The 2010 World Series is upon us. In the next week or two, we have the chance to see baseball history, to see two teams competing at the highest level for the crowning achievement in all of baseball. Along the way perhaps we'll share in a collective moment that will last a lifetime.
As we prepare to watch the Texas Rangers face off against the San Francisco Giants in this year's Fall Classic, let's have a look back at some of the greatest moments in World Series history.
A fun piece of baseball folklore, though not nearly as explicit as this rendering makes it out to be, Babe Ruth quite clearly gestured with his bat and then quite clearly hit a home run.
And a legend was born.
The home run was ultimately meaningless, as the Yankees swept the Cubs in four.
With the Cubs up 8-0 going into the bottom of the seventh in Philadelphia, it looked as though the Series was headed back to Chicago tied 2-2.
However, Al Simmons led off the inning with a home run, 12 of the first 13 batters of the inning reached base and the Cubs surrendered the lead and the game by a score of 10-8.
The Series was all but over at that point, as the A's took a commanding 3-1 lead and won the Series in five.
Humorously, George Burns made two of the three outs in the inning.
With a grounder to Keith Foulke, which he flipped to Doug Mientkiewicz, the Boston Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals for their first World Series victory in 84 years.
Perhaps the most famous moment by a team that eventually lost the World Series.
By shutting out the mighty New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium, Josh Beckett and the Florida Marlins proved that payroll is not always the leading indicator of success in Major League Baseball.
With one out in the bottom of the 12th inning of a tied Game 7 in the 1924 World Series, Muddy Ruel hit a foul ball that Giants catcher Hank Gowdy would have caught, but he tripped over his own mask.
Ruel subsequently doubled. After Walter Johnson reached on another error, Earl McNeely hit another double, driving in Ruel with the winning run and delivering the Washington Senators their only World Series title.
Babe Adams went 3-0 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1909 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, throwing three complete games and pitching a shutout in Game 7.
Game 6 of the tumultuous 1991 World Series between the worst-to-first Atlanta Braves and the worst-to-first Minnesota Twins ended on Kirby Puckett's solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to force a Game 7.
Jack Buck, who delivered the infamous "I don't believe what I just saw" for Kirk Gibson's famous home run two years earlier, this time simply exclaimed, "We'll see you tomorrow night!"
Pitching on the road against a team that had won Game 6 5-1, Sandy Koufax pitched a three-hit shutout to seal the 1965 World Series.
This on top of a four-hit shutout in Game 5.
With the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning of Game 1 of the 1919 World Series, Eddie Cicotte hit Cincinnati Reds lead-off hitter Morrie Rath squarely in the back with a pitch.
In one of the worst kept secrets in baseball, Cicotte was signalling to gamblers that the fix was in.
The ensuing Series, which the Reds won 5-3, and the scandal that followed, changed baseball forever.
With the 1964 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the mighty New York Yankees tied at two games apiece, Bob Gibson came out in Game 5 and battled. After giving up a game tying two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Gibson came back in the tenth and shut the door for the win.
After the Yankees took Game 6, Gibson came back in Game 7 and went the distance for the 7-2 win and the World Series championship.
Reggie Jackson put himself in the record books with three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Yankees won the World Series four games to two.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, 20-year-old Edgar Renteria singled home Craig Counsell to deliver the Florida Marlins a World Series title in their fifth year of existence.
The Boston Red Sox would not have necessarily won Game 6 of the 1986 World Series if Buckner had made the play—reliever Bob Stanley had already lost the lead after entering the ninth with a chance to lock down the Red Sox first World Series since 1918.
However, because of Buckner's error, the Mets did win the game and forced a deciding Game 7.
Let's let Mel Allen take it from here:
"Enos Slaughter is on first base with two away. Harry Walker at bat. Bob Klinger on the mound. He takes the stretch. Here's the pitch...there goes Slaughter. The ball is swung on, there's a line drive going into left-center field. It's in there for a base hit. Culberson fumbles the ball momentarily and Slaughter charges around second, heads for third. Pesky goes into short left field to take the relay from Culberson...and here comes Enos Slaughter rounding third, he's going to try for home. Here comes the throw and it is not in time. Slaughter scores!"
It would prove to be the winning run of the World Series.
The St. Louis Cardinals went into the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series up 1-0 and three outs away from the World Series title.
Jorge Orta led off the ninth for the Royals with a grounder to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed the ball to pitcher Todd Worrell for the first out of the inning.
Except the umpire called Orta safe. The Royals ended up winning the game and then the World Series on the next night.
The San Francisco Giants were up 6-0 and five outs away from their first World Series championship in San Francisco.
Then Scott Spiezio came up with two men on and, on a full count, blasted a home run to cut the Giants lead in half.
The Angels went on to win the game and, in Game 7, the World Series.
In Game 2 of the 1956 World Series, Don Larsen got rocked for four runs on four walks and a hit without getting out of the second inning.
No matter: In Game 5 he came back out and retired every batter he faced, throwing the only perfect game in postseason history.
Frankly, of all the go-wild home run celebrations—Kirk Gibson, Carlton Fisk, etc.—Carter's is my least favorite. It strikes me as dorky, childish and somewhat absurd.
Nevertheless, dude won the World Series with a home run in the bottom of the ninth against Phillies reliever Mitch Williams, who was a ground ball away from forcing a Game 7.
With runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of a 1-0 Game 7 in the 1962 World Series, Willie McCovey hit what he calls the hardest ball he'd ever hit.
Unfortunately, he lined the ball right at Bobby Richardson, who caught it for the World Series-ending putout.
In a series in which the home team won every game, Luis Gonzalez singled in the winning run against Mariano Rivera—one of the most automatic closers in post-season history—to end the New York Yankees run of four World Series wins in five years.
Not much needs to be said other than this:
In Game 7 of an epic World Series that featured four walk-off hits and three extra-inning games, Jack Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout.
The 1960 World Series pitted the Pittsburgh Pirates against the New York Yankees.
The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27 in the seven game series.
And yet, somehow, when all was said and done, light-hitting second baseman Bill Mazeroski was sent rounding the bases after winning the series with a bottom of the ninth solo home run.
Willie Mays' catch was not as crucial to the Giants success in the 1954 World Series as it was one of the earliest, iconic televised baseball moments.
With the score tied 2-2 in the eighth inning, and two runners on base, Cleveland's Vic Wertz simply crushed a pitch to deep center field. Mays got a good jump on the ball and, approximately 420 feet from home plate, caught the ball over his back, then quickly sent it back in to prevent Larry Doby from advancing beyond third base,
The Giants ended up sweeping the Indians.
Kirk Gibson's home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A's takes the top spot simply because it was so improbable.
Gibson had two bad knees, but convinced Tommy Lasorda to let him pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth inning against the best reliever in baseball, Dennis Eckersley.
It is, simply put, the best case scenario of every boy's dreams: bottom of the ninth, two outs, down by one, runner on second, full count.
Gibson somehow gets his bat on the ball and, in essence, the series was over after just one game.