Fall Classic full of GIBBY postseason moments
Obstruction call, pickoff, grand slams among nominees for annual honor
October baseball, throughout the years, has provided no shortage of legendary images and legacy-defining moments. By tradition, the postseason is when legends solidify their place in history and franchises ultimately measure their worth.
This postseason was no different.
Along with the customary highlight-reel catches and walk-off hits, fans this year were treated to not one, but two never-before-seen, game-ending plays in the World Series. From the walk-off obstruction call in Game 3 of the Fall Classic to the game-ending pickoff one night later, the 2013 postseason featured plenty of memorable moments.
Now, it's time for fans to help decide which postseason moment deserves to be crowned the winner of this year's Greatness in Baseball Yearly Award.
Major League Baseball's A-listers will take home 2013 GIBBY Awards -- the ultimate honors of the industry's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards feature nominees in 22 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBYs also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, Cut4 topic, regular-season moment and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
In the past five years, fans have cast more than 50 million votes across the various GIBBY categories, none of which was restricted to individual league affiliation. Fan voting runs through Dec. 1.
Winners will be presented their GIBBYs at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings next month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Each round of this year's postseason had its defining moments, yet fittingly, none provided as many as the World Series. Featuring a pair of storied franchises in the Red Sox and Cardinals, this year's Fall Classic had no trouble living up to its lofty expectations -- nor providing multiple nominees for the top postseason moment.
Two obvious nominees stem from the first-of-their-kind finishes in Games 3 and 4. With the Fall Classic tied at one game apiece, Game 3 provided an ending that will be talked about for years to come when the Cardinals scored the game-winning run on the now-infamous obstruction call.
"Crazy," said Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams of the 5-4 win. "I've been playing baseball, not as long as some of these guys, but I've never seen that coming up through or up here."
Adams didn't have to wait very long to see yet another finish that nobody had never seen before. One night later, Game 4 came to an end when Red Sox closer Koji Uehera picked off Cardinals pinch-runner Kolten Wong at first base with Cards slugger Carlos Beltran representing the potential tying run at the plate.
"That was wild," Red Sox catcher David Ross said after Boston's 4-2 victory. "That was awesome. It was kind of like last night. I bet they're dumbfounded, like, 'What just happened?'"
The game-ending pickoff, however, was only possible thanks to another nominee for top postseason moment that came earlier in the night. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth inning and the Sox trailing in the World Series, 2-1, Jonny Gomes hit a two-out, three-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.
The other two nominees from the Red Sox-Cardinals clash come from a pair of plays that bookended the series. With St. Louis already trailing, 4-0, in Game 1, Beltran robbed David Ortiz of a grand slam while crashing into the wall, sustaining a right rib bruise that knocked him out of the game in the process.
The final nominee comes from the final out when Uehera struck out Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter and then leaped into the arms of Ross before being mobbed by teammates as the Red Sox celebrated their third World Series title in the past 10 seasons -- and their first Series-clinching victory at Fenway since 1918.
World Series aside, the first two rounds of the postseason also provided some classic moments of their own, including more from both the Red Sox and Cardinals.
A pair of grand slams in Boston's American League Championship Series victory over the Tigers are both up for consideration. The first came in Game 2 with the Red Sox trailing by four runs in the eighth inning. Ortiz stepped in and tied the game with a grand slam before Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered a walk-off single one inning later to give the Sox a thrilling 6-5 win.
The other grand moment came in the seventh inning of Game 6 of Boston's 5-2 win over Detroit. Trailing 2-1, veteran Shane Victorino crushed an 0-2 pitch over the Green Monster to help the Sox close out the series.
"Fortunately I got a 0-2 curveball that I could handle and was able to hit a home run," Victorino said. "It was a special moment. It's been a special year. We battled, and to have good moments like this, you cherish it."
Rounding out the nominations are a trio of League Division Series moments, beginning with Rays catcher Jose Lobaton's walk-off home run in Game 3 against the Red Sox. Not only did the blast prevent Tampa Bay from being swept by the division-rival Red Sox, but it splashed into the Rays' Touch Tank beyond the right-center-field wall, meaning the Rays also donated $10,000 to charity for the homer.
In the other ALDS matchup between the Athletics and Tigers, one of October's best pitchers' duels led to the next nominee. Game 2 remained scoreless into the ninth before Stephen Vogt notched a bases-loaded walk-off single to give Oakland a 1-0 victory.
As for the National League DS, veteran Juan Uribe crushed a two-run homer with the Dodgers trailing the Braves by one run in the eighth inning of Game 4. The roundtripper proved to be the difference in the Dodgers' series-clinching victory, saving Los Angeles from needing to return to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5.
With so many lasting images created this October, it's time for the fans to cast their votes and help determine which specific one most deserves to take home this year's GIBBY for the top postseason moment.