You have to go back nearly 60 years to find a Yankee debut like the one Giancarlo Stanton had in his first game in pinstripes. On April 19, 1960, the Yankees opened the season at Fenway Park with a 9-4 victory over the Red Sox.
That day, a guy named Roger Maris, an outfielder acquired from the Kansas City A’s in the off-season, batted lead-off for the Yankees that day and doubled.
Maris later hit a pair of of home runs and singled in another run. He finished with four hits, four RBIs and a 5-2-4-4 line.
The Rajah won the AL MVP in 1960, and lost the World Series in seven games to Bill Mazeroski and the Pirates. The following year Maris hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth’s record, won the MVP again, and helped the Yankees beat the Reds in five games in the World Series.
For the record, Stanton homered twice, doubled and drove in four runs to lead the Yankees to a 6-1 win over the Blue Jays in the opener. He finished 5-3-3-4 for the game.
There’s nothing like a seventh game in the World Series. It’s a game in a season, and a season in a game. Astros vs. Dodgers. One game. Winner take all.
Throughout baseball history, there have been 38 seventh games since the first World Series in 1903. Tonight marks the first World Series Game 7 ever at Dodger Stadium, and the first for the Dodgers since 1965, when they beat the Minnesota Twins on a three-hit shutout by Sandy Koufax (pictured above), his second complete game shutout in four days.
Houston is hoping to win its first World Series since the franchise began play as the Colt 45s in 1962. The Astros, then a National League entrant, were swept by the White Sox in their only previous World Series appearance in 2005.
Just last year, the Cubs snapped a 108-year drought when they beat the Indians 8-7 in 10 innings in a memorable Game 7. So now baseball fans are blessed with a second straight World Series Game 7 for the first time since 2002, when the Angels beat the Giants for their only World Championship.
That was one of just six walk-off wins in Game 7 overall.
The Red Sox beat the Giants in 1912 when some Giant misplays and Larry Gardner’s sacrifice fly against Christy Mathewson enabled Boston to rally for a 3-2, 10-inning win. (Technically that was Game 8, since Game 2 wound up in a 6-6, 11-inning tie.)
Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators won their only World Series in 1924, also against the Giants, on a bad hop single by Earl McNeely in the 12th.
In 1960, the Pirates edged the Yankees, 10-9, on a home run by Bill Mazeroski, pictured at right. That remains the only Game Seven in World Series history to end on a home run. Incredibly, not a single strikeout was registered in that contest,
In 1991, Jack Morris pitched a shutout and Gene Larkin drove in the only run with a single in the 10th inning as the Twins beat the Braves.
Six years later, Edgar Renteria’s single in the 11th gave the Florida Marlins a 3-2 win over the Indians — and the championship.
In 2001, as the nation recovered from the 9/11 attacks, the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in seven on a bloop, walk-off single by Luis Gonzalez off Marino Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Cardinals are Game 7 leaders
The St. Louis Cardinals have won eight seventh games (1926, 1931, 1934, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982 and 2011), a record. Overall the Cards are 8-3 in Game 7. The Yankees have also played in 11 World Series Game 7s, winning five, four against the Brooklyn Dodgers and one against the San Francisco Giants.
The Cards twice beat both the Yankees (1926, 1964) and the Red Sox (1946, 1967) in Game Seven showdowns. St. Louis Hall of Famer Bob Gibson started three seventh games in four seasons, beating the Yankees in 1964 and the Red Sox in 1967 before losing to the Tigers in 1968.
The Pirates have the best record at 5-0 (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979) in Game 7s, and the Giants are 0-4 (1912, 1924, 1962 and 2002).
Other Game 7 facts and figures that may interest only me:
- A total of 16 seventh games were staged between 1952 and 1979, nearly half of the all-time total of 38.
- Six seventh games occurred in the 60s; five apiece in the 50s and 70s.
