50 Biggest 'Goat' Moments in World Series History
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Ever since the first World Series was played in 1903, fans have been witness to some of the most exciting and memorable moments in the history of baseball.
Some of those moments, however, would rather be forgotten by the players involved.
The word "goat" in sports has always been associated with players or participants who simply blew it at the most inopportune of times. Think Scott Norwood in Super Bowl XXV, for example.
Is it fair to label people as goats in sports? Many of them on this particular list had stellar careers in Major League Baseball, yet they are remembered for that one bonehead play that has dogged them throughout their lives.
We will take a stroll down memory lane and look at the 50 biggest "goat" moments in World Series history. The list will be in chronological order, starting with the first World Series that took place 109 years ago.
1. 1903 World Series: Honus Wagner, Pittsburgh Pirates
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In the early 1900s, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner was generally regarded as one of the best players in baseball. In fact, Wagner had a terrific year in 1903, leading the National League with a .355 batting average.
However, when Wagner and his Pirates faced the Boston Americans in the inaugural World Series, his bat went silent. He hit just .222 in the eight-game series and was charged with six errors.
Wagner was dogged by that horrible performance for years. The following spring, Wagner was asked to send a portrait of himself to a special Hall of Fame for league batting champions. Wagner refused to comply.
"I was too bum last year," Wagner said. "I was a joke in that Boston-Pittsburgh Series. What does it profit a man to hammer along and make a few hits when they are not needed only to fall down when it comes to a pinch? I would be ashamed to have my picture up now."
Reference: Honus Wagner: A Biography; Jeanne Burke DeValeria, University of Pittsburgh Press
2. 1906 World Series: Chicago Cubs
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In 1906, the Chicago Cubs posted an incredible regular season record of 116-36. Their .763 winning percentage was the best ever for a 154-game season.
The Cubs faced the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox in the World Series. The Cubs were heavily favored over the White Sox, who won the American League pennant despite a league-worst .230 batting average.
The White Sox failed to hit in the Fall Classic as well, hitting just .198 as a team. But the favored Cubs were even worse, hitting just .196.
The White Sox shocked the baseball world by defeating the mighty Cubs in six games. The famed Cubs infield of Joe Tinker (shortstop), Johnny Evers (second base) and Frank Chance (first base) hit a combined .153.
3. 1907 World Series: Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers
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Detroit Tigers outfielder Ty Cobb took the American League by storm in 1907. He led the league in batting (.350), hits (212), runs batted in (119), stolen bases (53) and slugging percentage (.468).
However, on the grand stage that was the World Series, Cobb flopped.
The Chicago Cubs swept the Tigers in four games (Game 1 ended in a tie), and Cobb hit just .200 with one extra base hit.
4. 1912 World Series: Fred Snodgrass, New York Giants
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The New York Giants lost the 1911 World Series and were looking for redemption the following year. Facing the Boston Red Sox, the Giants were tied at three games apiece heading to a deciding eighth game (Game 2 ended in a tie).
With the Giants leading 2-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning, famed Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson faced pinch-hitter Clyde Engle. Mathewson got Engle to lift a lazy fly ball directly at center fielder Fred Snodgrass.
Snodgrass camped under the ball and promptly dropped it for an error.
The Giants fell apart, allowing the tying and winning runs to score, sending the Giants home losers once again.
Snodgrass was considered at the time to be an excellent defender—but not on this afternoon.
5. 1914 World Series: Philadelphia Athletics
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In 1914, the Philadelphia Athletics made their fourth World Series in five years, having won their three previous attempts. They were heavily favored over the Boston "Miracle" Braves, who made an astounding late-season comeback to capture the National League pennant.
The series was over almost before it started. The Braves easily captured Game 1, and they never looked back, sweeping the mighty A's in shocking manner.
A's manager Connie Mack soon set out to sell off most of his stars, and it would be another 15 years before the A's were seen again in the Fall Classic.
6. 1919 World Series: Chicago Black Sox
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The Cincinnati Reds were the World Series champions in 1919, but because of what occurred that fall, many casual fans may not even know who actually won.
The White Sox did in fact lose five games to three. However, it was revealed shortly thereafter that eight players had been implicated in a plot to throw the series.
