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Exciting World Series Game Sixes

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 27, 2011

Here's one possible list -

Rk Tm Opp Date Series Gm# #Matching  
1 ATL TOR 1992-10-24     23  
2 CHC DET 1945-10-08     21  
3 BOS CIN 1975-10-21     18  
4 KCR STL 1985-10-26     17  
5 ATL MIN 1991-10-26     16  
6 BOS NYM 1986-10-25     15  
7 BAL PIT 1971-10-16     15  
8 CHW CIN 1919-10-07     15  
9 MLN NYY 1958-10-08     14  
10 BRO NYY 1956-10-09     14  
11 NYG NYY 1951-10-10     12  
12 CHC DET 1935-10-07     12  
13 BRO NYY 1952-10-06     11  
14 PHI TOR 1993-10-23     10  
15 BSN CLE 1948-10-11     10  
16 BRO NYY 1947-10-05     10  
17 DET STL 1934-10-08     10  
18 PIT WSH 1925-10-13     10  
19 ATL CLE 1995-10-28     9  
20 NYG NYY 1936-10-06     9  
21 NYG WSH 1924-10-09     9  
22 BOS CHC 1918-09-11     9  
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/27/2011.

Any here that you would not include? Any missing that should be included?

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 9:27 am and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

114 Responses to “Exciting World Series Game Sixes”

  1. Matching.....what exactly?

  2. oneblankspace Says:

    Remember that 1919 was a best 5-out-of-9 series, so it was not necessarily do-or-die-trying for the Sox.

    I still have not found a definition of Leverage Index.

  3. Kirby Puckett scoffs at your list.

  4. That's #5 on the list, no?

  5. #2 -

    Leverage Index

    Within a game, there are plays that are more pivotal than others. We attempt to quantify these plays with a stat called leverage index (LI). LI looks at the possible changes in win probability in a give situation and situations where dramatic swings in win probability are possible (runner on second late in a tie game) have higher LI's than situations where there can be no large change in win probability (late innings of a 12-run blowout).

    The stat is normalized so that on average the leverage is 1.00. In tense situations, the leverage is higher than 1.00 (up to about 10) and in low-tension situations the leverage is between 0 and 1.0.

  6. That top game was a total classic; it's too bad it ended on Otis Nixon bunting - I loved the call of that play, you could hear the incredulous question mark in the play-by-play on the "bunts?!?!". Now, a bunt was possibly the best chance for Nixon to reach base, but it seemed so odd. The tying run was on third base, and the Jays had burned through three possible long-guys in relief already. Nothing looks worse than a bunt that doesn't have a chance to be a hit. Bunts that end series - is this the only one ever?

    Now if the Jays could only get back to game 6 of the series again....

  7. When I go to the box scores, I find many discrepancies between the actual # of players with aLI => 1.25 and the tally listed in the chart above.

    For example, in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series (14th game listed), I count 16 players (11 batters, 5 pitchers) with aLI => 1.25 ... but the chart has a tally of 10.

    Am I missing something here?

  8. I guess I have a personal bias for Game 6 in 1980, Phillies-Royals since I was there The Vet. But that aside, while the final score was 4-1, K.C. loaded the bases with one out in the 9th when Pete Rose caught the famous foul pop that bounced out of Bob Boone's glove for the first out and the Tugger K'd Willie Wilson for the final out.

  9. @6, Aweb: "... a bunt was possibly the best chance for Nixon to reach base..."

    "Possibly" may be an understatement. In the years for which data are available, Otis Nixon batted .368 on all bunts (166 for 451), and that's counting the sac bunts as ABs.

    His career BA when not bunting was about .260.

    I don't recall where the corner fielders were playing, but if Nixon thought he had a chance to bunt for a hit, it was very likely a good choice. He just didn't bunt it well.