- Between 1955 and 1958, the Yankees played four straight seventh games, exchanging wins with the Brooklyn Dodgers and then the Milwaukee Braves.
- All four of those World Series were won by the road teams, including the first and only championships for Brooklyn and Milwaukee, in 1955 and 1957.
- The Yankees avenged those losses in 1956 and 1958; they also beat the Dodgers in seven in 1947 and 1952.
- The last time the Cubs appeared in the World Series before last year, in 1945, they lost to the Tigers in Game 7.
- There were no seventh games between 1912 and 1924, the longest gap in baseball history.
- The Oakland A’s are the only team to win back-to-back Game 7s, in 1972 against the Reds and 1973 vs. the Mets.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers in the first World Series Game 7 in 1909.
- The National League has won 23 of 38 World Series Game 7s; the American League 15.
- Game on.
MORE GAME 7: New York Post columnist Mike Vaccaro ranks World Series Game 7s.
Was Cubs-Indians Game 7 the best game ever? Not so fast.
I do feel sometimes we tend to rush to judgement and instant gratification. For example, ESPN is already calling Game 7 the greatest game ever.
For Cub fans maybe.
But we need to bottle it for a bit, savor it, then enjoy it like a fine wine.
There have been plenty of great games throughout the last dozen decades of baseball history.
After all, there have been six walk-off Game 7 wins in baseball history alone, going back to 1912 and the Red Sox beating Christy Mathewson in extra innings all the way to Luis Gonzalez besting the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees in 2001.
The Bill Mazeroski home run in 1960 that gave the Pirates an improbable World Series win was unforgettable. Amazingly, not a single batter struck out in that contest.
Some other great games that weren’t necessarily Series clinchers include Pudge Fisk and the Red Sox in 1975, the Mets and Bill Buckner in 1986, Kirby Puckett and the Twins in 1991, and David Freese and the Cardinals beating the Rangers in 2011.
And don’t forget Don Larsen’s perfect game vs. Brooklyn in 1956. Only time it’s ever happened in a World Series.
Even though they weren’t true post-season games, Bobby Thomson’s home run against the Dodgers that helped the Giants win the pennant in 1951, and Bucky Dent’s Fenway blast that lifted the Yankees over the Red Sox in 1978 were certainly dramatic.
Maddon’s questionable moves
Congrats to the Cubs and their fans. Maybe it’s me, but Joe Maddon did all he could to hand the Series to the Tribe — from his needless use of Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 to lifting Kyle Hendricks early in Game 7 to the 3-2 safety squeeze in the ninth inning that backfired
The Cubs ultimately prevailed because they were the better team with superior talent, but the better manager, Terry Francona, was in the Cleveland dugout in this World Series.
They call it over-managing. In business terms, micro management. It’s the Whitey Herzog syndrome, in honor of the Kansas City manager, who made some questionable moves against the Yankees in the ALCS back in the 70s.
It will never be the same
Well now that the Cubs have won and broken the 108-year jinx things are bound to be different. There’s already talk of the next baseball dynasty.
However, consider this. After the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, they became just another successful franchise, lost in the shuffle of successful teams.
Just like the Sox, the Cubs have lost their lovable loser mojo.
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.
Edgar Renteria homers to give Giants a 3-1 win and a World Championship.
Edgar Renteria joined some mighty select company. His three-run home run off Texas Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee in the seventh inning snapped a scoreless tie and gave the Giants the runs they would need to win their first World Series since moving to San Francisco in 1958 — and their first title since the New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians in 1954.
The Colombian-born shortstop became just the fourth player in baseball history to have the game-winning RBI in two different World Series, joining Yankee immortals Lou Gehrig (1928, 1936), Joe DiMaggio (1939, 1949) and Yogi Berra (1950, 1956).
Wait, there’s more. Of that august quartet, Renteria is the only player to have a walk-off hit among his game-winners. Exactly 4,755 days earlier, in 1997, he lined a single up the middle to knock in the winning run in the 11th inning of the seventh game. Renteria was just 21 years old then, and his clutch hit led the Florida Marlins to their first World Championship with a 3-2 win over the Indians at Pro Player Park.
