There are few certainties in life, but one thing is for sure — Boyz II Men never lies. They were right when they said it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. That doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the memories with a smile on our faces, though.
Despite the lack of overall action this offseason, MLB front offices have been hard at work preparing for 2018. And soon enough, the ball will drop in Times Square, the calendar will officially flip to January, and a clean slate will be had by all. But before that happens, it’s only right to take a look back on 2017, which ended up being an awfully memorable year of baseball.
There are endless moments that could be highlighted here, but below are 45 of our favorites — in no particular order. We’re not here to try and figure out which moment was better than another. We’re just here to enjoy the cool things that happened over the past year.
MadBum Powering Up on Opening Day
San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner has made a name for himself with his arm, but he’s pretty darn good with the lumber, too. The 2017 season is likely one he’d like to forget, but it certainly started off promising with regard to his individual performance.
After all, he became the first pitcher ever to enjoy a two-homer game on Opening Day.
Coghlan’s Crazy Slide
It looked like Chris Coghlan was dead to rights as he was attempting to score against the St. Louis Cardinals. But that’s when he channeled his inner Willie Mays Hayes.
Rendon Single-Handedly Dismantling the Mets
The month of April hadn’t been kind to Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon. Entering an April 30th tilt against the New York Mets, he owned a 59 wRC+ with a .566 OPS and .024 ISO through 95 plate appearances. He completely erased that terrible start with a six-hit performance that included three homers and 10 RBI.
Votto Hitting a Home Run for Superbubz
After hitting his 34th homer of the season during a victory against the Mets, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto high-fived Walter “SuperBubz” Herber, a six-year-old cancer patient, on his way to the dugout. He also gave him his bat and jersey in what was a truly touching moment.
Pujols Joining the Elite Portion of an Elite Club
If we use fWAR as the barometer, Albert Pujols was actually the worst position player in baseball this past year, which sounds so weird to say. That won’t stop him from racking up the impressive career milestones, though.
“The Machine” became the ninth member to join the 600-homer club, but distinguished himself further by being the first hitter to do so by way of a grand slam.
Despite being the National League’s home run leader in 2016, the Milwaukee Brewers non-tendered Chris Carter in favor of signing Eric Thames after a very successful tenure in the KBO.
The month of April was probably like a dream for him, too — he slashed .345/.466/.810 with 11 homers, 19 RBI, and 28 runs scored in 105 plate appearances. That all sussed out to a 218 wRC+, .512 wOBA, and .464 ISO. He did fall back down to reality after that — he slashed .226/.335/.455 with 20 homers and 44 RBI over his final 448 plate appearances — but it’s still a fantastic story.
The Phenomenon of The Freeze
Who needs the sausage races when you can get something like this?
The Twins Melting Down on Memorial Day
This was one of the many signs that it was the Houston Astros’ year. Entering this particular contest, they had lost all 659 games when faced with a deficit of at least six runs in the eighth inning or later.
They broke that streak thanks to an 11-run outburst.
Seven Different Hitters Recording Cycles
Wil Myers, Trea Turner, Carlos Gomez, Nolan Arenado, Cody Bellinger, Evan Longoria, and Jose Abreu all hit for the cycle this year. However, it’s hard to beat how Arenado clinched his — he did so by blasting a walkoff three-run homer.
Beltran’s Glove Getting Laid to Rest
Back in the day, Carlos Beltran was an asset with his glove in the outfield. That wasn’t why he was brought to Houston, though, as he saw the field outside of the batter’s box for a total of just 92 innings. So, the Astros did what any ballplayer would do in this situation — they paid their respects to his seldom-used glove.
A Pair of Four-Homer Games From an Unlikely Duo
We were treated to two different four-homer games in 2017. One of them was from someone we could’ve expected it from in J.D. Martinez, but I doubt anyone had money on Scooter Gennett joining this exclusive club. And if you said you did, stop lying.
Baseball has dealt with a lot of tragic loss recently. Former Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura unfortunately falls into that category, as he passed away last winter.
Edinson Volquez didn’t have a stellar year with the Miami Marlins, but he was electric on what would’ve been his former teammate’s 26th birthday.
