Each season, baseball fans are treated to a number of lasting moments that go beyond the stat sheet or the standings. From late-game heroics to incredible feats of athleticism, they're the kinds of plays that endure long after the players involved hang up their cleats.On Tuesday, five of those standout
Each season, baseball fans are treated to a number of lasting moments that go beyond the stat sheet or the standings. From late-game heroics to incredible feats of athleticism, they're the kinds of plays that endure long after the players involved hang up their cleats.
On Tuesday, five of those standout moments from the last six months of regular-season games were revealed as nominees for the Esurance MLB Awards Best Play, Offense category.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
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The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American League and National League from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Hall of Famers, team general managers, broadcast-booth legends and you will be among those helping to pick this year's Best Major Leaguer, in addition to the winners in the following categories: Best Pitcher, Best Rookie, Best Defensive Player, Best Manager, Best Executive, Best Personality, Best Postseason Moment and Best Postseason Performer.
One winner in each category will also be recognized for the year's Best Play, Offense; Best Play, Defense; Best Single-Game Performance; Best Fan Catch; Best Call: TV/Radio; and Best Player-Fan Interaction.
In addition to the aforementioned categories, a panel of MLB experts will identify and recognize the season's Best Moments and Best Trending Topics.
Among this year's Best Offensive Play nominees is Manny Machado's walk-off grand slam against the Angels on Aug. 19. Machado helped the O's overcome an early five-run deficit with a three-homer, seven-RBI performance, capped by his walk-off slam that sailed over the center-field wall at Camden Yards.
The Rockies' Nolan Arenado punctuated his first career cycle with a walk-off homer, earning a nomination. In Colorado's win over the Giants on Father's Day, Arenado became the fifth player in MLB history to finish a cycle with a walk-off home run, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
"Obviously, it's one of the best moments of my career," Arenado said after the game. "I've had some big homers, but this is by far the best."
Astros outfielder George Springer is also in the mix with a walk-off home run. His came in a 13-inning marathon against the Mariners on April 5. Springer not only delivered the game-winning shot -- with Houston down to its final strike -- but also hit a game-tying two-run double in the seventh, accounting for all five of Houston's runs.
Minnesota's Byron Buxton is nominated for a different kind of home run -- an inside-the-parker against the D-backs on Aug. 18. Buxton went rounded the bases in 13.85 seconds, breaking his own record for the fastest inside-the-park home run ever tracked by Statcast™.
"I go back to my era, and there are guys like Willie Wilson and Bo Jackson," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "There are some people that when they get going -- it's hard to compare at that speed, but I don't know if many guys come close to that time from home to home."
And last but not least is Toronto's Chris Coghlan's acrobatic slide into home against St. Louis on April 25, one of the year's most memorable highlights. Coghlan vaulted headfirst over Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, avoiding the tag and landing safely at home plate.
"When I saw Coghlan do a front flip over Molina, it was like I saw a unicorn or something," Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada said. "It's just something that doesn't happen. You might not ever see that again. I'm glad I saw it. I'm going to remember that forever."
The winners will be announced on the MLB Esurance Awards Show, which will air live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Friday, Nov. 17. Some of the winners who accepted their trophies in person, or live on the MLB Awards winners' program, last year included Francisco Lindor, David Ortiz, Michael Trout, Anthony Rizzo and Corey Seager.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.