories. Some of these moments are some I witnessed in person while others brought me joy while watching the game on TV. These are moments that will be with me forever for as long as I live because of the joy I felt being apart of them.

In no particular order or ranking, here are my top favorite baseball moments:

  • Wayne Kirby’s Game Winning RBI Hit in the First Regular Season Game at Jacobs (now Progressive) Field- I was barely an Indians fan when the game started and got hooked when the game ended. Everyone was excited for the new ballpark that replaced Cleveland Municipal Stadium and an Opening Day win was what every Indians fan was hoping for. After the Seattle Mariners (who were led by Ken Griffey Jr and Randy Johnson) had the lead for most of the game, the Indians started a comeback in the later innings and Wayne Kirby’s double off the left field wall would win it for the Tribe. It was from that time on  I became an Indians fan and my interest in baseball grew.
  • Sandy Alomar Hitting the Game Winning Home Run in the 1997 All-Star Game- having the All-Star Game in Cleveland was exciting but having a hometown hero hit the game-winning home run was even more exciting. The American League and the National League had been trading hits back and forth and the game remained tied until Alomar cranked a pitch into the bleachers. Alomar would go on to win the MVP Award in that All-Star Game and sealed his legacy as an Indians fan favorite forever.
  • Mark McGwire Breaking Roger Maris’s Home Run Record- McGwire did admit to taking steroids in his career but at that time, no one could help but want McGwire to break the record. Not many had come close to breaking Maris’s record that had stood since 1961 and as McGwire got closer, America waited to see if he could do it. When McGwire’s home run shot for number 62 cleared the left field wall in old Busch Stadium, he had the record and a place in baseball history.
  • A Father-Son Indians Baseball Camp in 1996- my dad and I got to meet Davie Nelson, Toby Harrah, Mark Wiley, and Charlie Manuel (yes, the current manager of the Philadelphia Phillies) as part of a Father-Son Indians baseball camp in 1996. In addition to meeting these coaches, I also got to meet Rick Manning, Omar Vizquel and Sandy Alomar. A victory later on that night made for a perfect day!
  • Seeing the Firemen, Police and Emergency Workers Get Cheered at Progressive Field after September 11th- in the first game since that horrific September 11th day, the Indians had a fireman, police officer and emergency worker throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Tribe took on the Toronto Blue Jays that night. All three service people received a standing ovation from the crowd that was unforgettable. These people were truly heroes and deserved the honor.
  • My First Visit to Wrigley Field- for many years, I had wanted to see Wrigley Field and I got my chance one summer during my college years. Seeing the sights, feeling the atmosphere and being in one of the most historic stadiums of all time is an experience I will carry with me forever. The Cubs got destroyed by the Dodgers that night but being so close to history made that experience unforgettable.
  • Visiting Cooperstown- in “Field of Dreams”, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (played by Ray Liotta) often asked Kevin Costner’s character “is this heaven?” when referring to the baseball field created on the farm in the movie. When I went to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Doubleday Field for the first time, I asked my parents the same question. Seeing all of the memorabilia including Babe Ruth’s jerseys, Honus Wagner’s jerseys and many other neat items, I knew for a fact that experience would be one to remember for a long time.
  • Going to my First St. Louis Cardinals Game- my sister Michelle took me to a Cardinals game about a year after she moved to St. Louis and the Cardinals officially became my favorite National League team. Seeing the passion the fans have for the team is an experience I will never forget. Being with my sister that night was fun too and I being able to experience that passion was incredible.
  • Visiting Cooper Stadium One Last Time- my friend Vince and I went to one of the games at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, which had been home to the Columbus Clippers and several other minor league baseball teams for many years. I had covered the Clippers as part of an internship one summer and had seen many games from that ballpark. Vince was like a little kid in a candy store that day, which made the experience even more fun and running the bases afterwards felt like I was running alongside history.
  • Going to an Indians Game with my friends Jason and Vince in the Summer of 2009- my friends Jason and Vince (the same Vince who I was with the last weekend at Cooper Stadium), are two awesome friends of mine and it was fun going to an Indians vs. Reds game with them. We call ourselves the Tripe Threat and on that night, the three of us got to watch our favorite team, the Cleveland Indians, take on Interleague Rival, the Cincinnati Reds. Being in the ballpark is one thing but sharing it with friends is even better

~ by jeffrsabo on April 7, 2010.

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