Remembering some of baseball's best slides

September 19th, 2021

Ball beats runner to base, runner out, right? Not necessarily.

As the plays below prove, a lot can happen after the ball arrives. Here are some of the coolest slides in MLB history, starting with the most recent.

Pablo Reyes
Cubs vs. Brewers; Sept. 18, 2021

Summer was coming to an end, but Reyes was still in a swimming mood during a Brewers win. The infielder avoided a tag on the left arm from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras with a nifty move that would've taken gold at the Olympics and helped seal a playoff berth for the Brew Crew.

Trea Turner
Dodgers vs. Phillies; Aug. 10, 2021

Turner was a blur on his way to the plate and despite a strong throw by right fielder Bryce Harper that was nearly in time to get him, the speedster nonchalantly reached out and touched the plate with his left hand as he smoothly slid through and then used his bottom leg to move seamlessly into a standing position.

Tony Kemp
A's vs. Rockies; Sept. 16, 2020

After breaking home on Robbie Grossman’s grounder to first base, Kemp got caught in a rundown and was easily beat by Nolan Arenado’s throw to the plate. But the A’s speedster pulled off an acrobatic maneuver, sidestepping Josh Fuentes’ tag attempt and diving to score a run.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Blue Jays vs. Rays; Sept. 5, 2019

While Guerrero's size and strength are well-documented, it turns out the 6-foot-2 infielder is also quite nimble. Guerrero proved that when he evaded Joey Wendle's tag at third base by diving head-first, rolling onto his back and reaching for the bag with his right hand as the Rays third baseman's glove swipe came up empty.

Fernando Tatis Jr.
Padres vs. Braves; July 14, 2019

Whether it was with his bat, arm or legs, Tatis turned heads on a regular basis before a back injury ended his outstanding rookie season. The Braves seemingly had Tatis picked off in this game, but the 20-year-old contorted his body, slid under Mike Soroka's tag and got back to first base in acrobatic fashion.

Javier Báez
Cubs vs. Tigers; July 4, 2018

The effervescent Báez has compiled a long highlight reel of astonishing slides, including the one he broke out to steal home in this game against the Tigers at Wrigley Field. As he was about to slide head-first into catcher James McCann's tag, Báez pulled back his left hand and reached around McCann to touch home. "El Mago" indeed.

Josh Harrison
Pirates vs. Nationals; May 16, 2017

Harrison would have been out easily if he had continued his slide into second base, so he got creative, popping up well short of the bag and closing the remaining distance with a hop while eluding Wilmer Difo's tag.

Chris Coghlan
Blue Jays at Cardinals; April 25, 2017

OK, this wasn't technically a slide. But so what? It had the same effect as one, with Coghlan stunningly going airborne and somersaulting over catcher Yadier Molina before landing on home plate to score the go-ahead run in a game Toronto would ultimately win in extra innings.

B.J. Upton
Padres vs. Rockies; June 3, 2016

Although Chris Rusin's pitch to Drew Pomeranz reached home well before Upton, the Padres speedster somehow slid around catcher Nick Hundley's lunging tag attempt and touched the plate with his left hand in one fell swoop to complete a remarkable straight steal of home.

Josh Donaldson
Blue Jays vs. Indians; Sept. 2, 2015

In the midst of his AL MVP Award-winning season with the Jays, Donaldson boldly sprinted home on a popup behind second base, dove to avoid Yan Gomes' tag and made a full-extension stretch to get a hand on the plate as he slid past it, sparking "MVP" chants from the Rogers Centre crowd.

Anthony Rizzo
Cubs at Mets; July 1, 2015

After Kevin Plawecki's throw beat him to third base by a wide margin, Rizzo turned what looked like a sure out into a stolen base with a nifty slide. Perhaps taking a cue from Báez, his Cubs teammate, Rizzo smartly pulled back his front foot, causing Daniel Murphy to move his glove away from the front of the base. By the time Murphy tagged Rizzo's chest, the Cubs first baseman had already reached safely.

Mike Trout
Angels at Red Sox; May 22, 2015

A swim move by Trout? How fitting. The dynamic superstar showed off another one of his many tools on this steal of third, avoiding Brock Holt's initial tag attempt with an agile maneuver and managing to get his right foot on the bag as soon as his right hand slipped off.

Yasiel Puig
Dodgers vs. Cubs; Aug. 2, 2014

Since he debuted in MLB in 2013, Puig has proven to be an aggressive baserunner, sometimes to the detriment of his own team. His boldness paid off this time, but only after he dove around catcher Welington Castillo's tag and executed a crafty move to dodge a second tag attempt.

Billy Hamilton
Reds vs. Pirates; July 11, 2014

You can't steal first base, but Hamilton pulled off the equivalent of one after he dropped a bunt down the first-base line. Hamilton's path was cut off by Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez, but the Reds speedster deftly avoided the tag with an impressive deke, then dove and reached first before Sanchez could get him.

Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
White Sox vs. Rays; April 28, 2013

Ben Zobrist had multiple chances to tag Ramirez, but the White Sox shortstop eluded Zobrist's glove on his initial dive past second base and did so again as he reached back to touch the bag with his left leg.

Ichiro Suzuki
Yankees at Orioles, Oct. 8, 2012 (ALDS Game 2)

The Orioles' relay from the right-field corner to home plate arrived in plenty of time to nab Ichiro, but the veteran managed to elude Matt Wieters' tag and quickly put the brakes on when he ran past the plate. As Wieters lunged to make the tag, Ichiro stuck his left hand in the dirt, propelled his body over Wieters' mitt and touched home with his other hand.

Matt Holliday
Rockies vs. Padres; Oct. 1, 2007 (NL Wild Card tiebreaker)

Was he safe or out? Depends on which side you ask. As far as the official record is concerned, Holliday managed to touch the plate despite the best efforts of catcher Michael Barrett, and the Rockies were on to the postseason after an epic late-season charge and a 13th-inning comeback in Game 163.

Jackie Robinson
Dodgers at Yankees; Sept. 28, 1955 (World Series Game 1)

Here's another play at the plate that famously sparked an ongoing debate, particularly between the two men involved. Until he died in 2015, Yankees catcher Yogi Berra held firm to the belief that he got the tag down on Robinson's straight steal of home in the eighth inning of the 1955 Fall Classic opener. Robinson, though, was called safe.