If Kentucky wins the NCAAs, you can count on a Yankee parade down Broadway this fall.
The last six times Kentucky has won the NCAA men’s basketball title, the Yankees have gone on to win the World Series.
The Wildcats have won seven titles overall, second only to UCLA’s 11 and by far the most of any team in this year’s Final Four. Kansas has taken three, Louisville two and Ohio State one.
Kentucky won its first championship in 1948, the year the Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Braves to win their last World Series.
Kentucky repeated in 1949, beating Oklahoma State in the final, under the tutelage of immortal coach Adolph Rupp, the “Baron of the Bluegrass.”
Rupp, fourth all-time with 876 victories, would go on to win in 1951 (against Kansas State) and 1958 (against Seattle) for a total of four championships.
Meanwhile the Yankees were winning five World Series in a row between 1949 and 1953 under another legendary leader, Casey Stengel. In 1958, the Yankees rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Milwaukee Braves.
It took Kentucky 20 years to return to the mountaintop, when coach Joe B. Hall’s Wildcats defeated Duke for the 1978 national championship. That fall, the Yankees rallied to knock off the Red Sox on Bucky Dent’s home run, then repeated against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rick Pitino, now the head coach at Louisville (which meets Kentucky in a Final Four intra-state rivalry on Saturday), coached the Wildcats to the NCAA title in 1996. Two years later, coach Tubby Smith guided Kentucky to its last championship, against Utah.
Meanwhile, Joe Torre piloted the Yankees to World Series wins in 1996 (vs. the Braves) and 1998 (vs. the Padres).
Of the other Final Four finalists, Kansas won its first championship in 1952, followed by a Yankee win over the Dodgers. Ohio State’s only title occurred in 1960, the year the Yankees lost the Series to Bill Mazeroski and the Pirates. And although the Yankees didn’t win the World Series following Louisville’s 1986 title run, the Mets did.
Kentucky is heavily favored to cut down the nets Monday night. And if they do, the Yankees can start planning a parade down Broadway
Cardinals mob David Freese after his 11th inning home run against the Rangers forced a Game 7.
Was it the greatest game ever? The best World Series game? The top post-season game in history.
Time will be the judge, but the Cardinals never-say-die 10-9 win that denied the Rangers their first World Championship joins a long list of great World Series Game 6 contests.
St. Louis became the first team in post-season history to overcome two-run deficits in the ninth and 10th inning to win. David Freese, who won the game with a home run in the 11th after his two-out, two-strike, two-run triple tied the game in the ninth, became the first player in post-season history to hit a pair of tying or winning hits in the ninth inning or later.
Meanwhile, twice Texas was within a strike of a championship, and lost. The Rangers appeared to have victory in their grasp when Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th, and lost.
And the headlines quickly changed from “My Gosh, Josh” to “Deep Freesej.”
Some are already calling it the best World Series game in history. And it may well be.
But there have been plenty of great World Series Game 6 contests. Before the Cardinals’ heroics, this would be the SportsLifer Top 10:
1975 — Red Sox 7, Reds 6, 12 innings, Fenway Park, Boston
Following three days of rain in New England, the World Series resumed with Cincinnati holding a 3-2 lead in games. The Reds took a 6-3 lead into the eighth inning before Boston pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo hit a two-out, three-run homer to tie the score. Dwight Evans saved the day for the Red Sox with a great catch on Joe Morgan’s bid for a game-winning hit in the 11th. Then Boston’s Carlton Fisk, right, wishing the ball fair, homered off the left-field foul pole leading off the 12th to send Boston into delirium.
1993 — Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6, Skydome, Toronto
Phillies closer Mitch Williams was brought in to protect a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth, but walked leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson and surrendered a one-out single to Paul Molitor. On a 2-2 count, Toronto’s Joe Carter sent a home run over the left field fence to give the Blue Jays the 8-6 win and their second consecutive World Championship. Carter joined Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski as the only players to end World Series with walk-off home runs.
1986 — Mets 6, Red Sox 5, 11 innings, Shea Stadium, New York
The Red Sox were one out (and later one strike) away from winning their first World Series since 1918 before the Mets rallied. Singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight produced a run, then Bob Stanley unleashed a wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Mookie Wilson then tapped a little dribbler down the first base line that went through the legs of Bill Buckner as Knight raced home with the winning run.
1991 — Twins 4, Braves 3, 11 innings, the Metrodome, Minneapolis
The Twins and Braves entered the bottom of the 11th inning tied at 3-3. Minnesota center-fielder Kirby Puckett, left, who earlier in the game made a great catch to rob Atlanta’s Ron Gant, crushed a 2-1 liner over the left-center field wall to send the Series to a seventh game. The image of Puckett rounding the bases, arms raised in triumph, was punctuated by CBS broadcaster Jack Buck saying “And we’ll see you tomorrow night!” The Twins then won Game 7, 1-0, in 10 innings behind Jack Morris.
