50 Greatest Moments in World Series History

Doug MeadCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2011

50 Greatest Moments in World Series History

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    With tight matchups currently playing themselves out in the ALCS and NLCS, the 2011 World Series is literally right around the corner.

    We will soon be regaled with stories of World Series past and heroic performances during key moments.

    Over the past 106 World Series matchups, baseball fans have been witness to some outstanding baseball—some of it by players who were expected to deliver greatness but also from players who became the unlikeliest of heroes.

    What will the 2011 World Series deliver?

    That is anyone's guess, but if it's anything like previous performances, it will no doubt be special.

    We are about to see a matchup between the Texas Rangers or Detroit Tigers against the Milwaukee Brewers or St. Louis Cardinals.

    But first, let's take a look at the top 50 greatest moments in World Series history.

    Some of the moments highlighted are individual plays, while some are just outstanding game performances.

50. 1920 World Series: Bill Wambsganss and the Cleveland Indians

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    In Game 5 of the 1920 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Brooklyn Robins, the game started out with two firsts—Indians outfielder Elmer Smith hit the first grand slam in World Series history, and Indians pitcher Jim Bagby added a three-run shot in the third inning. It was the first home run ever hit by a pitcher in World Series history.

    But things got really interesting in the fifth inning.

    Second baseman Bill Wambsganss—with a runner on first and second and no one out for the Robins—recorded the first ever unassisted triple play in World Series history.

    Wambsganss caught a line drive hit by Clarence Mitchell, stepped on second base to retire Pete Kilduff, and tagged Otto Miller coming from first base to complete the rarest of feats in baseball.

49. 1957 World Series: Eddie Matthews and the Milwaukee Braves

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    The Milwaukee Braves were facing a two games to one deficit when they faced the New York Yankees at County Stadium for Game 4 of the 1957 World Series.

    The Braves jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, thanks to home runs from Henry Aaron and Frank Torre.

    However, the Yankees battled back to tie the game in the ninth, when Yankees catcher Elston Howard hit a three-run home run off starter Warren Spahn to tie the game at 4-4.

    The Yankees scraped across another run in the top of the tenth off Spahn, and with Tommy Byrne pitching in the bottom of the tenth, the Braves were down to their final at-bat.

    Byrne hit the first batter with a pitch, and Yankees manager Casey Stengel replaced Byrne with reliever Bob Grim.

    After a bunt sacrifice moved pinch-runner Felix Mantilla to second, Johnny Logan drove a double to left, scoring Mantilla and tying the game at 5-5.

    In stepped Eddie Mathews, and he took a Grim offering and deposited it into the right field seats, giving the Braves a hard-earned 7-5 victory.

    The win knotted the series at two games apiece.

    The Braves would go on to defeat the Yankees in seven games, giving Henry Aaron his only World Series ring.

48. 1949 World Series: Tommy Henrich and the New York Yankees

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    During the 11-year career of New York Yankees right fielder Tommy Henrich, he was nicknamed "The Clutch."

    During the 1949 World Series, Henrich certainly lived up to his nickname.

    Henrich had already starred in several World Series for the Yankees, singling and scoring the go-ahead run in Game 1 of the '41 Series, and was also at the plate during Game 4 when Mickey Owens famously allowed a passed ball to give the Yankees a victory.

    Henrich starred in the '47 World Series as well, hitting .323.

    When Game 1 of the 1949 World Series got underway, it quickly became a pitcher's duel, as the Yankees' Allie Reynolds and the Brooklyn Dodgers' Don Newcombe threw nothing but goose eggs for the first eight innings.

    "The Clutch" led off the bottom of the ninth for the Yankees and blasted a Newcombe pitch for a home run. The shot gave the Yankees a 1-0 victory and gave Henrich the first walk-off home run in World Series history.

47. 2002 World Series: Anaheim Angels Game 6 Comeback

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    In 2002, the Anaheim Angels rode their rally monkey all the way to the American League pennant, and for the first time ever, the Angels were in the World Series.

    However, the San Francisco Giants proved to be formidable opponents.

