Power Ranking the 25 Greatest World Series in MLB HistoryOctober 21, 2011
Power Ranking the 25 Greatest World Series in MLB History
The first World Series was played in 1903 and there have been this year's edition between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers is the 107th Series. There have been a number of outstanding World Series that have been filled with memorable moments throughout baseball's history.
Will this year's World Series have what it takes to join the classics that are on this list?
These are the greatest and most memorable World Series in the history of baseball and for one to be in the top 25, it needs to be something truly special.
25) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Oakland Athletics: 1988 World Series
There is one moment and one reason why the 1988 World Series is on this list. The series it self was rather uneventful other than what occurred in the bottom of the ninth inning during Game 1.
With the Dodgers down by one, manager Tommy Lasorda called on Kirk Gibson, who had been in the clubhouse receiving physical therapy earlier in the game.
Gibson stepped, or rather limped to the plate with two bad legs. Facing feared Athletics' closer Dennis Ecerksley, Gibson managed to rip a ball over the fences to win the game.
The Dodgers would make easy work of the Athletics, outscoring them 21-11 and winning the World Series in five games.
Photo Credit: Time
24) Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies: 1993 World Series
The 1993 World Series featured a few close games, but the reason that it is so well known is because of the last play of the Series.
There was an exciting Game 4 in the series as the Blue Jays squeaked out a 15-14 win over the Phillies when they came back to win by scoring six runs in the eight.
The Phillies were on the brink of elimination but managed to win Game 5. Both teams traveled to the Skydome for Game 6.
After a five run seventh inning, the Phillie had a one run lead entering the bottom of the ninth. It appeared as if they would force a Game 7. Then, the trouble began. Rickey Henderson walked and after a Devon White fly out, Paul Molitor singled.
Joe Carter came to bat against Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams. Down to his final strike, Carter drove a walk-off home run that won the World Series for the Blue Jays.
23) Florida Marlins vs. Cleveland Indians: 1997 World Series
In just their fifth season of existence, the Florida Marlins accomplished the feat of reaching the World Series. Their opponents in 1997 were the Cleveland Indians.
The Marlins certainly started things off on the right foot by winning Game 1 of the series. Cleveland then made easy work of the Marlins in Game 2.
Game 3 was a sloppy one.
Each team committed three errors and there were a total of 17 walks. The game entered the ninth tied at seven. In the top half of the inning, the Marlins scored seven times. Cleveland attempted to mount a comeback, but only managed to score four runs.
In Game 5, the Marlins had to cling to their lead as the Indians mounted a valiant comeback in the bottom of the ninth.
The series eventually reached a Game 7.
Cleveland was just two outs away from a World Series title. Instead, the Marlins scored on a sacrifice fly. The game continued and the Marlins won their first World Championship when Edgar Renteria hit a single in the bottom of the 11th.
22) Philadelphia Athletics vs. New York Giants: 1911 World Series
The 1911 World Series started with an outstanding pitchers dual. Christy Mathewson went up against Chief Bender. The Athletics squeaked out a two to one win over Mathewson and the New York Giants.
Game 2 was another good pitchers matchup. There were only nine hits total in each game.
Fred Baker hit a huge home run in Game 2 to give the Athletics the lead in the game. The Athletics took the game which tied the series up.
The next game was decided by one run. The Giants were up by one entering the ninth. Fred Baker hit another big home run, this time off of Christy Mathewson, to tie the game.
This homer along with his Game 2 heroics earned him the nickname "Home Run." The Athletics scored twice in the top of the 1th and held the Giants off in the bottom half of the inning to win the game.
Philadelphia won once again in Game 4 to put them within one game of the World Championship. However, the Giants would not go down easily.
The Athletics held a two run lead in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5. The Giants rallied back behind RBI base hits from pitcher Doc Crandall and left fielder Josh Devore. In the bottom of the tenth, the Giants would win the game on a Fred Merkle sacrifice fly.
Game 7 was a no contest as the Athletics defeated the Giants by a score of 13 to two to win the World Series crown.
