Kirk Gibson shocked the A's -- and the baseball world -- with his pinch-hit, game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the World Series. It was Gibson's only at-bat of the Series, which the Dodgers won in five games. On the 25th anniversary of Gibson's historic homer, we present Major League Baseball's most memorable home runs through the years.
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Ruth first set the single-season home run record in 1919 with 29, then broke it each of the next two years by hitting 54 in 1920 and 59 in 1921. Over the next five years, he hit 194 homers but never reached 50 in a season, leading some to wonder if his best homer-hitting days were behind him. Entering the final month of the 1927 season, he had 43 home runs but went on a tear and hit 17 the rest of the way, including the record-setting 60th on the next-to-last day of the season.
3 of 31Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
The Called Shot
By the end of the 1932 regular season, Ruth had hit 652 of his 714 career home runs but his most famous home run was yet to come. In Game 3 of that year's World Series against the Cubs, Ruth hit a towering home run in the first inning and in the fifth he hit another, both to deep center field. Legend has it that the latter blast was preceded by Ruth either pointing to the center field fence or by telling the Cubs' catcher he intended to hit the next pitch out. Either way, it became the most memorable -- and controversial -- home run of Ruth's career.
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Joe DiMaggio, left, was on base when Ted Williams hit a two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lift the AL to a 7-5 victory in the Midsummer Classic in Detroit's old Briggs Stadium.
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Shot Heard 'Round the World
"THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!" New York's Bobby Thomson took Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca deep to clinch the NL pennant at the Polo Grounds.
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The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27 in the Series but lost on Bill Mazeroski's one-out homer off Ralph Terry in the ninth at Forbes Field.
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Teddy Ballgame's final at-bat
The Splendid Splinter ended his career in the most spectacular way possible: by depositing a 1-1 fastball into the bullpen for a home run. Ted Williams' eighth-inning homer off Baltimore pitcher Jack Fisher in 1960 capped a career that included a .344 batting average and 521 home runs.
8 of 31John G. Zimmerman/SI
61 in '61
Roger Maris passed Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs with this solo shot off Boston's Tracy Stallard at Yankee Stadium. It was the only run of the game. Maris would never hit more than 33 home runs in a season again.
9 of 31Tony Triolo/SI
The New King
Hank Aaron took over as baseball's all-time home run king with No. 715 off the Dodgers' Al Downing. The game was delayed 11 minutes for a celebration.
10 of 31Walter Iooss Jr./SI; AP
Keep It Fair
Carlton Fisk's bomb off Reds lefty Pat Darcy in the bottom of the 12th stayed fair, forcing a Game 7 in the 1975 World Series.
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Next Stop: World Series
Chris Chambliss' leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth off Kansas City's Mark Littell snapped a 6-6 tie and ended New York's 12-year pennant drought. Chambliss needed a police escort to reach home plate after pandemonium broke out at Yankee Stadium.
12 of 31Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Three Swings, Three Homers
Reggie Jackson homered in three consecutive at-bats in Game 6 against the Dodgers to clinch the Yankees' first World Series title since 1962.
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Bucky "Bleepin'" Dent
In a one-game playoff, the diminutive Bucky Dent smashed a three-run homer in the seventh at Fenway Park for a 5-4 win. The Yankees had come back from 14 games out in late July to win the AL East.
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Brett Loses It
George Brett hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Royals a 5-4 lead, but it was disallowed when Yankees manager Billy Martin informed home plate umpire Tim McClelland, right, that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat. Brett went nuts; the Royals protested and won the appeal. The ending of the game was replayed on Aug. 18, 1983, with pitcher Ron Guidry lining up in center field and Don Mattingly -- a lefty -- at second base for the Yankees.
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Go Crazy, Folks
Ozzie Smith's ninth-inning solo shot off closer Tom Niedenfuer gave St. Louis a 3-2 victory and a 3-2 NLCS lead. It was the switch-hitting shortstop's first home run batting left-handed in 3,001 career at-bats.
