Ryan Zimmerman Walk off Homeruns

Ryan Zimmerman has been known for his walkoff homeruns.  They are usually hit on a holiday or special event and the Phillies, Marlins or Yankees have been his victims.  It is almost like the ninth inning arrives, he becomes the winning run at the plate and a werewolf transformation occurs.  Below are a list of his walk off homerun feats:

1. June 18, 2006, it was father’s day and with his dad in the stands the rookie hit his first walk off homerun against the New York Yankees and current teammate Chien-Ming Wang.  The 2-run shot had given the Nationals a 3-2 win.  That was the first time I remember seeing a player flip his batting helmet before reaching the mob of players waiting for him at home plate.

2. July 4, 2006, it was Independence Day and Zimmerman’s 3-run homer off the Marlins Joe Borowski gave the Nationals a 6-4 win.

3. The game started on May 12, 2007, but with the rain delays it was Mother’s Day the next day when Zimmerman hit a 2-out grand slam off the Florida Marlins Jorge Julio.  Jorge had just come into the game to face the Z-man and Ryan drove the pitch over the wall in left center.

4. March 30, 2008 - the opening day at Nationals park.  While it wasn’t a holiday, it could be considered a special event.  The Z-man christened the new stadium by ending the game with a solo shot off the Atlanta Braves Peter Moylan to give the Nationals a 3-2 win.  It was the first homerun by the Nationals in the new stadium.

5. September 9, 2009, just a normal day, but it had to be a holiday somewhere.  The Marlins had just broken a tie with two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 4-2 lead.  Willie Harris greeted Leo Nunez first pitch with a solo shot to lead off the inning.  After a Christian Guzman single on his first pitch Ryan Zimmerman drove a 1-1 count into deep left centerfield to give the Nationals a 5-4 win.

6. July 6, 2010. Ryan Zimmerman had already hit a walk off single on this date in 2006 against the Florida Marlins. This time they were playing the San Diego Padres with the score tied 5-5. On a 1-0 count the Z-man drove a Luke Gregerson pitch over the centerfield fence for a 6-5 win.

7. July 31, 2010. The game was against the Philadelphia Phillies and Brad Lidge was on the mound. The Phillies were ahead 5-4 with runners on first and second with just one out. The Z-man ran the count to 2-1 before crushing a Lidge pitch into the centerfield bleachers to give the Nationals a 7-5 win. He had hit a homerun off Lidge the previous year in the bottom of the ninth, but that shot had only pulled the Nationals to within 9-8.

8. August 19, 2011, another game that was delayed by rain and went well into the night.  The Phillies had a 4-1 lead when the second rain delay hit.  Most people had gone home when the Z-man hit a dramatic grand slam on a 3-2 count off of Ryan Madson deep down the left field line.  It was his second walk off grand slam of his young career.

So of his 128 homeruns eight of them have been by walkoff.  How does this compare against some of the more prolific homerun hitters in the major leagues over their careers.  Below is the list of the top homerun hitters, the number of homeruns and in parenthesis the number of walk off homeruns that they have hit in their career.

Barry Bonds 762 (10)

Hank Aaron 755 (9)

Babe Ruth 714 (12)

Willie Mays 660 (6)

Ken Griffey 630 (5)

Alex Rodriguez 629 (5)

Sammy Sosa 609 (10)

Jim Thome 604 (12)

Albert Pujols 445 (10)

Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx and Frank Robinson are tied with Babe Ruth and Jim Thome for most career walk off homeruns with 12.  Ryan Zimmerman is still in the early stages of his career and he only needs four more homeruns to tie some of the all time greats.

You can do a google seach of walkoff homeruns and get a number of sources for the data. Myworld used the following:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8972

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/08/walking_off.php

http://www.cleveland.com/ohio-sports-blog/index.ssf/2010/08/jim_thomes_walk-off_home_run_k.html

http://www.masnsports.com/nationals_buzz/2011/08/mark-hornbaker-ryan-zimmerman-is-our-mr-clutch.html

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/event_hr.cgi?t=b&id=zimmery01

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