Only one MLB team got what it truly wanted in 2016: The Chicago Cubs. But the calendar year still provided some highlights for every squad, even if there wasn't a World Series trophy at the end of it. Here's a look at our picks for the best 2016 highlight for every MLB team. And here's hoping each team gets a chance to top it in 2017. Except the Cubs. There's no topping that.

(And thanks to Yahoo's "Game Over" series for helping with some of those more difficult-to-locate 2016 high points.)


Baltimore Orioles. AL Wild Card clinch! They got to do it at Yankee Stadium, no less. Now, let us never, ever talk about that AL Wild Card Game again.

Boston Red Sox. David Ortiz's retirement ceremony. It wasn't his final game at Fenway Park, but no one wants to remember Ortiz jogging off the field for a pinch-runner in an elimination game. Let's go with the last-regular season game, and all the love.

Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale's final masterpiece. Sale is now wearing different-colored socks, but back in April, on Jackie Robinson Day, he was in his brightest glory, throwing a two-hit shutout against Tampa Bay to extend the White Sox's lead in the AL Central. It was all downhill after this, but man, what a high it was. 

Cleveland Indians. To the World Series! In a parallel universe it's Rajai Davis' insane homer, but far be it from me to devalue a team clinching a spot in the freaking World Series.

Detroit Tigers. Miggy gets his 2,500th hit. He was the second youngest player ever to do it. He's very good.

Houston Astros. Jose Altuve's hilarious near-miss cycle. It was a bummer of a season, but Altuve was as much of a blast as ever. Only he could make falling down on the way to history a feel-good moment.

Kansas City Royals. Royals raise the banner. Yeah, they were still pretty excited six months later.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout is Trout. It was a rough year, so I just went with the most representative game: One in which Mike Trout went 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs … in a loss.

Minnesota Twins. Byron Buxton's leadoff inside-the-parker. The Twins' future is entirely wrapped up in Buxton, so there was no better flash of what might be coming than Buxton's inside-the-park home run on the first pitch against the White Sox on the final weekend of the season. If Buxton can put it together, look out.

New York Yankees. Brian Cashman's Trade Deadline haul. I know it wasn't a game moment -- and Gary Sanchez certainly provided plenty of those -- but this year was all about the future for the Yankees. And with two July trades, Cashman might have assured that that future is going to be sparkling.

Oakland A's. Khris Davis' walk-off grand slam. It was actually his third homer of the game! 

Seattle Mariners. Robinson Cano keeps the M's in it. With just three games left in the season, the Mariners trailed the Blue Jays by one game in the Wild Card chase. That Friday night, Cano hit two homers to keep them just one game back. They'd lose the final two games of the year, alas. But this was the last highlight when they were still in it.

Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays visit Havana. It was the sort of season for the Rays that the best thing that happened was an exhibition game played in another country in front of President Obama, but this was still pretty cool. But man, politically, it feels like this was about 30 years ago.

Texas Rangers. Consider the AL West clinched. The postseason didn't go well, but this was a fun night!

Toronto Blue Jays. A walk-off AL Division Series clincher. All right, so maybe the AL Championship Series didn't go wonderfully (again), but the Jays sure can put together a crackerjack ALDS!


Arizona Diamondbacks. Zack Greinke signs. Sure, maybe a free agent contract that almost instantly went bad shouldn't be the highlight of the season … but it was that kind of year in Phoenix. Though it's funny to watch this video of Greinke discussing his season-opening start. He has the excitement level of the sloth in "Zootopia." It's like he knew what was coming. 

Atlanta Braves. Dansby Swanson turns out to be good already. The Braves have their superstar to build around in their new stadium, and all they had to do was trade away a pitcher who was about to collapse. It's Dansby's world now.

Chicago Cubs. Hmmm. This was a tough one.

Cincinnati Reds. Votto Votto Votto. The only good thing the Reds had going this year -- and in many years -- is that Joey Votto went 4-for-4 with a homer. And he was wearing green.

Colorado Rockies. Trevor Story Fever: Catch It! Man, April really was a blast, wasn't it?

Los Angeles Dodgers. An NLDS Clincher. The Cubs' series was a bummer -- though remember, they were up 2-1 at one point -- but the win over the Nationals was fantastic. This was an underrated series. Kershaw!

Miami Marlins. Dee Gordon's homer. There might not have been a more nakedly emotional moment in sports this year than Gordon homering in the first inning of the Marlins' first game back after the death of Jose Fernandez. This night will never be forgotten.

Milwaukee Brewers. Keon Broxton's game-saving catch. Beating the Cubs is always pleasant in Milwaukee, and Broxton's amazing catch to rob Anthony Rizzo did just that. Careful, though: Broxton would break his wrist a week later making another great catch and missed the rest of the season.

New York Mets. Bartolo Colon's homer. Obviously. Nothing else this year will be remembered half as long or a quarter as fondly.

Philadelphia Phillies. Ryan Howard's final game. Sure, some fans might have been just clapping because that contract finally expired, but the guy did win a World Series and an MVP there. 

Pittsburgh Pirates. Season begins with sweep over the Cardinals. 2016 didn't turn out well for the Pirates, but after three games, the Pirates looked unstoppable against the hated Cards. It took a bad turn soon after, but this was a lovely opening week.

San Diego Padres. They hosted the All-Star Game. Well, they did. It led to a great Tony Gwynn remembrance, anyway.

San Francisco Giants. That wild NL Wild Card Game victory. We've forgotten in the midst of all the Cubs madness, but man, this was some kind of game.  

St. Louis Cardinals. Adam Wainwright dominates in front of his 2006 teammates. On the night the Cardinals celebrated their 2006 title, Wainwright and Yadier Molina -- the two remaining Cardinals from that team -- shut out the Marlins, 5-0, as Tony La Russa and company applauded from a skybox. In a disappointing season, the highlight came from the past.

Washington Nationals. Max Scherzer's 20 strikeouts. We agree with Max: 20 K's is cooler than a no-hitter.


Email me at; follow me @williamfleitch; or just shout out your window real loud, I'll hear you. Point is, let's talk.