21) New York Yankees vs. San Francisco Giants: 1962 World Series
The New York Yankees faced a loaded San Francisco Giants team in the 1962 World Series. The Giants roster included Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Don Larsen.
For Games 1 through 6 the Yankees and the Giants exchanged wins. During the fifth inning of Game Seven, Tony Kubek drove in the game's first run for the Yankees by grounding into a double play.
In the bottom of the ninth, Willie McCovey stepped to the plate with the Giants down to their final out. There were runners on second and third and McCovey had a chance to either tie the game or win the World Series.
On a 0-1 pitch, McCovey swung at an inside fastball from Yankees' starter Ralph Terry and hit what he said was the "hardest ball he ever hit". Had it been just a foot or two higher, the Giants would have been World Series Champions. Instead, Bobby Richardson snared the ball out of the air and the Yankees were World Champs.
Photo Credit: NY Times
20) Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles: 1979 World Series
After Game 4 of the 1979 World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates were trailing the Baltimore Orioles three games to one and were on the brink of elimination.
Baltimore took a lead in the fifth inning of Game 5 but the Pirates fought back to win 7-1. The Pirates had actually thrown Jim Rooker for this game because their Game 1 starter, Bruce Kison had been injured.
In Game 6, the Pirates, behind John Candelaria, shut out the Orioles. It would all come down to Game 7.
The Pirates held the Orioles to just one run in Game 7 and got a big two-run home run from Willie Stargell. They came back from the deficit that they faced earlier in the series and became the last team to win a Game 7 on the road.
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Pirates
19) Anaheim Angels vs. San Francisco Giants : 2002 World Series
The Anaheim Angels were looking for their first World Series title when they faced off against Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants in 2002.
The series opened with two one-run games, including a high-scoring 11-10 Angels win in Game 2.
Entering Game 5, the series was even, but the Giants came to play and won in a 16-4 blowout.
One of the more bizarre instances in World Series history also occurred in this game, when Dusty Baker's three-year old son ran to collect a bat as a play was going on and was scooped up by J.T. Snow.
Needing just one win to clinch the title, the Giants had a five run lead with just nine outs to go in Game 6. They blew the lead as Troy Glaus drove home the game winning run in the bottom of the eight.
With the Giants deflated, the Angels won Game 7 by a score of 4-1. Anaheim managed to overcome a series in which Bonds put on a monster performance. He went 8-17 with four home runs and 13 walks.
18) Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians: 1995 World Series
Game 1 of the 1995 World Series featured a fantastic pitching match-up which pitted Greg Maddux against Orel Hershisher. It lived up to the hype as the two teams combined for only five hits.
The next two games both were one run affairs as well. Game 3 went into extra innings and Carlos Baerga won the game with an RBI double.
Atlanta won again and took a three games to one lead into Game 5. Once again, Maddux was matched up with Hershisher and it was once again a one run game. This time however, the Indians came out on top.
Game 6 was also a pitchers dual. Tom Glavine was masterful on the mound. He shut the Indians out through eight innings. Mark Wohlers came on to close the series out for the Braves in the ninth.
17) St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals: 1985 World Series
An instate World Series adds emotion to an already momentous event. This is exactly what happened in the 1985 World Series.
The series started innocently enough with the Cardinals opening up a three game to one lead. Kansas City fought off elimination in Game 5.
Game 6 is when things began to get interesting. The Cardinals entered the bottom of the ninth with a one to nothing lead. Jorge Orta hit a ground ball to first base and Cardinals' first baseman Jack Clark flipped the ball to Todd Worrell.
Orta was clearly out, but umpire Don Denkinger missed the call. Later in the inning, Clark would drop a pop up hit by Steve Balboni, who would then take advantage of his second chance by collecting a single. Kansas City would score twice in the inning and win the game.
The Royals jumped out to an early lead in Game 7 and never let go. They won the "Battle of I-70."
