The Top 10 Underappreciated MLB Playoff Series
The 2001 World Series.
The 1991 World Series.
The 2003 ALCS (and NLCS).
These have been called some of the most memorable playoff series ever. But how about the series that never get mentioned among the all-time greats?
Here are some playoff series that were incredible, but nobody remembers, and nobody thinks to care for at all.
No. 10: 2006 NLCS (Mets vs. Cardinals)
The Mets just seemed destined to go to the World Series for the first time since 2000. But along came the Cardinals.
All season, Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols fought for the NL MVP crown (even though it went to Ryan Howard instead), but both hitters shared a mini-rivalry since the days of Beltran being with Houston.
Even with that, this series was exciting for many reasons, but Game Seven was unforgettable for both teams.
Endy Chavez robbed Scott Rolen of a potential go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning—one of the most unbelievable catches in postseason history.
However, after the Cardinals got a two-run homer from Yadier Molina in the top of the ninth, the Mets were down by two. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and the based juiced, Carlos Beltran saw a curveball drop to his knees for strike three.
Adam Wainwright and his teammates celebrated a hard-earned upset victory over the Mets, and it was a classic series (except for Mets fans like myself).
No. 9: 1987 World Series (Cardinals vs. Twins)
While there wasn't a walk-off victory in any of these games, the series did go to seven.
Everybody remembers the 1991 World Series more than the 1987 version, but in this series, all of the games were won by the home team, which adds to the energy of the moment.
In Game Seven, the Twins prevailed 4-2 over the Braves, but some close games gives this series all the praise in my list.
No. 8: 1976 ALCS (Yankees vs. Royals)
Back then, the ALCS was only a best-of-five series, but this series did not disappoint.
The Yankees and Royals, two American League teams as the class of the conference for a decade, fought tireless for a World Series.
Finally, in the deciding final Game Five, Chris Chambliss hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth into the "House That Ruth Built", and the Yankees were going back to the World Series.
No. 7: 2005 NLCS (Cardinals vs. Astros)
Talk about getting OWNED.
While only a six-game series, both teams knew each other very well from the 2004 ALDS (known for the 18-inning marathon of Game Four).
Both played close games throughout the series, but the most memorable image is the one on this slide:
Top of the ninth inning. The Astros lead the series 3-1. They lead Game Five by two runs. They send in Brad Lidge. No biggie, right?
Well, if you never heard of Albert Pujols before this game, you know now.
He launched, and I mean LAUNCHED, a two out, two strike, three-run homer onto the train tracks of the stadium, and absolutely stunned the Houston faithful. They would lose the game 5-4.
While the Astros would eventually win Game Six in St. Louis and go to their first World Series ever, this series was defined by bloops and blasts, and it showcased Albert Pujols in a clutch situation.
It was pretty awesome.
No. 6: 1995 ALDS (Mariners vs. Yankees)
Both teams entered the series as young, budding American League clubs that would become elite as the decade went by. Back then, they battled for a trip to the ALCS.
There were two extra inning walk-off wins for both teams, including the Game Five walk-off hit by Edgar Martinez in the bottom of the 12th inning.
The Yankees lead by one run, and with runners on second and third, Edgar comes through and rallies the Seattle Mariners to the ALCS.
No. 5: 1999 NLCS (Mets vs. Braves)
What was so incredible about this series was that the Mets were down 3-0 in the series to the highly-favored Braves, but won Game Four in an eighth inning comeback, which set up one of the most incredible games ever.
Game Five was a 15 inning rain-infested epic at Shea Stadium. Robin Ventura came on with one out in the bottom of the 15th, and launched a grand slam into deep center.
However, his teammates came out and jumped on him before he reached second base, so because of that, it was only ruled an RBI single.
Hence the term, "Grand Slam Single"
Game Six also saw another Mets rally, but the magic ran out in the bottom of the 11th, when the Braves forced a walk-off walk to face the Yankees in the World Series.
Combine these games with the rivalry both teams had back in the late-'90s (Mets fans still hate John Rocker and Chipper Jones), and you have an all-time MLB series.
No. 4: 1992 NLCS (Pirates vs. Braves)
While most of the games in this series weren't close at all, Game Seven makes up for all of that.
The Pirates were just three outs away from going back to the World Series, and had a two-run lead on the road.
They showed tremendous resilience by going back from a 3-1 series deficit, so getting three outs should have not been hard to do.
But the Braves rallied back, scoring one run to cut the deficit to two runs, and with two outs, Francisco Cabrera came up with, quite possibly, the most clutch hit in MLB history.
He hit a two-RBI single, which set up the memorable Sid Bream slide at the plate, sending the Braves to the World Series.
No. 3: 1986 NLCS (Mets vs. Astros)
When you think of the 1986 New York Mets, you think of Game Six...of the World Series. Not the NLCS.
You think of Bill Buckner, not Jesse Orosco striking out Kevin Bass to win the pennant for the Mets.
The 1986 NLCS might just be the most overlooked series ever, just because of the 1986 World Series that followed. But when you have two walk-off wins, two Mike Scott pitching gems, and a Game Six, 16-inning epic game, how CAN this be overlooked?
I don't know, but this was something to remember for all MLB fans and history buffs.
Also, the fact that No. 2 on this list was in the same year could have made this series unnoticed.
No. 2: 1986 ALCS (Red Sox vs. Angels)
When you think of the 1986 Boston Red Sox, you think of Bill Buckn....
Wait, we just went over this.
How about the 1986 Angels? Yeah, you remember Donnie Moore, right?
This series had everything: Seven games, incredible comebacks, meltdowns, and walk-off magic.
In one game, the Angels rallied from three runs down in the bottom of the ninth and won in walk-off fashion. In Game Five though, the Red Sox scored four runs to stun the Angel fans.
Games Six and Seven would be easy wins for Boston, but this series most certainly never gets any full attention.
No. 1: 1955 World Series (Dodgers V.S Yankees)
You thinking, "What?"
Yup, the most under-appreciated series ever: The Brooklyn Dodgers FINALLY defeating the mighty New York Yankees in seven great games.
This series is not overlooked because of the games themselves, but the historical relevance behind the series itself.
The Brooklyn Dodgers had created a huge rivalry with the Yankees but always lost to them in the World Series; four-straight times in fact.
But in 1955, the Dodgers finally won a title. Jackie Robinson and company can hang their heads high knowing they beat a dynasty.