Those eight players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, were eventually acquitted in court of law, but were banned from baseball for life in 1921.
7. 1921 World Series: Aaron Ward, New York Yankees
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In 1921, the New York Yankees were participating in their first-ever World Series, facing the crosstown rival New York Giants.
The 1921 Fall Classic was the last of the experimental nine-game format, and the Giants were up four games to three entering Game 8.
The Yankees were down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Babe Ruth, who had been bothered by knee and elbow injuries throughout the series, came up to pinch hit for Wally Pipp. Ruth grounded out for the first out.
Second baseman Aaron Ward followed with a walk, putting the tying run on first with one out.
The next batter, Frank "Home Run" Baker, grounded out to second base for the second out of the inning. Ward, however, didn't stop at second base on the play and kept on running. Giants first baseman High Pockets Kelly gunned the ball to third baseman Frankie Frisch, who easily applied the tag on Ward for the final out of the World Series.
8. 1924 World Series: Jack Bentley, New York Giants
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In 1924, the New York Giants were making their ninth and final World Series appearance under legendary manager John McGraw.
Unfortunately, pitcher Jack Bentley ensured that McGraw would go out a loser on his final try.
Here is what I wrote about Bentley in a piece published back in May 2011:
In 1924, the New York Giants were back in the World Series for the fourth consecutive season, and were facing the Washington Senators, which were there for the very first time.
Jack Bentley, a pitcher for the Giants, went the distance in Game 2 for the Giants, and after the Giants scratched out two runs in the top of the ninth, the game was knotted at 3-3. Bentley stayed in the game to pitch in the bottom of the ninth, and gave up a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a double to Roger Peckinpaugh that scored the winning run, giving the Senators a 4-3 victory, knotting the Series at one game apiece.
Fast forward to Game 7. The game was tied at 3-3 after nine innings, and Bentley came on in relief in the bottom of the 11th. After an uneventful 11th, Bentley came back out for the 12th. After getting the first two outs, Bentley gave up a double to Senators’ catcher Muddy Ruel. After Walter Johnson reached on an error by the shortstop, runners were on first and second with two out.
Bentley then faced Earl McNeely, who had been 0-for-5 up to that point. McNeely laced a double to left field, scoring Ruel with the World Series-winning run and giving the Senators their first-ever World Series championship.
Bentley became the first pitcher ever to give up two walk-off hits in a postseason series.
9. 1925 World Series: Bucky Harris, Washington Senators Manager
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In 1925, the Washington Senators were back in the World Series for the second consecutive year, this time facing the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Legendary pitcher Walter Johnson had won Games 1 and 4 for the Senators, but they still found themselves tied with the Pirates at three games apiece.
Senators manager Bucky Harris opted to go with Johnson again in Game 7. But by the fourth inning, it was clear that Johnson was not on top of his game. The Pirates scored three runs in the third inning and another in the fifth inning to close the gap to 6-4 Senators.
The Pirates came back in the seventh as well, scoring two more runs to tie the game at 6-6. However, Harris elected to continue with Johnson on the mound.
That decision backfired—the Pirates scored three more in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 9-7 lead and would go on to win Game 7 by the same score.
MLB commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis was infuriated that Harris allowed a completely ineffective Johnson to continue pitching in the game. Landis sent a telegram off to Harris, accusing him of keeping Johnson in the game for "sentimental reasons."
Reference: The World Series and Highlights of Baseball; Lamont Buchanan, 1951
10. 1926 World Series: Babe Ruth, New York Yankees
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Slugger Babe Ruth was known for many great accomplishments on the baseball diamond...Baserunning was not one of them.
In the 1926 World Series, the Yankees were locked in a fierce battle with the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the series tied at three games apiece, the teams headed back to Yankee Stadium for a seventh and deciding game.
With the Cardinals leading 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Ruth came to the plate with two outs and drew a walk.
Representing the tying run on first base, Ruth figured he could try and surprise the Cardinals by stealing second base.
He thought wrong.
11. 1929 World Series: Chicago Cubs Collapse, Game 4
Hack Wilson's moment in the sun turned into losing a ball in the sun.