Denkinger was once again involved in some controversy. Joaquín Andújar had two fits where he yelled at Denkinger about his strike zone before he was ejected.
Photo Credit: ESPN
16) Oakland Athletics vs. Cincinnati Reds: 1972 World Series
The first five games of the 1972 World Series were as close as they could get. Each was decided by one run.
Game 4 was won on a pinch hit single in the bottom of the ninth by Angel Mangual. The following game, the Reds got one run in the top of the ninth to win.
In Game 6, the Reds blew out the Athletics by a score of 8-1 to keep their World Series hopes alive.
Game 7 was another thriller. It was yet another one run affair. The Athletics would get the runs that won them the series on a sixth inning double off of the bat of catcher Gene Tenace.
Tenace spent the regular season as the Athletics' backup catcher, but he played because of an injury to Reggie Jackson. He hit home runs in each of his first two World Series at-bats and would have two more in the series. Tenace was named MVP.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
15) Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals: 2004 World Series
This World Series was not as exciting as most of the other occurrences of the event on this list but it deserves mention because of its importance.
The Boston Red Sox and their fans had waited 86 years to see a World Series title. After the team amazingly came down from a three games to none deficit over the New York Yankees in the ALCS, there was an excitement about the 2004 team.
With all of the momentum that the Red Sox had, there was no chance of the St. Louis Cardinals getting in their way. The Red Sox won Game 1 and never looked back. They outscored the Red Birds by 24-12 in the four games.
The Curse of the Bambino had finally been broken. This series was one of the most historically important events in Boston sports history.
14) St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees: 1964 World Series
There have been a number of memorable World Series matchups between the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. The 1964 Series did not disappoint.
Each team had a blowout victory in the beginning of the series. Game Three was much closer and the score was tied one-to-one entering the bottom of the ninth. Mickey Mantle launched a home run that won the game for the Yankees.
The Cardinals followed that up with a one run win in Game 4. Bob Gibson threw ten innings, striking out 13, in Game Five but he gave up a game tying home run in the bottom of the ninth. He was bailed out on a Tim McCarver home run in the top of the 10th.
After the Yankees won Game 6 in convincing fashion, it was all down to Game 7. Bob Gibson came to the mound for the Cardinals on two days rest. He struggled a bit, giving up a three run home run in the sixth and two solo shots in the ninth, but he pitched well enough to give the Cards the World Series Crown.
Photo Credit: STL Today
13) Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Washington Senators: 1925 World Series
The 1925 Washington Senators were led by the greatest pitcher of all-time, Walter "Big Train" Johnson. They jumped out to a three to one series lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates and did not seem to be looking back.
With Game 5 tied going into the seventh inning, the Pirates scored four runs over the next three frames to win the game.
The Pirates won once again in a tight, one-run Game 6. They had managed to tie the series up, but needed to face Johnson, who had already won two games in the World Series, in Game Seven.
Washington jumped out to a four run lead in the top of the first. The Pirates answered with three in the bottom of the third. The Senators got two runs back in the top half of the next inning.
It started to pour in the sixth inning and a thick fog was hanging around the stadium. The game continued in what where arguably the worst conditions ever for a World Series game.
The Pirates scored five more runs off of Johnson to comeback and win the game. Johnson gave up nine runs, five earned, on 15 hits in the game.
The real goat of the series was Roger Peckinpaugh. He was a good defensive shortstop and the 1925 AL MVP. However, he committed a World Series record eight errors in the 1925 Fall Classic.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
12) St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees: 1926 World Series
As great as the 1925 World Series had been, it was followed by another classic the next year. This match-up pitted the St. Louis Cardinals against the New York Yankees.
One of the most famous moments of baseball lore occurred during this series. An 11-year old boy, Johnny Sylvester had gotten ill and looked like he might pass away. It was his last request to have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. After an urgent telegraph was sent to St. Louis, the boy got a baseball signed by the entire Cardinals squad as well as another one signed by Ruth and his Yankees' teammates.
