7 – Pinch-Hit Game-Tying Bomb v Twins
Sitting at number seven is one of those “Are you kidding me? Did that really just happen?” moments. Bryce Harper was due a day off when the Washington Nationals had a Sunday day game against the Minnesota Twins in early April back of 2016.
He was less than a month removed from picking up his MVP award on the field and was on a mission in April, as he has been throughout his career. Entering the game, he was slashing a ridiculous .311/.397/.803 with eight home runs, 22 RBI and more walks than strikeouts. He seemed invincible at this point.
Therefore then-manager Dusty Baker was trying to preserve his star player early on to keep him at that MVP level all year long. While that didn’t work out as he got hurt and never really recovered, it didn’t stop him dropping many people’s jaws against the Twins.
With the Nats trailing in the bottom of the ninth, Baker sent his secret weapon up to the plate. Harper then proceeded to send a missile into centerfield to tie the game. Cue pandemonium in the stands.
You could even argue that it wasn’t the most remarkable part of the game. In the 15th inning, Twins catcher John Ryan Murphy threw a routine bunt from Oliver Perez into the outfield that allowed Danny Espinosa to score. Then later on Chris Heisey hit a walk-off home run to send everyone home in the 16th inning.
But that doesn’t take anything away from Harper, who was in the midst of his most dominant spell at the plate in his big league career. he was quite possibly the best player in baseball not named Mike Trout at that point. This home run was merely the tip of the iceberg for him then.