By Drew Olson Special to Published May 13, 2006 at 5:29 AM

There is something majestic about a home run. The crack of the bat. The moment of anticipation as the ball carries toward the outfield wall. Even routine homers create a sense of excitement and wonder. Big home runs are burned permanently on the brain's hard drive.

With help from some of the top baseball writers from around the major leagues, we compiled the following list of the most significant homers in the history of each of the 30 Major League franchises.



Atlanta Braves
Batter: Hank Aaron
Date: April 8, 1974
Back story:
With one of the more famous swings in history, Aaron swatted No. 715 off Los Angeles lefty Al Downing to break Babe Ruth's record. Aaron finished the season with 20 homers, was traded to the Brewers that winter and went on to hit 22 more before retiring in 1976.

Florida Marlins
Batter: Alex Gonzalez
Date: Oct. 22, 2003
Back story:
Just when it seemed that Game 4 of the World Series was headed for a 13th inning, Gonzalez connected for a walkoff bomb against Yankees right-hander Jeff Weaver. The Marlins won the next two games to wrap up their second championship.

New York Mets
Batter: Mike Piazza
Date: Sept. 21, 2001
Back story:
With New York still in a state of shock, sorrow and disbelief after the Sept. 11 attacks, Piazza's two-run homer in the eighth inning helped the Mets take a stirring 3-2 victory over Atlanta. The celebration was cathartic and it paved the way for the Yankees' stirring playoff run, which ended with a seven-game loss to Arizona.

Philadelphia Phillies
Batter: Dick Sisler
Date: Oct. 1, 1950
Back story:
On the final day of the regular season, the Phillies needed to beat Brooklyn at Ebbets Field in order to claim their first pennant in 35 years. Richie Ashburn threw out a runner at the plate to preserve a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the ninth. It the 10th, Sisler belted a three-run homer off Don Newcombe that sent the Phillies to the World Series, which they lost to New York in four games.

Washington Nationals
Batter: Vinny Castilla
Date: April 14, 2005
Back story:
In the Nationals' first game at RFK Stadium, Castilla smoked a two-run shot off Javier Vazquez that gave his team a 5-0 lead.

Chicago Cubs
Batter: Sammy Sosa
Date: Sept. 25, 1998
Back story:
In a home run derby that captivated the nation, Sosa ripped his 66th homer to take the lead over St. Louis' Mark McGwire, who went on to belt five more to win the race, 70-66.

Cincinnati Reds
Batter: Johnny Bench
Date: Oct. 11, 1972
Back story:
In the deciding game of a best-of-five NLCS, Bench belted a game-tying homer off Dave Giusti in the bottom of the ninth. The Reds went on to win the game, 4-3, and the pennant. After the game, Bench revealed that his mother, Katie, had shouted to him from the front row "Johnny, hit a home run." Like a good son, Bench listened.

Houston Astros
Batter: Chris Burke
Date: Oct. 9, 2005
Back story:
The longest post-season game in history ended in the bottom of the 18th inning, when Burke's solo shot landed in the Crawford boxes at Minute Maid Park, giving the Astros a draining 7-6 victory that sent Atlanta home for the winter. The Astros went on to win the pennant, but ran out of gas and were swept by Chicago in the World Series.

Milwaukee Brewers
Batter: Robin Yount
Date: Oct. 3, 1982
Back story:
With the division title hanging in the balance on the final day of the season, Yount homered twice in the first three innings against Orioles ace Jim Palmer. The blasts lifted the Brewers to a 10-2 victory and helped Yount wrap up the first of his two American League MVP awards.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Batter: Bill Mazeroski
Date: Oct. 13, 1960
Back story:
In a scene repeated in backyard wiffle ball games throughout Pennsylvania, Mazeroski stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series and sent the Pirates to a stunning upset victory over the Yankees.

St. Louis Cardinals
Batter: Mark McGwire
Date: Sept. 7, 1998
Back story:
It took a big red-headed man to knock diminutive shortstop Ozzie Smith from this list. Smith's game-winning homer off the Dodgers' Tom Niedenfuer was his first from the left side of the plate and won Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS for St. Louis. But, McGwire's had bigger historical impact and will continue to resonate for years because of the steroid allegations that surround him. Anyway, with Steve Trachsel on the mound, Sosa standing in right field and a sellout crowd rocking Busch Stadium, McGwire belted his 62nd homer of the season to become the first player to break Roger Maris' single-season record. McGwire finished with 70, hit 65 the next season then battled through two injury-marred seasons before retiring with 583 homers and a slew of steroid allegations that could hamper his Hall of Fame candidacy this winter. He's now remembered more for his clumsy "I'm not here to talk about the past" performance in front of Congress than this homer, which practically scraped the left-field wall before going over.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Batter: Craig Counsell
Date: Oct. 12, 2001
Back story:
Teammates called the Whitefish Bay native "Rudy," a reference to his hard-working attitude and college years at Notre Dame, but the Cardinals and their fans formulated some other names for Counsell after his three-run blast off Mike Matthews gave Arizona a two-run lead in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. Counsell's homer was his first off a lefty in 1,235 at-bats. The Snakes won the game and, eventually, the World Series.

