Willie Mays makes his over-the-head catch, September 29, 1954
Frank Hurley/New York Daily News
Was it the greatest catch ever? Was it even the greatest World Series catch? These are eternal matters of debate among baseball experts, but everyone will agree that what happened during the first game of the 1954 World Series came to be known as "The Catch" for a reason. In the top of the eighth inning at the Polo Grounds, with the score 2-2 and two men on base, the Cleveland Indians' Vic Wertz launched a tremendous drive to dead center field, 483 feet distant. The Giants' Willie Mays turned on his heel and ran straight back as fast as he could, stretched out his glove, and intercepted the ball, thwarting a certain two-run triple. No less memorably, Mays then twirled around and launched a perfect throw to the infield, holding the base runners in check. The play forced the game into extra innings, where the Giants won on a Dusty Rhodes home run.