With only bad news coming out of Major League Baseball these days, it’s nice to reminisce about the glory days. Continue reading to learn about five Fall Classics that are the stuff of baseball legend.
Players and Owners disagreeing all the time and a regular-season on life support. These are dark days for Major League Baseball and its fans.
Baseball is the most storied and long-lasting sport in the United States. There’ve been so many unforgettable moments over the years, and it’s always nice to remember those moments. The World Series is the crescendo of those moments, and it’s been taking place every fall since 1903!
Let’s take a look back at five World Series’ that won’t be forgotten and exemplify why the national pastime is still great.
5. 1924 – New York Giants vs Washington Senators
The 1924 World Series was a historic moment for baseball and epitomized one of the greatest times to be a baseball fan. It saw the then New York Giants and hall of fame manager John McGraw face player/manger Bucky Harris’ Washington Senators.
President Calvin Coolidge opened the series by throwing out the first pitch in game 1.
The Giants took game 1, winning in twelve innings over Walter Johnson, and the Senators answered back in game 2 with a walk off double.
The Giants won game 3, 6-4 as the series turned to New York and Rosy Ryan’s fourth inning homer is the only World Series home run by a relief pitcher.
Washington tied it right back up with a 7-4 victory in game 4 as Goose Goslin hit his 2nd homer of this series. Despite a third Goose Goslin home run in game 5, the Senators fell 6-2 as Walter Johnson lost another start. An excellent start by Tom Zachary resulting in a Senators win that forced a deciding game 7.
The Senators had home field and rallied to tie the game 3-3 late, capitalizing on poor Giant fielding. Walter Johnson, who hadn’t started game 7, came in to pitch in the 9th. Johnson tossed 4 scoreless innings in relief and reached base in the bottom of the 12th as the Senators scored the winning run later in the inning and took the 1924 World Series.
The 1924 series was the only Fall Classic victory for Walter Johnson AKA “The Big Train” who is one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history and had won both the AL MVP and Triple Crown that same season.
A hotly contested series, neither team won by a wider margin than 4 runs and the 12 inning finish in game 7 is the longest game 7 by innings in MLB history.
4. 1960 – New York Yankees vs Pittsburgh Pirates
Major League Baseball ushered in the 60’s with one of the most epic World Series matchups in its history.
It was Danny Murtaugh’s Pittsburgh Pirates against the legendary Casey Stengel’s Yankees. Both teams finished with just about the same record in the regular season, with the Pirates having a 2 game edge on New York.
The first 2 games saw a split, but very different outcomes. Pittsburgh took game 1, 6-4 due to early offense and a late homer by hall of famer Bill Mazeroski, who would turn out to be the series hero.
Meanwhile in game 2 Mickey Mantle left the yard twice as the Yankees torched Pirates’ pitcher Bob Friend and won 16-3. Game 3 was the first game at New York and saw virtually the same result as the Yankees trounced the Pirates 10-0 and Mantle homered for a third time in the series.
All 3 of the Yankees’ wins in the series were by at least ten runs as they won game 6 12-0 on a shutout by pitcher Whitey Ford.
In the interim though, the Pirates won games 4 and 5 on the road. They took game 4, 3-2 and game 5, 5-2 on excellent starts by Vern Law and Harvey Haddix, respectively.
Then came game 7. It was Ralph Terry on the Yanks’ side against Harvey Haddix for the Pirates.
The Pirates went up early 4-0 and held that lead until they gave up 5 runs between the 5th and 6th innings, including a 3 run homer from Yogi Berra.
In the late innings, it was a slug-fest as the Pirates put up 5 in the bottom of the 8th following a 2 run Yankees top half. Going into the 9th the score was 9-7 Pirates.
Clutch small-ball hitting and great baserunning by Mickey Mantle got the Yankees 2 runs in the top of the 9th and a tie game heading into the bottom half.
With the game tied 9-9 in the bottom of the 9th of game 7, Pirates’ 2nd baseman Bill Mazeroski cracked a solo home run over the left-field wall. The series was over, the Pirates were victorious and Mazeroski was the hero.
Coming out of a decade when the Yankees seemed to win the pennant every year, the Pirates defied the odds with the greatest home run in MLB history and won an incredible victory for their franchise and city.
Interestingly, game 7 is also the only game in MLB postseason history with no strikeouts by either side.