1953 Yankees 4, Dodgers 3, Yankee Stadium, New York
Yankee second baseman Billy Martin, who had 12 hits and 8 RBIs while batting .500 in the series, knocked in Hank Bauer from second base with the game-winning run in the ninth inning to give the Bombers a record fifth straight World Championship. Brooklyn had rallied to tie the score in the top of the ninth on a two-run home run by Carl Furillo
2002 — Angels 6, Giants 5, Edison Field, Anaheim
Trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning, the Angels drew closer on Scott Spiezio’s three-run homer. Darin Erstad homered to lead off the eighth, then Troy Glaus belted a two-run double to give the Angels the win. Anaheim would go on to win Game 7, 4-1, for their only World Championship, denying the Giants their first title since moving to San Francisco from New York in 1958
. 1935 Tigers 4, Cubs 3, Navin Field, Detroit
With the score tied 3-3, the Cubs stranded Stan Hack on third base with nobody out in the top of the ninth. Detroit catcher Mickey Cochrane led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and scored the winning run two outs later on Goose Goslin’s base hit to right field. Detroit won its first World Series, while the Cubs continued their championship drought, which has now reached 104 years.
1977 — Yankees 8, Dodgers 4, Yankee Stadium, New York
The legend of Mr. October was born on a cool night in the Bronx. New York’s Reggie Jackson, below, joined Babe Ruth as the only players to hit three home runs in a World Series game in leading the Yankees to their first title in 15 years. Jackson hit a record five home runs, including four in his final four at bats, to earn World Series MVP honors.
1985 — Royals 2, Cardinals 1, Royals Stadium, Kansas City
Down 1-0 and three outs from elimination, the Royals get a break when umpire Don Denkinger called Jorge Orta safe on a disputed play at first base. After a single by Steve Balboni and a sacrifice, pinch-hitter Dan Iorg knocked in the tying and winning runs to force a Game 7. The Royals win 11-0 to win the Show Me State World Series and their only World Championship.
1958 — Yankees 4, Braves 3, 10 innings, County Stadium, Milwaukee
The Yankees, who trailed the Series 3-1 at one point, won Game 5 to send the festivities back to Milwaukee. A home run by Gil McDougald and run scoring single by Bill Skowron gave the Yankees a two-run lead in the top of the 10th, but Hank Aaron pulled the Braves within a run with an RBI single. With the potential tying and winning runs on base, Frank Torre lined out to McDougald at second base.
1992 – Blue Jays 4, Braves 3, 11 innings, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
Dave Winfield’s two-run doubles gives Toronto its first World Championship.
1971 — Orioles 3, Pirates 2, 10 innings, Memorial Stadium, Baltimore
Brooks Robinson’s sacrifice fly plates Frank Robinson with the winning run.
1956 — Dodgers 1, Yankees 0, 10 innings, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
The Dodgers Clem Labine and Yankees Bob Turley traded zeroes into extra innings before Jackie Robinson’s single over the head of New York left-fielder Enos Slaughter drove in Jim Gilliam.
1945 — Cubs 8, Tigers 7, 12 innings, Wrigley Field, Chicago
Stan Hack’s double drives home the winning run in the last World Series game the Cubs have won.
Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson are the only players in baseball history to hit three home runs in a World Series game.
No matter what he does the rest of this World Series and for the remainder of his career, Albert Pujols carved out his own special niche in baseball history with three home runs in the third game of the 2011 World Series.
The 31-year-old Pujols is a sure-fire, first ballot Hall of Famer once he retires, but unless he’s Babe Ruth (more on that in a moment) this World Series tour de force will be his signature moment.
More than a generation ago, on October 18, 1977, Reggie Jackson became Mr. October when homered three times on a cool night at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Jackson, like Pujols, homered off three different pitchers as he led the Yankees to their first World Championship in 15 years with an 8-4 win over the Dodgers.
That year, Jax set a record with five home runs in a single World Series, including four in his final four swings. Mr. October was named 1977 World Series MVP.
Fittingly, Babe Ruth is the only other player to hit three home runs in a World Series game. Ruth accomplished the feat twice, both times against the Cardinals.
Babe Does It Twice
But unlike Pujols or Jackson, Ruth had dozens of signature moments. His record-breaking 60th home run in 1927, his called shot in the 1932 World Series, and his three home run game with the Boston Braves in 1935 days before he retired are three that come to mind.
In Game Four of the 1926 World Series, Ruth hit three home runs at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis to lead the Yankees to a 10-5 victory. The Yanks won the next day and returned to New York with a 3-2 lead, but Hall of Fame right-hander Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander beat the Yankees 10-2 with a complete Game 6 effort.
