The latest match up in the Cardinals Greatest Moments bracket pits a classic NLCS Game 7 homer against an emotional home run for reasons that extend beyond baseball: Molina vs. Taveras. This one could be a tough decision for some, so let’s get right into the two moments, and set up this vote:
#4 Molina homer sends Cardinals to ’06 NLCS Game 7 win
If only Endy Chavez had his way, how things might’ve been so different. If not for Yadier Molina–a .216 hitter who slugged .321 for that season–Chavez’s robbery of Scott Rolen‘s near-home run might’ve stood up as the most memorable moment in that series. Instead, the most famous memories from that storied Game 7 are positive for the Cardinals.
But with a 1-1 score in the top of the ninth, Yadier Molina forever became more than a stout defender. Stroked to the same spot in the park where Chavez brought Rolen’s ball back, Molina’s swing sent the ball a dozen feet over his head beyond the AIG advertisement on the left field wall at Shea Stadium.
#13 Oscar Taveras launches one in the rain at Busch
Oscar Taveras was known as the top hitting prospect in the Cardinals organization, drawing comparisons to Albert Pujols. Upon his much anticipated arrival, Taveras delivered one of the most majestic home runs Cardinals fans have ever seen, allowing their minds to race with possibilities for the future of the talented young superstar in the making.
As we know today, Taveras’ life ended tragically only a few months later after he and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, lost their lives as a result of a horrific car wreck in the Dominican Republic. Watching the above moment at the time inspired such hope and optimism of the days to come–to view it now elicits such different and complicated emotions.
I won’t tell you how to feel about Taveras and his legacy; the memories of the moment might mean something different for each person. There’s no one right way to grieve about the loss of a baseball player you may have never known personally, but felt a connection with nonetheless. All I know, his swing that day in the rain at Busch Stadium was magical.
So which moment earns your vote? The Molina home run in the NLCS or the Taveras homer in his first-career game?