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Ranking all of Buster Posey’s walk-offs

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There are seven of them, and they’re all pretty great.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been living under a baseball rock lately, for the sole purpose of avoiding the San Francisco Giants and everything they do, well . . . I don’t really blame you.

But if that’s the case, then you missed something pretty exciting yesterday. A walk-off.

Walk-off hits are objectively the best play in baseball, because they’re the only play in baseball that has a 100% correlation with wins. If you hit a walk off (or walk a walk-off, or hit by pitch a walk off), you win. In the 5,000 year history of baseball, a team with a walk-off has never lost.

Maybe it will happen some day, but it hasn’t happened yet. So stay tuned.

Last night’s walk-off was a little extra special, though. It was Buster Posey, captain of all things good and just, protector of the innocent. It was against the Dodgers, the face of all things evil and wicked, enemy of the people.

It gave the Giants a series win which, hey, cool, that’s new.

It was also the seventh walk-off in Posey’s illustrious career, so I took the opportunity to go back through all seven. Along the way I learned some interesting facts:

Fact #1: Posey’s first walk-off came in 2013. He already had two titles and an MVP by the time he finally walked it off.
Fact #2: Six of his seven walk-offs have come prior to July.
Fact #3: Three of his seven walk-offs have come against the Dodgers.
Fact #4: The Giants have won all seven of his walk-offs.

Now, on to the juicy stuff. Let’s rank them, from worst to best.

7: May 11, 2016 vs. the Blue Jays

The inning: 13th:
The score: 4-4
The situation: Bases loaded, one out
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 87%
The play: Four-pitch walk

This is the least important walk-off of Posey’s career, in terms of win percentage. All that was required was a fly ball or a ground ball that couldn’t be turned for two. Or an error, a passed ball, a wild pitch . . . or a walk. If he failed, the Giants still had another chance.

The walk wasn’t even exciting. It happened in four pitches, and the fourth was so far off the plate that even I could have taken it (because I would have been running away, screaming in terror). Still!

6: May 1, 2019 vs. the Dodgers

The inning: 9th
The score: 1-1
The situation: Runners on first and second, two outs
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 61%
The play: Line-drive single to left

Beating the Dodgers is what made this walk-off extra exciting, but relative to the rest on the list, it still fell flat. Ultimately, it was an exciting play, and one that required every mile per hour in Steven Duggar’s arsenal.

In terms of Giants walk-offs, this might be higher. But it almost felt more like Duggar’s walk-off than Posey’s.

5: June 11, 2018 vs. the Cubs

The inning: 13th
The score: 4-4
The situation: Runners at first and second, two outs
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 61%
The play: Fly ball single to right

It’s a testament to the excitement of the rest of the plays that this one is fifth. Posey is unfairly credited with a single - the result of the game being over before he made it to second base. But off the crack of the bat, it seemed like there was a chance that he had the rarest of rares: An opposite field home run by a right hander in San Francisco.

All things considered, quite impressive, and quite joyous.

4. June 11, 2016 vs. the Dodgers

The inning: 10th
The score: 4-4
The situation: Runners at first and second, one out
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 70%
The play: Ground ball single up the middle

Like last night’s play, this one is way higher on the list of Giants walk-offs than Posey walk-offs. San Francisco gave up a run to the Dodgers in the top of the 10th, but Joe Panik (remember him? He used to be on this team!) hit a game-tying double, before Posey found a hole on a grounder that was almost an inning-ending double play.

But let’s not forget that the Giants were cooking at this point. This gave them a 37-26 record, and put them four games ahead of the Dodgers. Just don’t think about what happened next.

3. August 27, 2014 vs. the Rockies

The inning: 9th
The score: 2-2
The situation: Runner on first, one out
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 56%
The play: Home run to left

This was a majestic shot. It did’t actually clear the fence by all that much, but it had an arc that would make Steph Curry jealous.

It also is the most important walk off of Posey’s career, in terms of win percentage added. The Giants were barely a coin flip’s chance of winning the game.

2. May 12, 2017 vs. the Reds

The inning: 17th
The score: 2-2
The situation: Bases empty, one out
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 58%
The play: Home run to left

I’ll admit it: This is my personal favorite.

This is the epitome of “Buster ain’t havin’ it.” Posey was visibly fed up with a 17-inning game, in which he caught all 17 innings. When he delivered the knockout punch, he looked more pissed than excited. He expelled the bat the way one does after an inning-ending strikeout.

He wasn’t having it.

It was also one of the most impressive home runs Posey has ever hit. You don’t see them go to that part of Oracle Park with much regularity.

1. May 3, 2013 vs. the Dodgers

The inning: 9th
The score: 1-1
The situation: Bases empty, no outs
Win percentage at the start of the at bat: 62%
The play: Home run to left

This one looks better with the benefit of hindsight. The next night, another Giants catcher - Guillermo Quiroz - walked the Dodgers off with a nearly identical home run.

Those were good times. This is the type of play where you remember exactly where you were when it happened. Or maybe that’s just me, because I was working at a miserable job that I was about to get fired from and the bright patches peppered in among the bleak are quite vivid.

Either way. His first walk-off. Against the Dodgers. On a beautiful home run. With a vintage call from Jon Miller.