In the decisive seventh game, Alexander came on in relief in the seventh inning to fan Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded. He walked Ruth, who had homered earlier in the game, with two outs in the ninth to put the tying run on base. But the Babe inexplicably tried to steal second base and was thrown out to end the Series with Bob Meusel on deck and Lou Gehrig in the hole.
Two years later, Ruth again hit three home runs in a World Series game against the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park. The Yankees won the game 7-3 to sweep the Series. Ruth hit .625 in the 1928 World Series with those three homers and four RBIs and batted .625.
As the late Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen might say: How about that?
A Brewers-Rangers matchup in the World Series would make rare history. Call it a fluke, a statistical oddity, a freak of nature, whatever you want. Call it strange, maybe even unbelievable. But since 1920, only once have two teams squared off in the Fall Classic, each one seeking a first World Championship.
The Brewers began as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, then moved to Milwaukee the following season and became the Brewers. The Brewers, aka Harvey’s Wallbangers, won the American League pennant in 1982 but lost a seven-game series to the Cardinals. They moved to the National League in 1998, but haven’t been back to the Series since 1982.
The Rangers began as the second rendition of the Washington Senators in 1961 (the original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins). They moved to Texas in 1972, and made their first World Series appearance last year, losing in five games to the Giants.
The last matchup between teams seeking their first championship occurred 31 years ago, when the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in six games for the first title in the 97 year history of the franchise. The Phillies were led by Series MVP Mike Schmidt, who homered twice and batted .381, and left-hander Steve Carlton who won a pair of games, including the clincher.
Up to that point, the Phillies had played in two World Series — losing to the Red Sox in 1915 and being swept by the Yankees in 1950.
The Royals were playing in their first World Series after knocking off the Yankees in three straight, highlighted by George Brett’s game-winning, three-run homer against Goose Gossage in the clincher.
In 1920, the Cleveland Indians won their first World Series, beating the Brooklyn Dodgers, five games to two. Brooklyn had played in one previous Series, losing to the Red Sox in 1916.
The highlights of the 1920 World Series came in the fourth game, which the Indians won, 8-1. But that wasn’t the story. In that game, Cleveland’s second baseman, Bill Wambsganss pulled off the only unassisted triple play in post-season history. That same day, the Indians Elmer Smith hit the first grand slam ever in the World Series.
The third instance of two teams seeking their first World Championship occurred way back in 1909, when the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers in seven games. The storyline that year was the matchup between Pittsburgh’s shortstop Hone Wagner and Detroit outfielder Ty Cobb. Wagner won that duel, batting .333 with six stolen bases, while Cobb managed to his just .231 with two steals.
In every other World Series played in the past 102 years, at least one of the combatants was a previous World Champion.
Gil McDougald of the Yankees slides back into first, too late to avoid double play, in play that turned the 1955 World Series and gave Brooklyn its only World Series.
Gil McDougald, the Yankees utility infielder who passed away earlier this week, was a major player in four of the most memorable moments in baseball history. McDougald played key roles in three of the most famous World Series games ever played, and was involved in one of the game’s most horrifying injuries
A versatile infielder who spent his entire 10-year career with the Yankees, McDougald played second, shortstop and third base and was a member of eight pennant winners, five World Champions and five American League All-Star teams.
Now about those moments.
1. In Game Seven of the 1955 World Series at Yankee Stadium, Billy Martin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a walk against Brooklyn’s Johnny Podres and McDougald followed with a bunt single. Yogi Berra then sliced a long drive into the left-field corner, but the Dodgers Sandy Amoros made a spectacular one-hand catch and fired to Gil Hodges to double up McDougald at first.
That was as close as the Yankees came to scoring. Despite three hits by McDougald, Podres pitched a 2-0 shutout, giving Brooklyn its only World Championship.
2. McDougald started at shortstop in Game Five of the 1956 World Series when New York’s Don Larsen matched up against Brooklyn’s Sal Maglie at Yankee Stadium. In the second inning of that game, the Dodgers Jackie Robinson hit a liner that caromed off third baseman Andy Carey right to McDougald, who threw out Robinson by a step.
That play helped preserve what became Larsen’s perfect game, the only no-hitter in World Series history.
3. On May 7, 1957, in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, McDougald smacked a line drive that hit young Indians southpaw Herb Score in the right eye. The injury caused Score, the American League strikeout leader his first two years, to miss the rest of the 1957 season. Score eventually regained his vision and returned to the mound late in the 1958 season, but was never the same pitcher after the injury. Arm troubles led to the premature end of his promising career.
While addressing reporters following the contest, McDougald said, “If Herb loses the sight in his eye, I’m going to quit the game.” McDougald, who remembered long afterward being “sick to my stomach” when Score collapsed, remained in touch with him over the years.
