There is nothing so exciting in Major League Baseball as the “Walk Off Home Run”. Although it has been around for a long time, it has only been referred to as the walk off since the 1980s. It was first termed in the San Francisco Chronicle in an article written by Lowell Cohn titled “What the Eck” on April 21, 1988.
For those of us that have been to many baseball games, we all can pick out one memorial game that sticks out in our mind. It is a game, where the home team sends us all home with the last swing of the bat in the very last inning. Many of us refer to it as the “game winner.”
There are several things that must be in order for this to be a true walk off home run. It must be in the last inning (regular game or extra inning.} It must be done by the home team. It wins the game.
The actual term “walk off” means that everyone leaves the field after the event as well as the fans heading for the exit.
Down through the years, there have been countless walk off home runs. Some have stood out more than others. Let us take a look at some of those more memorial hits.
Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants “Shot heard around the World” happened on October 3, 1951 against the Brooklyn Dodgers was a pennant winner.
In 1960, Bill Mazoroski of the Pirates won the World Series over the Yankees, with a Grand Slam.
Carlton Fisk hit a Home run in the 6th game of the 1975 World Series. It is often shown today in slow motion.
Kirk Gibson, playing on two bad legs, hit a walk off to win game one of the World Series in 1988.
October 31, 2001 (Halloween). In a World Series delayed by the tragic attack on 9/11, Derek Jeter hit a walk off home run that was actually on November 1, right after midnight.
On September 10,1881, the first walk off grand slam was hit by Roger Conner of the Troy Trojans to win a game 8-7.
When was a walk off home run not a home run? In the 1999 NLCS, Robin Ventura hit a Grand Slam to win the game. Or, did he? Todd Pratt who was on first base, went to second base turned around and hugged Ventura. Only the runner at third base was credited with scoring to win the game 4-3. Although he hit the ball out of the park, Ventura was credited with a game winning single.
So, who has the most career walk off home runs in the history of Major League Baseball? Well according to the Society for American Baseball Research, Jimmy Foxx, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth each has 12.