When the Dodgers Were Literally Unbeatable
Before we watched them scuffle in September prior to reaching the World Series, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Los Angeles Dodgers were headed for October glory. That’s because they went on a run in which they won 43 of 50 games, a feat that hadn’t been matched since 1912.
Giancarlo Stanton Hitting Everything Out of the Ballpark
Giancarlo Stanton’s 59-homer campaign wasn’t just the most we’ve seen since Ryan Howard slugged 58 in 2006, but it’s now one of the 10 best home-run hitting seasons in baseball history. It wouldn’t have been possible without a monstrous second half that included 33 homers.
He also went on an incredible two-month tear in July and August, slugging 30 homers in just 240 plate appearances.
Rich Hill‘s Imperfect Night
When you toss nine no-hit innings, you generally expect to be celebrating one of baseball’s most impressive feats by the end of the night. Instead, Dodgers hurler Rich Hill was busy kicking himself after allowing Josh Harrison to hit a walkoff homer in the 10th.
Miggy and an Adoring Fan Have a Moment
Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera endured the worst offensive seasons of his career in 2017, but he managed to hold onto his sense of humor while showing some love for beards.
When Statcast Broke…Two Days in a Row
Statcast is a wonderful thing, but it’s not perfect, ya know. First, it was Aaron Judge supposedly hitting a ball so hard and far that he literally broke Statcast.
Aaron Judge’s Ridiculous Home Run Derby Performance
As you’re probably well aware by now, Judge put on quite a few displays of power in 2017. His journey through the Home Run Derby bracket en route to victory was awfully impressive.
Chris Sale Going on a Strikeout Rampage
The Boston Red Sox gave up a lot to acquire Chris Sale, and he was as advertised this past year — he posted a dominant 2.90 ERA with a league-leading 7.7 fWAR and 308 strikeouts in 214.1 innings. He earned a chunk of them all at once, as he tied a record he already owned with Pedro Martinez by striking out at least 10 hitters in eight straight starts.
Corey Kluber Pitching Like a Machine
Sale looked to be the American League’s favorite to win the Cy Young award, but it was Corey Kluber who took those honors for the second time in his career. The year didn’t start well, though, as he struggled to a 5.06 ERA with a 26.0% strikeout rate and 8.2% walk rate through his first 37.1 innings prior to hitting the disabled list.
Klubot then took over upon returning at the beginning of June. Over his final 166.1 frames, the right-hander pitched to a 1.62 ERA with a 36.2% strikeout rate and a 3.7% walk rate.
Adrian Beltre‘s 3,000th Hit
Adrian Beltre is a national treasure, so it’d be impossible to not be happy for him as he became the latest member of MLB’s 3,000 hit club.
Adrian Beltre Also Wants Every Edge Humanly Possible
Why exactly is Beltre a national treasure, you ask? Well, the reasons are actually endless, but it’s stuff like these on-deck shenanigans that make him my hero.
The Real Reward for Zack Cozart‘s All-Star Selection
A breakout offensive season from Reds shortstop Zack Cozart landed him his first career All-Star selection before recently signing a three-year, $38 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Making a big move like that is tough, especially since he’ll also have to transport his donkey, which Joey Votto gifted him with after making the National League All-Star team.
Chad Bettis‘ Triumphant Return
Late in 2016, Chad Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He was seemingly on track toward getting back to the mound after getting surgery, but he then found out during Spring Training that the disease spread to his lymph nodes. The right-hander had to undergo nine weeks of chemotherapy treatment before building his endurance back up, but he did it.
Bettis returned to a big league mound at Coors Field on August 14th against the Atlanta Braves, where he threw seven scoreless innings.
Austin Jackson‘s Insane Catch at Fenway
In a year in which the Red Sox struggled with hitting homers, stuff like this didn’t help.
Way Too Many Immaculate Innings
Rick Porcello threw an immaculate inning back in the beginning of August. That was notable because it was the eighth such instance of 2017, which is a new record. Jose Alvarado, Dellin Betances, Carlos Carrasco, Kenley Jansen, Max Scherzer, Craig Kimbrel, and Drew Storen were the others to accomplish this feat.
