Top 300 Moments that Shaped Major League Baseball Preview: NL West
Starting on March 1, Baseball Hot Corner will rank the Top 300 moments that shaped baseball history. All moments from 1900 forward are eligible and the list includes moments from on and off the field. There are regular season, post season and All-Star Game moments, triumphs and tragedies incredible accomplishments and unbreakable records. In the week leading up to the start of the countdown, we’ll preview each division in the majors. Today we wrap up the National League with a look at the NL West.
The National League West has one of the most interesting dynamics because when you look at the division as a whole, two of the teams populate this list as much as anybody. However, their accomplishments came when they were playing in New York. As you’d expect, the Dodgers and Giants, two of the game’s most storied franchises are heavy hitters when it comes to the top 300 moments in baseball history. With alumni like Jackie Robinson, Mel Ott, Sandy Koufax, Christy Mathewson and Willie Mays, you just know when you get into the top 50, this list will be very Dodgers/Giants-centric.
But don’t sleep on the other teams in the division either. Although the Rockies and Diamondbacks are two of the newer franchises in the sport, they have had their influential moments as well. The final team is the Padres, who show up a handful of times for positive things they’ve done and a couple of more infamous moments.
But the majority of the representation from this division comes from the Giants and Dodgers. I’m not giving away any secrets by saying that Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier will be a solid top-10 moment. That is not up for debate. But there are some other influential moments to be considered about Robinson as well.
On the Giants side, their influence in the 20th century dates directly back to July 17, 1900 when Mathewson debuted with the team. He racked up 373 wins, largely in just a 12-year span and from his debut forward, and since then the Giants always had a major place in baseball history.
In more modern times, Barry Bonds is sure to surface multiple times on the list, some positive and some negative, and Madison Bumgarner’s postseason performance in 2014 has to be considered. On the Dodgers side, Fernandomania was an incredible time in Los Angeles in 1981, but in the grand scheme of things, how high can Fernando climb?
Just because the other three franchises are relatively new, doesn’t mean they’re left out either. The Diamondbacks 2001 World Series win over the Yankees has to be considered for the list as do many of the accomplishments of Tony Gwynn.
Some of the game’s truly iconic moments come from teams in this division, so NL West fans should be happy. How could any list of historical baseball moments not give ample attention to Willie Mays catch, Carl Hubbel’s 1934 All-Star Game performance or any of Sandy Koufax’s no-hitters?
In fact, arguably the most iconic moments from this division happened to two teams at the same time: Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” for the Giants against Ralph Branca of the Dodgers in 1951,
At Baseball Hot Corner, we’ll do our best to help keep you occupied as you wait for Opening Day with a countdown of the Top 300 Moments that Shaped Major League Baseball History. The series will begin March 1 with an introduction, followed by a quick look at the top pre-1900 moments before getting into the countdown. The countdown itself will be released in sets of 10 with the top 10 announced on April 2 — Opening Day Eve.
While fans are enjoying Opening Day, they’ll be able to participate in a fan poll ranking all of the events and of course, the comments section will be open on every article to haggle over the rankings.
Between now and March 1, you will also be able to nominate your favorite moments to be considered for the countdown. You can tweet your ideas to the author @mlb100years.