On the ball Ruth signed, there was a message. It said "I'll knock a homer for you on Wednesday." Ruth did just that when he hit a home run in Game Four to power the Yankees to a victory.
Each team would win one of the next two games to go to Game 7. Grover Alexander threw a complete game in the sixth game of the series.
The next day, the two teams matched up to decide who would win the title. With the Cardinals up one, manager Rogers Hornsby called on Alexander to close out the game.
There are rumors that go around that Alexander had celebrated a bit too hard after his victory the night before and came to the mound hungover. His teammates deny that.
Alexander got the Cardinals out of a bases loaded jam and closed out the last two innings of the World Series when Babe Ruth was thrown out trying to steal second to end the game.
11) New York Yankees vs. Milwaukee Braves: 1958 World Series
Milwaukee started out the 1958 World Series by winning Game 1 by one run and then proceeded to win two of the next three games to take a three to one series lead.
The Yankees, managed by the legendary Casey Stengel, refused to give in and shut out the Braves in Game 5 while scoring seven runs.
Game 6 was a tight match and ended up going into extra innings. The Yankees scored twice in the top half of the tenth inning.
However, the Braves were not going down without a fight. They scored one in the bottom of the tenth but the game ended on a line out when they had runners on the corners.
If they won Game 7, the Yankees would have been just the second team in MLB history to come back from a three games to one deficit in a seven game World Series.
The game pitted two aces against elite pitchers as the Yankees' Don Larson faced Lew Burdette. The game was tight and was tied at two going into the eight.
New York exploded with four runs including a three run home run from Bill Skowron. This was enough to give the Yankees the World Series Championship.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
10) New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers: 1947 World Series
History was made three times during the 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
This series marked the first time that six umpires were being used during the World Series. It was also the first World Series that was televised
More importantly, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player to participate in a World Series.
The Yankees jumped out to a quick two game lead in the series and the Dodgers responded by winning the next two games.
Game 4 is known as the "Cookie Game" because when Yankees' pitcher Bill Bevens was one out away from throwing a no-hitter, Cookie Lavagetto picked up the Dodgers only hit and drove in two runs to win the game. It should be noted that Bevens did have 10 walks in the game.
Both Game 6 and Game 7 were close. The series would be decided in its final game.
Brooklyn jumped out to an early two run lead in Game 7, but did not score after that. The Yankees would go on to win by three runs.
Photo Credit: PBS
9) New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers: 1956 World Series
Games 1 and 2 of the 1956 World Series were won by the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees responded by winning the next two games and tying the series up.
For Game 5, Don Larsen was on the mound for the New York Yankees. Everything seemed to be going right for Larsen on this day as he was pitching an outstanding game. Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series' history.
After such an deflating defeat, the Dodgers managed to rally together for Game 6 and come up with a 1-0 win in the tenth inning. The Dodgers started Clem Labine, who was a reliever for them during most of the year, and he managed to shut the Yankees out for all 10 innings.
The Dodgers did not have enough juice left for Game 7. The Yankees jumped on top of the Dodgers right from the start and beat them by a score of nine to zero.
8) Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Yankees: 1960 World Series
This series featured what is arguable the greatest postseason game ever played. Game 7 became an instant classic. The rest of the series did not live up to this level of excitement, but it was still an fantastic World Series.
The Pirates won the first game and then the Yankees exploded offensively in Game 2 and Game 3 and scored 16 runs and 10 runs respectively. Pittsburgh fought back and won the next two games, including a one run victory in Game Four.
Once again, the Yankees brought their bats with them. In Game 6, the Yankees hit double digits again as they scored 12 runs. This would set up an outstanding Game 7.
Early on, the Pirates jumped out to a four to nothing lead. By the end of the sixth inning, the Yankees were up one. The Yankees then scored two more in the eight to increase their lead. Pittsburgh responded by scoring five. In the top of the ninth the Yankees scored twice more to tie up the game.
Bill Mazeroski was the first batter to step to the plate against Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry. Mazeroski didn't wait long as he hit a walk-off home run to win the World Series on the second pitch that he saw.
