The 1919 'Black Sox' and the Biggest Controversies in World Series History
For all the drama that the postseason provided us this fall, it may have been a letdown for casual baseball fans to see such an anti-climactic end to the World Series with the Giants sweeping the Tigers into the offseason in dominating fashion.
Not all finales are quite as mild-mannered, however.
It was just a year ago that a Game 3 call from umpire Ron Kulpa stirred the pot and threw controversy into the mix, and just a few years before that when we saw Kenny Rogers' motives called into play during the 2006 World Series.
Even the Little League World Series finds itself entrenched in controversy from time-to-time.
With that, here are some of the most notable controversies in World Series history.
1894: Baltimore Orioles
Led by John McGraw, known as one of the biggest cheaters in baseball's early history, the Orioles won their way to three straight pennants thanks in no small part to grabbing opposing baserunners when in the field and skipping over bases themselves when up to bat.
They would ultimately lose the Temple Cup to the New York Giants in 1894, but these tactics no doubt helped the O's gain an advantage along the way.
1970: Ken Burkhart
In Game 1 of the 1970 World Series, home plate umpire Ken Burkhart was called into an intense situation right away as a close play at the plate came his way.
An infield grounder hit by Cincinnati's Ty Cline forced Baltimore catcher Elrod Hendricks to protect the plate with Bernie Carbo heading home.
Burkhart saw the glove touch Carbo and immediately made the out call. The only problem, the ball was in Hendricks' hand, not in the glove which he tagged him with.
The run would have tied the game, but instead Baltimore would hold on for a 4-3 victory.
1919: Chicago White Sox
Widely regarded as the biggest scandal in the longstanding history of baseball, the 1919 Black Sox scandal involved eight members of the Chicago White Sox that conspired to intentionally throw the World Series, giving the Cincinnati Reds the title.
Chick Gandil, Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver and Lefty Williams were among the eight players banned for life from baseball after their conspiracy was brought to light.
1951: New York Giants
The 1951 New York Giants are likely most well known for Bobby Thomson's "shot heard round the world" which sent the team to the World Series to face the New York Yankees.
The Giants of '51 are also remembered for their elaborate sign-stealing system that likely won them a number of games down the stretch.
In the end, the Yankees would win the series in six games, but you have to wonder just how far their sign-stealing actually took them.
2001: Danny Almonte
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The story of Danny Almonte may pertain to the Little League World Series, but nevertheless, it's the World Series.
Almonte took the L.L.W.S. by storm in 2001, showcasing a fastball that was the equivalent of a 98 mph fastball.
Just after the completion of the World Series, it was noted that Almonte was too old to be eligible to pitch in the tournament he had just competed in—by a full two years.
1985: Don Denkinger
The increased scrutiny surrounding blown calls by umpires has only gained steam for instant replay recently, but as we've already seen in this slideshow, crucial misses have been a part of the game for years.
That was the case in the 1985 World Series when Don Denkinger called Kansas City Royals pinch-hitter Jorge Orta safe at first in the ninth inning on a play when he was clearly out.
Orta would ultimately score for the Royals and a Game 7 would be forced, and while the St. Louis Cardinals would end up winning the series, the missed call could have been much more magnified had their fate been different.
2012: Little League World Series
It's hard for anyone to lose a game in walk-off fashion, but the way a game leading up to this year's Little League World Series was decided is just unfortunate for one youth baseball team from Hawaii.
Having narrowed the gap in the sixth inning of their final qualifying game, Hawaii scored a run to get to 7-6 with a runner on second base and two outs.
The opposing coach of the California squad took to the mound and brought his infielders in, directing them that the runner that had scored missed third base, meaning the pitcher would appeal.
They did, and the runner was called out, ending the game and Hawaii's hopes at punching their tickets to Williamsport, PA.
1978: Reggie Jackson
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Smack dab in the middle of the 1978 World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a 3-1 lead late in Game 4, and were poised to potentially take a 3-1 lead before Lou Piniella's ground ball changed it all.
With runners on first and second, a double play was attempted, but foiled when it appeared that Reggie Jackson stuck his hip out while running in the baseline in an effort to deflect the throw.
One run scored on the play and the Yankees would end up tying the series at 2-2 after an extra-inning win.
2011: Ron Kulpa
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In Game 3 of last year's World Series, controversy emerged as a blown call by umpire Ron Kulpa may have changed the complexion of the series moving forward.
With Albert Pujols on first base, Matt Holliday's ground ball could have been a double play that would have stifled any threat, but a tag from Mike Napoli wasn't seen and Holliday was called safe at first.
The call would ultimately lead to four runs being scored, and though the missed call was bad enough, the controversy really emerged when it was learned that Kulpa is a St. Louis native and lifelong Cardinals fan.
2006: Detroit Tigers
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Though he was never actually caught/suspended for such an action, Kenny Rogers was widely accused by members of the St. Louis Cardinals, including hitting coach Hal McRae, of using pine tar to doctor the ball during Game 2 of the 2006 World Series.
When asked, McRae wasn't shy about calling Rogers to task on his actions:
He wasn't just cheating by using pine tar; he was scuffing balls, too. We collected about five or six balls that are scuffed. He had to be using his fingernails or something.