The Philadelphia Athletics were back in the World Series in 1929 for the first time in 15 years and had taken a two-games-to-one lead headed into Game 4.
However, their opponents, the Chicago Cubs, were cruising in Game 4, out to an 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. A series tie almost seemed inevitable.
That's when the "Mack Attack" struck.
The A's sent 15 batters to the plate, with 10 of them scoring. The inning was extended when Cubs center fielder Hack Wilson lost a fly ball in the sun for a bases-clearing inside-the-park home run by Mule Haas.
The A's went on win 10-8 and and then captured Game 5 with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Cubs home winless once again.
12. 1939 World Series: Ernie Lombardi, Cincinnati Reds
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Cincinnati Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi put together a Hall of Fame career over 17 stellar seasons. However, in 1939, Lombardi was rather unfairly labeled a goat.
The Reds were down three games to none in the 1939 World Series against the New York Yankees and were in danger of being swept. They made Game 4 tough for the Yankees, as the two teams battled to a 4-4 tie through nine innings.
In the top of the 10th inning with two runners on and one out, Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio lashed a single to right field. Frank Crosetti easily scored on the play from third. But Reds right fielder Ival Goodman bobbled the ball on the play for an error.
Yankees baserunner Charlie Keller capitalized on the error and rounded third while Goodman retrieved the ball and uncorked a throw to Reds catcher Lombardi. The ball and Keller arrived at the plate at the same time—Keller bowled over Lombardi, briefly leaving him unconscious.
DiMaggio then raced home while Lombardi tried in vain to retrieve the ball, giving the Yankees a 7-4 lead they would not relinquish, sweeping the Reds in four games.
The press labeled Lombardi as a goat, calling Lombardi and the play "Lombardi's Big Snooze." In retrospect, the play itself didn't affect the outcome of the game—Crosetti had already scored what proved to be the winning run before the infamous play occurred.
13. 1941 World Series: Mickey Owen, Brooklyn Dodgers
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In the 1941 World Series, the Brooklyn Dodgers faced the New York Yankees and were down two games to one. The Dodgers looked to the series up in Game 4 and held a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning.
With two outs, Yankees right fielder Tommy Henrich represented the Yankees' last chance However, Henrich struck out swinging on a nasty pitch from Dodgers reliever Hugh Casey, tying the series at two games apiece.
Dodgers catcher Mickey Owen let strike three get past him, and Henrich raced to first safely. The Dodgers came unglued and by the time the inning finally and mercifully ended, the Yankees had scored four runs to take a 7-4 lead.
The Yankees would take Game 4 and easily take Game 5 to send the Dodgers home without a series victory once again.
14. 1945 World Series: Billy Goat, Chicago Cubs
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The 1945 World Series was a drawn-out seven-game affair, with the Detroit Tigers prevailing over the Chicago Cubs. However, the series will always be known for the appearance of a barnyard animal.
Cubs fan Billy Sianis had two tickets to Game 4. Instead of bringing along a human friend, Sianis elected to bring Murphy, his goat friend, to the game.
Before the end of the game, rain fell on Wrigley, and apparently, Murphy's goat odor was offending his neighbors in his box section.
Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley told Sianis that he and Murphy had to leave the game immediately, to which Sianis famously placed a curse on the Cubs. According to legend, Sianis allegedly said the Cubs would never win another pennant or play another World Series game at Wrigley Field.
So far, Sianis has been true to his word.
15. 1946 World Series: Johnny Pesky, Boston Red Sox
As Enos Slaughter raced home with the winning run in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series, Boston Red Sox shortstop Johnny Pesky allegedly held onto the ball before firing the relay to home plate.
Or did he?
Pesky has always been regarded as a goat for his supposed delay in throwing home to nail the speedy Slaughter.
If there was any delay, it was ever so slight and Slaughter likely would have scored regardless.
Still, Pesky was unfairly haunted by the alleged delay for decades.
16. 1946 World Series: Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox
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In that same 1946 World Series, legendary Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams made his first and only appearance in the Fall Classic. Unfortunately for Williams, he didn't leave with fond memories.
After hitting .342 with 38 HR and 123 RBI during the regular season, Williams hit a paltry .200 (5-for-25) in the seven-game series.