    In Game 6, with the Giants holding a three games to two lead and a 5-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the seventh, the Giants were only eight outs away from a world championship.

    The Angels, however, called on the rally monkey one more time.

    Giants starter Russ Ortiz had pitched six brilliant innings, but after giving up singles to Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer with one out in the seventh, manager Dusty Baker gave Ortiz the hook.

    By the time the dust had settled, and the rally monkey had done its job, the Angels came all the way back to defeat the Giants 6-5.

    They would go on to win Game 7 and capture their first ever World Series championship.

46. 1965 World Series: Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers

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    In 1965, the Los Angeles Dodgers were playing the Minnesota Twins in the Fall Classic.

    It was the first time the Twins had played in the World Series since being known as the Washington Senators in 1933.

    The Twins won the first two games at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis before the Dodgers stormed back to win the next three at Dodger Stadium.

    Sandy Koufax threw a four-hit shutout in Game 5.

    The series went back to Minneapolis, where the Twins again won at home to force a Game 7.

    Dodgers manager Walter Allston made the decision to come back with Koufax on just two days' rest.

    Koufax did not disappoint, leading the Dodgers to a 2-0 victory with a brilliant three-hit complete game shutout, his second such game in four days.

45. 1909 World Series: Babe Grant

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    Babe Adams was a rookie pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909. When they won the National League pennant and moved on to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, manager Fred Clarke decided on a hunch that Babe Adams should start Game 1.

    Adams didn't let Clarke down, winning 4-1. Adams would also start and win Game 5 as well.

    Clarke decided once again to go with Adams in the decisive seventh game, and again, Adams made Clarke look like a genius.

    Adams threw a six-hit complete game shutout, as the Pirates captured their first-ever World Series championship.

44. 2003 World Series: Josh Beckett and the Florida Marlins

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    In 2003, Florida Marlins starter Josh Beckett was coming into his own as a pitcher in the Majors.

    In the World Series against the New York Yankees, Beckett was the hard luck loser of Game 3, pitching seven brilliant innings before tiring in the eighth.

    Beckett was given the ball once again to try and close it out for the Marlins in Game 6.

    This time, Beckett didn't tire, throwing a five-hit complete game shutout to give the Marlins a second World Series championship in their brief history.

43. 1969 World Series: Cleon Jones and the New York Mets

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    In 1969, the New York Mets were in the World Series against the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles, and had taken a surprising three games to one lead.

    After a three-run third inning, the Orioles and Dave McNally were cruising into the bottom of the sixth.

    With Cleon Jones at the plate, McNally appeared to throw a ball in the dirt right at Jones's feet that then careened into the Mets dugout.

    Jones claimed he was hit by the pitch. Manager Gil Hodges then came out of the dugout with the ball to show umpire Lou DiMuro that there was shoe polish on the ball.

    Jones had indeed been hit by the pitch. DiMuro agreed, awarding Jones first base.

    The Mets rallied with five runs after that pitch in the next three innings, giving them a 5-3 victory and their first-ever World Series championship.

    It was never actually clear whether or not the ball Hodges presented to DiMuro was even the same ball that McNally threw.

42. 1905 World Series: Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants

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    In 1905, the New York Giants were facing the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series.

    Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson gave a performance that went down in history as one of the greatest single individual performances in the World Series.

    Mathewson started the World Series by winning Game 1 with a complete game four-hit shutout. Three days later, Mathewson came back and again threw a four-hit complete game shutout.

    Just two days after Game 3, Mathewson came back again on one days' rest to throw Game 5.

    Mathewson threw his third straight shutout, this time a five-hitter, to complete the incredible feat of throwing three complete game shutouts in just five days.

41. 2004 World Series: Curt Schilling and the Boston Red Sox

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    The Boston Red Sox shocked the baseball world in 2004 by defeating the New York Yankees to become the first baseball team ever to rally from a 3-0 series deficit.

    They then faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2004 World Series.

    After taking Game 1, Boston's Curt Schilling was scheduled to pitch Game 2. However, Schilling had a torn tendon in his right ankle and was doubtful to pitch.

