Walking Off

The player rounds third base and trots towards home. He throws his helmet in the air as his happy teammates crowd around the plate. As the hero steps on the plate, his teammates are jumping around him, patting him on the back and congratulating him for a job well done. The crowd goes wild.

Yup, there's something special about a walk-off home run.

Walk-Offs: A walk-off home run in baseball or softball is when a player hits a home run in the last inning that wins the game. For example, in pro baseball, if the game is tied in the bottom of the ninth inning and the batter blasts a homer, his team wins the game. The players can walk off the field as soon as he crosses the plate.

Why it's Special: Walk-off homers are fairly rare. They don't happen very often, so when they do occur, it's a special event. Home runs have the ability to change a game and excite the crowd. When a player wins the game on a single swing of the bat, it shows just how meaningful a home run can be. It's also very hard to hit a walk-off home run. In the ninth inning of a close game, there is a lot of pressure on every batter. A hitter has to have great concentration in order to smack a walk-off and become the hero of the game.

Famous Walk-Offs: Walk-off home runs have the ability to turn players into baseball legends. Some of them rank among the most famous players in baseball history!

Bobby Thompson: In 1951, the New York Giants were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers in the last game of the season. The winner of the game would go on to play in the World Series. In the bottom of the ninth inning at the Polo Grounds, Bobby Thompson hit a game-winning home run to win the game for the Giants. The play was so exciting that people started calling it "The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

Bill Mazeroski: In the 1960 World Series, the Pirates and Yankees were playing a decisive Game 7. Whichever team won the game would be the world champions. Mazeroski, a light-hitting second baseman for Pittsburgh, smashed a game-winning home run to give the Pirates a walk-off World Series win.

Joe Carter: The Blue Jays were playing the Phillies in the 1993 World Series. In Game 6, with Toronto holding a 3-2 lead in the series, outfielder, Joe Carter, came up in the bottom of the ninth. The Phillies led 6-5 but the Blue Jays had two men on base. Carter crushed a game-winning homer to take the series for the Blue Jays.

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