4. McDougald played his last major league game on October 13, 1960, Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. He entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch-runner for Dale Long, and scored on a ground ball by Yogi Berra to tie the game 9-9.
The Pirates won the game and the Series in the bottom of the ninth when Bill Mazeroski hit a leadoff, walkoff home run against New York’s Ralph Terry, one of the most legendary home runs ever.
McDougald decided to retire after the World Series when it appeared that the Yankees were going to leave him unprotected for the 1960 expansion draft.
He was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1951, playing third base and second base and hitting .306. McDougald connected for the first World Series grand slam by a rookie, a drive at the Polo Grounds off the New York Giants’ Larry Jansen that helped propel the Yankees to a Game 5 victory.
A timely hitter despite an unorthodox right-handed open stance he used early in his career, he twice hit better than .300 in a season and had a career batting average of .276 with 112 home runs.
I have a confession to make. The SportsLifer is a closet San Francisco Giants fan. There, it’s out. And I’m not just saying that either.
When I was in fifth grade, my family moved from the suburbs of New York to Daly City, California, outside of San Francisco. We knew the move was temporary. My father, an engineer, was assigned to install a data processing system at a Planter’s Peanuts packaging facility off highway 101, not far from Candlestick Park.
(Two weeks after the move, parts of the Bay Area, including Daly City, had snowfall for the first time in more than 30 years….but that’s a story for another blog. )
The year was 1962, and the Giants were in a fierce pennant race with their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants and Dodgers, of course, had left New York for the West Coast five years earlier.
The Giants beat the Dodgers in a three-game playoff that year to win the National League pennant and a trip to the World Series. There they faced the Yankees in a thrilling, seven-game classic that wasn’t decided until Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit a vicious line drive right at Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson with the tying and winning runs in scoring position to end the Series,
Left My Heart in San Francisco
Now I admit I’ve always been a Yankee fan, and was rooting for the Yanks to win that October afternoon at Candlestick Park. But I followed the Giants throughout that 1962 season, and through the years have watched them from afar, silently hoping they would one day win a championship for the beautiful city of San Francisco and for devote Giants fans everywhere. Tony Bennett would say that I left my heart in San Francisco.
I suppose I first got hooked on the Giants when my father took me to a game at windy Candlestick back in 1962. That day I saw Willie Mays hit a grand slam and Juan Marichal defeat the Cubs. In later years, I saw the Giants earn an Opening Day win at Candlestick against the defending NL champion Padres in 1985, and beat the Dodgers on a chilly May evening several years later.
And I’ve been to the new home of the Giants twice — PacBell, SBC, AT&T, whatever — and saw two historic milestones, Barry Bonds 500th career stolen base in 2003 (still the only player to hit 500 home runs and steal 500 bases) and Bonds 756th home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record in 2007.
I even saw Bonds hit a titanic three-run homer into the far reaches of the upper deck at Yankee Stadium in 2002. And watched Will Clark belt a pair of home runs as the Giants beat the Braves 23-8 at the old Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta.
Some of my best friends are Giants fans, including Mike, the winemaker, Glenn, a PR colleague, and Vince, a high school buddy. Heck I’m a huge fan of the New York Football Giants. That counts for something.
Oh yeah, almost forgot. I saw the Mets play in one of the original homes of the Giants, the Polo Grounds in New York, back in 1963. Bet I am one of the faithful few left who have seen three of the Giants home ballparks — the Polo Grounds, Candlestick and AT&T Park.
Add it all up, I qualify as a Giants fan. Way to go Giants. Wish I could have been there on Market Street for the parade.
The Texas Rangers will square off against the San Francisco Giants this week in one of the unlikeliest World Series pairings in baseball history.
Texas, which had never won a single playoff series prior to this year, knocked off the two teams with the best records in the American League — the Rays and the Yankees — to reach the World Series for the first time in their 50th season.
The Rangers weren’t always the Rangers. They started out as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961, and lost 100 games in each of their first four season. In 1972 they moved to Arlington, Texas, became the Texas Rangers, and promptly lost 100 games in each of their first two years. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961.
The Giants were heavy underdogs against the Phillies, who were attempting to become the first National League since the St. Louis Cardinals (1942-44) to win three straight pennants.
The Giants, who have called San Francisco home since 1958, won their last World Series in 1954, when they were the New York Giants playing in the old Polo Grounds. Only the Cubs (102 years and counting) and Indians (62 years and counting) have gone longer without a World Series title than the Giants, who lost the Series in 1962, 1989 and 2002.
There aren’t many people who picked a Rangers-Giants World Series in April…..and those who claim they did are probably lying. Either Texas or San Francisco will become one of the more surprising World Champions in baseball history.
