McCormick’s grab now among postseason’s all-time best

November 4th, 2022

Some of the most memorable plays in October are made in the outfield. Range, speed and agility lead to some of the most exciting moments -- many of which are game- and season-saving.

Here is a look at some of the best catches in postseason history.

Chas McCormick, Astros: 2022 World Series Game 5
The first five games of the 2022 Fall Classic had just about everything: A massive comeback victory in Game 1. A home run parade in Game 3. The second no-hitter in World Series history in Game 4. But the pivotal Game 5 might be remembered most of all for a spectacular defensive play.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and Houston leading by a run, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto smashed a ball at 102.4 mph into the right-center gap. It might've been a double, possibly a triple had the ball taken a funny bounce off the wall. Instead, McCormick raced back 92 feet, leaped on the warning track and snagged the drive right as he slammed into the chain-link fence. He fell to the field flat on his back and raised his gloved right hand with the second out of the inning.

Astros closer Ryan Pressly sealed the victory by getting a groundout two batters later to end the game, but it was McCormick's glove work that was the biggest reason in that ninth inning why Houston headed home with a 3-2 series lead.

, Mariners: 2022 ALDS Game 3
As if J-Rod hadn't already become a star with a sensational rookie season and a thrilling performance at the All-Star Home Run Derby, he led Seattle to its first postseason berth in 21 years. Once there, he made what was for the moment a season-saving catch in center field during ALDS Game 3 against the Astros.

With the Mariners on the brink of elimination and locked in a scoreless tie with Houston in the top of the 16th inning at T-Mobile Park, Yuli Gurriel came to the plate for the Astros with one out and runners at first and second. Gurriel lined a ball that seemed destined for the right-center-field gap. If it fell, it would have led to one and maybe two runs for Houston. But Rodríguez sprinted over and made an incredible sliding catch, covering 87 feet in 4.5 seconds. According to Statcast, his Sprint Speed on the play was 31 feet per second (30 feet per second is considered elite speed). The Mariners escaped the inning unscathed.

, Dodgers: 2020 NLCS, Game 6 and Game 7
We've certainly become accustomed to tremendous catches from Betts, but he made two spectacular grabs in back-to-back NLCS games that helped the Dodgers overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win their third NL pennant in four years. In Game 6, the same Braves player Betts threw out (after a review showed he left third base too early while trying to tag up) in Game 5, , smashed a ball deep to right with two outs in the fifth inning, and Betts went back and made a fantastic leaping grab at the wall, saving at least a run. Upon landing on the warning track, Betts had an extra spring to his step as he ran in from right field, pumping his fists and screaming with emotion.

Then the following night, in the winner-take-all Game 7, Betts made a similar catch in the fifth inning, robbing Freddie Freeman of a home run with another leaping grab against the wall to keep the Dodgers within one run.

, Rays: 2020 ALCS, Game 2
Margot was already the early story of Game 2 when he hit a three-run home run (after homering just once during the regular season) off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr., helping the Rays capitalize on an uncharacteristic throwing error by Jose Altuve. In the very next inning, Houston looked to respond with runners on second and third base and two outs when George Springer sliced a high fly ball into foul territory past the first-base line. Margot ranged 102 feet, tracking the ball all the way to the side wall and gloving it right before he hit the fence. Margot then tumbled head over heels and dropped about five feet onto the concrete floor between the wall and the seats, but somehow he held onto the ball to retire the red-hot Springer and end the Astros' scoring threat.

, Dodgers: 2020 NLDS, Game 2
With San Diego surging in an NLDS rivalry showdown, Bellinger unleashed some (reigning) MVP on (potential) MVP crime with an epic robbery of a would-be go-ahead homer by with two outs in the top of the seventh inning.

Tatis' connection traveled 413 feet, would've narrowly cleared the center-field wall at neutral-site Globe Life Field and been a homer in 19 ballparks -- including Petco Park and Dodger Stadium. But Bellinger used the 6.1 seconds of hang time to cover 97 feet and make his leap perfectly, yanking the ball back, ending the inning and celebrating with a boisterous Brusdar Graterol, who energetically showed his gratitude on the mound.

, Astros: 2019 ALCS, Game 6
Astros manager AJ Hinch took Brantley out for late-inning defensive replacements early in Brantley's debut season with Houston, but the veteran worked hard on his defense to make sure that wasn't the case by October. In fact, Brantley came up huge when Aaron Hicks sent a looping fly ball to shallow left field in the seventh inning, racing in and just scooping the ball in his glove before it hit the turf for a tremendous catch. Brantley wasn't done, either, getting up to his feet and firing an accurate throw to get Aaron Judge at first base for an inning-ending double play.

Though the Yankees would later tie the game on DJ LeMahieu's homer in the ninth, Brantley's gem saved what could have been another run for New York. José Altuve then ended the series with a two-run, walk-off homer for Houston.