Philadelphia Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins needed just 34 games in the big leagues to record 18 home runs, a new record. It’s also worth noting that Hoskins didn’t even start this homer parade until his fifth MLB game.
Matt Olson‘s Mashing Kinda Going Under the Radar
While all the attention was on the east coast, Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson was busy flying under the radar with an incredible power display of his own. It took him just 216 plate appearances to hit 24 homers for Oakland, and he also became the first player since Giancarlo Stanton in 2010 to slug at least 20 homers in the minors and majors during the same season.
The Hilarious Jersey Nicknames of Players’ Weekend
MLB finally allowed the players to use nicknames on the back of their jerseys for one weekend, and they didn’t disappoint.
Mikie Mahtook Playing Basketball Instead of Baseball
If there’s one play that could sum up the Detroit Tigers’ 64-98 season, it’d be this one.
A Kind of World Series Game We’ve Never Seen Before
Entering Game 2 of this past year’s Fall Classic, there had been 17 extra-inning home runs. In the span of about an hour, Los Angeles and Houston combined for five. Enough said.
When Thumbs Down Became a Rallying Cry
Thumbs down is supposed to be a bad thing, but the New York Yankees turned it into a good thing.
And Then an Even More Ridiculous World Series Game
This year’s World Series matchup between the Astros and Dodgers brought us an endless number of cool stats and facts, but a couple of games stood out among the rest. Outside of Game 2, the other ridiculous one was Game 5, which produced the first 13-12 score in World Series history.
Austin Romine Playing All Nine Positions
Without anything to play for, Detroit allowed Romine to be the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in one game.
Garcia to the Third Power
When the Indians Forgot What it Felt Like to Lose
The Moneyball A’s have finally been overtaken by the Indians, who now own the American League’s longest winning streak with 22 consecutive victories. And while Cleveland may lose games here and there, their Twitter account remains undefeated.
A Pair of Rookie Home Run Records Fall
Aaron Judge became the first rookie ever to hit 50 home runs in a season after surpassing Mark McGwire‘s 1987 AL record. As for Cody Bellinger, his 39 homers broke the NL rookie record shared by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1956).
Matt Cain‘s Emotional Farewell
San Francisco Giants hurler Matt Cain hadn’t been his usual dominant self over the past few years, but his final day on the mound as a professional pitcher was quite the moment.
Cleveland’s Incredible ALDS Comeback
In Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees, the Indians were staring at a five-run deficit in the sixth inning. If they wanted to steal a victory, they’d have to mount the largest postseason comeback in team history. Which is exactly what they did.
They were sparked by a Francisco Lindor grand slam en route to a 9-8 victory in 13 innings. Unfortunately, they ended up getting eliminated from the playoffs after dropping the following three games.
It’s hard to top a more memorable homer from a Dodgers player than Kirk Gibson’s 1988 blast in the World Series, but I’d imagine this walkoff dinger from Justin Turner is high up on that list.
Dingers, Dingers Everywhere
There were a lot of homers overall this year. In fact, we’ve never seen more in a single season. Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon hit the record-breaking 5,694th homer of 2017 on September 19th, officially surpassing the 2000 season.
It’s ironic because Gordon only hit nine homers all year long and his 62 wRC+ was tied for the second-worst mark among qualified hitters.
An Ode to Big Sexy
You can add Bartolo Colon to the list of national treasures. After struggling with the Braves, Colon spent the remainder of 2017 with the Minnesota Twins, where they rightfully honored him with his own promotional night.
Another Unique Pair With Huge Power Displays in the Postseason
Entering 2017, there had only been nine different three-homer performances in the postseason. Jose Altuve and Kike Hernandez each added one, further showing us why this year was just incredible for baseball.
The Twins Going From 100-Plus Losses to the Playoffs
It’s hard to turn things around in a single year like the Twins did. They went from 103 losses during the 2016 campaign to an appearance in the AL Wild Card game against the Yankees the following year. So much for any kind of long rebuild, right?
Carlos Correa Giving a Ring Away Right After Winning One
Moments after winning Game 7 of the World Series, Carlos Correa decided to make it even more of a night to remember by proposing to his girlfriend. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at FanDuel Insider, numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s a lover of all baseball, especially the Mets.