  10. @9 Those are interesting splits, although I'm never sure how to account for bunts foul that put players in worse counts. Failed bunts result in 0-1 and 0-2 counts a lot too, hurting his non-bunting (as final pitch) ABs. I'm sure that wouldn't make up the whole difference though. The corner OFers would always be playing in on Nixon, he was Otis Nixon. Despite his speed, he couldn't even get triples (only 27 in 5800 PAs) because he couldn't get the ball to the wall unless he got to hit it twice. 0.044 ISO - third worst ever for 5000 PAs.

    In that spot, with Joe Carter playing first, I suppose Nixon's chances were even better - I assume that's where he was trying to bunt it, just far enough off the line. It was just a terrible bunt, which in my opinion, looks worse than almost any other batting failure.

  11. The 1986 game sucked.

  12. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    In New England the 1975 Red Sox/Reds game would be #1 on this list of "most exciting", and comment #11 would be a major understatement (not that it wasn't exciting).

  13. None on the list since 1995. Maybe that will change tonight.

    Relative drought of game 6's. This will only be the 5th in the last 14 World Series.

    1927-1943 only had 6 in 17 years.

  14. I would include the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees
    Game 6 in 1955.

    Coming directly on the heels of Larsen's perfection, bullet Bob
    Turley and Clem Labine hooked up for a 10 inning 1-0 duel.

    Imagine the tension that day in Brooklyn as the Dodger's
    pulled it out to force a seventh game.

  15. Correction. Obviously I meant to say 1956 above.

    This gives me the opportunity to mention game
    in 1952.

    Any World Series game with homers by Mickey
    Mantle, Yogi Berra and Duke Snider should be
    on every list.

    Yankees won 3-2.

  16. I have vague recollections of that '92 series (I was 9 at the time and my 11-year-old brother was a Bravesfan), but few intimidate details remain. Why was Cone pulled relatively early from the game? It doesn't appear he was PH for...

  17. I see that both suggestions are already on the list.

    Of course.

  18. I never realized that the Jays were an out away from winning the Series in the ninth but didn't convert it (though won later on). Is there a list of these? Obviously the 1986 World Series and 1992 NLCS. 2001 can be added with an asterisk, since Rivera was a double-play grounder away from ending it. Same story for 1997.


  19. @10 Aweb.

    "In that spot, with Joe Carter playing first, I suppose Nixon's chances were even better ... "

    Exactly. I could never understand how Gaston could leave Olerud on the bench and his defense exposed, with the Jays poised to close out the game, both in the 9th and the 11th.

    Fortunately for Gaston, it all worked out, and he didn't have to answer any unpleasant, after-the-fact questions.

  20. @4, Ah, sorry Steve. I thought the first column listed the game winner and I didn't see MIN there.

  21. @14

    Going into that 10th inning, the Bums had been shut out on 3 hits (!) the previous 18 innings. Their fans must have thought all was lost at that point and then Jackie comes through.

  22. Richard Chester Says:


    The Dodgers were shut out in game 7 so they went the last 28 innings of that series with just one run scored.

  23. If Otis Nixon was such a good bunter, why the heck did they ever let him swing away? A career .368 hitter has a pretty good chance of getting into the HOF.

  24. Of the 12 most recent games on the list, four, or one-third, had as the pitcher credited with the win either Vic Raschi ('51 and '52) or Rick Aguilera ('86 and '91).

  25. David Frantz Says:

    Out of curiosity, why is the '75 Game 6 praised so much? Great game to be sure, but I'm wondering why it's attained an unofficial Best Game Ever status.

  26. I was surprised to not see 2002 listed. That game saw the late comeback by the Angels. I recall a later interview by a Giants player noting how they were already setting up the Giants' locker room for a championship celebration just before the rally took place.

  27. Tyler Kepner Says:

    @ 18 -- Great point. I would love to see a list of all the times a team was one out from clinching the WS and gave up the lead. Or, let's say, 3 outs from clinching. That would include 1985 STL, 1912 NYG, 1997 CLE and 2001 NYY, plus, of course, 1986 BOS. Any others? And are the '92 Jays the only team to recover and win anyway?

