Originally created 07/10/02

Baseball picks 30 memorable moments

MILWAUKEE -- From Ted Williams' .406 season to Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier to Barry Bonds' home-run record, baseball has had many unforgettable moments.

Fans will have an opportunity to pick which of the 30 moments selected Tuesday by major league baseball were the most memorable in history.

To some of the players honored, that's an easy question.

"Seven no-hitters for Nolan Ryan, Babe Ruth, Roger Maris hitting 61 homers, there are so many things and to be in that group is great," Bonds said.

"But for all we've done, a lot of it couldn't have happened if Jackie Robinson didn't do what he did. Jackie Robinson changed baseball."

Robinson's debut in 1947 is one of the 30 top moments, along with Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, Cal Ripken's consecutive games record, Ruth's sale to the Yankees and Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'round the World."

Bonds could soon have an even more memorable moment than passing Mark McGwire's record of 70 homers in a season.

Bonds has 594 career homers, fourth best all-time, and has a chance to pass Hank Aaron's record of 755 before he retires.

"He's got to get to me first, then to those guys" said Bonds' godfather Willie Mays, who has 660 home runs. "He has to go one step at a time."

Mays also had one of the moments, with his breathtaking back-to-the-infield basket catch in the 1954 World Series.

Fans will have a chance to vote at major league ballparks and at mlb.com from now until Oct. 7 for their five favorite ones.

The players or family members were honored in a pregame ceremony before Tuesday's All-Star game at Miller Park.

But even an announcement like this was clouded by the labor discord that could lead to the sport's ninth work stoppage since 1972. The top 10 moments are scheduled to be announced before Game 4 of the World Series - which could be threatened by a strike.

"We intend to run straight through to the World Series, but obviously, if for some reason there was a stoppage, there would be a pause," said John Stuart, a senior vice president for MasterCard, the sponsor of the program.

There is a modern bias in the moments with nine of the 30 coming since 1990 and 17 in the past 31 years. Three came from last year: Bonds' record, Luis Gonzalez's World Series winning hit, and Ichiro Suzuki's MVP in his first season from Japan.

"Whatever's fresh in your mind is more apt to be more popular than old stuff," said Bill Mazeroski, whose World Series ending homer in 1960 made the list.

Some notable accomplishments from earlier times were left off, including Harvey Haddix's 12 perfect innings in 1959 before losing 1-0 in the 13th inning and Fred Merkle's "boner" that cost the New York Giants the 1908 NL pennant.

"I was wondering about Harvey Haddix's 12-inning perfect game. I thought was one of the great moments in baseball," Mazeroski said. "It was probably the most enjoyable game or the most memorable game I played in outside of the 1960 World Series."

There were also some noteworthy accomplishments left off the list that baseball might prefer not to remember, like the 1919 Black Sox scandal, the Messersmith decision in 1975 that paved the way for free agency for players and Pete Rose's ban from baseball.

Rose breaking Ty Cobb's career hits record was one of the moments, although Rose was not invited to attend Tuesday's event.


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