Ordinarily, Fenway Park fans don't give standing ovations to opposing players in the middle of a game, but there was nothing ordinary about Austin Jackson's effort today.
The Indians center fielder leapt high to rob Boston's Hanley Ramirez of a home run, then tumbled over the fence into the bullpen on what many are hailing as the best catch of the year.
The catch not only prompted a salute from many among the 37,126 in attendance at Fenway, it produced an amazed reaction from the Boston player who struck the fifth-inning flyball. Ramirez's expression showed that he could hardly believe what had happened, and it was hard to blame him.
With the way Jackson's legs were briefly inverted above the fence as he landed on the other side of it, the play was reminiscent of Torii Hunter's catch attempt in the 2013 American League Championship Series. But in that case, the Tigers outfielder was unable to haul in David Ortiz's grand slam, famously to the delight of a Boston policeman stationed in the bullpen.
Jackson actually had a close-up view of Hunter's effort, as a fellow Detroit outfielder in that game. After Tuesday's contest, which turned into a wild, 12-10 Red Sox victory, Jackson said, "As my feet were flipping over, for some reason I was thinking about that same play that I've seen with Torii."
The Red Sox challenged Jackson's catch, but it was upheld because his feet were over the field of play when he snared the ball. Perhaps Boston just wanted to give everyone a few more chances to watch replays of the remarkable grab.