Tonight is literally one of the greatest nights in sports. It’s Game 7. Winner takes all. For some reason, Game 7 of the World Series and Stanley Cup means more than Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But tonight either the St. Louis Cardinals or Texas Rangers will come away with a Championship.
I thought it would be a good time to take a look back in Major League Baseball online archives and look back at the previous game sevens in World Series history.
1909– Pittsburgh Pirates def. Detroit Tigers– Honus Wagner collected six stolen bases and six runs batted in during the Series. Pirates’ starting pitcher Babe Adams won three of the World Series Games, including game seven, where he threw a six hitter as Pittsburgh won 8-0. The Pirates won the 1909 World Series despite poor defense. They committed 12 errors in seven games.
1924–Washington Senators def. New York Giants–The Giants played in a record fourth consecutive World Series. In game seven, and the score 3-3 in the 12th inning, Giants third baseman Freddie Lidstrom had the ball go over his head and allowed Muddy Ruel to score the winning run. Washington won 4-3.
1925–Pittsburgh Pirates def. Washington Senators–In their first World Series win since 1909, the Pirates outslugged the Senators 9-7 in the deciding game. Played in pouring rain, this Game 7 was considered by many as the worst conditions ever for any World Series game. According to www.baseballlibrary.com, there are rumors that Kiki Cuyler’s game winning two run double in the eighth inning was foul, but the umpires couldn’t see it properly because of the heavy fog. Cuyler would later be inducted into Cooperstown in 1968. The Pirates also were the first team in baseball history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series.
1926–Saint Louis Cardinals def. New York Yankees–In their first of ten World Series titles, the Cardinals won when Yankees’ superstar Babe Ruth tried to steal second base with the Yankees down 3-2 in the ninth inning. He was called out, giving the Cardinals the win.
1931–Saint Louis Cardinals def. Philadelphia Athletics–The Cardinals lost to the Athletics the previous year in six games, but added a secret weapon in 1931. Outfielder Pepper Martin led the Cardinals during the World Series in runs, hits, doubles, runs batted in and stolen bases and was considered the difference maker by his strong defense in game 7, a game St. Louis won 4-2. Outfielder George Watkins also played a key role in hitting a two-run home run for the Cardinals in the third inning, that put them up 4-0.
1934– Saint Louis Cardinals def. Detroit Tigers–In a completely lopsided game seven, the Cardinals won 11-0 after scoring seven times in the third inning. The Cardinals won 3-0 on a bases loaded double by second baseman Frankie Frisch. Future hall of famer Dizzy Dean threw a complete game six hit shutout to win his second game of the series. Dizzy’s brother Daffy Dean also won two World Series games for the Cardinals.
1940–Cincinnati Reds def. Detroit Tigers–The Reds ended the Yankees’ run of four consecutive World Series Championships. The Reds won the deciding game 2-1 on a sacrifice fly by Billy Myers in the seventh inning. Game 7 was played in only 1:47. Reds’ starting pitcher Bucky Walters became the fourth National League pitcher to hit a World Series home run in game six, as Cincinnati shutout Detroit 4-0 thanks to Walters’ five hitter.
1945–Detroit Tigers def. Chicago Cubs–Coming off an 8-7 loss to the Cubs in 12 innings in Game 6, the Tigers got on to Cubs’ starting pitcher Hank Borowy in the first inning of Game 7 at Wrigley Field. Borowy could not record an out, in giving up three Detroit runs. The Tigers went on to score five first inning runs, highlighted by a bases loaded double by catcher Paul Richards. Detroit won 9-3, despite being out hit by Chicago 10-9. This series was also known as the Curse of the Billy Goat. According to writer Michael Ferraro, in his book, Numbelivable!, a Chicago bar owner was asked to leave during game 4 because his pet goat’s odour was bothering the fans. The Cubs haven’t been back to the World Series since.
1946–Saint Louis Cardinals def. Boston Red Sox–In Game 7, a play known as The Mad Dash, Cardinals’ outfielder Enos Slaughter scored from first base on a single, by running through the stop sign by the third base coach. The play shocked Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky who was late in throwing the ball to home and Slaughter was safe. The Cardinals won 4-3 in winning sixth World Series.
1947–New York Yankees def. Brooklyn Dodgers–In the first World Series that generated over $2 million, it was the first World Series where six umpires were used and the first World Series to be played by an African-American player, as Jackie Robinson was the Dodgers’ first baseman. In Game 7, the Yankees won 5-2 thanks to a strong game by shortstop Phil Rizzuto, who went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.
1952–New York Yankees def. Brooklyn Dodgers–Despite committing four errors in the seventh and deciding game, the Yankees won 4-2. Future hall of famer Mickey Mantle hit his first two World Series home runs. In the seventh inning, future Yankees’ manager Billy Martin made a huge diving catch where he caught the baseball at his shoetops.