  28. @8
    As a Phillies fan myself, that's also exciting for me but I can see why it's not on the list. Catching that foul pop up was huge but 1) if he dropped it, no runners advance anyway and 2) they were up by three runs. Only a grand slam would have put them behind.

  29. That 1993 series is pretty much why this season's end didn't stink that much for me as a Phillies fan. This year they just lost a short series; that's it. That season, it was second time Fregosi had insisted on using a clearly finished-for-the-season rubber armed Mitch Williams in the WS. They should have been the ones in line to clinch that night instead of failing to even get the series to Game 7.

  30. @2,@5
    The math for leverage index is not obvious, but thankfully Tango has a lookup table handling most cases:

  31. @27.

    The 1960 Pirates were three outs away, blew it, and recovered to win anyway.

  32. @31

    Two outs away, and they should have had it. The first baseman blew an easy double play.

  33. @27.

    The 2002 Giants were 6 outs away, and blew it.

    The 1975 Reds were 4 outs away, blew it, and recovered to win.

    The 1953 Yankees were 2 outs away, blew it, and recovered to win.

    The 1946 Cardinals were 4 outs away, blew it, and recovered to win.

    The 1925 Senators were 4 outs away, and blew it.

    The 1924 Giants were 4 outs away, and blew it.

    The 1911 Athletics were 1 out away, blew it, and recovered to win.

  34. RE: 1992 Braves/Jays

    I never realized before that Nixon had actually tied the game with an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.

  35. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @25/ David Frantz -
    "Out of curiosity, why is the '75 Game 6 praised so much? Great game to be sure, but I'm wondering why it's attained an unofficial Best Game Ever status."

    an answer in ten points:
    - there was a rain delay of several days, building up anticipation and press chatter
    - the Reds were one game away from winning
    -there was a lot of talk about the "Big Red Machine" being one of the best teams ever, and how a WS win would be validation of that
    - it was played at Fenway Park
    - future HOFers such as Bench, Morgan, Perez, Sparky (Reds); Yaz, Fisk, Rice(Red Sox)
    - other non-HOF stars such as Rose, Foster, Evans, Tiant
    - great defensive plays: Foster threw out a runner out at the plate on a foul pop, D. Evans robbed Morgan of a HR on a spectacular jumping catch in RF
    - Bernie Carbo tied it up with a 3-run HR, after taking one of the worst swings you'd ever see
    -it went 12 innings and the tension was incredible
    - Carlton Fisk hit one of the most memorable HR's in baseball history, and his motioning the ball to stay fair was captured because a cameraman was spooked by a rat running around inside the Wall (where he was stationed) and didn't pan his camera to follow the ball, instead keeping it on Fisk {hope I got this story right}

    Ok, I'm cheating - two more:
    - it was near the height of World Series TV audiences, when there were only three major networks and no cable to dilute TV aidiences
    -Peter Gammons wrote a book that used it as the centerpiece

  36. @ 26: I agree seems like 2002 should have made the list.

  37. @34.

    That's what makes the bunt play so confounding. With tying run in scoring position and 2 outs, Nixon hits away in the 9th and succeeds !

    Same situation in the 11th, he bunts and fails.

  38. Wouldn't games where there are big, sudden comebacks late have a lower number of high leverage situations than a game that was close throughout? In the case of the 2002 Angels/Giants game SF was up 5-0 going into the bottom of the there were really only two innings (bottom of 7, 8th, top of 9) where the game was tight, not counting the first 4 innings that were scoreless. Probably not enough time to accumulate alot of high leverage situations.

  39. Barry @23-

    The success of a bunt is partly predicated on the surprise. If he bunted every single time, teams would play to defend against it. Obviously, it would vary from player to player, but it would be interesting for teams to consider the optimum use of a particular strategy. Did Nixon bunt to rarely? Too often? Not sure how it could be figured out but, it seems like a major advantage that can be gained if it can be calculated.