    The team doctor temporarily stitched the tendon, allowing Schilling to attempt the start.

    And start Schilling did.

    With blood seeping into his sock throughout his outing, Schilling was brilliant, allowing just four hits and one unearned run in his six innings.

    The Red Sox came away with a 6-2 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the World Series.

40. 2001 World Series: Scott Brosius and the New York Yankees

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    The 2001 World Series would see the home teams win the first four games—two by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark and two by the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

    With the series tied at two games apiece, Game 5 was once again at Yankee Stadium. However, the D-Backs were hanging on to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a brilliant outing by Miguel Batista.

    Manager Bob Brenly turned to closer Byung-Hyun Kim, who had given up the game-winning home run to Derek Jeter the night before.

    Jorge Posada doubled to start the inning, but Kim retired the next two batters he faced.

    With two outs and Posada on second, third baseman Scott Brosius turned on a Kim pitch and launched it into the left field seats, tying the game at 2-2 and giving Kim another blown opportunity on consecutive nights.

39. 2001 World Series: Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees

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    Prior to Scott Brosius's blast to tie Game 5, Jeter's blast occurred in the 10th inning of Game 4, giving the New York Yankees a 4-3 victory.

    Of course, Jeter's blast also gave him another nickname.

38. 1995 World Series: Tom Glavine and the Atlanta Braves

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    The Atlanta Braves were appearing in their third World Series in five years, having lost in both 1991 and 1993 to the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays.

    In 1995, they faced the Cleveland Indians and held a 3-2 edge heading into Game 6 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

    Tom Glavine, who had picked up the win for the Braves in Game 2, was scheduled to start once again.

    It was clear from the outset that Glavine brought his A-game, mowing down a powerful Indians lineup inning after inning.

    Glavine ended up allowing just one hit, a bloop single by catcher Tony Pena in the sixth.

    Mark Wohlers closed it out for a combined one-hitter, giving the Braves their first World Series championship since 1957, and only the third in franchise history.

37. 1929 World Series: 1929 Philadelphia A's Comeback in Game 4

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    In 1929, the Chicago Cubs were facing a two games to one deficit in the World Series against the Philadelphia A's but were ahead comfortably in Game 4.

    They led 8-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

    However, the famous "Mack Attack" occurred, aided by an error by Hack Wilson in the outfield, which allowed the A's to score 10 runs in the bottom of the frame.

    And the Cubs curse continued on.

36. 1947 World Series: Cookie Lavagetto and the Brooklyn Dodgers

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    The famous Cookie Game occurred in the 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 4.

    Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens not only had his no-hitter broken up by Dodgers pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto with two outs in the ninth, but Lavagetto's double to right field scored two runs.

    The hit helped the Yankees win 3-2. It was the first time in World Series history that a no-hit bid had been broken up with two hits in the ninth and a game-winner to boot.

35. 1962 World Series: Willie McCovey and the San Francisco Giants

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    In Game 7 of the 1962 World Series between the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants, Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry was throwing a gem. He had allowed just two hits in eight innings but was tiring in the ninth with the Yankees hanging on to a slim 1-0 lead.

    Pinch-hitter Matty Alou laid down a perfect drag bunt, reaching first base safely. Terry struck out the next two batters before Willie Mays hit a double down the right field line, with Alou stopping at third.

    Willie McCovey stepped to the plate with two outs and the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

    McCovey hit what he later said was the hardest ball he had ever hit. Second baseman Bobby Richardson was perfectly positioned, snaring the screaming line drive in his glove for the final out, giving the Yankees their 20th overall World Series victory.

    Underscored during the inning was the fact that right fielder Roger Maris played Mays's double in right field perfectly, getting the ball in quickly to cut-off man Richardson to prevent Alou from scoring on the play.

34. 1954 World Series: Willie Mays and the New York Giants

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    One of the most celebrated catches in postseason history occurred in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians.

    Center fielder Willie Mays made his incredible over the shoulder catch of a fly ball off the bat of Vic Wertz.