Chris Taylor, Dodgers: 2018 NLCS, Game 7
With elimination on the line, Taylor made what could've been a game-changing catch in robbing of what would've assuredly been a run-scoring extra-base hit during the fifth inning. Shaded to the far left, Taylor sprinted into the gap and made a leaping catch over his head and shoulders while avoiding a collision with at the warning track. The snag ended the inning and helped preserve the Dodgers' lead in their eventual 5-1 win.

, Red Sox: 2018 ALCS, Game 4
Benintendi's catch would have been amazing no matter what the circumstances. He had a catch probability of just 21 percent on the play, according to Statcast™ -- a 5-star catch, the most difficult grade a play can have. But the situation took it to a whole different level: the postseason stage ... the game situation -- ninth inning, two outs, bases loaded, an AL MVP Award candidate in at the plate, and Boston clinging to a two-run lead ... plus the all-or-nothing nature of the play -- if Benintendi dove and missed, three runs would have scored and the Red Sox would have lost.

Cody Bellinger, Dodgers: 2018 NLCS, Game 4
Just a day before Benintendi's catch, in the NLCS, Bellinger made a diving 5-star catch of his own during the Dodgers' 13-inning Game 4 win over the Brewers. With the game tied in the 10th, Bellinger robbed in right-center field on a play that had a catch probability of just 17 percent. Bellinger finished the play with a swan-dive slide across the outfield grass.

, Yankees: 2017 ALCS, Game 7
Judge doesn't just crush homers, he robs them, too. In the winner-take-all Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS, Judge took away a home run from the Astros' Yuli Gurriel at Minute Maid Park to keep the game scoreless in the second inning. Judge raced back to the right-field wall and got there just in time to leap above the fence and snag Gurriel's drive before it reached the seats.

, Twins: 2017 AL Wild Card Game
Buxton might be the best defensive outfielder in baseball, and in his first career postseason game he added another catch to his highlight reel. He gave up his body to make an unbelievable jumping catch to rob while crashing into the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium. But he paid the price -- Buxton had to leave the game with a back injury.

, Mets: 2016 NL Wild Card Game
The Mets have made some amazing catches in their postseason history. The most recent was Granderson's in center field in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game at Citi Field, when he went crashing into the wall after a long run to rob the Giants' . Granderson's catch, with two outs in the sixth inning of a scoreless game, kept the go-ahead run off the board while and engaged in a pitchers' duel. He had a catch probability of just three percent, covering 102 feet in 5.5 seconds before going headlong into the wall.

Endy Chavez, Mets: 2006 NLCS, Game 7
One of the great catches in postseason history was consigned to irrelevance thanks to and 's late-game heroics. But at the moment Chavez made his catch, it seemed there was no way the Mets could lose. With the winner-take-all Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Scott Rolen crushed what should have been a tiebreaking two-run homer to deep left at Shea Stadium. Chavez raced back to the wall and went high over the fence to bring the home run back with a snowcone grab at the very apex of his leap. To top it all off, he fired a throw back to the infield and the Mets doubled off Jim Edmonds at first.

Jim Edmonds, Cardinals: 2004 NLCS, Game 7
Edmonds won eight Gold Gloves in center field, and it was because of plays like this. With the Astros leading Game 7, 1-0, Brad Ausmus drove a ball deep into left-center field that could have brought home two more. But Edmonds, at full sprint away from home plate, laid out for a full-extension catch that defied belief. The Cardinals went on to win the game and the pennant.

Paul O'Neill, Yankees: 1996 World Series, Game 5
O'Neill helped kick off the late-1990s Yankees dynasty with a tough running catch in deep right-center field to end Game 5 of the '96 World Series against the Braves. With the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth inning, O'Neill chased down Luis Polonia's long fly ball and snagged it with his arm fully outstretched, sealing a pivotal 1-0 win for the Bronx Bombers, as it gave them a 3-2 series lead. The Yanks would clinch the Fall Classic the next game and go on to win four World Series in the next five years.

Devon White, Blue Jays: 1992 World Series, Game 3

This catch drew comparisons to Willie Mays' iconic play in the 1954 World Series. With two Braves runners on base in the fourth inning of a scoreless game, White sprinted straight back into deep center field and jumped into the SkyDome wall to rob the David Justice of an extra-base hit with a brilliant catch. The Blue Jays even turned it into a double play -- and nearly a triple play, but umpire Bob Davidson ruled Kelly Gruber had missed the tag on Deion Sanders.

Kirby Puckett, Twins: 1991 World Series, Game 6

The Twins' 1991 World Series win was a classic full of memorable moments, and Puckett was responsible for two of them in Game 6. Eight innings before his walk-off home run in the 11th forced a Game 7, Puckett went airborne high over the wall to make a superhuman catch against the Plexiglas in left-center field at the Metrodome, robbing Ron Gant of extra bases.