Here are the SportsLifer’s 10 most unlikely World Champions of all time (in chronological order). With apologies to the 1944 St. Louis Browns, 1959 Chicago Go-Go Sox, the 1967 “Impossible Dream” Red Sox, and more recently the 2007 Rockies and 2008 Rays, who won pennants but failed to grab the ring.
1906 – The Hitless Wonders, the Chicago White Sox, defeated a Cubs team that won 116 games, still the National League record for a single season.
1914 — The Boston Braves, in last place on the Fourth of July, stormed to the NL pennant and then swept Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s in the World Series.
1924 – The Washington Senators (first in war, first in peace, last in the American League) won their first and only World Series, edging the Giants in a thrilling, seven-game Series.
1948 – The Cleveland Indians beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff, then held off the Boston Braves in six games.
1954 – The New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians, who won an AL record 111 games in the regular season, to stop the Yankees run of five straight championships.
1960 – The Pittsburgh Pirates, on the strength of Bill Mazeroski’s ninth-inning, walk-off home run, stunned the New York Yankees in seven games.
1969 – Perhaps the unlikeliest World Series winner of all, the Miracle New York Mets rise from ninth place the previous year to stun the Baltimore Orioles.
1991 — After finishing last in their respective divisions in 1990, the Twins and Braves rebounded and made the World Series. Minnesota beat Atlanta in a hard-fought, seven-game series.
2004 – The Red Sox ended 86 years of futility, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and then brushing aside the Cardinals in the World Series.
2005 – The Chicago White Sox win their first World Series since 1917, sweeping Houston in the Astros’ only World Series appearance.
Jack Morris hurled 10 innings of shutout ball to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
There’s an old adage that says pitching wins championships. Throughout the long history of baseball, that’s certainly proven correct.
And the best pitching generally wins out in championship situations, where 23 World Series have been decided by shutouts in the final game.
Put another way, more than one out of five World Championships has been decided by shutout, including six 1-0 games and seven 2-0 contests.
The very first World Series in 1903 finished in a shutout as the Boston Americans, behind Bill Dineen, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0.
The New York Giants won their first World Series via shutout, when legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson blanked the A’s for the third time in the 1905 World Series.
The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series by shutout as Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 in 1907. The Cubs repeated the feat in 1908 and haven’t won since.
Hall of Famers like Mathewson, Brown, Stan Coveleski of the Indians, Dizzy Dean, right, of the Cardinals and Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers all pitched Series-clinching shutouts.
Johnny Podres gave Brooklyn its first and only World Championship when he blanked the Yankees 2-0 in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series. Two years later, Lew Burdette gave Milwaukee its only title, stopping the Yankees 5-0 in the Bronx.
In the only decisive game to go into extra innings scoreless, the Jack Morris pitched the Minnesota Twins to a World Championship with a 1-0, 10-inning win against the Atlanta Braves in 1991.
Recently, both the Boston Red Sox in 2004 behind Kevin Lowe and the Chicago White Sox in 2005 behind Freddy Garcia ended near-century long title droughts with shutout wins to complete four-game sweeps.
Ironically, the New York Yankees have only four Series-clinching shutout wins amongst their record 27 World Championships — Spud Chandler in 1943, Johnny Kucks in 1956, Ralph Terry in 1962 and Andy Pettitte in 1998.
Here are the highlights:
1903 — Red Sox 3, Pirates 0, Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, Boston
Boston win Series, 5-3
Bill Dineen pitched his second shutout and earned his third victory as the Boston Americans won the final four games to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series ever played. Hall of Famer Cy Young won the other two games for Boston. With great pitching dominating the play, hitters obviously had a rough time at the plate. Boston batted .252 while Pittsburgh, despite the presence of National League batting champion Honus Wagner, hit .237.
1905 — New York Giants 2, Philadelphia A’s 0, Polo Grounds, New York
Giants win Series 4-1
New York’s Hall of Fame right-hander Christy Mathewson capped off perhaps the best remarkable pitching performance in World Series history when he shut out the Athletics for the third time to give the Giants their first championship. Mathewson pitched three shutouts and permitted only 14 hits in the span of six days. All five games were shutouts — New York’s Joe McGinnity and Philadelphia’s Chief Bender threw the others. A’s manager Connie Mack later said: “(Christy) Mathewson was the greatest pitcher who ever lived. He had knowledge, judgment, perfect control and form. It was wonderful to watch him pitch when he wasn’t pitching against you.”
1907 — Cubs 2, Tigers 0, Bennett Park, Detroit
Cubs win series, 4-0, one tie
Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown threw a seven-hitter to clinch a 2-0 triumph and a Cubs sweep of the Series (there was one tie game). The Cubs dominated the contest and made amends for their Series loss to the crosstown rival White Sox the previous year.