    The play itself seemed to deflate the heavily favored Indians, who had put together the best regular season record in recent memory.

    The Giants would go on to sweep the Indians in four straight games.

33. 1975 World Series: Dwight Evans and the Boston Red Sox

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    For three long days, it rained in Boston, temporarily postponing Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds.

    When the game was finally played, it became one of the most epic postseason games in history.

    While the ending of the game has become one of the most watched baseball videos in history, it was what happened one inning before that led to the famous Carlton Fisk home run.

    With Ken Griffey on first, Joe Morgan hit a long fly ball to right field. Right fielder Dwight Evans raced back, made an incredible catch, and then threw to first to double off Griffey.

    Great defense leads to good offense.

32. 1966 World Series: Willie Davis and the Los Angeles Dodgers

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    In Game 2 of the 1966 World Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers, two future Hall of Fame pitchers were dueling head-to-head—20-year-old Jim Palmer for the O's and 30-year-old Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers.

    The two traded zeroes for the first four innings, and then the Dodgers' defense completely unglued behind Koufax.

    Especially Willie Davis, who was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

    The inning started innocently enough. Boog Powell singled for the O's, then Paul Blair hit a routine fly ball to center. But Davis lost the ball in the sun and both runners were safe on the error.

    Then, catcher Andy Etchebarren hit another fly to center, but Davis bobbled the ball and dropped it. Powell scored on the error, and Davis rushed the throw to third base.

    The throw was high, and Blair scored on the throwing error, Davis's third of the inning.

    His three errors led the way to the O's 6-0 victory, and they would go on to sweep the Dodgers in four straight games.

    It would be the last game Koufax would ever pitch in his storied career.

31. 1941 World Series: Mickey Owen and the Brooklyn Dodgers

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    With two outs in the top of the ninth inning in Game 4 of the 1941 World Series, the Brooklyn Dodgers were poised to beat the New York Yankees.

    Holding on to a 4-3 lead, the Yankees were down to their last out.

    However, with Tommy Henrich at the plate, Hugh Casey threw a nasty curveball that fooled Henrich, who swung and missed for strike three, ending the game.

    But wait! Dodgers catcher Mickey Owen lets the ball get past, and Henrich races to first base, reaching safely.

    The play unglued the Dodgers, who then allowed four runs in the inning and lost 7-4.

    Ironically, Owen had set a major league record during the regular season by handling 508 fielding chances consecutively without an error.

30. 1957 World Series: Lew Burdette and the Milwaukee Braves

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    In 1957, the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees were locked in a tight battle in the World Series, and after six games, the Series was tied at three games apiece.

    Lew Burdette was called upon to start the decisive seventh game for the Braves on two days' rest.

    Burdette was outstanding, throwing a complete game seven-hit shutout, leading the Braves to only their second World Series championship in franchise history.

    It was Burdette's third win of the Series and his second consecutive shutout.

29. 1935 World Series: Goose Goslin and the Detroit Tigers

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    In 1935, the Detroit Tigers were in the World Series for the fifth time in franchise history, looking for that elusive championship that had escaped them in four previous trips.

    In Game 6, with the Tigers holding a three games to two edge over the Chicago Cubs, they came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 3-3.

    With one out, catcher Mickey Cochrane singled for the Tigers and moved to second on a ground-out.

    With two outs, Goose Goslin came to the plate and singled to right field, scoring Cochrane with the winning run and finally gave the Tigers a World Series championship.

28. 1977 World Series: Reggie Jackson and the New York Yankees

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    On Oct. 18, 1977, the New York Yankees were leading the Los Angeles Dodgers three games to two in the World Series.

    On this night, slugger Reggie Jackson earned the Yankees' fans respect and a new nickname.

    Mr. October's three home runs that night propelled the Yankees to an 8-4 victory and their first World Series victory in 15 seasons.

27. 1980 World Series: Tug McGraw and the Philadelphia Phillies

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    On Tuesday, Oct. 21, 1980 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Phillies were on the verge of doing something that had never been done in franchise history—wining a World Series championship.

    Reliever Tug McGraw was on the mound, facing Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals.

