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.
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.