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7 Season-Changing Home Runs: Our Breakdown

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Home runs are the talk of the town at the moment, and after José Altuve came in clutch for the Houston Astros in their American League Championship Series game against the Texas Rangers, it’s easy to see why. The reigning champions looked down and out as they dropped the first two games to their local rivals. They managed to pull it back to 2-2 with back-to-back victories however, it looked as though they were about to fall behind once more in the seven-game series. 

That was until Altuve stepped up. His side were down to their very last at-bats, trailing 4-2 deep into the ninth inning. But with two of the bases loaded courtesy of Rangers veteran closer José Leclerc giving up a single, the stage was set for the Astros’ main man. The 33-year-old Venezuelan was already second all-time in postseason home runs before even stepping up to bat, and he added to his legacy here. 

He strode up to the plate and absolutely crushed a changeup from pitcher Dominican pitcher José Leclerc. The ball was sent soaring deep into left field and right into the grandstand. Boom! Mission accomplished. The Astros win the game and lead the ALCS for the first time. The bookies immediately sat up and took notice with MLB betting odds online now making the Astros the +210 second favorites for World Series glory. 

There’s something magical about the crack of a bat and the roar of the crowd when a home run is sent catapulting into the night sky. But some home runs are more than just impressive feats of athletic prowess – they can change the course of an entire season, just as Altuve may well have done for the Astros. Here are some other unforgettable home runs that changed the course of history. 

Carlton Fisk‘s Game 6 Walk-Off (1975)

Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run in Game Six of the 1975 World Series will always be a part of baseball folklore. The Boston Red Sox were trailing the Cincinnati Reds in the series by three games to two and were on the brink of elimination. Fisk stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning and hit a ball that would ricochet off the left-field foul pole, giving the Red Sox the win. 

Bobby Thomson‘s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” (1951)

The 1951 National League pennant race was a battle between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. It all came down to the final game, with the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning. Bobby Thomson smashed a home run out of the ground off Ralph Branca. The shot has now famously become known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” and it would send the Giants to the World Series in the most dramatic of circumstances, breaking the hearts of Dodgers fans everywhere.

Babe Ruth Calls His Shot (1932)

In Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning, pointed to center field, and hit a home run in that exact spot. The hammer blow was a moment of sheer audacity and confidence. It roused the spirit within the camp of the New York Yankees, who were trailing the Chicago Cubs in the game. But not only did they go on to win that game, they went on to win the entire series. 

Injured Kirk Gibson Fires Dodgers to Glory (1988)

The 1988 World Series was a matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics, with the former being huge underdogs against their local rivals. In Game 1, with two outs and a runner on base in the bottom of the 9th inning, the heavily injured Kirk Gibson hobbled up to the plate and not too much was expected of him. Unbelievably though, he smashed a home run high into the nosebleeds of Dodger Stadium, giving the hosts the victory, a victory that would give them the momentum needed to go on and win the series. 

Joe Carter‘s World Series Clincher (1993)

The Toronto Blue Jays were tied with the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series when Joe Carter came up to bat. He had two runners on and he managed to nail a three-run homer to lift the Blue Jays to a championship win. His joyous leap into the air as he rounded the bases is etched into the annals of Candian sporting history.

Mark McGwire‘s Record-Breaking Homer (1998)

McGwire hit his 62nd home run of the season on September 8, breaking Roger Maris‘ record for most home runs in a single season. The chase to break the record captivated fans all season long and helped revive interest in baseball after the 1994 strike.

David Freese‘s Extra-Inning Heroics (2011)

In Game 6 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, Freese hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and send it into extra innings. He then hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th to force a Game 7, which the Cardinals went on to win. Freese was named the series MVP for his clutch performances.

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