Virtually every baseball fan has seen this catch, although it’s hard to say why it has always been so popular. This of course the one where Kevin Mitchell overuns a fly ball from Ozzie Smith, but then catches it anyway, barehanded.
I think we can maybe chalk up its longevity to a unique combination of circumstances. First and foremost it’s the somewhat comical sight of Kevin Mitchell, a beefy slugger with a gold tooth, running after the ball in the first place. Plus, we were not oversaturated with entertainment at the time — most of us only had basic cable, if that, with the 3–4 major networks — so something like this had a much greater chance of going “viral” (not that were using this phrase in 1989). He was also off to a tremendously hot start at the plate this year, his lone monster season, in which he would wind up winning MVP and leading the Giants to the World Series. Finally, lest we forget, he was a member of the ’86 Mets, which is enough notoriety on its own to last anyone a lifetime.
Kevin would go on to post a few more decent seasons, before winding up over in Japan, then returning to bounce around as a journeyman for a little while. Though he was long gone by the time my Indians made the Series in ’97, he was a member of that team for a whopping 20 games, even if that stint came to crashing halt after a fistfight with a teammate in the clubhouse. And so too, basically, did his major league career. We will always have The Catch, however, possibly the 2nd most famous Giants play ever, which I am sure they’ll be showing in highlight reels for at least the next century.