Colorado Rockies
Batter: Eric Young
Date: April 9, 1993
Back story:
The first batter in the franchise's first home game, Young thrilled 80,277 at Mile High Stadium and is still a fan favorite in Colorado.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Batter: Kirk Gibson
Date: Oct. 15, 1988
Back story:
The underdog Dodgers were about to drop Game 1 of the World Series against Oakland when Gibson -- hobbled by a hamstring injury -- limped to the plate for his only at-bat of the Series and hit a homer for the ages. No one who saw it live or listened to Vin Scully's call will forget Gibson lifting a slider from Eckersley into the right-field pavilion as Chavez Ravine erupted in celebration. The Dodgers went on to win the series in five games.

San Diego Padres
Batter: Steve Garvey
Date: Oct. 6, 1984
Back story:
A high point in Padres history corresponds with one of many low points for the Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs needing a victory to make it to the World Series, Garvey ripped a two-run homer off Lee Smith to win Game 4. San Diego fell behind three runs in the deciding game, but rallied for a three-run victory and took the pennant. Detroit won the World Series in five games.

San Francisco Giants
Batter: Bobby Thomson
Date: Oct. 3, 1951
Back story:
The most famous homer of them all, aka "The Shot Heard 'round the World," lifted the New York Giants to a stunning victory over Brooklyn and made heroes out of Thomson and Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca, who appeared together on TV and at banquets, card shows and other events for decades after their famous encounter. Thomson went on to play with the Milwaukee Braves, where he played with Andy Pafko, who as the Dodgers leftfielder that day was closest to the ball when Thomson's line drive cleared the wall and prompted broadcaster Russ Hodges to scream "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"



Baltimore Orioles
Batter: Cal Ripken, Jr.
Date: Sept. 6, 1995
Back story:
A sellout crowd of 46,217 that included President Clinton and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and a national cable TV audience watched the action as Ripken shattered what was considered to be one of baseball's unbreakable records by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. Ripken, who had a flair for the dramatic, hit a home run in the fourth inning but that was just the appetizer. The real celebration came in the middle of the fifth inning. When the game was official and Ripken had passed Lou Gehrig, the crowd went insane, there was a ceremony at home plate and Ripken took an impromptu victory lap around the warning track as a spine-tingling ovation continued.

Boston Red Sox
Batter: Carlton Fisk
Date: Oct. 21, 1975
Back story:
This is one Game 6 memory that doesn't cause bitterness in New England. The image of Fisk waving his arms and willing his game-winning 12th- inning line drive off Pat Darcy fair is one of the more memorable highlights in baseball history and for many obscures the fact that Cincinnati actually went on to win Game 7. Fisk ended up in the Hall of Fame.

New York Yankees
Batter: Bucky Dent
Date: Oct. 2, 1978
Back story:
For a franchise steeped in historic homers -- Babe Ruth's called shot, Roger Maris' 61st, Reggie Jackson's three homers in the 1977 World Series, Derek Jeter's fan-aided homer against Baltimore in '95 and Aaron Boone's pennant-clinching shot in 2003 - this was the sweetest. Dent's improbable three-run homer off Mike Torrez cleared the Green Monster in left and sent the Bombers to a 5-4 victory and the American League East title. It also earned the batter a new nickname in New England, where he is referred to -- through clenched teeth -- as Bucky (bleeping) Dent.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Batter: Wade Boggs
Date: Aug. 7, 1999
Back story:
The Rays don't have a lot of history, at least not the kind to celebrate, but Boggs' homer off Cleveland lefty Chris Haney qualifies. It was Boggs' 3,000th hit and he celebrated by pumping his arms as he circled the bases and kissing home plate. Boggs retired with 3,010 hits -- 118 of which were homers. He was elected to the Hall of Fame last season and wears a Boston cap on his plaque.