1908 — Cubs 2, Tigers 0, Bennett Park, Detroit
Cubs win series, 4-1
This time the Cubs’ Orval Overall pitched the clincher, allowing only three hits and striking out 10 batters to give Chicago back-to-back World Championships (they haven’t won since). Only 6,210 fans witnessed the finale in Detroit, the smallest crowd in Series history.
1909 — Pirates 8, Tigers 0, Bennett Park, Detroit
Pirates win series, 4-3
Pittsburgh’s Babe Adams won this third game of the Series and pitched his third six-hitter to lead the Pirates to victory in Game 7. Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner of Pittsburgh hit .333, with seven RBIs and six stolen bases. Appearing in what would be his last Series (although he would be an active player through 1928), Cobb batted only .231 but led Detroit with six RBIs.
1920 — Indians 3, Robins 0, Dunn Field, Cleveland
Cleveland win series, 5-2
Cleveland won its first World Series when Stan Coveleski pitched his third five-hitter of the Series and earned his third win, beating Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes. Indians pitchers held the Robins to just two runs in the final 43 innings of the Series.
1921 — Giants 1, Yankees 0 Polo Grounds, New York
Giants win series, 5-3
The Giants won the first Subway Series when Art Nehf held off Waite Hoyt and the Yankees 1-0 in a classic pitchers duel. Giants shortstop Dave Bancroft scored a first inning run which held up.
1934 — Cardinals 11, Tigers 0, Navin Field, Detroit
Cards win series, 4-3
The Cardinals exploded for seven runs in the third inning and rolled to an 11-0 victory over the Tigers behind Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean. Dizzy and brother Paul combined for 49 wins in the regular season (31 by Dizzy) and all four St. Louis victories in the World Series. In Game 7, a hard slide by the Cardinals Joe Medwick momentarily injured Tigers third baseman Marv Owen and incensed Detroit fans who threw empty bottles, fruit and other debris onto the field. In an effort to avoid a possible riot, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis stepped in and removed Medwick from the game.
1943 — Yankees 2, Cardinals 0, Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis
Yanks win series, 4-1
St. Louis collected 10 hits against Yankee ace Spud Chandler but was unable to score on any of them. The Bombers needed only a two-run homer from Bill Dickey in the sixth that sealed a 2-0 triumph and avenged a loss to the Cardinals the previous year. The win gave Yankee manager Joe McCarthy had his seventh (and final) World Series Championship.
1955 — Dodgers 2, Yankees 0, Yankee Stadium, New York
Dodgers win series, 4-3
Next year finally arrived in Brooklyn as young southpaw Johnny Podres pitched the Dodgers to a 2-0 win over the hated Yankees and their first World Championship. Podres, who surrendered eight hits and two walks, was helped by a spectacular catch by Sandy Amoros who somehow managed to snare Yogi Berra’s long drive down the left field line and turn it into a double play in the sixth inning. Gil Hodges knocked in both runs for the Dodgers, who had lost seven previous times in the World Series; five times to the Yankees. The Dodgers would play two more seasons in Brooklyn before moving west to Los Angeles.
1956 — Yankees 9, Dodgers 0, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
Yankees win series, 4-3
The Yankees got their revenge when sophomore Johnny Kucks pitched a three-hitter, outdueling Dodgers ace Don Newcombe, a 27-game winner in the regular season, in the seventh and deciding game. Yogi Berra hit a pair of two-run homers, Elston Howard a solo shot and Moose Skowron a grand slam to account for all the Yankee runs. The final three games of the Series were shutouts, as Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 and Brooklyn’s Clem Labine outlasted Bob Turley 1-0 in 10 innings in Game Six.
1957 — Braves 5, Yankees 0, Yankee Stadium, New York
Braves win series, 4-3
For the third straight year the World Series went seven games, and for the third straight year the championship was decided by a shutout. This time Milwaukee’s Lew Burdette stifled the Yankees for this third complete game victory and second shutout of the Series. Hank Aaron led the Braves with three home runs, seven RBIs and a .393 average.
1962 — Yankees 1, Giants 0, Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Yankees win series, 4-3
Yankee hurler Ralph Terry, who gave up the deciding home run to Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski in 1960, pitched a complete game, four-hitter to beat the Giants 1-0. With runners on second and third and two outs in the ninth, San Francisco slugger hit a vicious line drive that second baseman Bobby Richardson snared to end the Series. New York scored its only run in the fifth inning when Tony Kubek’s double play grounder plated Moose Skowron.
1965 — Dodgers 2, Twins 0, Metropolitan Stadium, Minnesota
Dodgers win series, 4-3
Pitching on two days rest, Los Angeles ace Sandy Koufax, left tamed Minnesota on three hits and struck out 10 Twins in a complete game shutout. The Dodgers scored their only runs in the fourth inning on a home run by Lou Johnson and a run scoring single by Wes Parker as they won the World Series for the second time in three years.