3. 1986 – Boston Red Sox vs New York Mets
Everyone who’s a baseball fan knows the significance of 1986. On the Mets’ side it’s the thrill of victory and for the Red Sox, the agony and unimaginable defeat.
The Mets started the series down 2-0, won the next 2 featuring a 2 home run game from Gary Carter in game 4.
They then made an improbable comeback down 2 in the bottom of the 10th and crescendoed by Bill Buckner’s infamous error, allowing series MVP Ray Knight to score and the Mets to win 6-5.
The Red Sox went up 3-0 early in game 7, but the Mets put on an offensive showing in the late innings, featuring homers by Knight and Darryl Strawberry and won 8-5 as Jesse Orosco threw his glove in the air in jubilation after earning the save and securing the Mets their 2nd World Series victory. Truly an unforgettable series and one of the greatest New York sports stories ever.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they could’ve gone to the 11th with the game tied and a 3-2 series lead when Buckner made what is arguably the most infamous error in baseball history.
The Red Sox would have to wait another 18 years to break their long World Series drought as they broke the hearts of New Englanders everywhere. Buckner, who was an all-star and batting champion, would never get back to the World Series and tragically passed away in 2019.
1986 was a series that defined the madness of New York City in the 80’s and is something that every Mets fan cherishes whether or not they were alive to see it.
2. 2016 – Chicago Cubs vs Cleveland Indians
Going into the 2016 World Series everyone knew the storyline. It was the 2 teams with the longest respective World Series droughts in the league.
The pressure on the Cubs was much higher as they had been huge buyers in the offseason, finished with the best regular season record at 103 wins… and oh yeah, were trying to put an 108 year long curse to bed.
After a split of the first 2 games of the series, Cleveland took games 3 and 4 and were poised to send the Cubbies home heartbroken yet again.
That’s when the 2016 Cubs magic kicked in yet again. That team had refused to quit all season and with their backs against the wall, that only continued. Excellent starts by Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta in games 5 and 6 respectively and homers by 2016 NL MVP Kris Bryant in both those games got the series even for Chicago heading into game 7.
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was like manna from baseball heaven. The Cubs scored first on Dexter Fowler’s leadoff home run to go up 1-0. Cleveland tied it in the 3rd but an offensive showing of 5 runs between the 4th, 5th and 6th innings had the Cubs out in front 6-3 going into the bottom of the 8th.
In the bottom of the 8th with his team now down 6-4, facing the fireballing Aroldis Chapman with 2 outs and a man on second, Rajai Davis launched a game-tying 2 run homer into left and evened it up at 6.
Cubs fans could feel it again. 108 years of choking coming back to haunt them. This was the year the loveable losers’ fortunes changed, however.
Tied in the top of the 10th, series Miguel Montero and series MVP Ben Zobrist cashed in with RBI hits to put the Cubs up 8-6. In the bottom half, Rajai Davis delivered another RBI, this time driving in Brandon Guyer with 2 outs to make it 8-7. With the winning run on 1st base and 2 outs Michael Martinez hit a soft grounder to Bryant who fielded and fired to Anthony Rizzo at first, ending 108 years of suffering.
As he cheered for joy upon catching the final out, Rizzo tucked the ball in his back pocket, knowing how historic it was. Cubs fans everywhere rejoiced as their long long nightmare was over.
The Chicago Cubs were World Series champions for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was president.
1. 1955 – Brooklyn Dodgers vs New York Yankees
1950’s New York was the baseball capital of the world and nothing epitomized this more than the 1955 World Series.
There were so many hall of famers in this series you could have fielded a separate team with them.
The Dodgers, or “Dem Bums” had been through so much heartbreak and defeat over the years; yet their fans stayed loyal.
1955 was the year that all changed. Brooklyn fell in the first 2 games but bounced back in the next 2 as Roy Campanella hit home runs in consecutive games and Johnny Podres gave a solid game 3 performance. Brooklyn took game 5, 5-3 on 2 Duke Snider home runs, netting him 4 total for the series.
The Yankees won game 6 thanks to a great start by “The Chairman of the Board”, Whitey Ford.
In game 7 Brooklyn put up a run in both the 4th and 6th innings, and that was all they needed as Johnny Podres shut the Yankees out and the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first and only World Series in Brooklyn and the only World Series win of Jackie Robinson’s career.
After all the losing and coming up just short the Dodgers had been through, they finally won the Fall Classic for the borough of Brooklyn, and just a few years before they broke their fans’ hearts by moving to the west coast. It’s just impossible not to love that 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers team.
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