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2014 Fan Catch Hall of Fame: The Final Class

The top fan catches from September and October

Each month, the Cut4 staff nominates a few worthy fan snares for enshrinement in the Fan Catch Hall of Fame. Those catches are then judged on four criteria: degree of difficulty, artistry, use of props (if applicable) and post-catch flair. The scores are averaged together, with the resulting final tally used to rank catches throughout the season. Click here for the Class of AprilClass of MayClass of JuneClass of July and Class of August.

With the MLB season reaching its thrilling conclusion, we've now reached the time of year when fans, players and media come together to honor the top performers in our game. Some of these individuals will receive MVPs, Cy Youngs or GIBBYs. And, of course, some fans will earn a spot in the Fan Catch Hall of Fame.

When last we checked in on the FCHoF at the end of August, our top fan snare was Nonchalant Dad, scoring an impressive 8.4 rating from our panel:


Since then, we've not only had some excellent entries from the month of September, but we've also seen some fans flash the leather throughout the postseason. Were any of them special enough to overtake the placid paterfamilias? Let's find out.


9/13/14 - Marlins at Phillies


What we said then:

The catch, while excellent, was nothing compared to the kid's reaction. That is untrammeled joy in one's triumphs, the kind of thing we don't let ourselves express once we're grown up. But why can't we be just as proud of our adult accomplishments?

What we say now:

There's no right or wrong way to enjoy baseball. Some people like bringing a radio to the game to listen to the play-by-play, others prefer the commentary to come from them and their friends. Some say hot dogs are the most essential concession, others say Cracker Jacks or a cold beverage. Everyone is right by virtue of the fact that they're enjoying themselves and our sport, and that's part of the beauty of baseball.

However, what you see in that above? That is absolutely, 100 percent, the right way to celebrate catching a foul ball. Sheer, unadulturated joy.

Final score:



9/14/14 - Dodgers at Giants


What we said then:

After making a great barehanded catch, he looked absolutely shocked. But once he realized that he'd be taking home a game-used souvenir, he raged harder than a Mexico national team soccer manager rages in the pouring rain.

What we say now:

It's unfortunate there isn't a category for "unintentional comedy," because this guy would score a perfect 10. He catches a foul ball -- at a game played by the eventual World Series champs, mind you -- and his first reaction is a combination of fear and sublime bafflement. 

Oh. A ball? Thanks, I guess? But, I didn't get you anything. Man, this is so awkward.

The real meat of this GIF, however, is his friend in the black shirt who, in seeing his pal's confused state, decides to ferociously clap just to show everything's okay.

Final score:



10/1/14 - Giants at Pirates


What we said then:

The kid rears back, leaps and snags the thing out of thin air with a single bare hand, corralling it with only a slight bobble. Someone's got to have an Arizona Fall League spot for that guy, right?

What we say now:

This catch, from the NL Wild Card Game between the Giants and Pirates, is about as bittersweet as you'll find. Yeah, OK, he got a home run ball at a postseason game -- that seems cool on its surface. However, the guy who caught that ball is a Pirates fan and, well, the guy who hit it was most definitely not a Pirate -- he was Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Oh, and that wasn't just a home run -- it was a grand slam. And the Giants won the game, 8-0.

So yeah. He caught an October home run ball, but it was at the expense of his team's continued presence in the postseason. But hey, there's something to be said for losing to the eventual champs (and getting a souvenir in the process).

Final score:



9/18/14 - Phillies at Padres


What we said then:

Something tells me he may wish that he brought the glove. Because, sure, he's all smiles now, but there's no way that hand isn't throbbing.

What we say now:

In many ways, the quality of this catch is overshadowed by the physical empathy one feels in watching it. Like, yeah, we can admire just how difficult this particular ball was to reel in, especially when you have to do it without a glove, but it's difficult to focus on that fact when you're also thinking to yourself, "OW OW OW That looks so painful!!!"

So, take a moment. Count to five. Then, with a clear mind, look at that catch again and appreciate just how difficult it was to pull off. All while holding onto a cell phone.

And the guy cracks a smile at the end. That's boss.

Final score:



10/16/14 - Cardinals at Giants


What we said then:

It's hard enough to catch a home run ball. Now try to be in the right position to catch the walk-off shot in a Championship Series-clinching win by the team you grew up rooting for. The odds of that have to be lower than getting bit by a shark while on land.

What we say now:

This catch earned induction to the FCHoF largely based on its historical merit. When Travis Ishikawa went full Bobby Thomson to send the Giants to the World Series in walk-off fashion, whoever came up with the souvenir would pretty much have to be granted entry to our humble Hall of Fame.

It turns out, it was a lifelong Giants fan who was even kind enough to return the ball to the man who hit it.

It's hard to see the fan's catch from the available camera angles, but his fellow Giants fans made sure everyone knew it was a clean catch. We're choosing to take them at their word. Ultimately, the score for this catch isn't really relevant -- this guy got to be part of one of the great postseason moments ever. It's hard to capture that in a number from one to ten.

Final score:


And with that, we've reached the end of the 2014 season. No one was able to dethrone Nonchalant Dad, whose catch on June 15 remains, according to the Fan Catch Hall of Fame voting committee, the best fan catch of the year. Some came close, but no one was able to top his combination of subtlety and technique.

But hey, to everyone else who caught a foul ball this year, and to the many more who didn't:

There's always next year.