The 2016 season was one of the most successful years in MLB history. It was full of great moments, as well as tragedies. Here is SportsRageous’ list of the five unforgettable moments of the 2016 MLB season starring the Chicago Cubs.
Honorable Mention: Bartolo Colon hits his first career home run
Before we get into the top five, there is one unforgettable moment that is worth mentioning. Bartolo Colon, who has been in the majors for 19 years, has not hit a home run until this season until the faithful day of May 8 at Petco Park in San Diego.
“Big Sexy” finally smashed a ball out of the ballpark against James Shields of the Padres. It was a two-run shot in the second inning of the New York Mets’ 6-3 win. He became the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first career home run at the age of 42 years old.
5. Clayton Kershaw earns his first career save to win NLDS
Clayton Kershaw is considered by many as the best pitcher in baseball but his October resume was not very impressive heading into the 2016 postseason. However, Kershaw turned it up against the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.
The left-handed ace won Game 1 and started Game 4. He entered Game 5 with the Los Angeles Dodgers up 4-3 with one out. Kershaw got his first career save by inducing a pop up to Daniel Murphy and striking out Wilmer Difo to send the Dodgers to the NLCS
4. Dodgers’ walk-off win in Vin Scully’s final home game
Vin Scully has been the voice of the Dodgers broadcast for 67 years. He decided to retire at the end of the season at the age of 89 years old. And on the final home game of Scully’s career on September 25, the Dodgers were involved in a nail-biting game against the Colorado Rockies.
Charlie Culberson hit the game-winning, walk-off home run in the tenth inning. It was Culberson’s first home run of the season and just the fourth of his career. The win also helped the Dodgers clinched the NL West Division title.
3. Ichiro Suzuki reaches 3,000 hits
Only a handful of players has joined the MLB’s 3,000 hit club. Ichiro Suzuki reached 3,000 hits on August 7 against the Colorado Rockies. He hit a triple off Chris Rusin in the seventh inning to become the 30th player to have 3,000 or more career hits.
“More than the number 3,000 itself, when I saw the teammates come out and how happy they were and how warm the fans were, it’s not about just the 3,000 and what I did, it’s about my teammates and my fans. That’s powerful today,” Suzuki told MLB.com after the game.
2. Dee Gordon’s home run for Jose Fernadez
Miami Marlins superstar pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident on September 25 at the age of 24 years old. Teammate Dee Gordon paid tribute by taking the first pitch as righty which was Fernandez’s batting side.
Two more balls later from Bartolo Colon before Gordon, who is not known for his power, hit a mammoth home run. It was an emotional scene at Marlins Park as the second baseman was sobbing while he was rounding the bases.
“I ain’t never hit a ball that far, even in BP. I told the boys, ‘If you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help,” Gordon told the media after the game, via USA Today.
1. Chicago Cubs win their first World Series in since 1908
The Chicago Cubs were down 3-1 in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. However, the Cubs fought and climbed back to force a Game 7. They were leading by three in the eighth inning when the Indians rallied to tie the game.
The game went to extra innings as the Cubs finally scored two runs in the top of the tenth inning. The Indians kept it close once again by scoring another run and having a runner on the bases. However, Mike Montgomery went on to retire Michael Martinez to give the Cubs their first World Series championship in 108 years.
Photo Courtesy: Kevin Brown/Flickr