For Major League Baseball, 2022 didn’t get off to a good start. It began in a lockout that started on December 2, 2021 and lasted until March 10 of this year. In total, it lasted 99 days. Once the owners and player’s association were able to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, it was time to play ball.
We saw many unforgettable and amazing moments this past season. Immaculate innings and no-hitters were thrown, players hit inside-the-park home runs and cycles, a home run record that stood for more than half a century was chased, long-lasting playoff droughts ended, major career milestones were reached, the postseason was more than exciting, and so much more happened.
In putting this article together, I wanted to encapsulate the entire 2022 season into one piece. Trying to do that while only using 22 moments from the season was more difficult than anticipated. It meant leaving out some of the better plays and moments from the year, but this is supposed to be the best of the best of 2022.
That doesn’t mean I am going to leave some of those other moments out. Before we get to the top 22 moments from this year, we are going to start off with some honorable mentions.
After putting together a long list of possible moments to put in this article, I eventually had some leftovers that I did not want to leave out completely. I didn’t want the honorable mentions portion of this article to be as long as the actual list, so I decided to limit myself to including just five moments. Here they are:
George Kirby throws 24 consecutive strikes to start the game against the Washington Nationals:
Mike Trout has 7 consecutive games with a home run:
Mets 7-run 9th-inning rally against the Phillies:
Down 8-1, the Mariners come all the way back to advance to the ALDS:
Oscar Gonzalez hits a walk-off home run in the 15th inning to send the Guardians to the ALDS:
Now that the honorable mentions are out of the way, we can begin going over the top moments from the 2022 season.
We are going to start things off with the moment that made every other moment in this article possible. The ending of the lockout.
2022 saw some long home runs, hard-hit baseballs, and insane catches. These are just three of those moments, but also the best.
C.J. Cron hits a 504-foot home run, the longest of 2022:
Oneil Cruz‘s 122.4 mph exit velocity was the hardest-hit ball in 2022 and the Statcast era:
George Springer makes one of the best catches of the year:
According to Statcast, Springer had an opportunity time of 4.4 seconds and covered 75 feet in that timeframe. The ball had a 5% catch probability.
Over the course of a long season, there are sure to be rarities that take place. Perfect games, no-hitters, immaculate innings, inside-the-park home runs, and cycles don’t happen all the time, but when they do, boy is it special. These are the best rare feats from 2022:
Astros pitchers Luis Garcia and Phil Maton both throw immaculate innings in the same game to the same three hitters:
Christian Yelich hits for the cycle for the third time in his career:
With this cycle, Yelich became just the fifth player in MLB history to hit for the cycle three times. What’s even crazier than that? All three of his cycles have come against the Cincinnati Reds. He is the only player to have hit three cycles against the same team.
Reid Detmers throws a no-hitter:
There were 4 no-hitters across the big leagues in 2022. Detmers was the only starting pitcher to start and finish a no-hitter this year. He became the youngest pitcher in Los Angeles Angels history at 22 years old to throw a no-hitter, and is the youngest to do so in Major League Baseball since 2006.
Shohei Ohtani records 8 RBIs as a hitter on June 21st and 13 strikeouts as a pitcher on June 22nd:
Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to have an 8-RBI game and 13-strikeout game in a career.
Biggest Trade Ever?
In a move that once seemed very unlikely, the Washington Nationals traded Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres in what some have called one of, if not the biggest, trades in the history of the sport.
In return for Juan Soto and Josh Bell, the Nationals received SS CJ Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana, and 1B/DH Luke Voit.
Over the course of a lengthy career, major milestones are more and more likely to be met. This year was no different for some of the game’s best players:
Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina break MLB record as they start their 325th game as a battery:
Wainwright and Molina now hold the record for most games started as battery mates at 328; a record that may never be broken.
Miguel Cabrera reaches 3,000 career hits:
In reaching 3,000 hits, Miguel Cabrera became the seventh player in the history of Major League Baseball to have 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
Albert Pujols passes Babe Ruth on the all-time RBIs leaderboard:
Aaron Judge hits 62nd home run to break the record for most home runs in a single season in A.L. history:
By breaking Roger Maris‘ record that stood since 1961, Aaron Judge capped off one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory and would end up becoming the A.L.’s Most Valuable Player.
Albert Pujols hits the 700th home run of his career:
Pujols is now just one of four players ever to hit 700 home runs during their career. This year was a great resurgence for “The Machine”. The future Hall of Famer hit .270/.345/.550 with a 154 OPS+ and 24 home runs in his final season.
Heading into 2022, the two longest playoff droughts in baseball belonged to the Philadelphia Phillies (11 years) and the Seattle Mariners (21 years). Both of those droughts came to an end in the same season.
Phillies clinch their first playoff berth since 2011:
Red October was much more than what Phillies fans had expected, as the team would go on to win the National League.
Cal Raleigh sends the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time since 2001:
In a situation every kid creates in their backyard, Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run to send Seattle to the postseason created one of the greatest moments we will ever see on a baseball field. It also prompted one of the best play-by-play calls in recent memory.
The 2022 postseason was filled with dramatics and plenty of memorable moments.
J.T. Realmuto hits an inside-the-park home run in the NLDS:
Inside-the-park home runs are one of, if not the most, exciting plays in all of baseball. Realmuto became the first catcher to hit an inside-the-parker in postseason history.
Yordan Alvarez finishes off an epic comeback in ALDS Game One:
Yordan Alvarez hit several big home runs during the postseason. This was his first one to cap off a comeback in Game One of the ALDS.
Bryce Harper‘s 2-run game-winning home run in NLCS Game Five:
Swing of his life. Bedlam at The Bank. Whatever you want to call it. Bryce Harper had one of best postseason performances in Phillies’ history in 2022 and hit a home run they will show forever in the city of Philadelphia.
Astros throw a combined no-hitter in Game Four of the World Series:
Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly combined to throw the third no-hitter in postseason history. It was the second postseason no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park after Roy Halladay‘s no-no in the 2010 NLDS.
Yordan Alvarez hits a three-run home run to put the Astros in the lead in Game Six of the World Series:
Yordan Alvarez. Again.
Astros win the World Series:
In 2017, the Houston Astros won the first World Series in the organization’s history. As everyone now knows, that championship will forever have an asterisk next to it. This year, the Astros proved they are in the midst of one of the game’s best runs an organization has ever had by winning their second World Series.
The 2022 season was filled with numerous memorable games, plays, and moments. There were plenty of things we didn’t think we would see and some of the game’s best players provided exactly what we know they are capable of doing.
If you feel any moments weren’t mentioned that should have been, please let us know.
With the 2022 season in the books and 2023 right around the corner, let’s hope next year can provide us with the same level of, if not more, excitement as this year.
Featured Photo: Twitter / @Cardinals