Toronto Blue Jays
Batter: Joe Carter
Date: Oct. 23, 1993
Back story:
The World Series hadn't ended with a homer since Mazeroski beat the Yankees in 1960, but Carter changed that. His two-out, three-run boomer off Philadelphia's Mitch Williams gave the Blue Jays a championship. Carter was so elated when the ball cleared the wall that he missed first base and had to go back and touch it.

Chicago White Sox
Batter: Geoff Blum
Date: Oct. 25, 2005
Back story:
Two days after Scott Podsednik ended Game 2 with a walkoff homer in Chicago, Blum stepped to the plate in the top of the 14th inning at Minute Maid Park and belted a two-out, tiebreaking homer off Ezequiel Astacio. The White Sox won the longest game in Series history, took a commanding 3-0 lead and completed their sweep the following night.

Cleveland Indians
Batter: Lou Boudreau
Date: Oct. 4, 1948
Back story:
With a one-game playoff to decide the American League pennant, Boudreau hit a pair of homers to give his team a 8-3 victory and its first trip to the World Series in nearly three decades. Boudreau, who was the Indians' player-manager, hit .355 that season with 18 homers and 106 RBI and was named MVP.

Detroit Tigers
Batter: Kirk Gibson
Date: Oct. 14, 1984
Back story:
The only man to make our list with two different teams, Gibson came up with two men on base and his team leading San Diego, 5-4, in the eighth inning of Game 5. Padres manager Dick Williams wanted to walk Gibson, who had homered in the second inning, but pitcher Goose Gossage talked him out of it. Gibson hit a three-run homer into the upper deck in right field and the Tigers won the game, 8-4, and the Series, 4-1.

Kansas City Royals
Batter: George Brett
Date: Oct. 10, 1980
Back story:
Gossage figured in this one, too, for he was on the mound in the seventh when Brett hammered a three-run homer into the upper deck that propelled his team to victory and a sweep in the ALCS. Although they lost the World Series to the Phillies, the Royals were happy to avenge championship series losses to New York in 1976, '77 and '78. An interesting footnote: Three years later, Brett hit another memorable homer off Gossage at Yankee Stadium. That ninth-inning shot was disallowed because Brett had pine tar too far up the handle of his bat. Brett's maniacal reaction to umpire Tim McClelland's decision remains one of baseball's more memorable highlights. Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, when he shared the podium with his close friend, Robin Yount.

Minnesota Twins
Batter: Kirby Puckett
Date: Oct. 26, 1991
Back story:
"See you tomorrow night." That was the call by Jack Buck when Puckett lifted a changeup from Charlie Leibrandt over the wall in the 11th inning to give the Twins a victory in Game 6 of the World Series. Minnesota won the championship the next night. Puckett, whose career was cut short by glaucoma, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001 but died after suffering a brain aneurism March 5, just nine days shy of his 46th birthday.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Batter: Scott Spiezio
Date: Oct. 26, 2002
Back story:
Facing a deficit of 5-0 in the game and 3-2 in the Series, the Angels were preparing themselves to watch San Francisco celebrate a title when Spiezio smacked a three-run homer off Felix Rodriguez. Anaheim scored three more runs to force Game 7, which they won.

Oakland Athletics
Batter: Reggie Jackson
Date: July 13, 1971
Back story:
This homer comes with an asterisk because it wasn't hit during an A's game. During the All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium, Jackson stepped to the plate against Dock Ellis and hit a 540-foot shot that hit a transformer on the roof. It was a signature moment for Jackson and the A's, who were a year and half away from winning the first of three straight World Series championships. Jackson, who went on to help the Yankees to three World Series, finished his career with 563 homers.

Seattle Mariners
Batter: Ken Griffey.
Date: Sept. 14, 1990
Back story:
The reason we don't identify the batter as "Sr.," or "Jr.," in this vignette is that both Griffeys homered in the first inning off Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill. The elder Griffey, who had signed two weeks earlier, was nearing the end of his career at age 40. His son, then 20, followed with his 36th big-league homer. Though Junior has gone on to hit more than 500 more, he lists this one as his favorite. Mariners fans probably wouldn't argue.

Texas Rangers
Batter: Juan Gonzalez
Date: Oct. 1, 1996
Back story:
In what probably qualifies as a bittersweet memory for Rangers fans, Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off David Cone in the fourth inning of Game 1 of an American League Division Series. Texas won the game, 6-2, but that stands as the Rangers' only post-season victory. Ever. The Yankees won the series, 3-1, but you can't blame Gonzalez, who homered in all four games.

Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.