We've given a lot of love to fielders and their wizardry with their gloves in our recent Plays of the Year entries, but today, let's focus on the bats. That's why so many of us like baseball — there's very little in sports that can match the excitement of a big hit.
We saw a number of great ones this season — from midseason marvels to postseason daggers. It was hard to narrow this category down to four finalists, but we did. Two from the postseason, two from the regular season. Which is the best? Most impressive? Most exciting? Well, that's for you to decide.
Head over to the Big League Stew Facebook page and vote for your favorite. But first, watch them all again, in chronological order:
1. Angel Pagan's walk-off inside-the-park homer
From May 25: "Pagan wanted to make a little history, so that's what he did by smoking a ball off the right center field wall that could not have caromed any more perfectly for San Francisco had they drawn it up. Once it scooted past right fielder Michael Cuddyer and made it's way through AT&T Park's triple's alley, the roar of the crowd grew in anticipation. Crawford could have crawled home from second, they knew they'd at least drawn even. But what about Pagan? Would third base coach Tim Flannery dare send him? As center fielder Dexter Fowler picked the ball up and fired to the cut off man, Flannery did indeed wave Pagan home. And he made it, relatively easily, beating Tulowitzki's relay throw with a dramatic head first slide to record the first walkoff inside-the-park home run in Major League Baseball since Rey Sanchez did it for Tampa Bay back in 2004."
2. Jason Giambi's walk-off homer rescues Indians
From Sept. 25: " The Indians, on the verge of being eliminated in the AL Central race and losing sole possession of a wild-card spot, were down to their last out against Chicago closer Addison Reed. Giambi took care of that, giving the Indians a stunning 5-4 victory, their 11th walkoff win by nine different players in 2013."
3. Big Papi's big ALCS grand slam
From Oct. 14: "David Ortiz furthered his postseason legend in the eight-inning of Sunday night's ALCS Game 2. With the bases loaded, two outs and the Boston Red Sox facing a 5-1 deficit, Ortiz clobbered the first pitch he saw from Detroit Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit over the right-field fence and into the Red Sox bullpen. Grand slam. Tie game. Big Papi, a hero forever."
4. Victorino's grand slam sends Red Sox to the World Series
From Oct. 20: "In the bottom of the seventh, with the bases loaded, Boston down 2-1 in a game that would either send the Red Sox to the World Series or send the series to a Game 7, Victorino stepped to the plate and made sure nobody will ever remember his batting average in the series or his nine strikeouts. They'll only remember Victorino turning on an 0-2 curveball from Tigers reliever Jose Veras and crushing it over the Green Monster for a grand slam that put the Red Sox ahead 5-2. It turned out to be the homer that sent the Red Sox to the World Series, as they won the game by that same score and won the series 4-2."
NOW ... VOTE!
You decide which of these wonderful postseason moments was the best of 2013. Head over to the Big League Stew Facebook page and cast your vote.
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