1966 — Orioles 1, Dodgers 0, Memorial Stadium, Baltimore
Orioles sweep, 4-0
Dave McNally pitched Baltimore’s third straight shutout as the Orioles limited the Dodgers to just two runs and a .142 batting average in the four-game sweep. Frank Robinson’s fourth-inning home run off Don Drysdale provided the only scoring. The Dodgers failed to score a single run over the final 33 1/3 innings of the Series.
1983 — Orioles 5, Phillies 0, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia
O’s win series, 4-1
Scott McGregor pitched a five-hitter and Eddie Murray knocked in three runs with a pair of homers to lead the Orioles to a World Series title in Game 5. Baltimore pitching limited Philadelphia slugger Mike Schmidt to just one hit in 20 at bats.
1985 — Royals 11, Cardinals 0, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Royals win series, 4-3
Proud papa Bret Saberhagen, who became a father the day before, pitched a five-hit shutout as the Royals overcame a 3-1 deficit against their cross-state rivals to win the final three games and their first World Series. George Brett went four-for-five to lead the Kansas City onslaught.
1991 — Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 innings), Metrodome, Minnesota
Minnesota wins series, 4-3
Twins right-hander Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings as Minnesota won its second World Championship in five years, beating John Smoltz and the upstart Braves 1-0. Morris outlasted Atlanta’s John Smoltz, who pitched seven shutout innings before being lifted in the eighth. Minnesota’s Dan Gladden led off the 10th inning with a double, was sacrificed to third and scored on a pinch-hit single by Gene Larkin. A Twin Cities sportswriter wrote that on that night, “[Morris] could have outlasted Methuselah.”
1995 — Braves 1, Indians 0, Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
Braves win series 4-2
Tom Glavine, right, and Mark Wohlers combined on a one-hitter and David Justice knocked in the only run with a home run in the sixth inning as the Braves won their third World Series title (first in Atlanta).
1998 — Yankees 3, Padres 0, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Yankees sweep series
Andy Pettitte pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and Mariano Rivera recorded the last four outs as the Yankees capped a dominant season with their 24th World Championship.
2003 — Marlins 2, Yankees 0, Yankee Stadium, New York
Marlins win series, 4-2
Josh Beckett, starting on three days rest for the first time in his young career, dominated the Yankees with a complete-game, five-hit shutout. His rival, Andy Pettitte, who had won 11 consecutive games following Yankees losses, gave New York a valiant effort, holding the Marlins to two runs (one earned) over seven innings.
2004 — Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0, Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Red Sox sweep series, 4-0
Boston’s Derek Lowe allowed only three hits over seven masterful innings and Keith Foulke finished up as Boston won its first World Series in 86 years. Johnny Damon gave Boston the only run it would need when he led off the game with a home run. Previously Lowe beat the Yankees in Game 7 as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 deficit to win the ALCS.
2005 — White Sox 1, Astros 0, Minute Maid Park, Houston
White Sox sweep series
Freddy Garcia pitched seven innings of four-hit ball and Bobby Jenks got the save as the White Sox completed a sweep of the Astros and won their first World Championship in 88 years. Chicago scored the only run of the game in the eighth inning off Houston closer Brad Lidge on a two-out single up the middle by Series MVP Jermaine Dye.
There was bedlam in Pittsburgh 50 years ago when Bill Mazeroski homered to beat the Yankees and win the World Series for the Pirates.
Fifty years ago this very day, Oct. 13, 1960, Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Maz achieved what every American kid dreams about — hitting a home run to win the seventh game of the World Series.
On a bright October afternoon, Mazeroski slugged a pitch from Yankee reliever Ralph Terry over the head of Yankee left fielder Yogi Berra and beyond the ivy wall at old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. It gave the Pirates a 10-9 win over New York in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series.
Maz’s home run, on the day of the third Kennedy-Nixon candidate debate, remains the only Series clinching Game 7 home run in history.
“When I hit (the home run) I thought it was just another hit to win a game,” Mazeroski recalled. “I didn’t think I’d be talking about it 50 years later.”
Terry summed it up perfectly when he said, “I don’t know what that pitch to Mazeroski was. All I know is that it was the wrong one.”
The implausible win made the Pirates a World Champion for the first time since 1925 and left the Yankees wondering what hit them.
For nearly 50 years, the broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series was believed to be lost forever. However it was recently discovered in a black and white, five-reel set encased in gray canisters in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar near San Francisco.
Crosby, who was a part owner of the Pirates, was superstitious and too nervous to watch the Series against the Yankees, so he went to Paris with his wife Kathryn and listed to the famous game on short wave radio.