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
7) Boston Red Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds: 1975 World Series
After a six to zero win by the Boston Red Sox in Game 1, the two teams played three straight one run games. In Game 5, the Reds won and push the Red Sox to the brink.
The Reds had a three run lead late in Game 6. The Red Sox need a three run eight inning to tie things up. A few hard fought innings later, Carlton Fisk stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 12th.
Facing Pat Darcy, Fisk hit a high fly ball down the left field line. It was going to clear the Green Monster, but it was not certain if it would stay fair. Standing at home plate, Fisk did his best to wave the ball fair and it worked.
Game 6 was certainly exciting and it was almost matched by the excitement of Game 7. The game was tied going into the ninth inning. Joe Morgan hit a bloop single in the top half of the inning that ended up driving in the game winning run.
Photo Credit: Mitchell and Ness
6) New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers: 1952 World Series
Four years before their classic in the 1956 World Series, the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers played another phenomenal World Series.
The Yankees had won the past three World Series entering the 1952 edition. In Game 1, Allie Reynolds lost to the Dodgers. Just a few days later, he shut out the Dodgers in Game 4 and the Yankees were powered by a Johnny Mize home run.
Game 5 provided even more excitement as the Dodgers won the game in the top of the eleventh inning after Duke Snider hit an RBI double. The following game was just as tight and the Yankees won a one run affair. Allie Reynolds picked up the save.
After just three innings of Game 7, Yankees' manager Casey Stengel pulled Eddie Lopat. He replaced him with Allie Reynolds who was making his four appearance of the series.
Reynolds pitched well and would go on to pick up the win as the Yankees won four to two after picking up one run in both the sixth and seventh innings.
Photo Credit: Baseball's Black History
5) Washington Senators vs. New York Giants: 1924 World Series
Game 1 of the 1924 World Series was an indication that the series would be an entertaining one. The Washington Senators tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. In the 12th, the Giants scored twice and then held off the Senators for the win.
This was just one of four games in the series to be decided by one run. Both Game 6 and Game 7 were also one run games.
In Game 7, the Senators tied the game in the eight inning on a ball that bounced over the head of Giants third baseman Fred Lindstrom.
In the 12th inning, the Senators scored the game's winning run after a ground ball from Earl McNealy took a lucky bounce for the Senators and once again bounced over Lindstrom's head.
Walter Johnson pitched four shutout innings in relief in Game 7, collecting his only win of the series. This would be the only World Series title that the legendary pitcher would win.
Photo Credit: Coffeyville Whirlwind
4) Boston Red Sox vs. New York Giants: 1912 World Series
Two of the greatest pitchers of the Dead-ball Era led their teams into the 1912 World Series. Both Smokey Joe Wood and Christy Mathewson were big reasons why each of their teams won over 100 games in the regular season.
The Red Sox took Game 1 and the game ended with both the potential tying and winning runs on base for the Giants.
After Game 2 was called as a six to six tie as a result of darkness, the same thing happened in Game 3 except this time it was the Red Sox who were on the losing end.
Two more pitchers duals followed these games and then the Giants one both Games Six and Seven with their backs against the wall.
This led to Game 8. Through nine innings, the game was tied at one. In the top of the 10th, Fred Merkle hit an RBI single to give the Giants the lead.
In the bottom of the 10th, Fred Snodgrass dropped an easy fly ball. Then, Fred Merkle, who make his famous mistake in the 1908 World Series, let a foul ball drop. The Red Sox then scored two runs to win the World Series.
During the series, Mathewson pitched 28.2 innings and had a 1.26 ERA. However, the Giants defense struggled and he went 0-2 because he allowed seven unearned runs.
3) Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees: 2001 World Series
The Arizona Diamondbacks opened up the 2001 World Series with two straight wins. The Yankees won Game 3.
In Game 4, the Diamondbacks entered the bottom of the ninth with a two run lead. They sent their closer, Byung-Hyun Kim to the mound. The Yankees scored twice on a Tino Martinez two run homer.