It's also fair to note that Williams likely wasn't up to par, either. During an exhibition game prior to the start of the World Series, Williams took a pitch off his elbow delivered by Washington Senators pitcher Mickey Haefner.
Williams was immediately taken out of the game, his elbow badly swollen. While he never used that injury as an excuse, it likely affected his one and only Fall Classic performance.
17. 1948 World Series: Second Base Umpire Bill Stewart
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It's rare that umpires can affect the eventual outcome of a game, but it seems to have been the case in the 1948 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Braves.
In Game 1 at Braves field, Braves pitcher Johnny Sain and Indians pitcher Bob Feller were locked in a classic pitchers' duel. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, Feller walked Braves catcher Bill Salkeld to start the frame.
Braves manager Billy Southworth called on Phil Masi to run for Salkeld. Outfielder Mike McCormick then sacrificed Masi to second. Feller then walked Eddie Stanky to put runners at first and second and set up a force at any base.
Feller, pitching to opposing pitcher Sain, then attempted a pickoff, firing the ball to shortstop Lou Boudreau covering the second base bag. Boudreau appeared to apply the tag on Masi in time, but second base umpire Bill Stewart ruled Masi safe on the play.
Tommy Holmes would later score Masi with a single for the game's only run, giving the Braves a 1-0 victory.
Later that evening, the Associated Press published closeups of the play in question, clearly showing Boudreau's tag had been in time.
The Indians went on to win the series in six games, but Stewart's blown call certainly labeled him as a goat at the time.
18. 1952 World Series: Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Dodgers
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Putting up a doughnut on the grandest stage in baseball certainly isn't what any player sets out to achieve. However, that's exactly how things played out for Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges in the 1952 World Series.
Hodges was one of the Dodgers' offensive leaders during the regular season with 32 HR and 102 RBI. But in the seven-game series against the Yankees, Hodges was 0-for-21.
It was one of the worst performances by a position player ever in the history of the World Series.
19. 1953 World Series: Clem Labine, Brooklyn Dodgers
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The 1953 World Series saw a rematch between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, with the Dodgers hoping to avenge their heartbreaking seven-game loss the previous season.
Dodgers reliever Clem Labine took the loss in Game 1, giving up a solo home run to Yankees first baseman Joe Collins that proved to be the game-winner in a 9-5 victory.
Labine was on the mound once again in Game 6, taking the ball in the seventh inning with his Dodgers behind 3-1 and down in the series three games to two.
The Dodgers came back to tie it up with two runs in the top of the ninth, and Labine went back to the mound for his third inning in relief.
It turned out to be one inning too many.
Labine gave up a single to Yankees second baseman Billy Martin to score Hank Bauer with the game-winning and series-winning run, giving the Yankees their fifth straight World Series title and tagging Labine with the label of goat.
20. 1954 World Series: Entire Cleveland Indians Team
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The Cleveland Indians stormed through the American League in 1954 on their way to a 111-43 record—a record at that time.
They faced off against the New York Giants and were heavily favored.
However, the Indians quickly showed they were not ready for prime time.
The Indians hit just .190 and scored only nine runs in four games, as the Giants handily defeated them for a convincing sweep.
It would be another 41 years before the Indians made another appearance in the Fall Classic.
21. 1954 World Series: Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians
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Bob Lemon played his entire 13-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He tasted a World Series victory with them in 1948, winning two of the games.
However, in a return trip to the World Series in 1954 against the New York Giants, things didn't work out quite so well.
In Game 1, with the game tied at 2-2, Lemon, who had already pitched the entire game for the Indians, came back out to work the 10th. After striking out Don Mueller, Lemon walked Willie Mays, who promptly stole second. Lemon then walked Hank Thompson intentionally to set up a force at any base.
Dusty Rhodes came on to pinch hit for Monte Irvin, and Rhodes smacked a three-run homer, giving the Giants the 5-2 extra-inning victory and a tough-luck loss for Lemon.
In Game 4, with the Giants leading the Series 3-0, Lemon was called upon once again. He was unable to get out of the fifth inning, giving up six runs and seven hits, taking his second loss of the series as the Giants went home with a four-game sweep.
