Justin Turner grew up in Southern California -- a Dodgers fan whose first real memory was being at his grandmother's home on the night of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and watching Kirk Gibson limp to home plate in the bottom of the ninth and deliver a walk-off
Justin Turner grew up in Southern California -- a Dodgers fan whose first real memory was being at his grandmother's home on the night of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and watching Kirk Gibson limp to home plate in the bottom of the ninth and deliver a walk-off home run that sparked the Dodgers en route to their last World Series championship in franchise history.
"It's one of those events you never forget," said Turner, who was 39 days shy of his fourth birthday at the time.
On Sunday, the 29th anniversary of Gibson's heroics, Turner created one of those memorable moments of his own, delivering a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory over the Cubs in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World.
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Where does it fit in the history of memorable home runs? It depends on your age and your rooting interests, but given the Dodgers' ongoing effort to end a 28-year championship void, in which they have 10 times advanced to the postseason but never returned to the World Series entering this run, it will be in the discussion, at least, when fans of the current generation reminisce.
But where would it fit into a top 10 with the nine other home runs to remember?
1. Babe Ruth's called shot in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series
Legend has it that Ruth pointed to center field to predict where he would deliver a strike-two pitch from Cubs pitcher Charlie Root on that Oct. 1, 1932, afternoon, and proceeded to drive an 0-2 pitch from Root to center field for the 15th and final World Series home run of his career. Today there is debate over whether Ruth really called the shot, and quite possibly the only living person who knows for sure is Rene Lachemann. Gabby Hartnett was the Cubs catcher that day and later was a catching instructor in the A's system when Lachemann was a young prospect.
"Gabby told me what happened, but swore me to secrecy," said Lachemann. "I told him I would never tell anyone, and I won't, not even my wife or kids."
2. George Brett's pine tar moment at Yankee Stadium on July 24, 1983
With two out in the top of the ninth and Royals trailing, 4-3, Brett hit a two-run home run that gave the Kansas City the lead. Yankees manager Billy Martin, however, objected because of the pine tar on Brett's bat, and umpire Tim McClelland agreed, ruling Brett out, setting off an oft-seen film clip of Brett's race from the dugout to home plate to argue. The Royals appealed the ruling to American League president Lee MacPhail, who ruled in favor of the Royals, prompting them to return to Yankee Stadium on Aug. 18, an off-day, to pick up the game with the Royals ahead, 5-4, and two out in the top of the ninth.
3. Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World on Oct. 3, 1951
In the third game of the three-game series between Thomson's New York Giants and the rival Brooklyn Dodgers to determine the National League champion, the Giants trailed, 4-1, going into the bottom of the ninth. Dodgers right-hander Don Newcombe started the game and was still on the mound despite the fact he had pitched a complete game four days earlier and then 5 2/3 innings of relief three days earlier in the final game of the regular season. After the Giants had pulled to within 4-2 and had runners on second and third, Newcombe was relieved by Ralph Branca, and on his second pitch, Thomson drove the ball down the left-field line for the game-winning home run.
4. Hank Aaron's 715th home run on April 8, 1974, in the Braves' home opener, breaking the all-time record previously held by Ruth
Aaron had tied Ruth's record on his first swing of the season in Cincinnati, but did not hit another home run in that game or the second game of the series, and he wasn't in the lineup in the third game. In the fourth inning, Aaron connected off Dodger lefty Al Downing, ending an ordeal in which Aaron received stacks of racially motivated hate mail.
"Hank wouldn't talk about it, but sometimes, after he would leave the ballpark, I would look at some of the letters he threw in the [trash]," said Dusty Baker, who was on deck when Aaron connected. "His challenge was bigger than the opposing pitcher."
5. Bucky Dent conquering the Green Monster on Oct. 2, 1978
The Yankees and Red Sox finished the regular season tied for the AL East title, and had a one-game tiebreaker to decide which team would advance to the postseason. With the Red Sox leading, 2-0, in the seventh inning, Dent lofted a Mike Torrez pitch down the left-field line and over the Green Monster at Fenway Park, putting the Yankees ahead, 3-2, en route to a 5-4 win. The late Steve Palermo was the third-base umpire who called the ball fair. The native of New England remembered the drive home with his father, a diehard Red Sox fan.
"Not a word was said for about 30 minutes, and then he turned to me and said, 'You could have called it foul,'" Palermo said. "I told him, 'But dad, it was fair.' He looked back at me and said, 'I don't care. It was in Boston. You could have called it foul.'"
The lead to the Boston Globe column of Ray Fitzgerald the next day read, "Hit me, hit me again. I can take it. I'm a Boston sports fan."
6. Gibson's home run
7. Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series on Oct. 13, 1960
After the Yankees rallied for two runs to tie the score at 9 in the top of the ninth, the Hall of Fame second baseman delivered the game-ending home run off Ralph Terry, who Casey Stengel, in his final act before being dismissed by the Yankees the following week, called on in relief instead of Whitey Ford.
8. Joe Carter's 1993 World Series-clinching three-run home run off Mitch Williams in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6
It wasn't a Game 7 World Series-ending home run, but Carter and Mazeroski are the only two players to hit home runs that ended a World Series. It allowed the Blue Jays to win back-to-back world championships, something no team other than the Yankees has done since the 1975-76 Reds, and it was the second World Series in a row in which Carter was involved in the final play. He had taken the throw to first base from Duane Ward for the World Series-clinching out in 1992.
9. Carlton Fisk's False Hope home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
The Red Sox had tied the game with a three-run eighth, and Fisk, who was seen as he moved toward first base waving the ball fair, gave the fans hope that the Curse of the Bambino could be lifted by forcing a Game 7 against the Reds with a shot that hit the foul pole atop the Green Monster at Fenway Park. And with a three-run third inning in Game 7 at Fenway Park, the hopes grew, only to be deflated in the top of the ninth, when Joe Morgan blooped a single that scored Ken Griffey Sr., with what proved to be the decisive run in a 4-3 victory.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com.