    McGraw struck Wilson out with the bases loaded, and Philly was the goat no longer.

26. 2004 World Series: Boston Red Sox Finally Break 86-Year-Old Curse

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    On Wednesday, October 27, 2004, Red Sox fans across New England hugged family members and friends, grandmothers and grandfathers.

    They had finally seen something they never thought they would see before they died.

    Red Sox fans longed to hear it. The Boston Red Sox are World Champions!

25. 1926 World Series: Babe Ruth Slide Attempt

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    Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth was known for a lot of things—his prodigious blasts, his ability to win the love of fans all over, and his outrageous personality.

    However, one thing Ruth was never really known for was being fleet of foot.

    But in Game 7 of the 1926 World Series between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, Ruth tried to become known for his base-stealing skills.

    It didn't quite work out.

24. 1924 World Series: Earl McNeely and the Washington Senators

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    Considered at the time one of the most dramatic World Series games ever played, the Washington Senators and New York Giants were tied at 3-3 heading into the 12th inning of the decisive seventh game.

    The Giants had failed to score in the top of the 12th, and the Senators came up to bat.

    With one out and runners on first and second, Earl McNeely hit a ground ball at third baseman Freddie Lindstrom.

    The ball took a bad hop, got by Lindstrom and scored the winning run for the Senators.

    The play essentially gave them their first and only World Series championship.

23. 1946 World Series: Johnny Pesky and the Boston Red Sox

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    One slight hesitation. That's what everyone in baseball was saying on Oct. 15, 1946.

    The Boston Red Sox were facing the St. Louis Cardinals in the decisive seventh game of the World Series. In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied at 3-3, Enos "Country" Slaughter singled to center field to start the inning.

    The Red Sox were able to record the next two outs, and Harry Walker stepped to the plate for the Cardinals.

    With Slaughter running on the pitch, Walker laced a pitch into left field, and Slaughter never stopped running.

    He scored on the play when relay man Johnny Pesky's throw was late to home plate.

    Pesky was blamed for hesitating before throwing home, and the video certainly appeared as if Pesky did indeed hesitate.

22. 1912 World Series: Fred Snodgrass and the New York Giants

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    New York Giants manager John McGraw garnered the nickname "Little Napolean" for the way he led his players and demanded the best out of them. He was known for berating and riding his players despite his small stature.

    However, despite a costly play that denied the Giants the chance to win the 1912 World Series, McGraw never called out the man responsible for the error—Fred Snodgrass.

    With the Series knotted at three games apiece, the Boston Red Sox were at the plate in the bottom of the tenth inning with the Giants leading, 2-1.

    Pinch-hitter Clyde Engle lifted a lazy fly ball that center fielder Fred Snodgrass inexplicably dropped, allowing Engle to reach base. The Red Sox capitalized, scoring the tying and winning runs to send the Giants home disappointed.

    In later years, McGraw never once blamed Snodgrass for the error, saying, "Often I have been asked what I did to Fred Snodgrass after he dropped that fly ball in the World Series of 1912...I will tell you exactly what I did: I raised his salary $1,000."

     

    Reference: http://books.google.com/books?id=FZRX7kCATa4C&pg=RA1-PA122&dq=fred-snodgrass+1912+book#v=onepage&q=fred-snodgrass%201912%20book&f=false

21. 2001 World Series: Luis Gonzalez and the Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Make no mistake about it—New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will go down in history as one of the most, if not the most, dominating pitchers in postseason history.

    With a career 0.70 ERA and 42 saves, Rivera was next to unhittable in the postseason.

    But for one night in 2001, Rivera became human.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks were trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning of the decisive seventh game of the 2001 World Series.

    With Rivera on the mound, it certainly looked like curtains for the D-Backs.

    Oh, but for one night...

20. 1968 World Series: Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers

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    In 1968, when the Detroit Tigers headed to the World Series to face the St. Louis Cardinals, everyone in baseball expected Tigers starter Denny McLain to be the dominant force for the Tigers.

    He had won 31 games in the regular season, but it was another starter who would prove to be the hero.

