There are plenty of baseball fans who would say that the last game of the 2016 World Series WAS the best World Series game ever. And they would have plenty of supporters. It was so incredible and amazing to watch that it should be able to stand on its own, without having to rank it as lesser or greater than other Fall Classic games.
Here is a look at the Cubs-Indians Game 7 as well as a look back at a few other World Series classics. Some of them you’ll remember. Others, you may have to ask your parents or grandparents about.
Cubs vs. Indians, Game 7, 2016
It HAD to be these two historically frustrated (and frustrating) franchises going head-to-head on the last day of the 2016 baseball season for this game to feel as epic as it did, even before the first pitch was thrown. But as the game unfolded, the momentum constantly shifted back and forth. A wild pitch by Cubs ace Jon Lester scored two. The nearly invincible Indians middle reliever Andrew Miller coughed up four hits and a few runs. An overworked Aroldis Chapman gave up a shocking, game-tying, two-run home run to the Indians’ usually slap-hitting Rajai Davis in the 8th inning, driving the crowd, and country, into hysterics. Only a rain delay after the bottom of the 9th could give both teams a chance to catch their breath. But those extra minutes seemed to breathe new life into the Cubs, as they put together a rally in the 10th to score two and hold on to win their first World Series in over 100 years.
Cardinals vs. Rangers, Game 6, 2011
The argument for why Game 6 of the 2011 World Series is the most compelling of all time lies in the box score. The score changes were as follows: 1-0, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4, 7-4, 7-5, 7-7, 9-7, 9-9, and then finally 10-9. Only the third inning featured no scoring. It was an exciting, tense and emotionally draining 11-inning affair for true baseball fans. This epic game unfolded with multiple offensive rallies, sloppy defensive play, six total home runs, questionable managerial decisions and late-inning heroics. Twice, the Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning their first championship in franchise history. But the Cardinals’ David Freese roped a game-tying, two-run triple in the bottom of the 9th, and Lance Berkman laced another game-tying clutch single into center in the 10th. Finally, Freese, again, capped it all off with a walk-off home run to center in the bottom of the 11th, cementing him in baseball lore forever.
Pirates vs. Yankees, Game 7, 1960
Part of what makes one game so great, beyond the game stats or on-the-field heroics, is when it’s part of a memorable World Series. That’s the case here. The Pirates won the Series in 1960 but were statistically dominated by the Yanks. The Yankees scored 55 runs, the Pirates 27. The Yankees had 27 extra-base hits and had a team batting average of .338. Pittsburg was shut out twice by a combined score of 22-0. No matter. After the Bucs blew an early 4-0 lead in Game 7, they erased a 7-4 deficit in the 8th and went up by two, only to have the Yankees tie it 9-9 in the 9th. Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the inning for the Pirates and sent the second pitch over the left-field wall. It was the first walk-off homer in Series history and the first time a Game 7 had ended on a homer.
Marlins vs. Yankees, Game 7, 2001
This Series featured the Old Guard versus the Upstarts. The Yankees were appearing in their 38th World Series; the Arizona Diamondbacks were a relatively new franchise and had been around only since 1998. But the new guys weren’t the sentimental favorite—because just a few weeks earlier, New York City had gone through the terrorist attack on 9/11, and having the Yankees in the World Series just seemed good for the country. Game 7 featured a matchup of Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens, both 20-game winners. Arizona went up 1-0 in the 6th inning, but the Yanks were up 2-1 as Arizona batted in the bottom of the 9th. The usually steady Mariano River made a rare throwing error that put two men on base. A double drove in the tying run and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Luis Gonzalez drove in the game-winning run with a little blooper over the heads of a drawn-in infield.
Reds vs. Red Sox, Game 6, 1975
The 1975 World Series features some of the best players of their era…and of all time. The Red Sox had Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant…and Carl Yastrzemski. The Reds’ roster featured Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Ken Griffey, Sr. and manager Sparky Anderson. After a three-day delay due to rain, Game 6 in Boston proved worth waiting for. Boston led 3-0 in the 1st inning, and then the Reds tied it in the 5th and were up 6-3 as the Sox came up in the bottom of the 8th. The tough, never-quit Sox promptly tied the game. The teams played scoreless innings in the 9th, 10th and 11th. With the game still tied, Carlton Fisk led off for Boston in the bottom of the 12th. He promptly proceeded to hit the second pitch long and high down the left-field line. Fisk seemingly willed it fair, jumping up and down as he watched the ball hit high off the left-field foul pole for a walk-off home run, setting up Game 7. Sadly, the only thing most fans know is Boston lost Game 7 and lost a memorable 1975 World Series.