12 greatest home run reactions of all time

October 14th, 2019

Carlos Correa’s home run in the bottom of the 11th was obviously a massive moment for the Astros, pulling them back from the brink of a 2-0 series deficit to even their ALCS at one game apiece. But history will not remember the circumstances of the homer. They will remember what Correa did after he hit it.

That was an instant classic home run celebration, an iconic moment that will be the image of Correa we have in our minds for the rest of his career. That would be a great walkoff trot if it had happened in August. That it happened in the postseason made it that much more of a seminal experience. There are going to be little kids who cup their hand to their ear after they launch one, no doubt.

It joins a proud line of home run celebrations in the postseason. It’s always fun to hit a home run. But in October, well, sometimes you can’t contain yourself. Here are some of the great ones from throughout the years.

1) Joe Carter, 1993 World Series
Nothing will ever beat this one. Not necessarily because of the immediate response, but because of the homer itself and his human “I just did that!” reaction to it. Honestly, it’s a wonder he didn’t start peeling his clothes off.

2) Kirk Gibson, 1988 World Series
Technically speaking, this isn’t a “celebration,” per se. But then again, Gibson isn’t ACTUALLY cranking his arm to get himself around the bases, though it sure looks that way. Even the celebration looks injured ... and heroic.

3) Jose Bautista, 2015 ALCS
In a perfect world, there would be a statue of this reaction outside Rogers Centre, though I suppose it would be difficult to figure out how to make a bronze likeness of a bat flying through the air. ESPN writer Sam Miller called this homer “the most psychologically violent” baseball moment he’d ever seen, and that sums it up well. It feels like Bautista asserted some sort of dominance over the pitcher, over the baseball, over the sport and over the planet. That the Blue Jays ended up losing in the next round is the only reason this isn’t the sport’s logo now.

4) Carlton Fisk, 1975 World Series
We all know, intellectually, that you cannot wave a ball fair. Right? It’s against the laws of physical. That would be telekinesis. Yet … I still think Carlton Fisk waved this ball fair.

5) Reggie Jackson, 1977 World Series
There really should have been an isolated camera on Jackson when he hit this homer, like there would be today. The camera cuts away just as he’s starting to truly admire it. This is how you should celebrate a third homer in a World Series game.

6) Yoenis Cespedes, 2015 NLDS
Some bat flips are aggressive, some bat flips are dramatic, some are, well, flippant. But Cespedes’ bat flip after hitting a three-run homer off Alex Wood in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS was poetic. After destroying the baseball deep into the Queens night, he is almost gentle with his bat, as if floating it on a bed of clouds. Just watch it -- it doesn’t even spin much in the air: It just glides with ease to its resting place. The power of the swing is followed up by a bat toss that’s … graceful.

7) Jim Edmonds, 2004 NLCS
The 2004 NLCS is the greatest postseason series that hardly anyone watched. The ALCS was of course the legendary Red Sox-Yankees 3-0 comeback, and it was on FOX; the NLCS had inconvenient start times and was famously on F/X, a relatively new channel at the time that was difficult to find. Which is a shame, because the NLCS was probably a better series, with a Cardinals team stacked with stars and an Astros team with Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt and a hitting-out-of-his-mind Carlos Beltran. Jeff Kent had hit a walkoff earlier in the series, but Edmonds’ blast in the bottom of the 12th inning was one of the greatest moments in the old Busch Stadium. Edmonds fist pumps like a little kid: The game has never looked quite as fun.

8) Carlos Correa, 2019 ALCS
What might be most fun about Correa's home run and celebration is that the cupping-the-ear thing was just the start of it. The ending is just as delightful, with him launching his helmet like an alley-oop to Alex Bregman, who slammed it through a hypothetical hoop. It was just joyous all around.

9) Tom Lawless, 1987 World Series
This is the most absurd celebration on this list. Lawless was a utility infielder who had a total of two regular season home runs in an eight-year career. Yet there he is, in Game 4 of the World Series, hitting a home run and flipping his bat like he’d done it a million times before. The best part isn’t just that he flips his bat so confidently; it’s that he did it for a ball that just barely cleared the wall. He acted like he’d hit it 500 feet. He hadn’t. But he hit it enough.

10) Yasiel Puig, 2018 World Series
Puig is well-known for his, well, histrionics at the plate, but this one was wonderful not just for his “I scored a touchdown, yay!” reaction but also for the response from Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who threw his glove on the ground in disgust. Remember, too, the pitch before was inside, and Puig had given a little bit of a dorsal wiggle in response. There was just a lot going on in this at-bat. This October has been a little less enjoyable without Puig in it.

11) Manny Ramirez, 2007 ALDS
Puig’s celebration may have had a little bit of this Ramirez classic in it. The best part about Manny’s response is that he keeps his hands in the air long enough that it almost feels like he’s keeping the ball aloft through some sort of conjuring. Or that he just touched a very hot plate. Manny was always wonderfully Manny.

12) J.T. Snow, 2000 NLDS
This is somewhat similar to the Fisk homer, except Snow seems less trying to conjure the ball fair as much as he is simply directing the ball where he wants it to go. It worked!