The game went into both extra innings and November. In the bottom of the tenth, Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run that earned him the nickname, "Mr. November."
Once again, the Diamondbacks too a two run lead into the bottom of the ninth. Kim blew his second consecutive game of the series. The Yankees won once again when Alfonso Soriano hit a walk-off hit in the 12th inning.
Arizona came back with anger in Game 6. The gave the Yankees a 15-2 thrashing. It would all come down to Game Seven.
The Yankees took a one run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. Needing just three more outs, the Yankees brought in Mariano Rivera, the best pitcher in postseason history. The Yankees thought that they had the title.
Following a Mark Grace single and a Rivera error, the Diamondbacks had two on with no outs. Jay Bell tried to bunt the runners over, but David Dellucci, who was pinch running for Grace, was thrown out at third.
Tony Womack then doubled to right to tie the game and putt the winning run on third base. Luis Gonzalez singled up the to end the World Series. The Diamondbacks found a way to beat Mariano Rivera in the playoffs.
2) Minnesota Twins vs. Atlanta Braves: 1991 World Series
Four different games in the 1991 World Series were won in the last inning.
Things started off well for the Minnesota Twins as they won Game 1 with ease. It would get much more difficult from there.
Game 2 was tied entering the bottom of the eight. The unheralded Scott Leius hit the game winning home run.
The excitement continued in Game 3 when the Atlanta Braves won the game in the bottom of the 12th on a walk-off single by Mark Lemke.
The walk-off magic would continue for the Braves in Game 4. Following a triple by Lemke, Shane Mack hit a fly ball and Lemke came running home. The ball beat Lemke, but he used a hook slide to get around the tag.
Atlanta won Game 5 in a blowout, but things got exciting again during Game Six.
The Braves tied up Game 6 in the top of the seventh inning. No one would score again until the bottom of the 11th inning. Kirby Puckett hit his famous walk-off home run to keep the Twins' championship hopes alive.
Game 7 was a classic and was arguable the greatest game in World Series history. The Twins called on Jack Morris to help them win it all. Both teams were scoreless through nine and the Twins decided to leave Morris in for the tenth. He shut down the Braves once again.
After a Dan Gladden single, Chuck Knoblauch bunted him over. Alejandro Pena then intentionally walked the next two batters. Gene Larkin hit a pinch hit walk-off single to win the World Series for the Twins.
1) New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox: 1986 World Series
Bruce Hurst was outstanding in Game 1 of the 1986 World Series. He shut out the New York Mets in eight innings and the Red Sox won one to nothing.
The Sox were dominant in Game 2 and they cruised to a nine to three win. The Mets then followed this with two straight wins to even the series at two.
In Game 5, Dwight Gooden struggled for the Mets and and Bruce Hurst pitched well once again. The Red Sox won and were one game away from breaking the Curse of the Bambino.
All of this is overlooked because of what happened in Game Six. The Mets were down a run and came back to tie the game on a Gary Carter sac fly in the bottom of the eight.
The game went to extra innings and the Red Sox scored twice in the top of the 10th. After Calvin Shiraldi retired the first two batters, the Red Sox were one out away from their first World Championship since 1918.
Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell both singled off of Shiraldi. He was left in by manager John McNamara and Ray Knight singled to bring in Carter. Stanley finally replaced Shiraldi with Bob Stanley.
With Mookie Wilson at the plate, Stanley threw a wild pitch that allowed Mitchell to score and moved Knight to second. Wilson worked it to a full count and fouled off two pitches. He hit a slow ground ball down the first base line.
The ball got through Bill Buckner's legs and the winning run scored. There was still Game 7, but the Red Sox were demoralized.
Even so, the Red Sox jumped out to a three run lead. The Mets tied it in the sixth and then scored three more in the seventh. Boston scored twice in the eight, but the Mets matched them in the bottom half of the inning.
The Game 6 comeback by the Mets is one of the greatest moments in baseball history.
Photo Credit: MLB