  40. David Frantz Says:


    Thanks for the explanation. I still don't know if I'd consider it the greatest game ever, but it was good to have some context for why people say so.

    I do think the '92 Game 6 is underrated, so I'm glad to see it get some attention here.

  41. Game 6 in 1991 between the Braves and the Twins was a great game. Kirby Puckett was an amazing player.

  42. It depends what you mean by exciting. 1977 and Reggie, Reggie, Reggie isn't listed.

  43. @38: I'm not sure about leverage,but with the Angels batting with 1 out in the 7th...

    Score was still 5-0. Going by the win probability box score they had a 97% chance of losing and a 3% chance of winning.

  44. @11 JoeC: The '86 game was wonderful - should be no. 1 on the list!

    @35 Lawrence Azrin: There are plenty of good reasons that the '75 game is so high on the list, but Peter Gammons using it in a book isn't one - it's just his opinion.

  45. oneblankspace Says:

    #35: It involved the Red Sawks, who had not made it to the World Series since 1967, and the Reds, who had not been there since 1972.

  46. Meanwhile, in live action ... Alexi Ogando is now the first pitcher ever with 4 games of WPA less than 0 in a single World Series, thanks to this evening's 2-batter, 2-walk outing.

  47. Did the author of this post know something the rest of us didn't when he woke up this morning? What a game!

  48. Thomas Court Says:


    Not so fast folks!!! Game tied.

  49. Feliz had allowed a total of 2 runs in his prior 17 postseason appearances (6 hits in 17.2 IP). He hadn't allowed a hit in his last 6 games this postseason.

    "You can't predict baseball!"

  50. Lance Berkman has the 11th 4-run game in WS history, and the first to do so when his team scored 7 runs or fewer.

  51. Rangers have now taken a lead for the 5th time -- wonder what the record is on that? Maybe the Mazeroski game?

  52. I was way off (@51) on the Maz game; his HR was just the 3rd time the Pirates went ahead in that game.

  53. I'm pulling for the Rangers of course, but I really don't want this series to end. It's been very exciting.

  54. I agree Timmy Pee

    Has there ever been a year where a closer got a blown save and a win to win a WS?

  55. Toronto's 15-14 win in 1993 game 4 also saw them take a lead just 3 times.

    Five leads is going to be tough to beat. Anyone?

  56. @55 St. Louis is coming back Jon.

  57. @56 -- Good call!

    With apologies to Texas fans -- I'm not ready for the season to end just yet!

  58. Wow, this game 6 certainly belongs on the list of exciting game sixes.

  59. Title of the original post here has become extraordinarily apt.

  60. Thomas Court Says:

    I suspect this game will rank high on the list from this post.

  61. Steve's got a post up on the rarity of a postseason Game 6 2-out tying RBI in the 9th:

    Meanwhile, here's a link to all previous postseason 2-out tying RBI by the home team in the 9th inning or later. Tonight is the first time it's happened twice in one game.

  62. eyeHATEbonds Says:

    Wow! i think tonight's game 6 is pretty epic in itself.Gotta be one of the(if not,THE)best game six I have ever seen personally

  63. Berkman's the 6th with 4+ Runs and 3+ RBI in a WS game:
    Albert was the 5th a few nights ago...

  64. Big fly by Mr. Freese!

  65. That intentional walk to Albert Pujols was such a bad idea. Wow. I couldn't believe it. If it is a tie game, sure, but putting on the winning run with the hottest hitter on the Cards coming up with a platoon advantage (Berkman hits better from the left side)? I don't understand it.

  66. So 2011 definitely makes this list.

  67. Might want to run that list again.

  68. The game 7 pitcher usage will be verrrrrrry interesting.

  69. Freese: Highest full-game Win Probability Added in any World Series game ever, by a wide margin.

  70. Lots of moves to chew over from this game. At least it was decided in a clean fashion.

  71. Thomas Court Says:

    What a finish... the end of the game helped erase the early sloppiness. I hope game seven tomorrow (later today) is half as exciting.

