words // Brennan Hiro Williams
Fearless outfielding, incredible glovework, and rare milestones. The “remember when…” moments. The reasons we watch the game. Here are the final five entries on the MLB Top 11 Plays of 2011:
5. Derek Jeter is Mr. 3000
For over 15 years, the ageless captain of the New York Yankees racked up pennants, rings, awards, and most of all – hits. On July 9, 2011, Derek Jeter cemented his place in baseball history with his 3000th hit, becoming the 28th player in MLB history to reach the mark, and only the second shortstop after Honus Wagner. Sporting his signature Jordan cleats, the fashion in which Jeter achieved the mark was only fitting for his storybook career.
4. Roger Bernadina Goes For Broke
Rogearvin “Roger” Bernadina might not be a household name, but his aggressive style of play earned him a top spot among this year’s top plays. The man known as “The Shark” showed why he is beloved by Washington Nationals fans with a fantastic play against the Florida Marlins. On a Mike Stanton deep fly, wearing the Nike Air Huarache 2K4 Low, Bernadina sprinted backwards into a leaping grab with complete disregard for his own well-being.
3. Ben Revere’s Over-The-Shoulder Wall Grab
Ben Revere became a mainstay in the Minnesota Twins lineup after the late-season trade of Delmon Young. The young speedster made a name for himself patrolling the outfield at Target Field, including one of the most breathtaking plays of the year. A full-out effort to track down a Vlad Guerrero drive resulted in a ridiculous over-the-shoulder catch, in which Revere simultaneously stopped his momentum by planting his Mizuno cleats in the center field wall.
2. Adam Jones Channels The Kid
Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones entered his fourth full Major League season with big expectations, and delivered his best statistical season to date. If the Seattle Mariners did not already regret trading their top prospect from 2008, Jones hammered home the point on a summer night in Seattle. Wearing the Nike Swingman Remix 2, Jones channeled the shoes namesake on a deep fly ball to center field. In true Griffey form, he made the most difficult play in baseball look easy.
1. Asdrubal Cabrera’s Behind-The-Back Turn
Asdrubal Cabrera enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2011, hitting 25 home runs with 92 RBIs for a resurgent Cleveland Indians squad. Cabrera had his hands full on defense, playing behind a staff of groundball pitchers providing several opportunities for him to display his athletic and artful style at shortstop. One particular play blurred the line between flash and necessity – Cabrera quickly changed direction in his New Balance cleats to stop a deflected ground ball up the middle, and in one brilliant moment makes both a barehanded stop and a behind-the-back flip to second base, setting up one of the greatest 6-4-3 double plays ever turned.
photos via Y! Sports