Braun watches his two-run homer leave Busch Stadium against St. Louis in 2008.
A four-game July sweep of the Cardinals on the road was one of the many magic moments from the 2008 season. But without Braun’s two-run homer in the ninth to give the Brewers a one-run lead in the series’ second game, it would have merely been your average three-out-of-four series win. Even Braun loved this blast, standing and admiring it out of the batter’s box as soon as he hit it.
There seems to be a pattern to the selections on this list: lots of these homers have been hit in the month of September. And in September 2011, just when people were questioning the Brewers’ playoff chances, Braun reassured everyone with a dramatic no-doubter above the camera pit on the tenth pitch of the at-bat to send Miller Park home happy.
(P.S.-Contrary to the graphic in the video, this was not Braun’s 12th career walk-off homer, but all three of his career walk-off homers have come in September. Surprised? Not really.)
No score. Top of the first. Ryan Braun to center field for his first career postseason homer. The Brewers would go on to win the game and the series in five games. Postseason homers automatically get brownie points within the system.
What kind of list would this be without paying my respects to the Braun-Fielder home run celebration?
Even in only his seventh career plate appearance and second game, Braun understood that if Justin Germano hangs ’em, he’ll bang ’em. Playing at the notorious pitcher’s stadium Petco Park, the then-23-year-old waited back on a breaking ball and drove it into the first two rows in left field for the first of what was to become many, many more homers.
I’m cheating a bit on this one (Melky: “Cheating?” No, not you.) because Braun launched not one, not two, but three homers at Petco Park on a chilly April night in San Diego, a feat that had never before been accomplished in the stadium’s opening in 2004. An opposite field drive, an absolute frozen rope off that was still rising off the metal supply building in left, then a icing-on-the-cake homer to the bleachers in left for his third of the game.
Not once, not twice, but thrice for Brauny in San Diego. (Image: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE)
Trailing 1-0 already after the top of the first inning, Braun gave Milwaukee an early 2-1 lead with a 444-foot blast over the camera pit. Anyone else feel that they’ll remember jumping out of their seats and throwing up the beast mode like nobody’s watching as soon as that ball made contact with the bat? The Brewers went on to win 9-6 behind four RBI from the eventual MVP. 2012 was just Braun’s year, to say the least.
From here on out, it’s probably pretty obvious what the three most memorable homers of Braun’s career thus far have been. If you think about the criteria that separate some round-trippers from others, this one to win the division had it all: distance, dramatics, emotion, and setting. Tied with the Marlins at one apiece in the bottom of the eighth, Braun hit a three-run homer off the scoreboard in center; the Brewers would win 4-1 and clinch their first division title since 1982.
In my lifetime, at least, this remains the most iconic image from the Brewers. Memorable, to say the least.
One of the greatest days of my life will forever be watching on from Section 417 as Braun, in his second season, hit a walk-off grand slam off of Jesse Chavez of Pittsburgh in extra innings to keep the Brewers even in the Wild Card standings with three games left. In terms of dramatics, not many hits in Brewers history rank above this one that kept the magic of 2008 alive.
Nothing I can possibly write here can match the magnitude, the kid-like emotion of the moment when Ryan Braun homered to send the Brewers to the postseason for the first time since 1982. Just follow the link, listen to Brian Anderson’s voice crack, and get chills all over again.
Agree? Disagree? Any memorable homers that were left out? Leave your response in the comments section below.