Greatest homer-robbing catches in MLB history

April 1st, 2019

A home run robbery is one of the most amazing feats a player can pull off, so it's no surprise that the very best of them are etched in baseball lore.

Maybe the most dazzling moment of Opening Day this year was Lorenzo Cain's game-saving robbery for the Brewers -- with two outs in the ninth inning and Milwaukee ahead by one run, Cain went above the center-field wall at Miller Park to steal the potential tying homer from the Cardinals' Jose Martinez. Cain's catch joined a list of memorable home run robberies that have wowed baseball fans over the years.

The four catches below have achieved legendary status, and are bound to be replayed on defensive highlight reels for years to come.

These are the greatest homer robberies in MLB history.

Endy Chavez, Mets
2006 NLCS Game 7 vs. Cardinals, 6th inning

Mets fans likely have mixed emotions about this game. The outcome -- Adam Wainwright freezing Carlos Beltran with a wicked curveball to strand the bases loaded and send the Cards to the World Series -- was heartbreaking. But the catch that came three innings prior is a signature moment in Mets history.

With one on and one out in the top of the sixth inning, St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen lifted a fly ball to deep left field that threatened to break a 1-1 tie, momentarily quieting the anxious crowd at Shea Stadium. But Chavez perfectly timed his leap and made a full-extension snow-cone grab to pull back Rolen’s blast, rousing the Mets faithful into a state of euphoria. To cap off the unbelievable play, Chavez quickly fired the ball back to the infield, and New York was able to double off Jim Edmonds at first base.

Gary Matthews Jr., Rangers
July 1, 2006, vs. Astros, 8th inning

Although the stakes in this game weren't as great as some of the others on this list, Matthews’ catch has endured. Why? Because it may have been one of the most impressive feats of athleticism by an outfielder in MLB history.

After a dead sprint on a fly ball hit to center field, Matthews used the wall as a foothold to make an over-the-shoulder catch, then twirled and landed on both feet with his back to the fence to send Mike Lamb back to the dugout empty-handed.

, Angels
June 27, 2012, at Orioles, 1st inning

He's the best player in the game, and back when he was a rookie and just beginning to wow the baseball world with his other-worldly talents, Trout made perhaps the greatest catch of his storied career.

In the bottom of the first inning against the Orioles at Camden Yards, Trout raced back to the wall in center field on a deep drive by J.J. Hardy. After getting to the warning track, he leaped with his entire upper body and left arm reaching over the right-center-field wall to snatch the baseball out of the air. Trout bounced off the wall with the left side of his body and, upon coming back down, celebrated the home run robbery with a big smile and chest bump with his fist, reminiscent of so many great catches of another legendary center fielder, Ken Griffey Jr.

Dewayne Wise, White Sox
July 23, 2009, vs. Rays, 9th inning

Two seasons after throwing a no-hitter against the Rangers, Mark Buehrle was looking to take it one step further by achieving perfection vs. the Rays. Leading off the ninth inning, Gabe Kapler looked set to end Buehrle’s perfecto bid with a long fly ball to left-center field, until Wise intervened.

The White Sox center fielder ran a long way from his position, scaled the wall and grabbed Kapler’s fly ball before it could land in the stands. Wise nearly lost the ball as he came away from the wall, but he snagged it with his bare hand and held on as he tumbled to the ground. Buehrle retired the next two batters to complete the 18th perfect game in Major League history and ensure Wise’s catch would be forever immortalized.