Five Greatest Moments in World Series History

Newsweek Sports 1 month ago

Picking the greatest moments in the history of the World Series is an exercise fraught with difficulties.

Just as it's the case when it comes to ranking the best Super Bowls and NBA Finals, can some moments really take precedence over others?

Is, say, a relatively routine win in Game 4 that ends an 86-year wait for a World Series pennant more important than a walk-off homer in Game 7? Is an against-all-odds win in Game 6 deserving to feature if the team ultimately lost the series?

The topic will forever by source of debate and this list is no different. As we approach another Fall Classic, there may well be new moments deserving to be included in a similar list compiled next year.

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Yankees—Game 7, 1960

Ironically, while picking the greatest World Series moments is a challenging task, the top spot is probably the one causing the least amount of debate.

With the Pirates and the Yankees locked at 3-3 in a high scoring series, Pittsburgh took a 4-0 lead in the decider, only to find themselves trailing 8-4 at the bottom of the eight.

Playing in front of their fans, the Pirates rallied back to take a 9-7 lead, before the Yankees tied the score at the top of the ninth.

A series that had swung back and forth—Pittsburgh had led 1-0, before the Yankees took a 2-1 lead—found its most unlikely of heroes in the shape second baseman Bill Mazeroski, who stepped up to hit the first walk-off homer in World Series history.

Not bad for a man who had hit just 11 homers in 151 games up until that point.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics—Game 1, 1988

The World Series have witnessed plenty of fairytale moments, but few, if any, come close to Kirk Gibson's crucial came in Game 1 of the 1988 series.

Gibson had injured both of his legs during the National League Championship Series, damaging his left left hamstring while stealing second base in Game 5 and his right knee while sliding into second base in Game 7.

As NBC commentator Vince Scully pointed out when cameras scanned the Dodgers dugout during the game, Gibson was "nowhere to be found". With his team down 4-3 at the bottom of the ninth, however, Gibson emerged to bat for his team.

Facing Dennis Eckersley, who led the American League in saves with 45 that year, Gibson flailed at a couple of pitches and reached a full count. Eventually, however, he got the pitch he was looking for and hammered it for a walk-off homer as the Dodgers took Game 1.

Gibson didn't play again in the series but his place in the history books and Dodgers' folklore was ensured, particularly as Los Angeles went on to win the series 4-1.

Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series 1988
Kirk Gibson #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates as he trots around the bases after hitting a game winning pitch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of game one against the Oakland Athletics during the 1988 World Series, October 15, 1988 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won the series 4-1.

Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox—Game 6, 1975

In the eyes of many, this may well be the greatest baseball game ever played. With the Red Sox trailing 3-2 in the series and 6-3 at the bottom of the eight, Boston hitter Bernie Carbo came in to pinch-hit and tied the game with a three-run home run to center field.

With neither team managing to break the deadlock in the ninth, the game continued until the 12th inning when the Red Sox sent in Carlton Fisk to bat. Frisk hit Pat Darcy's second pitch high towards the left-field line and, as the ball looked to be drifting foul, he began frantically waving his arms in a desperate plead for the ball to stay in fair territory.

Frisk's prayers were answered and footage of him imploring the ball to drift to the right has since become iconic. Boston, however, lost the series 4-3.

New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox—Game 6, 1986

Two runs ahead and with two outs in the bottom of the eight, Boston was one out away from ending a 68-year wait for a World Series title.

On the 10th pitch of the Mets at-bat, Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball to first base, which looked to be a routine stop for Red Sox veteran first baseman Bill Buckner.

However, as he moved over to the foul line to field the ball, Buckner could only look on horrified as the ball took a deceiving hop and squirted off the dirt and past his glove through his legs.

The error allowed the Mets to score and win the game 6-5 to tie the series, before winning the decider two nights later.

Boston's wait, meanwhile went on for another 18 years.

Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins
Outfielder Kirby Puckett #34 of the Minnesota Twins swings and watches the flight of his ball against the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the World Series October 26, 1991 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins won the Series 4 games to 3.

Minnesota Twins vs. Atlanta Braves—Game 6, 1991

Not only did the 1991 World Series go to seven games, but five of the seven matchups were decided by a team's final at-bat.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead, before losing three games in a row and found themselves back in Minneapolis needing a win to keep the series alive.

With the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Kirby Puckett was at-bat for the Twins as the Braves sent Game 1 starter Charlie Leibrandt to the mound.

Puckett bid his time, taking three pitches from Leibrandt, before swatting the fourth into the left-center-field seats to win the game for the Twins and force the series into a Game 7.

Minnesota won the decider, extending the Braves' wait for a first World Series title since 1957 to 44 years—Atlanta would eventually capture another title in 1995.

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