Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nice Catch

Spring Training can be a slow time, and that's when ideas like listing the top catches in baseball movie history happen. Here is Offbase's top 3.

3. Scottie Smalls (The Sandlot)

Scott Smalls wasn't supposed to make that catch, you know. He was supposed to get hit in the other eye, another one of Dennis Leary's steaks was supposed to be ruined, and the Smalls family was supposed to be run out of town. But Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez wouldn't hear of it. Benny the Jet urged Smalls to put his glove in the air and the neighborhood legend would "take care of it". Smalls, having just replaced the glove he won in a bowling alley claw machine with one of Benny's old mitts, followed Rodriguez's instructions and the fly ball landed right in the center of the mitt. The catch cemented Smalls as not a guy who was banned from the sandlot for life, but as a guy who could bat ninth and hopefully not be a liability in left field. You could say that catch became the routine pop fly heard round the world.

2. Willie Mays Hayes (Major League)

We all know the story: Hayes is a non-roster non-invitee-turned-invitee who ends up leading the majors in stolen bases with 273 (unofficial), including a number of steals of home. But his greatest moment comes in the one-game playoff against the Yankees. In a scoreless tie in the sixth, Hayes does his best Otis Nixon impersonation, scaling the Milwaukee County Stadium wall to rob "Williams" of a certain go-ahead home run. Three innings later, Hayes scores from second on the worst bunt in the history of organized baseball. Indians win it, the Indians win it, OH MY GOD the Indians win it. Without Hayes' catch, they may not have.

1. Timmy Lupus (Bad News Bears)

Timmy Lupus was the definition of a bench player. I mean, the kid was behind Ogilvie on the depth chart, for god's sake. But in the championship against the Yankees, Buttermaker had a change-of-vodka and decided to empty the bench. Lupus got the call and headed out to right field. The rest is North Valley League history. A towering fly ball heads out towards Lupus and the frail youngster reaches up and robs the home run. Lupus looks as shocked as anyone as his teammates come rushing out to congratulate him on his F-9. Timothy Lupus: American hero.

Others: Isuro Tanaka's top-of-the-wall catch in Major League II; Ken Griffey robbing Lou Collins of a game-winning HR in Little Big League; Happy Felsch's catch in the regular season finale in Eight Men Out

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