The Biggest Comebacks in World Series History

Newsweek Sports 1 week ago

The 2019 World Series for Major League Baseball will begin on Oct. 22 in a best-of-7 series between the American League and National League champions.

The National League Championship Series (NLCS) started Friday night (Oct. 11) with the Washington Nationals defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1. The ALCS begins Saturday night with the New York Yankees playing the first of two road games at the Houston Astros. The NLCS and ALCS champions will square off in the 115th World Series.

The Fall Classic has been played every year since 1903 with the exceptions of 1904 and 1994. There have been incredible stories, colorful characters and improbable finishes.

Here are some of the biggest World Series comeback deficits through the years.

2016 Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians
One long-time World Series title drought would end for this series. Cleveland had not won a world championship since defeating the Boston Braves in 1948, and the Chicago Cubs had not won a title since 1908.

Cleveland got two shutout wins over the Cubs and took a 3-1 series lead on the road at Wrigley Field. The pesky Cubs scratched out a 3-2 win at home and then won Game 6 at Cleveland to set up an epic Game 7. The Cubs took a three-run lead going into the bottom of the eight, and then Cleveland tied the game at 6-6. After a scoreless ninth, the teams went to a 10th inning before a monsoon delayed the game.

Once the game resumed and the players took the field, the Cubs scored two runs in the top of the 10th and held on during the bottom frame, allowing just one run and winning the title for the first time in 108 years, setting off a celebration back in Chicago a century in the making.

2016 World Series Cubs Indians
Rajai Davis #20 of the Cleveland Indians walks off the field as the Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

2011 St. Louis Cardinals vs Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers made the World Series for the first time in club history during 2010, but lost convincingly to San Francisco. The Rangers made it back to the Fall Classic in 2011, and they looked primed to win their first trophy.

St. Louis won Game 1 of the Series at home, and the teams traded wins until Texas broke the rhythm to take a 3-2 lead and headed back to St. Louis just needing one win. The Cardinals took Game 6 by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, two more runs in the bottom of the 10th to tie it again, and then another run to win it 10-9 in 11 innings and force a Game 7.

St. Louis won the Series, but it was several comebacks in the late innings of Game 6 that will live in lore for the Cardinals.

1985 Kansas City Royals vs St. Louis Cardinals
This series connecting fans in the "Show Me State" along Interstate-70 was dubbed as both the "I-70 Series" and the "Show-Me Series." Missouri fans were divided, but the Series looked lopsided at first. Then the tables turned.

The Cardinals won the first two games on the road in Kansas City and then locked down a 3-1 Series lead with a Game 4 win at home. Then the Royals fought back with their backs against the wall.

The Royals won Game 5 in St. Louis and then Game 6 in Kansas City, setting up a finale that had even the Missouri governor chewing fingernails. The Royals walloped Cardinals pitching for an 11-0 win and a baby blue comeback for the ring.

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates vs Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles entered the 1979 Series having won 102 regular-season games, and they roughed up Pirates pitching for five runs in the first inning of the first game and held on for a 5-4 win. The Pirates evened the Series in Game 2, but the Orioles won the next two games to take a 3-1 lead.

The Pirates won Game 5 in Pittsburgh, and faced the daunting task of going back to Baltimore and needing two wins to claim the Series title. The Pirates shutout the Orioles (4-0) to send it to Game 7, where the Pirates fed off the hot hitting of World Series MVP WIllie Stargell for victory.

For long-time Pirates fans, the comeback from a 3-1 deficit might not be remembered as well as the team's adopted "We Are Family" motto that motored the Pirates to their last World Series title, which was also the club's last appearance.

1968 Detroit Tigers vs St. Louis Cardinals
This Series included one of the best pitching matchups of all-time with Bob Gibson of the Cardinals and Denny McLain of the Tigers. Gibson was intimidating, and he backed it up with a 22-9 record and a miniscule 1.12 earned-run average (ERA) in regular season. Meanwhile, McLain won 31 games in regular season. Lo and behold, they matched up in games one and four.

Gibson won both of those games, and the Cardinals took a 3-1 Series advantage while McLain took both losses against Gibson. Gibson set a World Series record with 17 strikeouts in a single Series game in the first meeting. Detroit won Game 5, and McLain won Game 6 on little rest to set up a Game 7 showdown.

The Tigers completed the comeback—and the third team to ever overcome a 3-1 deficit—by beating Gibson in the Series finale.

1958 New York Yankees vs Milwaukee Braves

The New York Yankees were a perennial contender for the World Series in this era, winning four titles in the 1940s and five more in the 1950s before losing to the Braves in the 1957 Fall Classic. It looked like the Braves would repeat a win over the Yankees in 1958 after taking a 3-1 lead, but Yankee magic worked again.

Milwaukee won the opener by a run, then crushed the Yankees, 13-5, in Game 2. After a Yankees win, the Braves shutout New York in Game 4 to take a two-game lead and needing just one win for a repeat title. The Yankees took a step forward by taking Game 5.

Pitchers Whitey Ford of the Yankees and Warren Spahn of the Braves dueled for the third time during the Series in Game 6, with the Yankees besting the Braves, 6-2. The Yankees went on to win their final title in the 1950s with a 6-2 win in Game 7.

1925 — Pittsburgh Pirates vs Washington Senators
There were only two years in the roaring 20s when a team from New York did not make the World Series. The first was in 1925 when the Pirates of the National League met the Senators of the American League.

Behind legendary pitcher Walter Johnson, the Senators took games one and four, and also won three to take a 3-1 lead.

The Pirates racked up 13 hits in a 6-3 win in Game 5, won a close one back home (3-2) in Game 6 and then beat Johnson in Game 7 to take the title.


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