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The 50 greatest home runs in New York sports history

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New York City has been a baseball town since the 19th century. That span has seen countless memorable moments, the majority of which revolve around the longball. Legendary home runs have defined the sport in the city since even before Babe Ruth exploded the dead ball era with his power, and the great roar that accompanied blasts hit by the home teams has provided the Gotham soundtrack.

For the moment, that particular music has gone quiet. So let’s take a moment to remember the greatest home runs ever hit by New York players, from the Yanks and Mets to the bygone teams still held dear in the city that never stops loving baseball.

50. Jimmy Hallinan

Mutuals vs. Chicago White Stockings
June 15, 1876, Union Ground

Using the 1876 creation of the National League as our starting point, Hallinan’s dinger, a two-run shot off White Stockings hurler Al Spalding, was the first ever hit by a player wearing a New York uniform. The infielder hit two that season — no other Mutual hit any.

49. Larry Doyle

Giants vs. Boston
Oct. 15, 1912, Fenway Park

The first postseason dinger ever hit by a New York player, in Game 7 of the World Series. The G-Men won the game, but sadly, Boston won the decisive Game 8 (Game 2 ended in a tie), and the championship.

48. Bartolo Colon

Mets vs. San Diego
May 7, 2016, Petco Park

Imagine being James Shields, a successful hurler whose long career was soiled by giving up Big Sexy’s sole big-league homer. Colon’s shot might also have been the only four-bagger whose distance was less than the weight of the player who hit it.

47. Duke Snider

Dodgers vs. Philadelphia
Sept. 22, 1957, Ebbets Field

The final home run hit at the late and lamented Ebbets Field, appropriately clubbed by the Duke of Flatbush, off his personal pigeon, Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Fewer than 7,000 fans were there to see it.

46. Joe DiMaggio

Yankees vs. Boston
July 2, 1941, Yankee Stadium

Joe D. extended his hitting streak to 45 games in dramatic fashion, smashing a two-run shot that broke Wee Willie Keeler’s 44-year-old record. DiMag went on to hit safely in 11 more games before the streak finally ended at 56.

45. Bill Skowron

Yankees vs. Milwaukee
Oct. 9, 1958, County Stadium

After losing to the Braves in ’57, the Yanks were out for vengeance the next season. It took seven games (after falling behind 3-1) and a de facto series-winning shot by the Moose to make it happen.

44. Joe DiMaggio

Yankees vs. Philadelphia
Oct. 5, 1950, Shibe Park

The Yanks swept the Whiz Kids to win the 1950 Series, but every contest was taut, especially Game 2, won in the top of the 10th by the Yankee Clipper.

43. Pete Alonso

Mets vs. Atlanta
Sept. 28, 2019, Citi Field

Alonso broke the rookie record for homers with his 53rd shot against the Braves, taking down crosstown rival Aaron Judge, who hit 52 two seasons earlier.

42. Don Mattingly

Yankees vs. Texas
July 19, 1987, Arlington Stadium

Donnie Baseball launched a homer in his eighth consecutive game, tying the MLB record, though the Yanks lost, 7-2.

41. Mickey Mantle

Yankees vs. Kansas City
May 22, 1963, Yankee Stadium

No one ever hit a ball completely out of the old South Bronx ball orchard (save, legendarily, Josh Gibson), but Mantle came oh-so-close, smashing a rocket off the facade 118 feet high and 370 feet deep. It was a mammoth shot (“I could hear the boom” said Joe Pepitone) and also a game-winning walk-off.

40. Yogi Berra

Yankees vs. Dodgers
Oct. 10, 1956, Ebbets Field

Game 7 of the last Yanks-Dodgers Subway Series. This one was over early as Yogi hit a pair of two-run shots in the first three innings off Don Newcombe, with the Yanks cruising to a 9-0 victory, avenging their 1955 defeat to the Brooks.

39. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs. Detroit
July 18, 1921, Navin Field

The Bambino became the all-time home run leader in only his second season as a full-time hitter — his record 139th dinger befit the occasion, a monstrous blast that escaped Navin Field and was measured at an incredible 560 feet. Ruth socked 59 homers that year, seemingly a record that would stand forever.

38. Derek Jeter

Yankees vs. Tampa Bay
July 9, 2011, Yankee Stadium

The Captain had an incredible flair for the dramatic, best illustrated by turning a David Price breaking ball into a long home run for his 3,000th hit.