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Hendu Can Do
On the brink of advancing to the World Series, the Angels blew a 5-2 ninth-inning lead when Donnie Moore allowed a two-out, two-run home run to Dave Henderson. Boston eventually won the game 7-6 in the 11th on Henderson's sacrifice fly.
17 of 31V.J. Lovero/SI
If it weren't for Kirby Puckett's 11th-inning homer off Charlie Leibrandt, there would not have been the classic Game 7 the following night.
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Blue Jays Fly High
Touch 'em all, Joe! Carter kept the World Series trophy north of the border with his Series-ending homer off Philly's Mitch Williams.
19 of 31Walter Iooss Jr./SI
On the night in which he broke Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played, Cal Ripken Jr. added an exclamation point by hitting a home run in the fourth. The Orioles went on to a 4-2 victory.
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The Maier Game
Twelve-year-old Jeffrey Maier created a game-tying homer by Derek Jeter in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the ALCS when he reached out of the stands and grabbed a ball that was about to be caught by Tony Tarasco. Bernie Williams homered in the 11th to give New York a 5-4 victory.
21 of 31David E. Klutho/SI
Big Mac Attack
With Roger Maris' family in attendance at St. Louis' old Busch Stadium, Mark McGwire broke Maris' single-season home run record with this shot off Cubs right-hander Steve Trachsel. McGwire would extend the record to 70.
22 of 31Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
71 in '01
McGwire's reign as single-season home run champion didn't last long. Barry Bonds took the crown away with this first-inning home run off Los Angeles' Chan Ho Park. In the third inning, Bonds tagged Park again for No. 72 and would end the season with 73.
23 of 31Chuck Solomon/SI
The Yankees already had Mr. October. Derek Jeter became Mr. November with his 10th-inning blast off D'backs reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, which came after the clock had struck midnight. The blast evened the Series at 2-2.
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More Yankees Magic
D'backs reliever Byung-Hyun Kim blew his second save in less than 24 hours as Scott Brosius drew the Yankees even at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 of the World Series. New York went on to win 3-2 in the 12th, but Arizona won the Series in seven games.
25 of 31Chuck Solomon/SI
Pedro Martinez couldn't hold leads of 4-0 and 5-2, and Boston couldn't score against Mariano Rivera in Game 7. Enter Aaron Boone, who set off bedlam in the Bronx with a leadoff home run in the 11th inning off Tim Wakefield to give New York a 6-5 victory and its 39th American League pennant.
26 of 31Heinz Kluetmeier, Bob Rosato/SI
The Late Show
Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez ended the second-longest game in World Series history with this shot off Yankees reliever Jeff Weaver. The win evened the Series at 2-2. Florida went on to win in six games.
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Houston was ready to celebrate the Astros' first NL championship, but Albert Pujols took the air out of Minute Maid Park with this three-run blast in the top of the ninth of Game 5. The Astros went on to win the series in Game 6 in St. Louis.
28 of 31Chuck Solomon/SI
Let It Rain
The White Sox' scrappy leadoff hitter, Scott Podsednik, hit zero home runs during the regular season but gave Chicago a 2-0 World Series edge with this shocking blast off Houston closer Brad Lidge in the ninth at U.S. Cellular Field.
29 of 31Brad Mangin/SI
Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's career home run record was marred by controversy, as Bonds was ensnared in a steroid scandal stemming from his involvement with BALCO. On August 8, Bonds hit a 3-2 pitch from Nationals pitcher Mike Bascik into the seats at AT&T Park for his 756th career homer, one ahead of Aaron's mark that had stood for 33 years. Bonds hit six more home runs that season, the last of his career, leaving the record at 762.
30 of 31John Iacono/SI
Jeter's 3,000th hit came in dramatic fashion. He became the second member of the 28-man club to mark his entrance with a home run, joining former teammate Wade Boggs. Jeter took the Rays' David Price deep in the third inning, the second hit of the day for No. 2 and at precisely 2 p.m.
31 of 31John Biever/SI
St. Louis Freeses Over
After David Freese's improbable, ninth-inning, game-tying triple in Game 6 of the World Series, two innings later, he hit a jaw-dropping, 11th-inning walk off home-run that sent the Comeback Cards on their way to a title.
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