22. 1960 World Series: Ralph Terry, New York Yankees
The 1960 World Series was a wild and wooly affair between the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Even though the Yankees had outscored the Pirates 46-17 in the first six games, the two teams were tied at three games apiece heading into Game 7 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.
Game 7 presented tremendous excitement. The Pirates put up five runs in the eighth inning to take a 9-7 lead over the Yankees. However, the Yankees battled back with two runs of their own in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 9-9.
It only took two pitches by Yankees reliever Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth to end this one.
23. 1961 World Series: Vada Pinson, Cincinnati Reds
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The 1961 World Series featured the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds, who were making their first Fall Classic appearance since 1940.
The Yankees dominated, winning the series in five games.
The Red managed to hit a collective .206 during the series. Center fielder Vada Pinson, who hit a robust .343 during the regular season and led the majors with 208 hits, hit just .091 during the five-game series with one double and no runs batted in.
24. 1966 World Series: Willie Davis, Los Angeles Dodgers
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Outfielder Willie Davis won three Gold Glove awards during his stellar 18-year career, but in one important game in 1966, he became a defensive goat.
In Game 2 of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles, Davis committed three errors in the top of the fifth inning that led to three unearned runs.
The Orioles never recovered, losing the game 6-0 and the series in four straight.
25. 1969 World Series: Baltimore Orioles Starting Lineup
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The Baltimore Orioles were 109-53 during the regular season in 1969, tearing through the American League on their way to the pennant.
In the World Series, Baltimore hitters couldn't tear their way out of a paper bag.
Facing the upstart New York Mets in the World Series, Orioles bats fell completely silent. The Mets pitching staff, led by Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, completely shut down the vaunted Orioles offense, holding them to a collective .146 average in the series.
26. 1970 World Series: Tony Perez, Cincinnati Reds
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Tony Perez hit .279 over his stellar 23-year career, but he didn't fare quite so well in the 1970 World Series.
With his Reds facing the Baltimore Orioles, Perez, playing in his first World Series, faltered mightily, hitting just .056 (1-for-18) in the Orioles' five-game conquest of the Reds.
27. 1979 World Series: Eddie Murray, Baltimore Orioles
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Eddie Murray is without a doubt one of the greatest switch-hitters ever to play in Major League Baseball. But his first World Series didn't get off to a great start.
With his Baltimore Orioles playing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1979 World Series, Murray, who hit .295 with 25 HR and 99 RBI during the regular season, misfired in his first Fall Classic.
He hit just .154 (4-for-26) during the seven-game loss to the Pirates.
28. 1981 World Series: Dave Winfield, New York Yankees
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The 1981 season was fractured in more ways the one. The players' strike forced MLB to split the season into two halves.
The New York Yankees made their way into the postseason by virtue of a 34-22 record in the first half. They then defeated the Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics to get to the World Series, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers.
One of the Yankees' leaders on the field that season was Dave Winfield. However, during the Fall Classic, Winfield was no Mr. October.
Winfield collected just one hit in 22 at-bats for an .045 average, and his Yankees fell to the Dodgers in six games.
29. 1983 World Series: Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies
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With 548 home runs, three MVPs, 10 Gold Gloves and 12 All-Star appearances, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt certainly earned his way into the Hall of Fame.
But his performance in the 1983 World Series was certainly un-Schmidt-like, so to speak.
Facing the Baltimore Orioles, Schmidt hit just .050 (1-for-20). And the Phillies hit a collective .195, losing to the Orioles in five games.
31. 1985 World Series: Don Denkinger Screws the Cardinals
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With just three outs separating them from their 10th World Series triumph, the St. Louis Cardinals got jobbed by a bad call.
First base umpire Don Denkinger's blown call on Kansas City Royals hitter Jorge Orta's slow roller to first turned the tide for the Cardinals and, by extension, the Royals.
The Royals went on to score two runs on a single by pinch hitter Dane Iorg to take Game 6, 3-2. The Royals would take Game 7 as well for their first ever World Series championship.
30. 1986 World Series: Calvin Schiraldi, Boston Red Sox
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One more strike...
That's what I wrote about Calvin Schiraldi back in May 2010.