Meanwhile, he hired a company to record the game in kinescope — an early version of DVR — filming off a television monitor. Graphics were simple and rarely used — there were no replays, no analysis, no trivia quizzes. Pittsburgh broadcaster Bob Prince called the first half of the game, and Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen the second half.
The MLB Network has acquired the rights to televise the game in December, and also plans to sell DVDs of the game.
Yankees Hit .338 — And Lose
The 1960 World Series was one of the most bizarre and exciting Fall Classics ever. The Yankees dominated the stats, hitting .338 as a team and outscoring Pirates 55-27. They won three games by scores of 16-3, 10-0 and 12-0.
Yet somehow the underdog Bucs found a way to force a seventh game. That afternoon the Pirates quickly jumped to a 4-0 lead, battering Yankee starter Bob Turley.
But then the Yanks came back on the strength of a three-run homer by Berra down the right field line in the sixth, and carried a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
Then the Pirates rallied. First a bad hop grounder by Bill Virdon hit Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek in the throat, preventing a double play. Then reliever Jim Coates failed to cover first base on a slow chopper by Roberto Clemente, allowing a run to score and extending the inning.
When Pittsburgh catcher Hal Smith slugged a three-run homer, the Pirates suddenly had a 9-7 lead. Mickey Mantle singled to drive in a run, then avoided a tag by first baseman Rocky Nelson as Gil McDougald, playing his final game, scored to tie the game at 9-9.
Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth for Pittsburgh. He took a ball from Terry, then hit the next pitch for the home run that rocked the Steel City and rolled the Yankees.
Mantle Wept Openly
In the Yankee clubhouse, Mantle wept openly. He was later quoted as saying that losing the 1960 series was the biggest disappointment of his career.
When Terry, right., sat dejectedly in his locker Coates came over to him and said: “I sure hate to see it happen to you, but you sure took me off the hook.” Terry just glared at his teammate.
Shortly after the Series ended, Stengel was involuntarily retired from the Yankees, because he was believed to be too old to manage. Stengel remarked that he had been fired for turning 70, and that he would “never make that mistake again.”
Mazeroski, below, one of the best fielding second baseman ever, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. Maz hit .260 and belted 138 home runs during his 17-year career. He batted .320 with five RBIs in the 1960 World Series, and also homered in Game One to spark a Pittsburgh victory.
Terry was on the mound in the ninth inning for another Game 7 two years later — against the Giants in 1962 at Candlestick Park. He pitched a complete game shutout and beat San Francisco 1-0 that time, getting Willie McCovey to line to Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson for the final out with the tying runs on base. Terry was 23-12 that season, and was named World Series MVP.
Personal Note — I was a fourth grader and already a Yankee fan when the 1960 World Series was played. For Game Seven, Sister Mary Gerard let us listen to bits of the game broadcast on our transistor radios. After school I rushed home to see the dramatic finale. And when Maz hit the home run, I cried, just like Mickey Mantle
Ford, a Hall of Famer, won a record 10 World Series games in his storied career, and once pitched 33 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, another Series record.
He holds the Yankee career record for victories with 236, and at .690 boasts the highest winning percentage in history for pitchers with more than 200 wins.
Ford, below right, was known as the Chairman of the Board.
Perhaps they ought to call Pettitte the King of the Hill.
When Pettitte knocked off the Minnesota Twins the other night in Game Two of the American League Divisional Series, he earned his 19th post-season win, a major league record.
Overall, Pettitte is 19-9 in the playoffs with a 3.87 ERA. Breaking it down, he’s 6-3 in the ALDS, 1-0 in the ALDS, 7-1 in the ALCS, 0-1 in the NLCS and 5-4 in the World Series.
Among Pettitte’s 19 wins are a 1-0 masterpiece against Atlanta’s John Smoltz, another big-game pitcher, in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series; a 3-0 win over the Padres that helped the Yankees sweep the Padres in 1998; and two wins over a Mariners team that earned him MVP honors in the 2001 ALCS. That Seattle team won an American League record 116 games during the regular season.
In 2003, Pettitte won the second game in all three playoff rounds after the Yankees lost the opener. And last year, he won the clincher in all three rounds as the Yankees won their 27th World Championship.
You’ve got to wonder if the Yankees might have avoided the worst playoff collapse in baseball history, losing a 3-0 lead to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS, if Pettitte wasn’t pitching for Houston that year.
Is Pettitte a Hall of Famer? That remains to be seen, but he certainly warrants strong consideration. On top of his post-season pedigree, Pettitte has a 240-138 record, and no pitcher with a career record 100 games over .500 has ever been denied entry into Cooperstown. A two-time 20-game winner, Pettitte has never finished a season under .500 in his 16-year career.
Pettitte’s admission that he used steroids won’t help his cause, but you can make a strong argument that the King of the Hill should be a Hall of Famer.