The most iconic and influential moment ever in Major League Baseball history is when Jackie Robinson, a Black man, signed for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 10, 1947. This momentous day has been written into not only MLB's history, but American history as well. ackie Robinson broke through the race barrier in baseball, and Robinson became a catalyst for other MLB baseball owners to recruit and sign players based on talent, not race. Robinson's signing into the MLB did not come with the pleasantries as he was harassed by fans and opposing teams for his whole career. He ignored the negativity and his talent shone through; he was awarded Rookie of the Year in 1947, got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in '62, and was the first professional athlete to have his jersey number 42 retired across the sport.
Lou Gehrig was easily one of the most prominent baseball players in MLB, playing for the New York Yankees, and it shocked the nation when he announced that he was retiring from the sport. He informed the nation on July 4th, 1939 in his farewell speech, now coined the Gettysburg address of baseball. Gehrig had decided to retire from baseball after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); he was such a beloved figure that this illness is referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease. One of the iconic phrases in this speech that still lives on today is when Gehrig states that he is "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" being able to play baseball for his career, even when he was suffering from his disease.
This iconic phrase in American history books was taken into baseball in 1951 when the New York Giants won the National League pennant. The Giants were playing against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a best of three game set, and the Giants were the obvious underdogs entering the game. Each team won a game, and in game three at the bottom of the ninth, the score was 4-1 Dodgers. The Giants scored a run, and Bobby Thomson went up to bat with players on second and third, and the score now 4-2. Thomson unexpectedly hit the ball and it flew across the field, landing right into the left field stands, making it a home run and changing the game in a matter of seconds. The crowd, and the Giants, were ecstatic, and this home run game has been coined "the shot heard 'round the world."
This historic event in MLB baseball is still debated today, earning its position in the most iconic moments in MLB history. In the 1932 World Series, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees were battling it out for the title. Game three was held at Wrigley Field, and at the top of the fifth inning was legend Babe Ruth's turn at bat. "The Babe" swung two strikes, and he pointed two fingers up to the crowds at center field. His third swing drove the ball straight to center field, landing in the stands. Ruth has stated that he did call that shot and pointed two fingers towards the fans, trying to let them know that he has two strikes and the third was aimed for a home run. Some question the validity of this, but nevertheless has this moment been ingrained into MLB history.
September 6th, 1995 is an iconic moment in MLB history. Cal Ripken Jr., a shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, surpassed Lou Gehrig's record in playing 2,131 baseball games consecutively since 1982. The game that day was played on home turf in Camden Yards, and not only did the Orioles win the game, but Ripken solidified his talent by scoring a home run. Nicknamed the "Iron Man," Ripken continued to play for the Orioles until 1998, totalling a new record of 2,632 consecutive games played. This record has not yet been broken, and many doubt that it will be.
This event in MLB history is one to remember. Bill Mazeroski, second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, went up to bat in the last inning of the last game of the World Series in October of 1960. The Pirates were playing against the New York Yankees, and the score was 9-9 with no one on base. Mazeroski shocked the crowds when he swung the bat and the ball flew right out of Forbes Field. New York Yankees legends Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra tried to catch the ball, but they soon realized that it was hit out of the park. This World Series winning home run for the Pittsburgh Pirates is truly iconic and deserves a spot on this list.
Reggie Jackson was traded to the Yankees from the Orioles in 1977, and the team's superb talent during that season led them to the World Series. In Game 6, Jackson did the unimaginable. Jackson hit three home runs, helped his new team beat the Dodgers in Game 6, and gave them the momentum to beat them again in Game 7, winning the title of World Series Champions. His talents in this October game enabled him to earn the nickname Mr. October.
The year 1974 rewrote the Major League Baseball history books as Hank Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth's record of the most home runs. This marked a transition in the league as it became noticeable that a new wave of professional baseball players would start to break more and more records originally set by legends, still known decades later. After breaking Ruth's records, Hank totalled his entire career with 755 home runs, setting the new record. He held his record until San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds broke the records in 2007.
The most recent iconic moment in MLB history, Derek Jeter made headlines with his unfathomable toss in 2001. In their third game of the American League Division Series against the Athletics, the Yankees were up 1-0 and Jeremy Giambi, a player on the Athletics was about to tie the game up. Jeter appears out of nowhere near first-base and tosses the ball backways to catcher Jorge Posada. The umpire calls that Giambi was not safe, and the Yankees continued to keep the score 1-0. This brought confidence to the team, and the Yankees won the AL Division Series, and then was victorious in the World Series.
This event deserves to be in the most iconic moments in MLB history because the impossible literally became possible for Los Angeles Dodgers' player Kirk Gibson. The LA Dodgers were in the World Series against the Oakland Athletics and Gibson sustained injuries to both of his legs before Game 1 even approached. Gibson was originally taken off the batting line-up for the game due to his injuries, but at the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, Gibson was called to bat. Shockingly, he hit the ball perfectly, scoring it straight out of the field, scoring two home runs for the Dodgers, changing the score to 5-4 Dodgers.