1955–Brooklyn Dodgers def. New York Yankees–After getting to the World Series on five separate occasions and losing each time, the Dodgers won their first World Series in franchise history. Pitcher Johnny Podres became the first World Series MVP after throwing two complete games with a shutout in Game 7 as Brooklyn won 2-0. Despite playing the first six games of the series, Jackie Robinson did not play game seven, after only batting .182.
1956–New York Yankees def. Brooklyn Dodgers–After falling behind two games to none, the Yankees stormed back with three straight wins at Yankee Stadium, highlighted by Don Larsen’s perfect game, the only perfect game in World Series history. After Brooklyn won 1-0 in game six, the Yankees completely dominated Game 7 with a 9-0 win. Catcher Yogi Berra hit two home runs in Game 7, and Johnny Kucks threw a complete game three hitter.
1957–Milwaukee Braves def. New York Yankees–Braves’ starting pitcher Lew Burdette threw a complete game shutout in Game 7 and became only the second pitcher in baseball history to record two shutouts in one World Series. It was the first World Series since 1948 that a New York team did not win. The Braves, who relocated from Boston and would move to Atlanta in 1966, became the first team to win the World Series after relocating to another city. In 1957, Hank Aaron, the Major League Baseball all-time leader in runs batted in (2297) won his only World Series of his career.
1958–New York Yankees def. Milwaukee Braves–The Yankees got revenge on the Braves after losing to them the previous season. They won the World Series after trailing three games to one. In game seven, after Larsen struggled in the early going, Yankees’ manager Casey Stengel went to Bob Turley, who only gave up one run in over six innings of relief in a 6-2 Yankees win. The game was highlighted by a two-out three-run home run in the eighth inning by Bill Skowron that made a 3-2 Yankees lead 6-2.
1960–Pittsburgh Pirates def. New York Yankees–Bill Mazeroski became a legend in the Major League Baseball world after becoming the first player in history to hit a walk-off home run to end a World Series. The Pirates defeated the Yankees 10-9 in an offensive slugfest. The Pirates won despite being outscored 55-27 over the seven game series. In the three Yankees’ wins, New York outscored Pittsburgh 38-3. Yankees’ second baseman Bobby Richardson became the first World Series despite not winning the World Series.
1962–New York Yankees def. San Francisco Giants–The Yankees won their last World Series until 1977 in a 1-0 score. Yankees’ pitcher Ralph Terry, who gave up Bill Mazeroski’s magical home run two years earlier, pitched a masterful complete game four hitter. This game never had an RBI registered to any player. The Yankees got their only run on a double play ground out by future Blue Jays’ broadcaster Tony Kubek. Future Montreal Expos’ manager Felipe Alou played right field for San Francisco.
1964–Saint Louis Cardinals def. New York Yankees–The 1964 World Series will be best remembered for what happened after Game 7 that what happened during Game 7. Despite leading the Yankees to the World Series, manager Yogi Berra was fired and replaced with Cardinals’ manager Johnny Keane. In Game 7, the Cardinals won 7-5 thanks to home runs by Lou Brock and Ken Boyer.
1965–Los Angeles Dodgers def. Minnesota Twins–For the second time in his career, pitching legend Sandy Koufax was World Series MVP. In game seven, he went to the mound and pitched a three hitter in defeating 16-time gold glove winner Jim Kaat. In Game 7′s 2-0 win, the Dodgers got their runs on a home run by Lou Johnson and an RBI single by Wes Parker that scored Ron Fairly.
1967–Saint Louis Cardinals def. Boston Red Sox–For the second time in his career, pitching legend Bob Gibson was named World Series MVP. It was the start of big things for Gibson, who went on to win the 1968 Cy Young Award and the 1968 National League MVP honours after going 22-9, with 13 shutouts and leading the National League with a 1.12 earned run average and 268 strikeouts. In the 1967 World Series, Gibson won three games for the Cardinals, and in game seven at Fenway Park, pitched a complete game, had ten strikeouts and hit a home run himself in a 7-2 victory.
1968–Detroit Tigers def. Saint Louis Cardinals–After falling behind 3-1, the Tigers marched back and won the last three games of the series. Starting pitcher Mickey Lolich was named World Series MVP after becoming the last pitcher in history to win three complete games in one World Series. Lolich’s last win came in Game 7 where he defeated Cardinals’ ace Bob Gibson 4-1. In Game 1, Gibson set a record for most strikeouts in a World Series game with 17.
1971– Pittsburgh Pirates def. Baltimore Orioles–In a homer series, the home team won the first six games of the series. The Pirates ended the trend in Game 7 on an outstanding pitching performance by Steve Blass who threw a complete game four-hitter and striking out five. Roberto Clemente hit safely in all seven games for the second time in his World Series career. In game seven, Clemente recorded a home run in a 2-1 Pittsburgh win. A year later Clemente died in a plane crash in his native country of Puerto Rico.