37. Derek Jeter

Yankees vs. Baltimore
Oct. 9, 1996, Yankee Stadium

Yankees
Tony Tarasco stretches for the ball as young Yankee fan Jeff Maier in 1996.AP

Jeter also got some breaks, none more memorable than the assist from a completely unbiased 12-year-old fan named Jeffrey Maier, who reached into the field of play to turn a warning track out into a key dinger. The Yanks won Game 1 of the ALCS en route to the first title of the “Core Four” dynasty.

36. Todd Pratt

Mets vs. Arizona
Oct. 9, 1999 Shea Stadium

Are we sure Steve Finley didn’t catch the ball? Pratt’s shot to straightaway center juuuuust got over the fence to give the Mets the NLDS victory over the Diamondbacks in walk-off fashion.

35. Daniel Murphy

Mets vs. Chicago Cubs
Oct. 21, 2015, Wrigley Field

Murphy’s crazy streak of homers in six consecutive postseason games reached its apex in Chicago, as the Mets finished a humiliating sweep of the Cubbies to reach the World Series.

34. Lou Gehrig

Yankees vs. Philadelphia
June 3, 1932, Shibe Park

Gehrig’s four home runs that Philadelphia afternoon came in his first four at-bats of a 20-13 slugfest. He was robbed of a potential fifth on a great catch by Al Simmons.

33. Gil Hodges

Dodgers vs. Boston
Aug. 31, 1950, Ebbets Field

The strapping Brooklyn slugger knocked four homers — off four different pitchers — to go with nine RBIs in a 19-3 squeaker over the Braves.

32. Lenny Dykstra

Mets vs. Houston
Oct. 11, 1986, Shea Stadium

Nails’ first game-winning homer since “playing Strat-O-Matic against my brother” was a two-run walk-off shot to win Game 3 of the airtight ’86 Division Series against the Astros. Darryl Strawberry hit a three-run moonshot earlier to get the Mets back in the game before Dykstra’s blow won it.

31. Tommy Henrich

Yankees vs. Brooklyn
Oct. 5, 1949, Yankee Stadium

Game 1 of the ’49 Subway Series was scoreless in the ninth. Then “Old Reliable” walked one off against Don Newcombe, and the Yanks took the Classic in five.

30. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs. Boston
April 15, 1923, Yankee Stadium

The brand-new Yankee Stadium was nicknamed “The House That Ruth Built,” so it was only fitting the immortal Babe socked one out in the grand opening of the new palace in The Bronx. I happened to write a book about that season, if you’d like to know more …

Jackie Robinson
Jackie RobinsonAP

29. Jackie Robinson

Dodgers vs. Philadelphia
Sept. 30, 1951, Shibe Park

On the final day of that most dramatic 1951 season, the Giants beat Boston to take a half-game lead. Brooklyn, needing to answer, played 14 nerve-jangling innings in Philly. Finally, in the top of the 14th, Robinson parked one in the upper deck in left. “The Dodgers and Phillies gave us an afternoon that just about rocked the nation,” wrote the New York Times. But it was forgotten after the rocking afternoon three days later.

28. Donn Clendenon

Mets vs. Baltimore
Oct. 16, 1969, Shea Stadium

Yes, Al Weis tied clinching Game 5 of the 1969 Series with a homer an inning later, but the “Shoe Polish” shot remains firmer in baseball lore. One batter after Gil Hodges produced a baseball with a shoe polish smudge showing that a Dave McNally pitch had actually hit Cleon Jones foot, Clendenon slammed a long homer to left that cut a three-run Orioles lead to 3-2.

27. Joe DiMaggio
Yankees vs. Boston
June 30, 1949, Fenway Park

Joe D. missed the first 65 games of the season, but came back to torment the Sox with four homers in a three-game sweep at Fenway, the last being a gigantic shot off the left-field light tower. The Yanks still needed to beat the Bostons in the last two games of the season to clinch the pennant.

26. Mickey Mantle

Yankees vs. Washington
April 17, 1953, Griffith Stadium

The Mick’s cartoonish power was the main source of his great allure, and never was it on display more than when he powered a ball 565 feet, entirely out of Griffith Stadium in D.C.

