If you are a baseball fan, you might hear announcers call something a walk-off home run. So what exactly is a walk-off home run-in Major-League Baseball and what does that phrase even mean? Here is the breakdown below.
What Does a Walk-Off Home Run Mean?
A walk-off home run only happens when the MLB home team takes the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning or extra innings via a home run. Since the visiting team bats first in each inning, the home team can essentially walks off the field after winning the game. The home team will celebrate a bit at home plate while the visiting team will walk back to the dugout.
Who Coined the Phrase “Walk-off Home run?”
Dennis Eckersley came up with the phrase “walk-off home run” in 1988 via a print piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. The description of the walk-off home run signified that you lost the game, and you did not have to watch the ball sail deep in the night. Essentially, you as the pitcher have to walk off the mound and back to the dugout after losing the game.
Has There Ever been a Walk-Off Home Run to win the World Series?
Many people wonder if a walk-off homer has taken place to win a World Series. In fact, there have been two unforgettable moments that took place via a walk-off homer to win a World Series. Here are the two game-winning moments in the history of the World Series via a video.
Joe Carter (Toronto Blue Jays Defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993)
Bill Mazeroski (Pittsburgh Pirates Defeating the New York Yankees in 1960)
Has there Been a Walk-Off Home Run to Win a Playoff Postseason Game?
Unlike the two walk-off homers to win the entire World Series, winning a postseason series is a bit more common at 11 as of March 2021. Here are the 11 walk-off home runs from newest to oldest.
- Mike Brosseau (Tampa Bay Rays Defeating the New York Yankees in the 2020 ALDS)
- Jose Altuve (Houston Astros Defeating the New York Yankees in the 2019 ALCS)
- Edwin Encarnación (Toronto Blue Jays Defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the 2016 ALDS)
- Travis Ishikawa (San Francisco Giants Defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2014 NLCS)
- Magglio Ordóñez (Detroit Tigers Defeating the Oakland Athletics in the 2006 ALCS)
- Chris Burke (Houston Astros vs. the Atlanta Braves in the 2005 NLDS)
- David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels 2004 ALDS)
- Aaron Boone (New York Yankees Defeating the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS)
- Todd Pratt (New York Mets vs. Cincinnati Reds in the 1999 NLDS)
- Chris Chambliss (New York Yankees Defeating the Kansas City Royals in the 1976 ALCS)
- Bobby Thomson (New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1951 Pennant. This moment is famous for being the “Shot Heard Round the World Since it took place on live TV.
Do All Runs Count on a Walk-Off Home run?
On a walk-off home run, every runner on base scores no matter what. Unlike a walk-off single where the game-winning run is the last run to score, a walk-off homer needs everyone to score.
Do You Have to Run All the Bases if You Hit the Winning Home Run?
When you hit a walk-off homer, you have to run all the bases to get back home eventually. Most players do a slow trout around the bases so their teammates can get to Homeplate to greet them on their accomplishment. However, you will see some players sprint around the bases if they have extra energy and hit one of the biggest homers of their life.
Other Types of Walk-Off Wins
While the home run to win a baseball game is truly classic, there are other baseball walk-offs to know about. Examples of other walk-offs include a single, double, triple, wild pitch, and even walk. Not to mention a balk can win you a game if the pitcher does that with a runner on third. Check out what is a balk to learn more about what this actually means in baseball.
Have Injuries Taken Place After a Walk-Off?
Believe it or not, there have been injuries after someone went to celebrate with their team after winning a game via a home run. Back on May 29, 2010, Kendrys Morales of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim broke his left leg while celebrating at home plate. While extremely rare for someone to break their leg, Kendrys Morales illustrated that you should be a bit careful when celebrating with your teammates.
Conclusion on What a Walk-Off Home Run Is in Baseball
Major League Baseball takes pride in its long history of great players and memorable moments. The walk-off home run is truly something and is even more special when it wins a postseason or World Series game. While a walk-off home run means both teams walk off the field since the game ended, there is a different feeling between the two sides. One team walks away in defeat, while the other team walks off the field with joy.