1972–Oakland Athletics def. Cincinnati Reds–Before winning two World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays as their hitting coach, catcher Gene Tenace was a World Series MVP with the Oakland Athletics in 1972. Tenace batted .348, with four home runs, and nine runs batted in during the series and scored the game winning run in Game 7 as Oakland won 3-2.
1973–Oakland Athletics def. New York Mets–Before being known as Mr. October, Reggie Jackson helped the Athletics win their second consecutive World Series. In Game 7, Jackson hit a two-run home run as the Athletics defeated the Mets 5-2. Rollie Fingers, known for his curly mustache, pitched over three innings of scoreless relief. The Athletics performed admirably in a chaotic atmosphere as owner Charlie O. Finley would regularly intervene in player personnel decisions. In one case, he ordered second baseman Mike Andrews, who had committed two errors in the World Series, to sign an affidavit saying he was hurt when he was perfectly healthy. Manager Dick Williams resigned immediately after winning the Championship.
1975–Cincinnati Reds def. Boston Red Sox–After the Red Sox won a dramatic sixth game with a twelfth inning home run by Carlton Fisk, the Reds won a dramatic seventh game when Joe Morgan got the game winning RBI on a single that scored Ken Griffey. The Reds won 4-3. Pete Rose, Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leader, who would later be banned from baseball for admitting to betting on baseball while playing and managing the Reds, was the World Series MVP. He batted .370 with ten hits in 27 at bats.
1979–Pittsburgh Pirates def. Baltimore Orioles–By adopting the song “We Are Family” as their theme song, the Pirates came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Orioles. Left fielder Willie Stargell became the oldest player in World Seriers history to be named MVP at 39. He hit .415 in the playoffs with 5 home runs and 13 runs batted in. In game seven, Stargell went four-for-five with a home run and two doubles as Pittsburgh won 4-1. The 1979 Pirates are the last team to win Game 7 of the World Series on the road.
1985–Kansas City Royals def. Saint Louis Cardinals–In the last World Series that did not include a designated hitter, the Royals played the Cardinals after getting by the Toronto Blue Jays in their first postseason appearance in franchise history. In the “Battle of Missouri”, the Royals got great starting pitching from Bret Saberhagen who only gave up one earned run over 18 innings of work. In game 7, Saberhagen threw a five-hit complete game shutout in a 11-0 win. Future hall of famer George Brett went four for five.
1986–New York Mets def. Boston Red Sox–In the same year Steve Smith scored in his own net, Red Sox first baseman Billy Buckner had a ball go through his legs in the tenth inning of game six, forcing a Game 7. In the seventh game at Shea Stadium, Mets’ third baseman Ray Knight hit a seventh inning home run that broke a 3-3 tie and a lead the Mets would not relinquish in a 8-5 win. The New York-Boston rivalry was a different form (not the Yankees), but New York continued its dominance.
1987–Minnesota Twins def. St. Louis Cardinals–In the first series ever where the home team won every game, the Twins defeated the Cardinals 4-2 in Game 7. Twins’ starting pitcher Frank Viola was named World Series MVP after throwing eight innings in the deciding game. Former Montreal Expo Jeff Reardon got the save. In the sixth inning of Game 7, there was controversy as Cardinals’ second baseman Tom Herr was picked off at first base, but replays clearly show he was not only safe, but interference on Twins’ first baseman Kent Hrbek should have been called.
1991–Minnesota Twins def. Atlanta Braves–In the best Game 7 in World Series history, the Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in a ten inning classic. Jack Morris pitched a complete game ten inning shutout by striking out eight. and walking two. Minnesota won on a pinch hit single by Gene Larkin that scored Danny Gladden. Morris would soon afterwards sign with the Toronto Blue Jays and help them win their first World Series the following year.
1997–Florida Marlins def. Cleveland Indians–In becoming the first ever wildcard team to win the World Series, the Marlins also won in only their fifth year of existence. In Game 7, Edgar Renteria recorded the game winning run batted in during the eleventh inning that scored Craig Counsell. For the first time ever, the World Series trophy presentation took place on the field rather than the clubhouse.
2001–Arizona Diamondbacks def. New York Yankees–The Diamondbacks ended the Yankees’ dynasty of four World Series in five years. In Game 7, Luis Gonzalez recorded the game winning RBI in the ninth inning, that scored Jay Bell to give Arizona a 3-2 win. For the first time in history, there were two World Series MVPs as pitchers Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson received the honours. Johnson came in as a reliever in Game 7 and picked up the win. The Diamondbacks won the series despite the fact that closer Byung-Hyun Kim blew save opportunities in game four and five, both games ending in New York wins.
2002–Anaheim Angels def. San Francisco Giants–In the World Series best known for the “rally monkey” where a video clip of a monkey would be flashed on the Jumbotron when the Angels were trailing late in games, the monkey turned out to be a good omen for the Angels as they came back to win Game 6 by a score of 6-5 after trailing 5-0. In Game 7, John Lackey only gave one run in five innings and Garret Anderson had 3 RBIs as the Angels won 4-1.
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