MLB.com Columnist

Matt Yallof

A View From Studio 3: Ranking the best LCS moments

A View From Studio 3: Ranking the best LCS moments

"The view" is back after weeks of watching in awe as the regular season turned into a captivating postseason. The playoffs have been so thrilling to this point that lifelong baseball folks are throwing around terms like "best ever" and "historic." You know we're watching something special when you see teenage boys in the New York suburbs wearing Kansas City Royals hats at the local mall. True story.

While I enjoy baseball drama as much as the next guy, I think it's too early to rank this postseason as the best in the League Championship era. That honor, in my opinion, still belongs to the 1986 postseason. Sure, Mets haters and Red Sox nation may debate that, so perhaps a better way to describe that magical October is by calling it the 'most memorable'. The NLCS ended with a 16-inning classic. The ALCS ended in seven games, and the World Series included a few moments that even casual fans can recall a quarter century later. Of the hundreds of playoff games you've watched, how many can you say you truly remember?

With that in mind, here's a list of the five best, or most memorable, League Championship Series moments. By the way, I didn't use any fancy stats or formulas to produce this list. It's all based on memory, research, the goosebump factor and iconic moments.

5. 2003 NLCS -- Marlins defeat Cubs

In one of the great injustices in American sports history, this series is remembered for a mistake made by a loyal Cubs fan. While Steve Bartman didn't cost the Cubs a pennant, his actions helped make the series one for the ages. It was Oct. 14, 2003. Game 6 of the NLCS. The Cubs were a few outs away from their first trip the Fall Classic since 1945. In the eighth inning, Bartman interfered with Moises Alou who was trying to catch a foul ball. Alou didn't make the catch in what became the most infamous foul ball in history. Then the wheels came off. The Florida Marlins proceeded to score eight runs in the inning. But lost in the Bartman hysteria was a crucial error made by Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez that could have ended the inning. Also forgotten by many is the fact that Cubs actually had a lead midway through Game 7, but lost that as well. The curse of the Cubs continued. The Marlins went on to win the World Series.

Video: Bartman goes for foul ball

4. 1980 NLCS -- Phillies defeat Astros

"The noise in that place was deafening. You couldn't hear yourself talk. You couldn't hear yourself think." -- Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa.

Bowa was talking about the noise in the Astrodome for Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS. For the fourth time in the five-game series, the deciding run was scored in extra innings. Trailing 5-2 entering the eighth inning, the Phillies chased Nolan Ryan out of the game. They then tied the game and eventually took the lead scoring five runs in the frame. Houston wouldn't die. They scored two times in the bottom of the frame against an ineffective Tug Mcgraw. In the 10th, Garry Maddox drove in the eventual game winner. This entire series is recalled by many as the best LCS ever played. The Phillies went on to defeat the Royals to capture their first World Series title.

Video: Phillies win wild NLCS

3. 1986 NLCS -- Mets defeat Astros

Nearly three decades later, many fans mistakenly recall Game 6 of the NLCS as Game 7 of the Championship Series. It only seemed that way because had the Mets lost in Game 6, they would have faced certain elimination by Mike Scott and the Astros in the final contest at the Astrodome. Think about this: the Astros led 3-0 in the ninth inning before the Mets mounted a furious rally to tie it. The Mets scored in the 14th. So did Houston when Billy Hatcher went deep. The image of Hatcher backpedaling down the line while watching the ball hit the foul pole remains an iconic baseball moment. Game tied again. In the 16th frame, the Mets put up three runs. The Astros answered with two in the bottom half of the inning before falling short. The Mets went on to win the World Series thanks in large part to another classic Game 6 that took place 10 days later.

Video: Mets win in 16

2. 1986 ALCS -- Red Sox defeat Angels

One strike away from winning the ALCS in five games and advancing to their first ever World Series, the Angels suffered one of the cruelest losses in the sport's history. The film clip that's been played over and over shows Donnie Moore serving up a go-ahead home run ball to Dave Henderson in the ninth inning. Time has a way of erasing what happened after that. The Angels tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run on third base. The game went to extra innings. The Sox won Game 5 in 11 frames. The series shifted back to Boston where the Red Sox cruised to wins in Games 6 and 7. It wasn't until 16 years later that the Angels finally reached the fall classic.

Video: Henderson puts Sox ahead

1. 2004 ALCS -- Red Sox defeat Yankees

From the time we were kids, there a few things we knew about baseball. A. Hank Aaron was the home run champion. B. Babe Ruth used to be the home run champion. C. The Yankees won more World Series than any other club and D. No team had ever come back to win a seven-game series after trailing three games to none. That changed in 2004. The Red Sox staved off elimination in four straight games against their bitter rival. In Game 4, David Ortiz won it with a walk-off home run. Ortiz won Game 5 in the 14th inning. Curt Schilling's bloody sock was the headliner in Game 6 and Johnny Damon hit two homers in Game 7 to lead Boston to a breathtaking series win. I was in the upper deck of the old Yankee Stadium that night. It was as quiet as the reference section of a library.

Video: Ortiz's walk-off home run

By the time the 2014 postseason is over, I may have to re-do this list. Until then, enjoy the magic that is postseason baseball.

Matt Yallof is the co-host of The Rundown on MLB Network from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.