Renteria also made the final out of the 2004 World Series when he grounded back to the box, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and their first World Championship in 86 years.
Renteria’s 1997 World Series walk-off was one of 11 in baseball history:
1912 — Red Sox 3, Giants 2 (10 innings) at Fenway Park, Boston
Red Sox win series 4-3, with one tie
The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th inning, and seemed to have a championship well in hand with the great Christy Mathewson on the mound. But Giants center fielder Fred Snodgrass dropped a routine fly ball to start the home half of the 10th, and Larry Gardner later hit a deep sacrifice fly to Josh Devore in right, scoring Steve Yerkes with the winning run.
1924 Senators 4, over Giants 2 (12 innings) at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.
Senators win series, 4-3
The Senators rallied to tie the score with a pair of runs in the eighth, aided by a fielding error by the Giants 18-year-old third baseman Freddie Lindstrom. The stalemate continued until the 12th thanks to flawless, four-inning relief pitching from Washington immortal Walter Johnson. In that inning, the Giants committed two major fielding errors including a replay of the missed grounder to third and a dropped foul by catcher Hank Gowdy, who tripped over his own mask. The winning run scored when the Nats Earl McNeely hit a grounder that took a bad hop and bounced over the head of Giants third baseman Fred Lindstrom, scoring Muddy Ruel and giving Washington its first, last and only World Championship.
1927 Yankees 4, Pirates 3 at Yankee Stadium, New York
Yankees sweep, 4-0
One of the most renowned teams in baseball history, the 1927 Yankees, looking for a sweep and tied with the Pirates 3-3, loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of ninth. Pittsburgh relief pitcher John Miljus then struck out Lou Gehrig and Bob Meusel, but threw a wild pitch to Tony Lazzeri, scoring Earle Combs and ending the game. The Yankees had won their second championship title, the crowning achievement to a magnificent season. They also became the first team ever to sweep the National League in a World Series.
1929 A’s 3. Cubs 2 at Shibe Park, Philadelphia
A’s win series, 4-1
Facing the Chicago Cubs, the A’s trailed Game 5 before a two-run homer by Mule Haas over the right field wall tied the score 2-2 with one out in the ninth. Max Bishop then singled and with outs, following an intentional walk to Jimmie Foxx, Bing Miller doubled off the Shibe Park scoreboard to plate the winning run. It was Philadelphia’s first title since 1913, while Chicago, which lost an 8-0 lead in Game 4 before bowing 10-8, lost a heartbreaker. It was a sad portent of things to come for the Cubbies.
1935 Tigers 4, Cubs 3 at Navin Field, Detroit
Tigers win series, 4-2
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 102 years.
1953 Yankees 4, Dodgers 3, at Yankee Stadium, New York
Yanks win series, 4-2
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.
1960, Pirates 10, Yankees 9, at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh
Pirates win series, 4-3
With one of the most famous home runs in baseball history, Pittsburgh second baseman Bill Mazeroski vanquished the heavily-favored Yankees, who outscored the Pirates 55-27 in the seven-game series. The Yanks scored two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 9-9 before Maz led off the home half of the ninth. With a 1-0 count against New York reliever Ralph Terry, Mazeroski smashed his historic home run over the wall in left field to end the contest and give the Pirates their first championship in 35 years.
1991 — Twins 1, Braves 0 (10 innings), at the Metrodome, Minneapolis
Twins win series, 4-3
Game 7 matched Detroit native John Smoltz of Atlanta against his hometown hero and former Tiger Jack Morris, now Minnesota’s ace. Both the Twins and Braves blew chances to score in the late innings, and the two clubs battled scoreless into the bottom of the 10th. Dan Gladden, right, opened the Twins half of the inning with a double, was sacrificed to third, and after a pair of intentional walks pinch-hitter Gene Larkin singled to give Minnesota and Morris, who went the distance, the championship.
