You may have forgotten these iconic plays from the newest Hall of Famers
After months and months of waiting, the day has finally come: Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones and Trevor Hoffman have been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The quartet produced countless memorable moments over their careers -- they are Hall of Famers now, after all -- but with a combined 75 years of Major League service, some of their best plays were bound to slip through the cracks of baseball's collective memory. So, in honor of their special day, we figured we'd dust some off.
Here are four highlights that you might have forgotten about, but are no less jaw-dropping.
Yoenis Cespedes created one of the best baseball highlights of the 21st century back in 2014, somehow throwing out a runner at home plate all the way from the warning track. Which is all well and good, but we feel compelled to offer a polite reminder: Guerrero did it first.
June 3, 1997, the Expos taking on the Mets at Shea Stadium. A young Pedro Martinez was in a jam: With the score tied at 1 in the bottom of the eighth, New York had men on first and second with two outs. Carlos Baerga lined one into the right-field corner, scoring Edgardo Alfonzo to give the Mets the lead. Todd Hundley tried to score from first to provide some insurance ... only to discover the ball waiting for him at home plate:
The Mets went on to win the game, but more importantly, a message had been delivered: Never run on Vlad.
Thome was a creature of pure strength, and his power was so prodigious that he even surprised his teammates:
But you may not remember that it was this home run that helped end the Mariners' magical 1995 season. With the Indians trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth in Game 5 of the 1995 ALCS, Thome smashed Chris Bosio's offering deep into right field. And before bat flips were en vogue, he unleashed hell:
Before he was a Braves icon, one of the best third basemen of all time and a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Jones' Major League career got off to a bit of a rocky start. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 Draft, Chipper missed all of 1994 -- his would-be rookie year -- due to injury, and returned to post a relatively pedestrian 108 OPS+ in 1995. Then, in the very first postseason game of his career, he gave everyone a glimpse of the player he'd become:
Chipper went yard twice in Game 1 of the 1995 NLDS against the Rockies, including the game-winner off Curt Leskanic in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie. He broke out the next year, making his first All-Star Game and finishing fourth in NL MVP voting -- and the rest is history.
Hoffman and his changeup were ever-present for Padres victories. He closed out the division-clinching win in 1996 -- ending the Padres' 12-year postseason drought -- and was the one-time holder of the all-time saves record.
Without Hoffman, the Padres also probably don't reach the 1998 World Series. Holding a slim 2-1 lead over the Braves in Game 3 of the NLCS, the bases were loaded with two outs in the eighth when "Hells Bells" was fired up and Hoffman came racing in. He struck out Javy Lopez to end the threat, and after giving up a leadoff single the next inning, he set down the Braves. Yes, that included fellow Hall of Famer Chipper Jones: