These are the 10 most memorable pitcher-catcher celebrations in baseball history
Rejoice everyone, for the day has finally arrived: Pitchers and catchers have begun reporting for Spring Training. Sure, it might not be actual baseball, but it is a reason to watch baseball men do baseball things, and that's close enough for now.
In a way, it's fitting that the season unofficially begins with pitchers and catchers. The two share a bond as old as the game itself -- an intertwined relationship in a sport built on individual matchups -- and their celebratory hugs have become an annual tradition. But that begs the question: After decades of pitchers and catchers hugging it out, just which are the very best? We counted them down from 10 to 1 -- if you disagree, by all means, let us know in the comments.
For decades, pitchers and catchers had celebrated in largely the same way: by sharing a hug. And then, after completing his first career no-hitter on June 20, 2015, Scherzer and Wilson Ramos changed the game forever:
9. Orel Hershiser and Rick Dempsey, 1988
Hershiser was exhausted at the end of the 1988 World Series. After posting a 2.26 ERA over 267 innings in the regular season -- enough to capture the NL Cy Young Award -- the righty made a whopping four appearances in the NLCS, then blanked the fearsome A's in Game 2 of the Fall Classic.
As he wrapped up another dominant complete-game effort in the deciding Game 5, all he could do was simply breathe a sigh of relief. (Plus, just look at the expression on 38-year-old veteran backstop Rick Dempsey's face.)
Leave it to somebody as constantly animated as Papelbon to not just welcome Varitek's embrace after winning the 2007 ALCS, but also demand that he get out there more quickly:
7. Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton, 1993
Williams and Daulton shared an 80-grade embrace after punching the Phillies' ticket to the 1993 World Series. But what really sets this celebration apart is that Wild Thing manages to fit in not one but two fist pumps before Daulton even reaches him:
Price was just a 22-year-old rookie in October 2008, being used out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the ALCS less than 18 months after getting drafted. Immediately, though, you could see why Tampa Bay took him No. 1 overall: Not only did Price pick up a four-out save to send the Rays to the World Series, but he spiked his glove down with the assurance of a man who knew he belonged.
Really, this is as much a lifetime achievement award for Posey as anything else: Between three World Series wins and three no-hitters caught, he's had plenty of reason to give out #BusterHugs. Since we have to pick just one, though, we'll head back to 2013, when Lincecum -- struggling to regain his Cy Young form -- threw his first career no-hitter against the Padres. The smiles say it all:
4. David Cone and Joe Girardi, 1999
Cone's start against the Expos on June 18, 1999, was loaded with emotion before he even took the mound. It was Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium -- the legendary catcher's first appearance at Yankee Stadium in over a decade -- and he caught the first pitch from none other than Don Larsen.
When Cone sealed the deal on his perfect game, he could barely contain himself -- and Joe Girardi was right there with him:
3. Brad Lidge and
There's something about the way Lidge drops to his knees that speaks to just how much the 2008 World Series meant. It was redemption for Lidge -- who finally moved past his postseason struggles with the Astros -- and it was pure release for Philly, which captured its first (but not last) title in any sport in 25 years:
2. Jerry Koosman and Jerry Grote, 1969
The Mets weren't supposed to be in the 1969 World Series. Heck, they weren't supposed to be close to the 1969 World Series -- the franchise was just seven years old and had yet to crack .500 in a season. So, when they somehow won the thing, Jerry Grote leapt into ace Jerry Koosman's arms like a little kid:
1. Don Larsen and Yogi Berra, 1956
You always knew what would be at the top of this list. It's still the only perfect game ever thrown in the World Series, and it produced one of the game's most indelible images: