On November 1st, 2017, the Astros won the World Series and ended the third longest drought (55 years without a championship) in MLB history.
In doing so, the Astros (and Dodgers for that matter) dazzled fans not only with their unbridled youthful exuberance but with a relatively new wrinkle in the sport of baseball.
- The Astros and Dodgers combined for a total of 25 home runs in the seven game series. Seven of those home runs came in Game 5 alone (another record).
- George Springer tied the record for most home runs by one player in the World Series with 5.
- Fourteen different players between the two teams homered, and seven of those players hit multiple home runs.
Long live the long ball.
Personally, as the Series was playing out, I failed to marvel at this phenomenon. I was caught somewhere in the space between panic attack and catatonic anxiety episode at every waking moment of every game, and thus each home run – rather than being a punctuation mark in the annals of baseball history – struck me as either a euphoric shot of sugary adrenaline or a poison drenched samurai sword straight to my chest, depending on which team hit it.
A month removed now, I’m somewhat balanced and have had some time to reflect, except for the fact that I randomly cry when I just think about the team…or when I hear music…or when I wake up in the mornings…or when I fall asleep….y’know…the usual.
Nonetheless, I have since watched every home run multiple times. I’ve analyzed them all and relived them all in excruciating detail, not only because I’m obsessed, but because as this World Series served up one of the most scintillating and dazzling displays of power hitting, I wanted to give myself the opportunity to take it all in and marvel as a normal human being would.
With that, I give you my rankings of all the Astros Home Runs in the 2017 World Series.
Now, before I list them off, some criteria and explanation on how I arrived at my rankings.
I created three categories. The first category is scored 1-40 with 40 being the highest. The other two are scored 1-30 with 30 being the highest. Perfect score is 100. Highest total score wins.
- Sports Significance or “SS” – (1-40) Every run mattered in this series but given the game situation, what significance did this home run have on the game? Essentially this can be your clutch score however it’s essentially a momentum score as well. What happened after the home run and / or before the home run plays into this.
- Emotional Implication “EI” – (1-30) This is my list so what the home run meant to me, means something in the rankings. Not much
- Style Points “SP” – (1-30) This is exactly what it sounds like. Better definition, if they remake “Good Will Hunting” in 2040, what home run does Sean Maguire (Robin Williams in the 1997 version) re-enact instead of the 1975 Carlton Fisk home run during his therapy session with Will (Matt Damon in 1997).
#15 – Yuli Gurriel in Game 3
Tied at 0-0 in the second inning, Yu Darvish hung a fastball high in the zone that Yuli crushed into the Crawford boxes. This home run would start off an incredible rally by the Astros who would go on to add three more runs that inning.
Up until that pitch, it was looking like Darvish would mow through the Astros lineup as he had so many times in the regular season while he was with the Rangers. However, because the Astros had picked up on something or because Darvish was truly tipping his pitches, a sense of fearlessness quickly swept through the Astros dugout.
Darvish failed to finish the inning.
Where this went south was that soon after Gurriel returned to the dugout, the FOX cameras picked up on him making a racially insensitive gesture with his hands. Total downer.
- SS: 31
- EI: 25
- SP: -10
- Total: 43
#14 – Alex Bregman in Game 1
I had a tough time choosing between Bregman in Game 1 and Bregman in Game 4 (#13 on this list) simply because the Astros lost both games.
The only reason this one is ranked lower than Game 4, is because even after Bregman hit it, I still had zero confidence that the Astros would get anything off of Kershaw, who at the time seemed as unhittable as well…Clayton Kershaw.
- SS: 25
- EI: 18
- SP: 10
- Total: 53
#13 – Alex Bregman in Game 4
The Astros lost this game 6-2, but much like the Yuli Game 3 home run proved Darvish was hittable, Bregman’s home run in the 9th inning of Game 4 proved something. Actually two things.
- Kenley Jansen was mortal
- Alex Bregman was not afraid. Of anyone. Watch the whole video below including the interview at the end. The “I swallowed my dip” part is just the stuff of legends.
Bregman had already proven his metal in the Boston series and against the Yankees, his throw to home is still one of the most amazing fielding plays I have ever seen, but this World Series home run in Game 4, little did we know, was somewhat of a precursor to one of the greatest World Series moments ever – his Game 5 walk-off hit in the 10th. (NOTE: While this hit was not a home run, I almost included it in this list).
- SS: 25
- EI: 20
- SP: 10
- Total: 55
#12 – George Springer in Game 6
In Game 6, Verlander was on the mound and I recall telling my friend Mark, “I feel like if we can get at least a two run lead early and get through the 6th, Verlander can hold this thing down until the 8th or 9th.”
Springer got his home run in the third off of Rich Hill but that would be it for that day, leaving Verlander to give up two key hits in the 6th. Style Points for going opposite field on this one and making it look effortless.
Y’all – Springer is an excellent hitter.
- SS – 20
- EI: 20
- SP: 20
- Total: 60
#11 – George Springer in Game 4
George Springer came up to bat in the 6th inning to face the left-handed Alex Wood who up until that point had allowed no hits. Wood threw a slider low on the outside of the plate and Springer turned on the ball with that now picturesque swing commemorated so well on that 2014 Sports Illustrated Cover and sent it into the Crawford boxes. Add style points for Alex Wood falling to his knees and spinning around to watch the ball fly away in one swift motion.
This would be the beginning of Springer’s historic run through the playoffs and cement him in my mind as a “Oh-He-Is-Absolutely-Going-To-Go-Yard” here.
- SS: 21
- EI: 20
- SP: 24
- Total: 64
Sadly, I’ll remember this game as the Ken Giles game. The Astros had a chance to go up 3-1 in the series and possibly close things out in Houston. However, the much-maligned Astros bullpen met their middling expectations.
#10 – Brian McCann in Game 5
The Brian McCann home run off Tony Cingrani cannot be forgotten or overlooked. I won’t let it. In any other scenario or any other World Series where there weren’t a bajillion home runs to choose from, this would and should be in the Top 5. But this is the 2017 Houston Astros.
Given the delicate nature of the Astros bullpen, every run, especially those earned in the middle innings, was essential and even though the Astros had mounted an incredible comeback and were riding high off of Correa’s two-run homer in the 7th to go up three runs (we’ll get to this later), no lead ever felt safe.
It turned out that McCann’s solo shot would prove game-saving as the Dodgers rang up three runs in the 9th to tie the game like it was no bid deal. Had McCann not homered, the Dodgers would have had a one run lead going into the 9th with an angry and determined Kenley Jansen closing the game out against a somewhat rattled top of the Astros order.
- SS: 28
- EI: 20 (I didn’t know the significance of this at the time and was actually thinking…let’s just pour it on)
- SP: 18 (I’ve always loved a good left-handed home run just because the turn is pretty cool to see. That said, McCann lacks some style which makes him more loveable. I’m reminded of what Chris Allman said after Game 5 when we were talking about Doug Fisher pinch running for McCann. I said, “No way McCann makes it to third on Bregman’s hit.” Chris replied, “I don’t think McCann makes it if Bregman had homered.”
- Total: 66
#9 – Carlos Correa in Game 2
The Astros had the lead but the Correa homer off Josh Fields extended it to 5-3 which again, much like the McCann homer was needed padding as Ken Giles would quickly give the Dodgers those two runs back in the 11th.
- SS: 28
- EI: 20
- SP: 25 (that bat flip)
- Total: 73
#8 – Yuli Gurriel in Game 5
Game 4 made me a little sick, and in Game 5 when the Dodgers jumped on Keuchel early to go up 4-0, I was beside myself. To make matters worse, Kershaw was carving people up again and it appeared that the Dodgers would be going back to LA with a 3-2 lead.
Of note, watch Altuve and Correa score. It’s as if Yuli kinda woke them up.
- SS: 25 (Note: Slightly lower than expected because Kershaw kept coming like the freaking Terminator and didn’t give up another run. Then Dave Roberts put in Maeda. We’ll get into this later)
- EI: 25
- SP: 25
- Total 75
Note: This is why I needed a scoring system. The next 7 are literal toss-ups.
#7 – Jose Altuve in Game 2
I wasn’t worried. Not for a minute. MVP’s do MVP things at MVP times and Altuve was just biding his time until the moment the Astros needed him the most.
Tied at 3 in the 10th, Altuve jumped on a 2-0 pitch from Josh Fields like a jungle cat and hit it to almost the exact same spot that Marwin had hit his (see later).
All the Astros needed was for their closer to close out the game and…oh wait…not that easy? Cool
- SS: 32
- EI: 25
- SP: 20
- Total: 77
#6 – George Springer in Game 2
Game 2 was wrought with back and forth moments. Springer’s home run however would put the Astros ahead for good and judging by the intensity with which he ran the bases, Springer appeared to be convinced that his hot streak was just starting and wouldn’t end for awhile. Additionally, Game 2 proved the Astros belonged and showed they could not only go hit for hit with the Dodgers but could actually outhit them.
- SS: 35
- EI: 29
- SP: 25
- Total: 89
What puts it slightly behind Marwin’s home run in the same game, was well….
#5 – Marwin Gonzalez in Game 2
Game 1 was odd for me. Larry King and Mary Hart sitting behind home plate were staring at me through my TV. Clayton Kershaw was literally throwing invisible baseballs and every Astro was swinging wildly.
Game 2 had all the same beats only this time it was Rich Hill. Rich Hill?
Verlander was holding his own but he was finally bent to his breaking point when Joc Pederson took him deep in the 5th and again when Corey Seager went opposite field in the 6th (I still am haunted by his celebratory shout right as the ball left the bat). That seemed to be all the Dodgers needed to take a 2-0 lead.
The Astros battled and strung two runs together and then Marwin in the top of the 9th took Kenley Jansen – the game’s most unhittable closer – deep to left-center.
The team started to believe and I’m not sure if Altuve’s home run (#7) or Springer’s home run (#6) happen without that little jolt from Marwin.
(Altuve was hitless up to this point and Springer had gone 0-4 with 4 K’s in Game 1)
- SS: 37
- EI: 30
- SP: 23
- Total: 90
#4 – Jose Altuve in Game 5
This was the last game in Houston and the last thing the Astros wanted was to head back to LA down 3-2 with a feeling that they had given away Game 4 and a chance to close the Series out in Houston in Game 5.
As stated earlier, the outlook was bleak but Yuli had given a glimpse of hope with his game tying home run in the 4th. However the bullpen would quickly hand the game back over to the Dodgers in the 5th.
After Kershaw gave up two consecutive walks, Dave Roberts pulled him and put in Kenta Maeda.
Jose Altuve was much obliged and took a 3-2 fastball to the balcony in left center and tied the game…for the second time.
- SS: 36
- EI: 29
- SP: 27
- Total: 92
#3 – Carlos Correa in Game 5
We have to start with style points on this one. The fist pump before reaching first base. The crowd. It was unbelievable.
We also have to mention that my phone was dead from texting during the game and when I plugged it into my charger at 2AM, I had 114 text messages, 24 missed calls, and 34 facebook mentions. Call this a humble brag if you must, but I was incredibly moved by the concern people had for my health.
Again we have to mention McCann’s home run here because while people will remember this Correa home run off of Brandon Morrow as the one that gave the Astros the lead in the 7th after trailing or being tied for most of the game, the Astros would not win this game until the 10th with Bregman’s hit.
If this was it and the game ended, and there was no sorrowful swoon for three more innings, it’s a perfect score home run.
Still this home run was just about every ounce of Astros nation in one at bat.
- SS: 37
- EI: 30
- SP: 30
- Total: 97
Springer in Game 7
I don’t think I need to over explain a Game 7 home run. If anything I probably have more explaining to do about why it’s not #1.
The home run put the Astros up for good. It was against Yu Darvish. It was amazing.
I don’t need to say anything else right?
- SS: 39
- EI: 30
- SP: 30
- Total: 99
#1 – George Springer in Game 5
I’ve watched this home run more than all of the others. What this extended video captures is what also happened in the top of the inning when Springer dove for a short fly ball to center that ended up going past him. The hit registered as a triple by Bellinger and score Hernandez to put the Dodgers up 8-7.
One would think that the misstep would have stayed with Springer and shaken him up but he led off in the bottom of the 7th, and took the very first pitch that Brandon Morrow threw and hit it to the tracks – not the warning track – the railroad track…where it literally exploded (sure…tell me it was some pyrotechnic…I don’t believe you…it blew up).
- SS: 40
- EI: 30
- SP: 30 (but actually a million)
- Total: 100