The Boston Red Sox had just broken a 3-3 tie in the top of the 10th inning in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series with a home run by Dave Henderson and a run-scoring single by Marty Barrett.
The Red Sox were three outs away from winning their first World Series in 68 years.
With Calvin Schiraldi working his third inning of relief, he retired both Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez on fly balls.
The Red Sox were one out away from winning their first World Series in 68 years.
With Gary Carter at the plate, the scoreboard had already flashed that Sox pitcher Bruce Hurst was named the Series MVP. Champagne was already set up in the Sox clubhouse.
If only Schiraldi could have thrown one more freakin' strike...
32. 1986 World Series: John McNamara, Boston Red Sox Manager
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I really just have one thing to say regarding Boston Red Sox manager John McNamara and his strategy in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series: For the love of god, man, why didn't you replace Bill Buckner with Dave Stapleton?
33. 1986 World Series: Bill Buckner, Boston Red Sox
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So, we've already talked about Calvin Schiraldi and John McNamara and their part in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
Bill Buckner, playing on bad ankles, just couldn't quite bend over far enough.
34. 1988 World Series: Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics
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By the end of the 1988 regular season, Oakland Athletics Dennis Eckersley pitcher had successfully made the transition from starter to closer. In fact, his 45 saves that season led the majors.
The high-powered Athletics faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series that year, and the A's were heavily favored.
Eckersley's signature slider confounded batters all season. But in the ninth inning of Game 1, he left one of those signature sliders out over the plate.
Pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson knew exactly what to do with it.
35. 1988 World Series: Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics
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In addition to the hanging slider by closer Dennis Eckersley in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the Oakland A's had some other issues as well.
Namely, the silent bats of their two main sluggers, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.
The Bash Brothers were anything but, hitting a collective .055 (2-for-36) in the five-game series.
36. 1990 World Series: Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics
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Just two years after their collective stink-out in the 1988 World Series, Oakland A's sluggers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were back together one more time in the 1990 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Once again, the Bash Brothers left their bashing at home.
McGwire and Canseco were a little better this time, but it did absolutely nothing for their team. They hit a combined .154 (4-for-26), and their A's were swept out of the World Series by the Cincinnati Reds.
37. 1991 World Series: Lonnie Smith, Atlanta Braves
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Getting duped by one of the oldest tricks in baseball is never funny for the player involved. For Atlanta Braves outfielder Lonnie Smith, it proved to be an epic mistake.
In the 1991 World Series against the Minnesota Twins, Smith singled sharply in the top of the eighth inning of a scoreless Game 7. Third baseman Terry Pendleton then followed with a shot into the gap in left-center field.
Under normal circumstances, Smith would have scored easily. However, he stumbled going around second base and only made it to third on the play.
Replays later showed that Smith apparently got tricked out by Twins second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, who pretended to be catching the ball from the outfield.
Twins starter Jack Morris then worked his magic, working out of a jam with runners on second and third with no one out. It was the Braves' biggest shot at scoring, and Smith falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book was the biggest culprit.
38. 1992 World Series: Jeff Reardon, Atlanta Braves
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When the Atlanta Braves picked up closer Jeff Reardon late in the 1992 season from the Boston Red Sox, they envisioned Reardon being a big help down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Reardon did deliver down the stretch in the regular season. The World Series, however, was a different story.
Against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2, Reardon came on in relief in the top of the ninth inning and gave up two runs, giving the Jays a come-from-behind win.
In Game 3, Reardon again came on in relief. This time, he gave up a single to Candy Maldonado that scored Roberto Alomar with the winning run, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 series lead.
Reardon was not used again in the series and was granted free agency following the series.
39. 1993 World Series: Mitch Williams, Philadelphia Phillies
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With 43 saves in the regular season, Philalephia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams was one of the top closers in the majors in 1993.
But he'll always be remembered for one pitch.
Williams came on in relief for the Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 6 of the World Series. Trying to keep his Phillies from being eliminated, Williams worked himself into a jam by walking Rickey Henderson and giving up a single to Paul Molitor.
Five pitches later, Joe Carter put himself in the history books. Williams did too, for that matter.
