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Best defensive play you've ever seen?


Moose Milligan

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My mind was wondering today as it is prone to do....

Watching a lot of MLBN and saw some stuff on Willie Mays, talking about "The Catch" in the '54 series. No doubt it was an excellent play but Mays himself has said he's made better ones and there are other old timers out there that agree with that statement.

So while I was out driving today I started thinking of great plays I've seen...and I can't think of one better than Mike Devereaux robbing Joe Carter in '92. I can't find a video of it anywhere but I remember seeing it happen live and I remember watching replays on Sportscenter. I had a 1992 O's highlight video that I watched a lot and remember replaying it over and over. It just blew me away.

I found this photo that the Orioles used on a program for the following year:

<img src = "http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/sports/baseball/images/mariners/oriolesprogram.JPG">

I remember Brady Anderson saying that it was so impressive because he seemed to jump over the entire warning track...it was a broad jump as well as a high jump.

IIRC, he didn't have to take a stutter step and time his jump, he just sprinted flat out and hurled himself at the wall and robbed Carter.

What's yours?

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My mind was wondering today as it is prone to do....

Watching a lot of MLBN and saw some stuff on Willie Mays, talking about "The Catch" in the '54 series. No doubt it was an excellent play but Mays himself has said he's made better ones and there are other old timers out there that agree with that statement.

So while I was out driving today I started thinking of great plays I've seen...and I can't think of one better than Mike Devereaux robbing Joe Carter in '92. I can't find a video of it anywhere but I remember seeing it happen live and I remember watching replays on Sportscenter. I had a 1992 O's highlight video that I watched a lot and remember replaying it over and over. It just blew me away.

I found this photo that the Orioles used on a program for the following year:

<img src = "http://www.gasolinealleyantiques.com/sports/baseball/images/mariners/oriolesprogram.JPG">

I remember Brady Anderson saying that it was so impressive because he seemed to jump over the entire warning track...it was a broad jump as well as a high jump.

IIRC, he didn't have to take a stutter step and time his jump, he just sprinted flat out and hurled himself at the wall and robbed Carter.

What's yours?

That one is definitely up there for me.

Dave Winfield made a great one to rob DeCinces of a homer in Yankee Stadium around 1981, that sticks in my mind.

Brooks' highlight plays from the1970 WS come to mind, though I don't remember seeing them live.

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When Tony Fernandez was a young shortstop with the Blue Jays, it seemed like he did something to make my eyes pop out of my head nearly everytime I saw him play.

One particular play deep in the 56 hole against the Red Sox is still ingrained in my brain.

In the heat of the '87 pennant race, Detroit's Bill Madlock upended Fernandez on a hard slide into 2B, fracturing Tony's elbow. He came back and won another two Gold Gloves in a row, but he was never quite the same.

A shame, because if he hadn't missed all of '96 with a knee injury (opening a spot for Jeter) & spent time playing in Japan - I really believe he'd get realistic Hall of Fame consideration.

They called him Cabeza (head in Spanish) because as a malnourished kid, his head seemed too big for his scrawny body. By the time he retired though, he still had the nickname as a sign of respect for his leadership and mental approach. No disprespect to Cal, Fernandez was my favorite shortstop of the 1980's.

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Wow, great thread, and you guys are bringing up some sweet plays.

The first thing that popped into my mind was a sick throw Ichiro made from deep all the way to third, on the fly, and got the man out. I'm pretty sure this was his first season and we were all sort of waiting to see his arm.

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I remember seeing the Devo play on TV. The camera was focused on the ball, and then at the LAST moment, Devo came out of nowhere and snagged it.

Another I can think of is that one by Ozzie Smith. Diving for a ball up the middle, ball takes a bad hop. With reflexes that can only be described as otherworldly, he reaches behind himself, snags the ball, and then makes a routine throw to first.

Still, my all-time fave is Brooks. :)

The 2-2 to May. Swing, ground ball, third-base side. Brooks Robinson's got it, throwing from foul ground toward first base. It is ...IN TIME!
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In double play situations Roberto Alomar used to occasionally deflect balls hit up the middle to the shortstop with the back of his glove. Never saw anything like it before or since.

In person, I saw Alex Ochoa hold a runner at second with a throw from the 309 sign in RF in Bowie that was caught by the third baseman letter-high. Didn't have to move the glove.

Not that I saw this, but there are stories of Willie Keeler running up an inclined outfield wall, tiptoeing across the top and robbing a homer. Didn't a Japanese guy do something similar a few years ago? There's another one about Keeler sticking his hand through some barbed wire atop another fence and catching the ball while ripping a gash in his arm. Probably won't see that done again anytime soon.

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