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In-the-stands catches that deserve standing 'O'

August 18, 2019

When a ball is hit near the stands, there's little time to contemplate the risk vs. reward factor. More often than not, if there's a chance to get an out, players are going to go for it, even if it means catapulting into the seats. That's just the nature of

When a ball is hit near the stands, there's little time to contemplate the risk vs. reward factor. More often than not, if there's a chance to get an out, players are going to go for it, even if it means catapulting into the seats. That's just the nature of competition at the highest level.

The players below definitely went for it, giving up their bodies for the cause of winning, and giving us four of the most unforgettable catches in Major League history.

Toby Harrah, Indians
May 15, 1981, vs. Blue Jays

Ultimately, it was Len Barker's night at Municipal Stadium, as the right-hander threw the 10th perfect game in big league history. But a tip of the cap must go to Harrah, the Indians' veteran third baseman.

Barker had retired 13 batters in a row to start the game when Willie Upshaw lifted a foul popup just beyond the third-base dugout. Harrah tracked the ball to the wall, which was roughly five feet high, made a fantastic leaping grab and fell into the first row.

Juan Uribe, White Sox
2005 World Series Game 4 at Astros

Although history will remember the 2005 World Series as a clean sweep by the White Sox, it was hardly a rout. Every game was decided by two runs or less, including the Game 4 clincher, a 1-0 Chicago win. The Astros came close to tying it up in the bottom of the ninth, but Uribe intervened when Chris Burke hit a popup down the left-field line with a man on second and one out. The White Sox shortstop ran a long way before catching the ball and falling into the stands.

Uribe quickly recovered to prevent any advancement by the baserunner, and one batter later, Bobby Jenks got Orlando Palmeiro to hit a chopper over the mound. Uribe fielded the ball and threw it to first for the final out, giving the White Sox their first title since 1917.

Derek Jeter, Yankees
July 1, 2004, vs. Red Sox

As two historic rivals waged another classic battle, Jeter grabbed the spotlight once again when he made one of the iconic plays of his legendary career in the top of the 12th inning. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, Trot Nixon hit a popup to shallow left field that would have dropped in fair territory if not for Jeter, who was traveling at full speed when he caught the ball. Lacking the room to come to a stop, the shortstop went flying face-first into the second row and emerged cut and bloodied from the impact, leaving the Yankee Stadium crowd and the baseball world in awe.

With Jeter out of the game, Alex Rodriguez moved over to shortstop and outfielder Gary Sheffield made an appearance at third base for the first time in more than a decade. The Yanks fell behind on Manny Ramirez's homer in the top of the 13th, but rallied in the bottom of the frame as Miguel Cairo tied it up with an RBI double and John Flaherty followed with a walk-off single.

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
June 24, 2015, at Rays

Donaldson did it all for Toronto during his American League MVP Award-winning season in 2015, hitting .297, slugging 41 homers, driving in 123 runs and playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner.

One of his most memorable moments of the year came in the midst of Marco Estrada's perfect-game bid, after Estrada had retired the first 21 batters he faced. The right-hander got out No. 22 when David DeJesus popped up into foul territory and Donaldson amazingly dove across multiple rows for an incredible catch. Although Estrada lost the perfecto and no-hitter one batter later, the Blue Jays would ultimately win, 1-0, in 12 innings.

Best of the rest

Todd Frazier, White Sox
May 11, 2016, at Rangers

Frazier ended up with a cut lip when he dove into the crowd in Texas and hit his mouth on a seat, but he was able to complete the catch to retire Prince Fielder. Watch >

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
Aug. 12, 2015, vs. Brewers

Rizzo wowed the Wrigley Field faithful when he climbed atop the tarp roll down the first-base line, balanced on a ledge and fell into the stands to make an acrobatic grab that would be immortalized as a bobblehead the following season. Watch >

Alex Gordon, Royals
April 26, 2015, at White Sox

The winner of three consecutive Gold Glove Awards heading into 2015, Gordon made an early bid for his fourth straight when he flew into the stands and flipped over a seat down the left-field line to record an out. Watch >

J.B. Shuck, Angels
Aug. 2, 2013, vs. Blue Jays

Jose Bautista hit more home runs (227) than any other big leaguer from 2010-15, but Shuck made sure that total was one less than it could have been, robbing the slugger of a roundtripper with a spectacular jumping catch that sent the outfielder tumbling over the left-field wall and momentarily out of sight. Watch >

Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.