40. 1996 World Series: Mark Wohlers, Atlanta Braves
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The Atlanta Braves had taken a 6-3 lead in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series against the New York Yankees, hoping to take a commanding three-games-to-one series lead.
Mark Wohlers stopped that from happening.
Wohlers came on in relief of Mike Bielecki to start the top of the eighth inning. Wohlers gave up consecutive singles to Charlie Hayes and Darryl Strawberry before retiring Mariano Duncan on a groundout.
Wohlers, however—much like Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series—left a slider out over the plate, and catcher Jim Leyritz knew what to do with it, much like Kirk Gibson eight years earlier.
Leyritz's three-run bomb pulled the Yankees into a 6-6 tie, and they would go on to win the game in extra innings.
The Braves never recovered, losing to the Yankees in six games.
41. 1997 World Series: Jose Mesa, Cleveland Indians
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In 1997, the Cleveland Indians were just three outs away from capturing their first World Series title in 49 years.
Unfortunately, Jose Mesa wasn't ready to deliver that title.
Called upon to replace Brian Anderson in the ninth inning of Game 7 against the Florida Marlins, Mesa got himself into trouble, allowing singles to both Moises Alou and Charles Johnson.
With runners on first and third and one out, Craig Counsell lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Alou with the tying run.
The Marlins would later win on a walk-off single by Edgar Renteria, denying the Indians' quest for a championship. Mesa's name will forever be on the Indians' Hall of Shame.
43. 1997 World Series: Tony Fernandez, Cleveland Indians
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Tony Fernandez made a career of being one of the most sure-handed infielders of his generation. But in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, it was Fernandez's error that helped send the Cleveland Indians home losers.
With the game tied at 2-2, Florida Marlins third baseman Bobby Bonilla led off the bottom of the 11th with a single off reliever Charles Nagy.
After Gregg Zaun botched a bunt attempt for the first out, second baseman Craig Counsell hit a routine ground ball to Fernandez at second. It appeared to be a tailor-made double-play ball. But Bonilla slightly screened Fernandez, resulting in an error that put runners on first and third with one out.
Three batters later, shortstop Edgar Renteria delivered a walk-off single, giving the Marlins their first-ever World Series championship.
42. 1998 World Series: Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres
Someday in the next couple of years, Trevor Hoffman will take his rightful place in baseball's Hall of Fame. With 601 career saves, he has certainly earned that distinction.
But if Hoffman had one thing to do all over again, it would be the 1998 World Series.
Hoffman's only World Series appearance was not memorable.
His San Diego Padres were in the Fall Classic for only the second time in team history, taking on the New York Yankees, who had barnstormed their way through the American League with an astounding 114-48 record.
The Padres lost the first two games at Yankee Stadium before returning home to Qualcomm Stadium for Game 3.
San Diego was clinging to a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning. Reliever Randy Myers gave up a walk to Paul O’Neill to start the inning, and Hoffman then came in on relief.
He got Bernie Williams on a fly-out to deep right field, then issued a walk to first baseman Tino Martinez. With runners on first and second and one out, Scott Brosius stepped to the plate for the Yankees. With the count 2-2, Hoffman grooved a fastball that Brosius promptly deposited over the center field fence for a three-run homer.
Hoffman ended his career with a World Series ERA of 9.00—certainly not the stuff of legend.
44. 2001 World Series: Byung-Hyun Kim, Arizona Diamondbacks
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If the Arizona Diamondbacks hadn't come back and won the 2001 World Series, reliever Byung-Hyun Kim would likely be one of the biggest goats in World Series.
Actually, he kind of already is anyway.
Kim gave up the home run to Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 4 that allowed the New York Yankees to tie the series at two games apiece.
Kim then gave up a two-run home run to Scott Brosius the very next night in the bottom of the ninth inning, allowing the Yankees to tie the game at 2-2. The Yankees would eventually go on to win Game 5 as well.
At least Kim had a part in giving Jeter the name "Mr. November."
45. 2001 World Series: Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees
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It's hard to put the word "goat" next to the name of legendary closer Mariano Rivera. The owner of a spectacular 0.70 ERA with 42 saves in the postseason, Rivera became human in the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In Game 7, the Yankees put single runs on the board in the seventh and eighth innings to grab a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Enter closer Rivera, who had been called upon for a two-inning save. He struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth. However, the ninth was a different story altogether.