1993 — Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6, at Skydome, Toronto
Jays win Series, 4-2
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.
1997 — Marlins 3, Indians 2 (11 innings) Pro Player Park, Miami
Marlins win series, 4-3
Cleveland, seeking its first title in 49 years, took a 2-1 lead into the last of the ninth before the Marlins rallied to tie the score. In the 11th, Edgar Rentereia’s two-out single drove in Craig Counsell with the winning run. The celebration in Florida was short-lived; the Marlins roster was broken up and the following season the team finished 54-108.
2001 — Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2 Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix
Arizona wins series, 4-3
The Yankees, seeking their fourth straight World Championship, took a 2-1 lead into the last of the ninth with closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. Rivera had converted 23 straight postseason saves and had struck out the side in the eighth. However the Diamondbacks rallied, tying the score on a double by Tony Womack and then winning the Series when Luis Gonzalez, above left, connected for a shallow looping single to center that just cleared the infield and scored Jay Bell with the decisive run.
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
My first World Series memory: Yankees-Braves, Game 4, 1957, Milwaukee.
I’m a Yankee fan, from a long line of Yankee fans. My father is a Yankee fan. My family, friends, you got it. Yankee fans. Very happy Yankee fans right now.
My father saw Monte Pearson no-hit the Indians in 1938. Some 60 years later, my son, nephew, brother-in-law and I saw David Wells pitch a perfect game against the Twins.
My Dad saw some of the Yankees-Dodgers Subway Series matches of the 1950s. My son and I saw the great Yankee teams of the 1990s win three straight World Series.
I was too young to remember the climatic Yankee-Dodgers battles, when the teams met six times in a 10-year period between 1947 and 1956. Baseball memories for me began in 1957. One of the families in our neighborhood had just purchased a color TV (a real novelty in the 1950s) and I watched part of Game Four of the Yankees-Braves World Series in living color.
Excitement at Home
Later that day, back home, my father jumped off the coach and nearly hit his head on the ceiling when Elston Howard hit a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth to tie a game the Yankees eventually lost in extra innings.
The Yankees were practically a permanent fixture in the World Series throughout my years at St. Bernard’s grammar school. I still recall rushing home from school jin time to see Bill Mazeroski’s ninth-inning home run , right, give the Pirates a 10-9 win over the Yanks in Game Seven of the 1960 World Series. I cried that day and still cringe when thinking of Maz nearly 50 years later.
In grammar school, the nuns would occasionally let us listen to the World Series on our transistor radios. That sometimes caused problems, like when Sister Mary Consolata told us to turn off the radios as Mickey Mantle came up in a key situation against Bob Gibson and the Cardinals in 1964.
I was a sportswriter and columnist for the Fitchburg-Leominster Sentinel & Enterprise, an industrial area in north central Massachusetts, when the Yankees returned to glory, beating the Dodgers in both 1977 and 1978.
Living in Florida
When the Yankees returned to the World Series in 1981, I was living in Fort Lauderdale, at that time the spring training home of the Bombers. Working the sports desk at the Sun-Sentinel, I watched the Yankees fritter away a 2-0 lead and lose to the Dodgers in six games.
Fast forward 15 years to 1996, Joe Torre’s first year at the helm and the Yankees first World Championship in 18 years. The Yankees went on to four titles in five years and three in a row, from 1998 through 2000. I saw the Yankees beat the Padres in Game Two of the 1998 Series, and then win the clincher in 1999 against the Braves. I was in San Diego on a business trip when the Yankees closed out the Mets in the 2000 Subway Series.
Following disheartening losses to the Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Marlins in 2003, the Yankees are back where they belong — on top of the world.
And Yankee fans are loving it. In the words of Yankee general manager Brian Cashman: “You can call us anything you want, but you also have to call us world champions.”