One of the most awe-inspiring plays an outfielder can make is with a strong throw, whether it's doubling up a runner on the bases or, perhaps the most exciting iteration of this type of play, throwing a runner out at home plate. Over the decades there have been many tremendous
One of the most awe-inspiring plays an outfielder can make is with a strong throw, whether it's doubling up a runner on the bases or, perhaps the most exciting iteration of this type of play, throwing a runner out at home plate. Over the decades there have been many tremendous throws from the outfield, and here are some of the best:
Mookie Betts, Dodgers: July 31, 2020
Betts was only a few games into his Dodgers tenure when he showed just one of the many reasons why Los Angeles signed him to an historic 12-year, $365 million contract extension. Arizona's Ketel Marte poked a double down the right-field line and thought he would turn it into a triple -- but evidently he wasn't familiarized with Betts' arm. The Dodgers' new superstar chased down the ball in foul territory and came up firing with a breathtaking strike, hitting Corey Seager in front of the third-base bag on the fly to easily tag out Marte.
Ramón Laureano, Athletics: Aug. 11, 2018
Laureano, in his fifth Major League game, had to go 76 feet in 4.4 seconds to run down an Upton fly ball in the third inning of the Athletics' contest against the Angels at Angel Stadium. His sprint speed was tracked at 29.1 feet per second (30.0 is considered elite) and he made a four-star catch per Statcast™, with a catch probability of 42 percent. As impressive as that was, it was the 91.2 mph throw that covered 321 feet with near pinpoint accuracy to double off Young at first base that had everyone in awe.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers: April 22, 2016
Puig has made several jaw-dropping throws in his career, but his play at Coors Field against the Rockies may be his finest. With the Dodgers leading Colorado, 5-4, in the fifth inning, Trevor Story hit a drive off the wall in right field that bounced back toward the infield. Puig, hitting the wall trying to make the catch, retrieved the ball and fired a throw to third base that landed right at the bag to get Story -- one of the fastest players in the game according to Statcast™ sprint speed metrics.
Aaron Hicks, Yankees: April 20, 2016
Hicks unleashed a 105.5 mph throw, the hardest Statcast™ has ever tracked, from left field to get Oakland's Danny Valencia at the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. He made the play on a Yonder Alonso fly ball, with Valencia tagging. It was a one-hop seed to catcher Brian McCann for an inning-ending double play.
Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics: June 10, 2014
In another Athletics-Angels game at Angel Stadium, another incredible throw by an Oakland outfielder, this time from left field. In the bottom of the eighth inning and with the score tied at 1, Mike Trout lined a ball down the left-field line and Cespedes misplayed it, enabling the ball to trickle toward the wall in foul territory. Howie Kendrick, who began the play at first base, was tearing around third after the misplay, but Cespedes fired an incredible throw, on a line, to the plate to nab the would-be go-ahead run.
Vladimir Guerrero, Expos: July 7, 2001
Guerrero made so many incredible throws from right field during his Hall of Fame career that it's tough to narrow them down to one. But perhaps his most iconic is the flat-footed rocket he unleashed toward home plate to nab the Blue Jays' Alberto Castillo, who was trying to score from second on a Shannon Stewart single. With the softly-hit ball bouncing off the artificial turf at Skydome, Guerrero had to play back and glove it over his head, leading to the flat-footed throw, making the play all the more impressive.
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: April 11, 2001
Ichiro wasted no time in announcing his presence on the Major League stage as a rookie in 2001. During his first road trip as a big leaguer, he unloaded a missile to third base to get the Athletics' Terrence Long going first to third on a single to right field. The throw was right on the bag at third, in the air, and sent shockwaves through the baseball world as an early taste of what Ichiro could do defensively, in addition to his tremendous talent at the plate.
Jose Guillen, Pirates: July 27, 1998
In a play very similar to Puig's at Coors Field, Guillen went back on a long drive by the Rockies' Neifi Perez in the third inning, and the ball hit off the wall and bounced back toward the infield. Guillen picked it up and threw a perfect strike to third base from about three steps in front of the warning track in right field. The debate rages on: Which throw was better, Puig's or Guillen's?
Bo Jackson, Royals: June 5, 1989
Jackson, a two-sport star in baseball and football, had a flair for the dramatic, doing things that made it seem like he was superhuman. And in the bottom of the 10th inning against the Mariners at the Kingdome, he added to his legend by throwing Harold Reynolds out at the plate as he tried to score the winning run from first base on Scott Bradley's double to the left-field wall. Even the play-by-play account of what transpired underscored just how shocking it was that Jackson was able to nab the speedy Reynolds -- "It's going to be up to Bo Jackson to keep Reynolds from scoring. He can't do it -- yes he can!" Reynolds was just as shocked, slamming his helmet in disbelief at being thrown out.
Dave Parker, Pirates: July 17, 1979
What better stage to show off a cannon of an arm than against the game's best in an All-Star Game? That's what Parker did in the 1979 Midsummer Classic, throwing out Angels catcher Brian Downing at the plate. He also threw out future Hall of Famer Jim Rice at third base on another play in that contest, en route to being named the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.