  72. ~30 players by my count....

  73. @70, Birtelcom -- By a wide margin over Gibson '88, who was around 0.86 as I recall? And how do you get the number so fast?

  74. @Birtelcom

    Can't be THAT wide of a margin, as Berkman was pretty close tonight!

  75. @ 49
    Yeah and he wouldnt have allowed any tonight had Cruz not played that line drive like a moron

  76. Rangers are just the 4th to lose a WS game with 15 hits. The '82 Cards were the last to do it, along with the '79 Pirates and '47 Yankees:

  77. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Holy crap, I had a coronary, I think.

  78. JA @74,

    Fangraphs was doing a running Win Probability chart:

  79. I think tonight has to be the new record. Wow! What an amazing game. I was wondering, is there anyway of knowing if a team has ever been down to their last strike TWICE and not lost the World Series?

  80. Wow. Rangers were within one strike twice.

  81. As an aside to leverage, the Cards faced 14 pitches that could have ended it in the 9th and16 pitches that could have ended it in the 10th. The '86 Mets faced 13 in the tenth inning of game 6.

  82. Birtelcom, thanks for the link. And yeah, I guess a margin of .083 qualifies as a wide margin (Freese .953, Gibson .870, only 3 others above .8).

  83. I'm using Fangraphs for instant WPA calculations -- Fangraphs' instant WPA numbers are usually very close (though not exactly the same) to B-Ref's final numbers. Fangraphs has Freese at .953 for the game. And Berkman at .817. And Josh Hamilton at .539 -- B-Ref will probably show that as second or third all-time for a losing team.

  84. @84 -- And in the #1 WPA in a losing WS game (L.Walker 2004 game 1), most of the value came from a 9th-inning dropped fly ball that scored the tying run. (Manny's 2nd error of the game....)

  85. Actually, Freese seems to have set the WPA record just for hitters. B-Ref has one pitcher with a higher Pitcher WPA in a World Series game: a kid pitcher named Babe Ruth had a 1.084 WPA in Game 2 of the 1916 Series.

    Maybe Freese can top that tomorrow.

  86. So, Texas took a lead 5 different times, and lost. The Cards led in the 1st, but never again until the winning blow.

    Suddenly I remember that the Cardinals have trailed a World Series by 3 games to 2 on 5 prior occasions, and came back to win it 4 times.

  87. Freese now has 3 of the top 11 batter WPA games this postseason. He had a .375 in the DS and a .313 in the CS.

    2nd highest WPA this postseason was R.Howard's .420, less than half of Freese tonight.

    Good night, gang!

  88. Looking at the Fangraphs chart, I'm counting 17 players with average leverage indexes over 2 for the game (plus Furcal at 1.99), matching the highest number for a WS game in Steve blog entry from Tuesday.

  89. I ate Chinese tonight right before the game, and my fortune read, "There will be excitement in your immediate future."

    Plus my lucky numbers were 4-1-7, which is not far from perhaps the most famous number in baseball.

  90. Either way, I think game 7 will be anticlimactic. I think it will be decided before Inning 4, since both sides have went the distance and are close to exhaustion.

    St.Louis does have the edge, since they still have their ace and the bullpen was more or less intect, while Texas now no longer has any reliable closer.

  91. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Besides the Cardinals having Carpenter, what's the health situation on Napoli and Cruz?

  92. Napoli will be back, Cruz doubtful.

    However it was Cruz who lost the game and probably the series for the Rangers, so just as well.

  93. Thomas Court Says:

    OK, I give up...

    how is 4-1-7 not far from the most famous number in baseball?

  94. 94) Babe Ruth.

  95. Up until about September I was thinking what a boring season this was. Offense is down and all the races looked to be wrapped up. About the only thing I was looking forward to was a Yankees/Red Sox series and some drama there. What a treat this last 8 weeks have been, and it's going to culminate with a game 7. I make a prediction that the Rangers win tonight because I like their mental toughness and the fact that it's going to be hard for Carpenter to keep the entire Texas offense down, the Rangers always have one guy that's hot at the plate.