After a Mark Grace single to open the ninth inning, Damian Miller attempted a sacrifice bunt. Rivera fielded the ball cleanly and attempted to throw out David Dellucci, running for Grace at second base for the force. The throw pulled Derek Jeter off the bag, and everyone was safe.
The next batter, Jay Bell, also bunted, and this time Rivera forced Dellucci at third. Scott Brosius, however, elected to hold the ball rather than throw to first to complete the double play. With runners at first and second with one out, Tony Womack then doubled down the right field line, scoring Dellucci with the tying run and putting Bell at third with the winning run.
Rivera then hit Craig Counsell with a pitch, loading the bases for Luis Gonzalez.We all know what Gonzalez did.
46. 2002 World Series: Livan Hernandez, San Francisco Giants
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Five years prior to the 2002 World Series, San Francisco Giants pitcher Livan Hernandez won a World Series MVP Award pitching for the Florida Marlins.
He wasn't going to get an award for his efforts in 2002, however.
The Giants were facing the then-Anaheim Angels in the series. Hernandez, who was 12-16 with a 4.38 ERA during the regular season, got shelled in Game 3, giving up six runs on five hits while walking five in 3.2 innings.
Manager Dusty Baker went back to Hernandez in Game 7, and again, Hernandez couldn't harness his control. He gave up four runs on four hits and four walks in just two-plus innings.
Hernandez's line for the series was 0-2, a 14.29 ERA and nine walks in 5.2 innings. Needless to say, Giants fans aren't quite as high on Hernandez as Marlins fans.
47. 2002 World Series: San Francisco Giants Bullpen, Game 6
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In Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, just a game before the stinker thrown by San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Livan Hernandez, the Giants bullpen put up a major stinker of its own.
Starter Russ Ortiz pitched brilliantly through six innings, and the Giants broke out to a 5-0 lead. Ortiz then got the first out of the seventh inning, and the Giants were only eight outs away from their first World Series title since 1954.
Then, disaster struck—in the form of the Giants bullpen.
Tired, Ortiz gave up consecutive singles to Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer before ending his night.
Over the next 1.2 innings, the Giants bullpen not only allowed the inherited runners to score, but gave up four runs of its own. The Angels came from behind to steal away a 6-5 victory to set up Hernandez's stinker the following night.
48. 2004 World Series: Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, St. Louis Cardinals
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The 2004 St. Louis Cardinals were led by a trio of sluggers in Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen. Together, three accounted for 122 HR and 358 RBI during the regular season.
However, in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, the trio accounted for zero home runs and just one RBI.
Rolen and Edmonds combined to hit just .033 (2-for-30) in the Red Sox's four-game sweep.
49. 2006 World Series: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers
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Detroit Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez powered the Detroit Tigers into the 2006 World Series with his walk-off three-run home run in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Oakland Athletics.
In his first World Series appearance, however, Ordonez's bat went stone cold.
Ordonez hit just .105 in the five-game series, delivering just two singles.
His bat wasn't the only offender, though. Center fielder Curtis Granderson hit just .095 (2-for-21).
50. 2008 World Series: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
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The Tampa Bays put 10 years of misery aside in 2008, winning the American League pennant and beating the World Series defending champion Boston Red Sox in the ALCS in the process.
The Rays were led offensively by rookie third baseman Evan Longoria, who hit .272 with 27 HR and 85 RBI during the regular season, second to first baseman Carlos Pena's 31 HR and 102 RBI.
However, in his first taste of World Series action against the Philadelphia Phillies, Longoria's bat went sour.
He hit just .050, collecting one hit in 20 at-bats, and his Rays were taken out by the Phillies in five games.
51. 2010 World Series: Vladimir Guerrero and Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
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Wow, a bonus slide!
The Texas Rangers literally pounded their way to the 2010 American League pennant, led by the bats of outfielder Josh Hamilton and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero.
However, in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, Hamilton and Guerrero couldn't pound sand. Together, the two combined to hit just .088 (3-for-34).
The Giants' stellar pitching staff easily handled the vaunted Rangers offense, sending Texas home in five games.