    Southpaw Mickey Lolich, who had a decent regular season of his own, winning 17 games with a 3.19 ERA, had won Games 2 and 5 for the Tigers.

    He came back on two days' rest to pitch the decisive seventh game.

    The problem was he was to face the Cardinals' Bob Gibson, who had famously won two previous seventh games in 1964 and 1967 and had been dominant in the '68 Series.

    He had already struck out 17 Tigers in Game 1 to set a modern World Series record.

    But it was Lolich who would be the hero on this day, pitching with guile and guts to lead the Tigers to their first World Series championship in 23 years.

19. 1995 World Series: David Justice and the Atlanta Braves

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    After Game 5 of the 1995 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, Braves outfielder David Justice got himself into a bit of hot water.

    He famously called out Braves fans for their lack of enthusiasm.

    Justice was being ripped for his statements before Game 6, but by the time the game was over, all was right with the world.

    Justice blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, which proved to be the only run of the game, and the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians to earn their third World Series championship in franchise history.

18. 1985 World Series: Don Denkinger vs. First Base Umpire

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    In the 1985 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, a blown call became the topic of discussion and changed the tide of the Series.

    Royals hitter Jorge Orta sent a routine bouncer to Cardinals first baseman Jack Clark. Clark tossed to reliever Todd Worrell, who tagged the bag ahead of Orta.

    But umpire Don Denkinger called Orta safe.

    Every replay angle indicated that Orta was indeed out, and a lengthy argument ensued on the field.

    No matter, play resumed, and the Royals would go on to score the tying and winning runs, capturing Game 6 and tying up the series at three games apiece.

    One bad call and one World Series championship taken away from the Cardinals.

    Thanks, Don.

17. 1970 World Series: Brooks Robinson's Defense

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    Known as "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson was already widely regarded as one of the best defensive third basemen ever to play the game by the time the 1970 World Series started.

    Playing the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson's play convinced everyone else who hadn't previously known about his defensive exploits that he was indeed the best, robbing several Reds hitters of sure hits throughout the Series.

16. 1932 World Series: Babe Ruth's Called Home Run

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    If slugger Babe Ruth's larger than life legacy wasn't already cemented by the time the 1932 World Series rolled around, he certainly added to it with his "called shot."

    Whether or not his home run blast in the fifth inning of Game 3 was called or not will forever be debated, as long as baseball is still being played.

15. 1955 World Series: Sandy Amoros and the Brooklyn Dodgers

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    In the sixth inning of Game 7 in the 1955 World Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, the Yankees were threatening but down 2-0.

    With runners on first and second and one out, Yogi Berra lifted a long fly ball to left field.

    Left fielder Sandy Amoros raced over to the line, reached out to snag the ball, fired back to the infield to double up Gil McDougald at first base and ended the Yankees threat.

    The Dodgers would go on to win the game and their first ever World Series championship in Brooklyn.

14. 1975 World Series: Bernie Carbo Delivers

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    When Bernie Carbo came up to pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, the Boston Red Sox were trailing the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 and down three games to two in the Series.

    Carbo had already contributed a pinch-hit home run in Game 3, and Sox fans were counting on Carbo to deliver once again.

    He did not disappoint.

13. 1984 World Series: Kirk Gibson and the Detroit Tigers

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    Until Game 5 of the 1984 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres, Padres reliever Goose Gossage had absolutely owned Tigers center fielder Kirk Gibson.

    However, after the at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, Gibson was $10 richer, and Gossage was the goat.

    Gibson had flashed ten fingers at manager Sparky Anderson, a sign he was betting $10 that Gossage would pitch to Gibson rather than intentionally walking him with first base open.

    Gibson was correct.

12. 1997 World Series: Edgar Renteria and the Florida Marlins

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    If only Cleveland Indians pitcher Charles Nagy was a half inch taller.

    That was the distance Florida Marlins shortstop Edgar Renteria required to achieve the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

    His hit gave the Marlins their first ever World Series championship.

    Maybe Nagy just wasn't a very good jumper.

