Baseball and Mother’s Day Throughout the Years

On the second Sunday of May each year, we celebrate and give thanks to the great mothers around the world that have shaped us into the human beings we are today. The MLB also gives thanks to the many Moms who have made countless sacrifices for their children to get them to this point in their lives. I want to take this time to wish all the Mothers out there a very safe, and Happy Mother’s Day. Enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. With that said, let’s take a look back at some of the best MLB moments that occurred on Mother’s Day. 

Mother’s Day Miracle

May 13th, 2007, a brisk May day in Boston, The Red Sox played host to the Baltimore Orioles. It was Josh Beckett on the mound for the Sox taking on Jeremy Guthrie of the O’s. The O’s gained the lead in the top of the first and never looked back. Guthrie churned out one of his best outings of the year going 8.1 innings of 3 hit baseball. The Red Sox entered the bottom of the 9th trailing 5-0 before Big Papi, David Ortiz, woke up the bats with an RBI double. The inning would continue thanks to two singles, one more double, 3 walks, and two errors as the Orioles collapsed. Allowing six runs to cross the plate including the winning run to score on an infield single by Julio Lugo as the Red Sox were victorious 6-5 on what is now known as the Mother’s Day miracle.

Perfect Mother’s Day

May 9, 2010, The Red-hot Tampa Bay Rays came into the Oakland Coliseum sporting an impressive 16-4 record in their previous 20 games entering the contest. James Shields was on the bump for Tampa, and he was set to face left-hander Dallas Braden. Braden was a serviceable pitcher for the A’s. He never flashed great stuff but was good enough at keeping runs off the board to warrant a starting spot in the rotation. Today, he had something special in that left arm. Braden was great at making hitters have to earn it, as 77 of his 109 pitches found the strike zone as well as 15 first-pitch strikes. The Rays failed to make solid contact at all against Braden as 25% of the batters he faced grounded out and the majority of the fly balls hit didn’t require much movement from the Oakland defense to reign in. Add six strikeouts to the equation and it was a very solid outing overall. Gabe Kapler grounded out to Cliff Pennington at short, who threw it over to Daric Barton for the final out. Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history. Braden’s Grandmother, Peggy, was in attendance. Braden’s grandmother raised Braden following the death of his mother from cancer when Dallas was in high school. At 26, Dallas was the youngest player to throw a perfect game since Mike Witt in 1984. To possibly make things more impressive, Braden has recently come out and said he was hungover while on the mound that Mother’s Day.

Bill Hall Comes up Big

On May 14th, 2006, the way we currently view baseball on Mother’s Day began. This was the inaugural year of MLB’s charitable campaign “Going to Bat for Breast Cancer”. Pink bats were produced for players to use on Mother’s Day and later these bats would be auctioned off and proceeds were donated towards breast cancer research. In future years we would see pink batting gloves, cleats, armbands, etc. On this day in 2006, the Brewers took on future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and the Mets in Milwaukee. Pedro was strong, striking out 10 batters over seven innings, but home runs from Damian Miller and Rickie Weeks kept the Brewers in the ballgame. With the Brewers leading 5-4 in the 9th, Xavier Nady came up to bat for the Mets having two outs and the tying run on third. Nady hit a hard ground ball in the hole towards shortstop Bill Hall who fielded the ball in the outfield grass and made an acrobatic throw to first. The ball reached Prince Fielder on a hop but skipped away from the first baseman and the tying run scored. The Brewers would not score in the 9th and kept the Mets in check in the top of the tenth. Bill Hall came up to bat in the bottom half of the 10th inning sporting a pink bat. The pink lumber did little favors for Hall on this day as he had struck out in three of his four prior plate appearances, but he wanted to show support for his mother Vergie, who drove 10 hours from Nettleton Mississippi to see her son play. Hall was patient at the plate and put everything he had into a 2-0 fastball from Chad Bradford sending the ball over the right-field fence, winning the game for the Brewers 6-5. Following the game, Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio would place the high bid on Bill Hall’s Pink bat and presented it to who he felt was the rightful holder, Vergie Hall.

