Giants fans were spoiled in the last decade. For a team that doesn’t hit a lot of homers, the Giants certainly hit a ton of important ones. It was difficult to narrow down the Giants’ 10 best home runs of the decade, and the same couldn’t be said of most teams. Could you name 10 memorable Rockies home runs from the last ten years? Not even the best ones, just 10 you think everyone from their fan base remembers?
For the Giants, it was easy to think of 10. In fact, it was so easy, I’m worried I forgot a few. Below are the best homers of the decade in chronological order. I didn’t rank them because trying to choose which one topped them all is like trying to choose a favorite child: the favorite is the own that most thoroughly owns Mat Latos.
Roy Halladay was a future Hall of Famer coming off the first no-hitter in the postseason since Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Cody Ross was a acquired via a waiver trade just so the Padres wouldn’t pick him up. Of course, the only way this would end is with Ross hitting two dingers to ensure the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the NLCS.
Ross’s homers against Halladay were the play-within-a-play of the Giants first championship run. Halladay was the better player and the Phillies were the better team, but for a week in October, none of that mattered.
Edgar Renteria makes Dave Flemming’s voice crack
Edgar Renteria’s homer in Game 5 wasn’t just one of the best home runs of the decade, it was the best thing to happen to the Giants in 2010. There’s a lot to love about this home run. Bryan already wrote about how Edgar Renteria broke a cycle of the Giants screwing up. According to Andres Torres, Renteria called his shot. Dave Flemming’s voice crack. Here’s a bonus:
On the Fox call, Tim McCarver said, “Burrell I can understand pitching to him. I don’t know about Renteria.”
Pat Burrell’s 2010 OPS+: 136
Edgar Renteria’s: 93
His insight is missed.
posey-latos dot gif
I’ve thought long and hard about what I could write about Buster Posey’s grand slam against Mat Latos that hasn’t already been written. I thought about writing an epic poem, but it turns out that Grant already did that when he recapped the game seven years ago.
And verily, when young Buster Posey approached yon plate
The foul creature did smirk and snarl, his lip curleth up over his incisor
And Buster did not waver, and he sent yon meatball ten parasangs into the Ohio light
There was much rejoicing, and thy foul Latos turned into a pillar of jerk
Which he already was, instead becoming a sad pillar of jerk, verily
So, anyway, here’s the gif.
Tim Flannery puts his butt on the line
A come from behind walk-off inside the park home run is the perfect way to end a baseball game. They’re like seeing a rare butterfly flutter across the aurora borealis. Inside the park homers are rare enough. They require a special sort of defensive nincompoopery that’s incompetent enough to allow the batter to run all the way around the bases but competent enough to convince the official scorer that they did nothing wrong. In this case, Michael Cuddyer let the ball bounce over his head and Dexter Fowler and DJ LeMahieu put together a relay slower than the ambient Pink Floyd tracks.
I also want to point out that next year, that’s a regular ole, boring home run and everyone forgets about it in a week.
Belt’s Bat Drop
An underrated part of this home run was how poorly the ball was carrying. Earlier in the game, Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche both had balls die at the warning track. On a warmer night, those both might have been gone. No amount of chicanery would have kept Belt’s blast in the yard, though. It might have even gone out at Oracle Park!
Mike Morse ties it up
This was a real toss up between Morse’s game-tying home run in the 2014 NLCS and Juan Uribe’s go-ahead homer in the 2010 NLCS. What puts Morse’s home run on top is that Morse’s home run came when the Giants were trailing. Morse has also stuck around in the Giants community whereas Juan Uribe went to the Dodgers. Also, Morse’s home run directly led to one of the greatest moments in Giants history.
It’s Travis Ishikawa!
In the two years leading up to the 2014 NLCS, Ishikawa bounced between five different teams. In 2013, the Orioles designated Ishikawa for assignment to make room for Jair Jurrjens. The Yankees picked him up and got him into one game before Derek Jeter’s return from the IL forced Ishikawa off the roster. Ishikawa then went to the White Sox on a minor league deal but never made it to their big league club. In the offseason, Ishikawa considered retirement but eventually signed with the Pirates. He made it into 15 games before the Pirates replaced him with Ike Davis. That’s when he went back to the Giants who needed a replacement for an injured Belt. There wasn’t a clear spot for Ishikawa when he came back, but the Giants stuck with him, putting him in left field in an elimination game in the postseason. Improbably, fantastically, it worked.
Trevor Brown ruins Ross Stripling’s debut
The Dodgers are one of the smartest teams in baseball. They’re so smart that they know it’s better to pull a young starter at 100 pitches than to let him go for a silly no-hitter. Even if he had made the next batter look foolish twice already that game. Dave Roberts had a game to win. He couldn’t let a personal achievement get in the way of that.
Literally Conor Gillaspie
Madison Bumgarner was one inning away from throwing his second shutout in a winner take all game. The only problem is that the Giants hadn’t scored any runs. Noah Syndergaard had proved a much more formidable opponent than Edinson Volquez. Bumgarner’s labor may have been for naught if not for Conor Gillaspie nutting a three-run homer.
Gillaspie lined himself up to be the Cody Ross of 2016, but the bullpen had other ideas.
McCutchen walks it off
There needed to be a representative from the “Walk offs against the Dodgers” genre. I could have gone with Buster Posey’s walk-off in 2013, Guillermo Quiroz’s a month later, or Brandon Crawford’s walk-off in the Ross Stripling game in 2016. Maybe it’s recency bias or maybe it was McCutchen’s reacting with more emotion than any Giant displayed in any of their postseason runs or maybe it was that McCutchen’s was the only one that came when the Giants were trailing. McCutchen’s walk off might not have had the impact that Renteria’s or Ishikawa’s had, but it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing homers I’ve seen by someone in a Giants uniform.