Willie McGee, Cardinals: 1982 World Series, Game 3
As a rookie, McGee helped put the capper on St. Louis' World Series Game 3 win with a terrific home run-robbing catch in center field in the ninth inning. If Gorman Thomas' drive had cleared the wall, the Cardinals' lead would have been cut to two. McGee had also made another great catch earlier in the game, and he'd driven the offense with two home runs -- at the time becoming just the third rookie to homer twice in a World Series game.

Dwight Evans, Red Sox: 1975 World Series, Game 6
Carlton Fisk's iconic walk-off home run played such an integral part in propelling baseball forward from a televised standpoint, yet it might not have manifested if it weren't for Dwight Evans' miraculous catch in deep right field the inning prior. In the 11th, with Ken Griffey Sr. on first, Joe Morgan jacked one to deep right that Evans snagged on the run. The eight-time Gold Glove Award winner then flung the ball for the double play to end the inning, and Fisk, of course, sent Fenway Park into a frenzy in the 12th. Evans won eight Gold Glove Awards for many amazing catches over his 20-year career, but he's best remembered for his heroics that night.

Joe Rudi, A's: 1972 World Series, Game 2
In one of the most closely contested World Series ever -- only one of the seven games was decided by more than one run in the A's championship run -- Rudi's rob of Denis Menke in Game 2 stands out. With a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth, Menke connected on a middle-middle fastball that looked destined to reach the bleachers, but Rudi utilized every fiber of his 6-foot-2 frame to make a leaping catch at the wall that, had he missed, would've assuredly tied the game. It's worth noting that the wall at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium stood roughly 15 feet high, meaning that had the ball ricocheted, it would've traveled well back into the outfield. And Rudi made the catch while being blinded by the sun, as the World Series was still played primarily during the day and only began playing night games the season prior.

Ron Swoboda, Mets: 1969 World Series, Game 4
Tommie Agee, Mets: 1969 World Series, Game 3

The 1969 Miracle Mets' World Series run had many memorable moments, but from a defensive lens, three stand out the most. In Game 4 of their five-game series win against the heavily-favored Orioles, Ron Swoboda forever linked himself with his childhood hero, Brooks Robinson, when he robbed the Hall of Famer of a would-be go-ahead hit for extra bases in the top of the ninth, sliding inward in the right-center gap against the sun to prevent two runs from scoring. Robinson did drive in a runner on third on a sacrifice to send the game to extras -- where the Mets won on an error on an attempted sacrifice bunt -- but had Swoboda come up short, the series would've likely been tied at two games apiece.

In Game 3 -- the Mets' first at home in a World Series in club history -- the score may not have indicated a nail-biter, but Agee made two critical catches that directly saved five runs in the Mets' 5-0 win. Shaded well into right-center against pull-heavy Elrod Hendricks, Agee raced across the Shea Stadium outfield into left and made a back-handed grab on Hendricks' line while running into the wall. Then in the seventh, with the bases loaded with two outs for Paul Blair, Agee again made an incredible catch in the gap; this time running to his right while diving in front of the warning track and batting the wind. For good measure, Agee also hit a leadoff run homer that day.

Bobby Richardson, Yankees: 1962 World Series, Game 7
The Giants may have moved to San Francisco by 1962, but their once crosstown rivalry with the Yankees remained when they met in the '62 World Series. In the first Fall Classic featured by the Bay, the Giants were on the cusp of a ninth-inning comeback in Game 7 with runners on second and third in a 1-0 game with two outs. But Willie McCovey's offensive struggles that series reached a pinnacle when he hit a bullet to second baseman Bobby Richardson to end the game.

Sandy Amoros, Dodgers: 1955 World Series, Game 7
The Dodgers' first World Series title may not have manifested if it weren't for their shrewd defense against the slugging Yankees, who were shut out for just the sixth time that season in Brooklyn's 2-0 win. The Yanks were threatening in the sixth with one out and runners on first and second when Yogi Berra popped one down the left-field foul line, but an athletic snag by Amoros and a cross-field throw doubled up Gil McDougald to halt any rally.

Willie Mays, Giants: 1954 World Series, Game 1
Mays' legendary grab is probably the most iconic in baseball history. Mays made what is still widely referred to as The Catch (it even has its own Wikipedia page). In a 2-2 game with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Mays raced back through the Polo Grounds' quirky yet cavernous outfield to make an over-the-shoulder snag that was one of the hallmark moments in their 1954 World Series sweep over the Indians.

Al Gionfriddo, Dodgers: 1947 World Series, Game 6
Gionfriddo, a reserve outfielder for the Dodgers, entered as a defensive replacement in the sixth with Brooklyn holding an 8-5 lead over the Yankees in Game 6. The Yankees put two men on with two out and Joe DiMaggio came up as the tying run. Joltin' Joe smashed a deep fly ball to left-center that seemed sure to send the crowd of 74,000 at Yankee Stadium into a frenzy, but Gionfriddo tracked it down against the bullpen's chain-link fence to help preserve a Dodgers victory. The Yanks ultimately prevailed with a 5-2 win in Game 7.