  96. The Original Jimbo Says:

    I think the Rangers are done. Game 6 broke them.

  97. In the "What are the Odds?" category (such as, "What are the odds that this thread could go so long without someone else mentioning this?") --Hard-luck Atlanta lefty Charlie Leibrandt was the losing pitcher in two consecutive World Serious Game 6 tilts (1991 & 1992), each by identical scores (4-3) and each decided in the 11th inning.

  98. @90: If you're talking about 714, it's been eclipsed in both quantity and fame by 755 and 762.

    @91: The Rangers don't have a reliable closer? Feliz is at least as reliable as Motte, who's also blown saves.

  99. @96: totally agreed! I haven't caught a damn bit of the Series, though, because of my work schedule- f MLB YOU SUCK SUCK SUUUUUUUCK FING NIGHT STARTS hullo?! why not have the 'flex'ability to move Game SEVEN to SATURDAY and make it a DAY GAME..........DUHHHHHH.
    I will miss tomorrow's (now today's, for you folks) game, also. Yaaaay me.
    Thanks, MLB, scratch your collective heads, at the continued poor ratings, while NFL fans feast, yet again this weekend, as they do every weekend, on day-game showdowns.
    Sorry that this comment is so hillbilly in syntax,etc, but I'd swear that the baseball 'brain'trust has to be beyond retarded, so it is almost appropriate.

  100. sighs.

  101. Speaking of playing championship games on Saturday, I've wished for years that the NFL would move the Super Bowl to Saturday night.

  102. As I posted in the other string, as Freese's dinger sailed over the wall, I said to my fiance, "And this is why we watch baseball."

  103. @102

    or turn monday into a national holiday. either way.

    i think the job by the umps last night warrants mentioning. some really tough calls were made involving batted balls and it looked like they got them right, without resorting to a lot of meetings/review. i think there should have been a runner's interference at one point, but the no-call was understandable, and it didn't end up making a big difference anyway

  104. 104) As much as I hate umpires, I have to say that yesterdays' game was officiated well.

    However that means the chance of a crucial gaffe has been increased, just by that. We will see.

  105. Try again 105 posts later ----- unless I missed it..... what does the # matching represent?

  106. @106

    i think it's number of players with an aLI > 1.25. i don't think it was clearly posted anywhere

  107. Add Game 6 of the 2011 World Series to this list

  108. @93- Yeah, he's only hit 8 home runs in the last 12 games, who needs him? Cruz didn't give up the double to Pujols or walk Berkman and didn't throw a 1-2 cupcake to Freese. So he lost the series singlehandedly for the Rangers. When was the last time a World Series game had 3 blown saves by one team? But yeah, the Rangers will be a lot better off without Nelson Cruz.

  109. @99

    I would never say 714 is larger than 762. I would just bet that way more people know 714 off the top of their heads. But you're right about 755: 5-5-7 would have been more fortuitous.

  110. Stu B-

    we can argue 755, but no way does 762 surpass 714 in fame.

    infamy maybe.

    Which number means more to you?

    61 or 73?

  111. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @44/ Stu B -

    "@11 JoeC: The '86 game was wonderful - should be no. 1 on the list!..."
    Stu - Not if you're a Red Sox fan!

    "... @35 Lawrence Azrin: There are plenty of good reasons that the '75 game is so high on the list, but Peter Gammons using it in a book isn't one - it's just his opinion."

    Stu, I wouldn't put Gammons' book high on the list, but it was one of the most prominent of a number of media pieces that perpetuated the feeling that G6 of the 1975 WS was amongst the greatest games ever.

    Game six yesterday had enough excitement for the entire WS. With all the errors and other questionable plays, but also great defensive plays like Napoli's pick-off at third, it reminded me of Dickens famous intro:

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

  112. SocraticGadfly Says:


  113. @62

    Thanks Donny, forgot all about that