Top Moment of 2015 up for grabs
Voting underway for Best Moment of 2015 season
David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez reached magical milestones, Madison Bumgarner took Clayton Kershaw deep, Eddie Rosario and Steven Matz made historic big league debuts, Todd Frazier was a hometown hero during All-Star Week, Edwin Encarnacion had a hat trick and Wilmer Flores proved there is definitely crying in baseball.
One of those eight will be the Best Moment of 2015.
Voting is underway to help decide that and 23 other important categories in the Esurance MLB Awards, which annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process. It includes five components, 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) voters.
Individual awards will go to the Best Major Leaguer, Best Everyday Player, Best Starting Pitcher, Best Rookie, Best Defensive Player, Best Breakout Player, Best Bounceback Player, Best Manager, Best Executive, Best Social Media Personality and Best Celebrity Fan.
In addition to Best Moment, winners will be recognized for Best Offensive Play, Best Defensive Play, Best Performance, Best Social Media Post, Best Fan Catch, Best Interview, Best TV Call, Best Radio Call, Best Player-Fan Interaction, Best Video Board Moment and Best Trending Topic. Coming soon will be Best Postseason Performer balloting.
When all is said and done, everyone will remember the 2015 season in their own way. But there were eight specific moments that simply stood out from the rest, and be sure to watch the video associated with each nominee to relive the thrill before you vote.
Ortiz is nominated for joining the 500 Home Run Club on Sept. 13 at Tropicana Field, where he sent a Matt Moore fastball into the seats in right field. He finished the season at 503.
"What can I tell you? It's a number where it's very hard to get and I've been competing and trying to get things done the right way through the years," Ortiz said.
Rodriguez followed Wade Boggs and Derek Jeter as the only players to reach the 3,000-hit club with a home run.
"I'm doing everything in my power to prepare, to work hard, to do things the right way and to finish my career where I can be proud and do it the right way," Rodriguez said.
Whereas Rodriguez became the 29th member of the 3,000-hit club, the Twins' Rosario became the 29th player to homer on the first pitch he saw in the Majors. That was on May 6 at Target Field against Scott Kazmir.
"This at-bat I dreamed about my whole life," said Rosario, who had five family members from Puerto Rico in the stands.
Speaking of first impressions, Matz made his first start for the Mets on June 28, becoming the first pitcher to drive in four runs in his Major League debut. He also tossed 7 2/3 innings in the win. Out of the eight nominees for Best Moment, his is the only one that did not involve a homer.
"I could definitely hear it," Matz said of the crowd. "I was just going out there not trying to change much. Just going out there, trying to win a game."
According to Statcast™, Bumgarner's May 21st homer off Kershaw of the rival Dodgers traveled 415 feet at AT&T Park and left the bat at 105 mph.
"He's the best pitcher in baseball, for sure," Bumgarner said. "To be able to do that and run into one is pretty special."
Encarnacion hit three homers, including a grand slam, on Aug. 29, and hockey-loving Toronto fans showered the field with caps for a hat trick.
"[Dioner Navarro] told me when they score three goals, I think, they do that," Encarnacion said. "It made me feel happy."
True happiness was the sight of Flores, the Mets' shortstop, washing away his own tears after his near-trade by hitting a walk-off homer in the 12th inning against the Nationals on July 31.
"I couldn't be happier," Flores said. "I didn't anticipate that."
Maybe the best walk-off of the whole summer, though, happened in Cincinnati, where Frazier won the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders. The event featured a new bracket format with a time element, and the Reds' third baseman gave local fans an unforgettable memory by outslugging Joc Pederson in the final round.
"Just hearing the crowd roar, call my name, adrenaline," Frazier said. "And those last minutes of each round really picked me up and [helped me] drive the ball out of the park a lot more. It was a lot of fun."
Now the fun is yours. Pick one by visiting mlb.com/awards. Voting will remain open through Nov. 13 and winners will be announced live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Nov. 20.