What, exactly, makes a great catch?
Of course, there is the physical act itself. There is the chase, and often, an act of gravity defiance.
But there’s more to it than that.
"The pressure of making the catch," former Milwaukee Brewers catcher and current television analyst Bill Schroeder said. "The catch (Dewayne Wise) made for the White Sox to save the perfect game (in July 2009); the circumstances. When you’re dealing with that type of situation, the catch becomes that much more difficult."
So, with that, we take a look at the top five catches in Milwaukee baseball history:
5. Ryan Braun, Sept. 19, 2010
The Brewers were 10 games under .500 at this point in the season but the game definitely mattered to the San Francisco Giants, who were only up a half game in the National League West standings. (They would go on to win the World Series).
4. Carlos Gomez, July 8, 2013
Because of when it occurred, the latest installment of the Carlos Gomez highlight reel tops his personal list as the Brewers centerfielder robbed Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto of a potential go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth inning on July 8. What also makes this catch extra special are the reactions from closer Francisco Rodriguez and Votto.
"Anytime you can make a catch like that and win a game – he comes to the ballpark and thinks ‘This is what I want to do,’" Schroeder said. "He’d rather do that than hit a game-winning home run."
The game won’t mean much in the long run, which is why it’s No. 4 – but it means more than my personal favorite from all the way back on June 20 in Houston.
3. Charlie Moore, Oct. 17, 1982
There is no greater stage, or pressurized situation, than a game in the World Series, and Brewers rightfielder Charlie Moore etched his name into history with a diving catch down against the St. Louis Cardinals to help the Brewers to within one game of the championship.
Though Brewers designated hitter Larry Hisle was not able to make that game due to the pain in his injured throwing shoulder, he watched Moore’s catch along with everyone else.
"It was an outstanding play," Hisle remembered. "What gave it even more emphasis was the situation. You’re in the (World Series) – everything is magnified. Every at-bat, every ground ball. One mistake can be the difference in winning and losing the series and that was clearly the play of the series for us."
2. Robin Yount, April 15, 1987
Other than squeezing the final out of a World Series championship, there can be no greater satisfaction than preserving a no-hitter. Robin Yount found himself in this spot when future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray took a hack.
I’ll let Schroeder, who was behind the plate, take it from there.
"I saw that ball hit and it looked like it was going to be an easy catch, but Murray hit the ball and it kept slicing away from him. As soon as he hit it, I’m like yeah, there it is, but it just kept going further and further away from Yount. He dove and spread out and caught it two-handed and went down. If you ask Robin, did you have to dive? He says ‘I dove, so I had to.’ What he didn’t want to do was go after it one-handed and have the ball go off his glove."
(Yount’s catch starts 20 seconds into the video).
The Kid’s catch is No. 2 on this list, but to Schroeder this will always be the best catch in Milwaukee baseball history.
"Selfishly, for me being a part of something, that was the best," he said.
You can watch the entire no-hitter here.
1. Wes Covington, Oct 7, 1957
Known for his bat, Milwaukee Braves outfielder Covington stuns New York Yankees shortstop Gil McDougald in Game 5 of the 1957 World Series with great catches. His rob of a sure McDougald home run at County Stadium preserved a 1-0 Lew Burdette masterpiece and Braves victory en route to a championship.
You can see sequential photos of his catch here.
- Robin Yount destroys the centerfield wall in Minnesota.
- Covington chases down Bobby Shantz’s long fly in Game 2 of the 1957 World Series on Oct. 3.
- Gino Cimoli helps preserve Warren Spahn’s 300th win with a sliding catch of a George Altman fly ball in the eighth with a man on second on Aug. 11, 1961.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.