25. Dusty Rhodes

Giants vs. Cleveland
Sept. 29, 1954, Polo Grounds

The Willie Mays Basket Catch game was won when Rhodes, a superb pinch hitter, stepped in for Monte Irvin and popped a short fly down the right-field line that just cleared the fence 294 feet from home to give the Giants a stunning victory. They went on to sweep the Indians, winners of 111 games, in four straight.

24. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs. St. Louis
Oct. 6, 1926, Sportsman’s Park

Ruth’s third home run of Game 4 of the 1926 Series was, well, Ruthian — flying over the back center-field wall and smashing the window of an auto dealer across the street from Sportsman’s Park. The blast helped tie the series, which New York lost in seven memorable games.

23. Lou Gehrig

Yankees vs. St. Louis
Oct. 9, 1928, Sportsman’s Park

Two years later, back in St. Louis, the Yankees got revenge for the 1926 loss by sweeping the Cards. The Babe hit three more homers in Game 4; after his second tied the game in the seventh, Gehrig went back-to-back with his fourth dinger of the Series to give the Bombers a lead they would not relinquish.

22. Mickey Mantle

Yankees vs. Dodgers
Oct. 4, 1953, Ebbets Field

The 1953 version might have been the best Dodgers team ever, but Yankee power undid them in the Subway Series yet again. The crucial blast this time was a Mantle grand slam in Game 5, with the series knotted at two. The Bombers won the title the next afternoon on a Billy Martin walk-off single.

21. Mel Ott

Giants vs. Washington
Oct. 7, 1933, Griffith Stadium

The great forgotten slugger in New York history, Ott’s 10th-inning shot off Jack Russell won Game 5, and the 1933 Series, for the Giants in their first season without the legendary John McGraw as manager.

20. Robin Ventura

Mets vs. Atlanta
Oct. 17, 1999, Shea Stadium

The “Grand Slam Single” that won Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS didn’t propel the Mets to the World Series, but it remains the standout memory of that season, along with Kenny Rogers walking home the winning run in Game 6.

19. Derek Jeter

Yankees vs. Arizona
Nov. 1, 2001, Yankee Stadium

The game started on Halloween night, but it was past midnight when Jeter became “Mr. November” with his walk-off shot to right field.

18. Tino Martinez

Yankees vs. Arizona
Oct. 31, 2001, Yankee Stadium

Jeter’s heroics weren’t possible but for Tino’s stunning two-out, two-run homer off Byung-Hyun Kim in the ninth to send the game into extra innings, and The Bronx crowd into a frenzy.

17. Scott Brosius

Yankees vs. Arizona
Nov. 1, 2001, Yankee Stadium

Hours after the incredible drama of Game 4, the impossible happened again — this time, it was Scott Brosius clubbing the two-out, two-run shot off Kim to tie a seemingly lost game, and again the Yanks won in extra frames. Like most Yankees fans, I consider this the end of the 2001 World Series …

16. Casey Stengel

Giants vs. Yankees
Oct. 10, 1923, Yankee Stadium

Casey’s stunning inside-the-park homer provided the winning run in the first ever World Series game at Yankee Stadium, and seemed — momentarily — to cement the Giants’ mastery of their former Polo Grounds tenant.

15. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs. Giants
Oct. 11, 1923, Polo Grounds

Ruth turned the tide of professional baseball in New York, and the world, with his pair of homers in Game 2 of the 1923 Series, reversing the tide of his failures against the Giants in the ’21 and ’22 Classics. The first, in the fourth inning, was an especially mighty blast that moved one writer to note, “The Ruth is mighty and shall prevail.”

14. Jackie Robinson

Dodgers vs. Giants
April 18, 1947, Polo Grounds

Three days after Robinson broke the color line, he took the field against Brooklyn’s hated Harlem rivals for the first time. In the third inning, he jerked a Dave Koslo pitch over the left-field wall, his first home run in the bigs, and thus first “circuit clout” by an African-American player in MLB history.

13. Mike Piazza

Mets vs. Atlanta
Sept. 21, 2001, Shea Stadium

Piazza’s home run to win the game in the first pro sports event in New York post-9/11 is rightfully venerated, even if it wasn’t important in the standings. Imagine how the first post-coronavirus feat will be celebrated.