A Grand Mother’s Day Indeed!

May 13th, 2012, the day got started with the Marlins hosting the Mets. The game was relatively slow after the Mets took an early 2-0 lead on Carlos Zambrano. Jon Neise for the Mets held the fish scoreless through 6 innings before being relieved. In the bottom half of the 7th, catcher John Buck smashed an 0-1 fastball to deep left-center clearing the wall and tying the game at 2. The score would remain tied going into the 9th. Marlins Closer, Heath Bell came in to try and keep the Mets off the board and escape the 9th with the game still tied. With two on and two out, Bell walked Mike Baxter, loading the bases to get to the pitcher’s spot. Justin Turner (yes, that Justin Turner) with a full count sent a line drive down the right-field line giving the Marlins a 2-run advantage in the ninth, but that would be all they got. Emilio Bonifacio would lead off the bottom half with a triple. After walking the next batter, Greg Dobbs would single scoring Bonifacio and advancing a tying run to third. He would later score on a Jose Reyes sac fly. With the game now tied, the Mets would turn to Manny Acosta to stop the damage. After issuing a walk and a hit batter, the bases were now loaded for the always dangerous Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton wasted little time as he put a charge into the first pitch he saw and smashed it over the fish statue in left-center. A no-doubt walk-off grand slam.

A few hours later in Cincinnati, The Reds & Nationals took part in a high offensive battle at Great American Ballpark. The teams would combine for 25 hits, and 11 of those would go for extra bases. Entering the bottom of the 9th inning, the Nationals were clinging to a 6-5 lead. Pitcher Henry Rodriguez was the man that was tasked to shut the door down and send the Reds fans home unhappy. First batter, Ryan Hannigan, was able to hit a ground ball through the hole for a leadoff single. Wilson Valdez would advance the runner on a sac bunt. Miguel Cairo popped out in foul territory and now the Reds were down to their final out with the tying run in scoring position. Rodriguez walked the next batter Drew Stubbs on 5 pitches. The next batter was Chris Heisey. Heisey fell down 0-2 very quickly; it was now time to choke up, and swing at anything close. Heisey battled back and was able to draw a walk, loading the bases for Joey Votto. Votto, who had already homered twice in this game, was likely the last person the Nationals pitching staff wanted to face in this situation. Votto had a .319 AVG and .466 OBP coming into this game, so safe to say he was a tough out. Votto had a sharp eye in this at-bat, taking two balls, and fouling off two strikes. With a 2-2 count, Votto stepped up to the plate. Rodriguez fired a middle-high baseball and Votto didn’t miss it. Sending the ball deep to center field and clearing the wall. A walk-off grand slam, the second walk-off slam of the day, and Votto’s 3rd home run of the game. Reds win 9-6.

Other Notable Mother’s Day Moments/Facts

  • May 10th, 2015, 29-year-old Felix Hernandez becomes the 4th youngest player to strikeout 2,000 batters.
  • May 14th, 1967, Mickey Mantle becomes the 6th player in MLB history to reach 500 home runs. 
  • May 14th, 1939, A woman is injured by a foul ball when a foul ball off the bat of Marvin Owen strikes her just above the right eye resulting in her needing 7 stitches. The woman struck, was the Mother of Bob Feller, who happened to be pitching when the incident occurred. 
  • Joey Votto currently holds the record for the most home runs hit on Mother’s Day with 6
  • Dating back to 1980, Derek Jeter is the only player to hit a home run on Mother’s Day in three different decades. (1999, 2002, 2011) 
  • Dating Back to 1997, Home teams have a 181-161 record on Mother’s Day. 
    • Home Teams averaged 4.87 runs per game in that time span 
    • Away Teams averaged 4.73 runs per game in that time span
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