11. 1986 World Series: Bill Buckner's Error

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    Was it really fair to blame Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner for the error that allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series for the New York Mets?

    No, quite a bit of bad baseball transpired before that particular play.

    But, it's always the final play that is looked at, fairly or unfairly.

10. 1996 World Series: Jim Leyritz and the New York Yankees

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    In Game 4 of the 1996 World Series between the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, the Yankees were down 6-0 heading into the sixth inning. They were also trailing in the series two games to one.

    The Yankees scored three runs in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit in half.

    In the top of the eighth, still trailing 6-3, Braves manager Bobby Cox called on closer Mark Wohlers to enter the game. Wohlers allowed singles to both Charlie Hayes and Darryl Strawberry.

    With one out and two runners on, Jim Leyritz stepped to the plate.

    Leyritz battled Wohlers throughout the at-bat, and on the seventh pitch drove a ball deep to left field for a three-run homer.

    The shot completed the Yankees' comeback and tied the game at 6-6.

    The Yankees would score two more runs in the top of the tenth to win 8-6.

9. 1954 World Series: Dusty Rhodes and the New York Giants

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    If not for the clutch pinch-hitting of Dusty Rhodes in crucial situations, he would hardly be remembered in terms of baseball greatness.

    However, greatness comes in many forms.

    In Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians, Rhodes cemented his legacy with a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.

    This led to a 5-2 victory for the Giants, who would go on to sweep the series in four games.

8. 1989 World Series: Loma Prieta Earthquake

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    For a few unnerving seconds, the start of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants became an afterthought.

    The Loma Prieta earthquake, registering 6.9 on the Richter scale, rocked the Bay Area and postponed the World Series for ten days.

    At that moment in time, life became far more important than a baseball game.

7. 1991 World Series: Kirby Puckett and the Minnesota Twins

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    In 1991, the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves engaged in what many have called the greatest World Series ever played.

    Twins center fielder certainly made sure of that with his incredible exploits in Game 6.

6. 1988 World Series: Kirk Gibson Pinch-Hits To History

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    When Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson limped to the plate in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against closer Dennis Eckersley and the Oakland A's, fans were stunned.

    Gibson could barely walk, with knees that had been battered and bruised throughout the season.

    However, for one brief shining moment, Gibson's injury woes were forgotten, and his one and only at-bat of the Series propelled the Dodgers to a five-game Series win.

5. 1993 World Series: Joe Carter and the Toronto Blue Jays

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    "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!"

    Those were the words uttered by Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheeks after Joe Carter's three-run home run catapulted the Blue Jays to an 8-6 victory in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.

    The hit gave the Jays their second straight World Series championship.

4. 1960 World Series: Bill Mazeroski and the Pittsburgh Pirates

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    The seventh and deciding game of the 1960 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees was a back-and-forth affair.

    The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 9-9.

    Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski, who had homered earlier in the game, was the leadoff hitter for the Bucs in the bottom of the inning.

    Mazeroski took Ralph Terry's second pitch and launched into the left field seats for a game-winning home run. It was the first walk-off home run ever hit in a seventh and deciding game of a World Series.

3. 1991 World Series: Jack Morris and the Minnesota Twins

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    Five one-run games, four extra-inning games, multiple walk-off hits—the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins was without a doubt the single greatest World Series ever played.

    And Jack Morris, the irascible pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, put forth one of the grittiest, gutsiest and greatest performances ever by a pitcher in postseason history.

2. 1975 World Series: Carlton Fisk and the Boston Red Sox

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    Earlier this year, MLB Network named the Carlton Fisk home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds the greatest moment in World Series history.

    I call it the second greatest moment.

1. 1956 World Series: Don Larsen and the New York Yankees

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    They call the unassisted triple play the hardest play in baseball. The perfect game is no doubt the second hardest achievement.

    On Oct. 8, 1956, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, that's exactly what New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen achieved.

    While Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds for the second no-hitter in postseason history, it wasn't a perfect game like Larsen's.

    Perfection deserves No. 1 status in my humble opinion.


    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.