12. Mickey Mantle

Yankees vs. St. Louis
Oct. 10, 1964, Yankee Stadium

The Mick’s 16th World Series homer won Game 3 of the 1964 Series and broke the Babe’s record for postseason dingers in one mighty (left-handed) blow. Mantle would hit two more Classic clouts to finish with 18 in his career.

11. Ray Knight

Mets vs. Boston
Oct. 27, 1986, Shea Stadium

Yes, Virginia, there was a Game 7 in 1986. Darryl Strawberry’s later homer was more aesthetic, but Knight’s seventh-inning blast to give the Mets the lead and eventually the title was more important.

10. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs. Chicago Cubs
Oct. 1, 1932, Wrigley Field

The Babe was already a living legend, but calling his shot off Charlie Root in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the ’32 Series cemented his deification.

9. Jim Leyritz

Yankees vs. Atlanta
Oct. 23, 1996, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

The Yanks were headed out of the 1996 Series until Leyritz’s stunning eighth-inning, three-run bomb off ace closer Mark Wohlers tied Game 4. The Yanks went on to win in extra innings and, two games later, took the championship.

Yankees
Jim Leyritz homers in the 1996 World SeriesAP

8. Mickey Mantle

Yankees vs. Dodgers
Oct. 7, 1952, Ebbets Field

Brooklyn cast off its 1951 nightmare to lead the 1952 Series 3-2, with both remaining affairs at home. But the Yanks took Game 6, and with Game 7 tied 2-2 in the sixth, Mantle took Joe Black over the right-field scoreboard. The Yanks went on to win the game and the Series, and extend Brooklyn’s misery.

7. Babe Ruth

Yankees vs Washington
Sept. 30, 1927, Yankee Stadium

The Babe broke his own single-season home run record with big bop No. 60 off Tom Zachary, a record that would become the sine qua non of athletic achievement. Little remembered: Ruth’s shot came late, not until the eighth inning of the final game of 1927.

6. Roger Maris

Yankees vs. Boston
Oct. 1, 1961, Yankee Stadium

The great home run race of 1961 was won by Maris, who — to the disappointment of many — outslugged Mantle and broke the Babe’s record, with a high drive to right off Tracy Stallard. Only 23,154 were in attendance that warm, overcast fall day.

5. Reggie Jackson
Yankees vs. Los Angeles
Oct. 18, 1977, Yankee Stadium

Three swings, three homers for Mr. October, none as astonishing as the last, which iced the Yankees first title since 1962. As Howard Cosell yelped on the ABC broadcast, “Oh, what a colossal blow!!”

4. Chris Chambliss

Yankees vs. Kansas City
Oct. 14, 1976, Yankee Stadium

What sticks out most from the Chambliss dinger to send the Yanks to the World Series after a dozen years in the wilderness was the utter mayhem after the ball cleared the fence. Thousands of fans mobbed the players and the field, forcing Chambliss to head for the locker room without completely circling the bases. He later went out to touch home plate, but it had been stolen.

3. Aaron Boone

Yankees vs. Boston
Oct. 16, 2003, Yankee Stadium

Would Boone be managing the current Yanks if he popped up to start the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS? It’s a moot question, as he became a Bronx Bomber immortal by clubbing a Tim Wakefield knuckler into the left-field seats to put his team — and not the hated Sox —into the World Series.

2. Bucky Dent

Yankees vs. Boston
Oct. 2, 1978, Fenway Park

Amazingly, the top two New York homers didn’t come in the postseason. Bucky “Bleeping” Dent’s three-run fly ball over the Green Monster was the decisive blow in 1978’s single-game playoff to decide the AL East, technically a regular-season contest but one that was far more important than any postseason action that followed in the hearts of Yankees fans.

1. Bobby Thomson

Giants vs. Brooklyn
Oct. 3, 1951, Polo Grounds

“The Shot Heard ’Round The World” has to top the list. Was Thomson aided by stolen signs? Should Leo Durocher have walked Thomson to pitch to the rookie up next, Willie Mays? Whatever became of the ball? Russ Hodges yelping, “The Giants win the pennant!!” over and over is baseball’s most famous radio call, and the homer that caused it is the greatest home run in New York baseball history.

Robert Weintraub is the New York Times best-selling author of three books, including “The House That Ruth Built” and “The Victory Season.” His newest book, “The Divine Miss Marble,” will be published in July.

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