September 21, 2020

A 30 Year Look at World Series Game Sevens

Since the Mets won the 1986 World Series, there have been eight World Series Game Sevens.  Each had their own thrills and drama.  With many Mets fans claiming the 1986 Game Seven as their favorite, that one should be set aside in any attempt to try to rank the subsequent Game Sevens:

1.  1991 World Series Twins 1 – Braves 0 (10)

After Kirby Puckett had the Game of his life in Game Six, the Twins and the Braves played an epic, heart-pounding extra inning 1-0 Game Seven.  The game was so incredible Jack Morris seemingly built a Hall of Fame case on this game alone, and the legend of John Smoltz as a big game pitcher began to emerge.  With Chuck Knoblauch deking Lonnie Smith, and relatively unknown local boy and Chaminade graduate Gene Larkin delivering the game winning single, you had a game for the ages.

2.  2016 World Series Cubs 8 – Indians 7 (10)

After this game someone was getting the monkey off their backs and someone was going to continue living in agony.  For the most part, the Cubs had this game completely in-hand until Rajai Davis atoned for an earlier misplay and hit an unlikely game tying three run homer off Aroldis Chapman.  Aided by a later rain delay, the Cubs regrouped and got two runs off Bryan Shaw, who had been sitting around all during the rain delay.  They then held on for dear life as they were able to limit the Indians to one run in the tenth giving them their first World Series title since 1908.

3.  2001 World Series Diamondbacks 3 – Yankees 2

An emotional World Series played with the backdrop of 9/11 came to an emotional and stunning end.  After Alfonso Soriano stunned everyone jumping on a decent Curt Schilling pitch for what many believed to be a game winning eighth inning home run.  It didn’t happen as the invincible Mariano Rivera blinked not only allowing a lead-off single to Mark Grace, but throwing away a Damian Miller sacrifice bunt attempt.  The Yankees chances of winning the World Series and their dynasty would end as Luis Gonzalez lofted a bloop single over the head of a drawn in Derek Jeter.

4.  1997 World Series Marlins 3 – Indians 2 (11)

Poor Indians fans.  They not only had to endure one extra inning Game Seven World Series loss, but two.  Mike Hargrove had made the gusty call to go with the hot hand in Jaret Wright over the struggling Charles Nagy.  It worked as the Indians took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth where Jose Mesa blew the save with a Craig Counsell sacrifice fly.  In the 11th, we’d see Counsell darting home on an Edgar Renteria series winning single to score the winning run as the previously overlooked Nagy was forced into action.

5.  2014 World Series  Giants 3 – Royals 2

A largely uninteresting World Series with five blowouts in the previous six games would finally get the epic game all seven game series need.  With just two days of rest, the world would watch on as Madison Bumgarner somehow pitched five scoreless innings against the Royals to cement his status as a World Series legend, and to leave Royals fans wondering if Alex Gordon should have tried to score the tying run with two outs in the ninth as Juan Perez continually misplayed his base hit.

6.  1987 World Series Twins 4 – Cardinals 2

The 500th World Series game ever played didn’t fail to disappoint with clutch performances and questionable calls.  Vince Coleman became the first outfielder in history to throw to runners out at home in a World Series game.  That helped keep the Cardinals alive, but it was their failure to build on an early 2-0 lead that would doom them.  Cardinals fans would pinpoint a number of questionable calls including World Series MVP Frank Viola picking Tom Herr off base in the sixth in a game then tied at 2-2.  Ultimately, the series winning hit was a Dan Gladden RBI double off Todd Worrell in the eighth. Coincidentally, Gladden would be the one who scored the winning run in the 1991 World Series.

7.  2002 World Series Angels 4 – Giants 1

This game was a largely a let-down after what was an entertaining seven game series that saw J.T. Snow saving Dusty Baker‘s son at home plate, the heroics of Scott Spiezio, and much more.  After the Giants gained a 1-0 lead, they couldn’t hold it.  The crushing blow was a Garrett Anderson bases clearing double knocking Livan Hernandez from the game.  A young John Lackey and a dominant Angels pen held onto the lead winning the first World Series in Angels history.

8.  2011 World Series Cardinals 6 – Rangers 2

After losing the 2010 World Series, the Rangers returned in 2011 looking to win the first World Series since relocating from Washington to Texas.  Twice in Game Six, they had the lead with two outs in what should have been the final inning, and they just couldn’t bring it home.  Even after that heartbreaking loss, they’d jump to an early 2-0 first inning lead against Chris Carpenter.  However, once again David Freese would get to them immediately tying the game in the bottom of the first.  After that the Rangers just didn’t have another run in them, especially with a terrific Carpenter on the mound for the Cardinals, leaving the Cardinals to an easy 6-2 victory.