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Most Exciting World Series Games Ever

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 28, 2011

Using this query and another one, here's a list that I came up with:

Rk Tm Opp Date Series Gm# #Matching  
1 ATL TOR 1992-10-24     10  
2 STL TEX 2011-10-27     8  
3 NYM BOS 1986-10-25     7  
4 KCR STL 1985-10-26     7  
5 CHC DET 1945-10-08     6  
6 BSN CLE 1948-10-11     5  
7 ATL MIN 1991-10-26     4  
8 BAL PIT 1971-10-16     4  
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/28/2011.


Rk Tm Opp Date Series Gm# #Matching  
1 NYG WSH 1924-10-10     9  
2 BOS NYG 1912-10-16     8  
3 FLA CLE 1997-10-26     7  
4 ATL MIN 1991-10-27     5  
5 BOS CIN 1975-10-22     5  
6 CIN OAK 1972-10-22     5  
7 BRO NYY 1952-10-07     4  
8 BOS STL 1946-10-15     4  
9 ARI NYY 2001-11-04     3  
10 SFG NYY 1962-10-16     3  
11 BAL PIT 1979-10-17     2  
12 BAL PIT 1971-10-17     2  
13 NYY PIT 1960-10-13     2  
14 PIT WSH 1925-10-15     2  
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/28/2011.

Any games mentioned here that should be excluded? Any not mentioned that should be included?

31 Responses to “Most Exciting World Series Games Ever”

  1. Barry Says:

    Question is if the Rangers recover. I think Harold Reynolds mentioned that this reminds him of the 2002 WS when the Giants blew the 5-0 lead in Game 6 to lose 6-5 and force a Game 7. They had nothing left, and the Angels were world champs.

  2. Tom Says:

    "Toronto 15 Philadelphia 14"

  3. Jimmy Says:

    @1 The momentum shifted, thats for sure, I wouldnt be surprised if Carpenter gets another 2 or 3 hit shutout tonight.

  4. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    I would've bet that Game Seven of the '60 Series would have made this list somewhere

  5. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Forget that...the way it looked top me, the teams in column 1 of the second list were the winners.

  6. Person Says:

    @4 It did, but barely. (#13 on the second list)

  7. Mike Says:

    Bill Simmons would classify last night as a "Gut Punch" game.

  8. Andrew Says:

    Folks, the first list is Game 6's; the second is Game 7's. On the latter, I agree with Frank, 1960 should be on top of the list let alone much higher. Also, I'm sure some of you know this, but Game 7 in 1960 did not have one single strikeout-on EITHER side.

  9. John Autin Says:

    @1 -- What a relief it must be for Rangers fans that Harold "Mr. Obvious" Reynolds thinks they're cooked!

    I'm sure it's too much to expect that Harold would know about any significant events that occurred before his own MLB career began, but the 1975 Reds would be the most obvious counterexample. On the road in game 6, they blew a 3-run lead in the 8th, lost the game in the 12th, trailed game 7 by 3 runs into the 6th, but pulled it out.

    Rangers' best chance will be if Washington gets ejected early. I'm sure he's an outstanding leader for this team, and that's the biggest part of a manager's job -- but tactically, he's awful.

  10. John Q Says:

    @9 John A,

    I have to agree with you on that one. Washington makes so many head-scratching moves it's incredible. Like not pinch hitting for Colby Lewis in the 5th? or Why didn't anyone notice that Nelson Cruz wasn't playing deep enough in a "no-doubles" defense? Why wasn't Feliz brought into pitch the bottom of the 10th? I knew the Rangers were in trouble when they had Darren Oliver pitching to close out the WS. I just couldn't picture a 41 year old Oliver on the mound getting the last out of the WS.

    Even stuff like Endie Chavez pinch hitting for Adams in the top of the 9th? I thought he was bringing Chavez in to play defense in the bottom of the 9th and then I realized he wasn't in the game.

  11. John Autin Says:

    I know 10 years would be a long time for Harold Reynolds to look back, but the 2001 D'backs absorbed 2 crushing come-from-ahead defeats in games 4 and 5, but they managed to pull out the last 2 games.

    Anyone who thinks the Rangers are "done" because of the way last night's game went down probably has a limited sense of baseball history.

    -- The 1972 A's were up 3 games to 1 and led game 5 into the 8th, but the Reds beat Fingers, then went home and hammered Oakland 8-1 to even the Series. But Oakland took game 7 in Cincy, 3-2, with a 6th-inning rally.

    -- The 1967 Cards led Boston 3 games to 2 and were tied 4-all in game 6 in Boston, before the Red Sox scored 4 in the bottom of the 7th. The Cards still won game 7, on the road.

    -- The '45 Tigers led Chicago 3 games to 2. In game 6, on the road, they scored 4 runs in the 8th to tie it, then had the go-ahead run on 3rd in the 9th with 1 out, but didn't score, and lost the game in the 12th. They still romped in game 7 in Wrigley.

  12. John Autin Says:

    @10, John Q -- More questions on Washington's strategy:

    -- Top of 2nd, down 1 run, Lewis up with men on 2nd & 1st and no outs. Lewis fouls off first bunt attempt, during which it's clear that the Cards are charging so hard from the corners that there's nowhere for a bunt to work. Next pitch, Lewis bunts anyway, right into a double play. That cost Texas a run, assuming the same subsequent events.

    -- Bottom of 6th, ahead 1 run, bases loaded, 1 out, he brings in Ogando, who had appeared in 4 of the previous 5 games without looking anything like the dominant guy from the 1st 2 rounds. Not counting 2 intentional walks, 10 of 16 batters had reached safely against Ogando, with just 2 Ks, and he wasn't throwing a lot of strikes. Sure enough, he walks Molina on 5 pitches.

    I thought Ogando was a terrible choice in that situation for a number of reasons.

    One of the announcers remarked that Ogando was summoned in the hope of a strikeout. If so, that's just the wrong focus, in my opinion. Molina is very hard to whiff, just 44 Ks in 518 PAs this year; and if we put aside the hype and look at Ogando's actual K rate, it's nothing impressive. Out of 93 qualifying pitchers this year, Ogando's SO% ranked #52. Meanwhile, Molina is an excellent DP candidate -- but Ogando is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, ranking 85th out of 93 qualifiers in GB/FB ratio.

  13. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Anyone who thinks the Rangers are "done" because of the way last night's game went down probably has a limited sense of baseball history.

    Agreed, John. If the Rangers are done, it's because too many of their pitchers are getting the yips. Some of the relievers especially are missing their spots, and the Cardinal hitters are creaming the mistake pitches that they know are coming.

  14. JoshG Says:

    I can't call a game an all-time great when there are five errors and the key hit (Freese's triple) came on a misplayed ball. The first half of the game was sloppy, not exciting, and the excitement of the later innings can only partially make that up.

  15. David in Toledo Says:

    Matt Holliday kept involving himself in tangentially weird plays. His dropped fly ball in the 4th allows a run. His taking out Andrus in the bottom of that inning saves an out and permits Berkman to score on Molina's 2nd-out ground ball. His reaching first on the Young-Lewis foulup (bottom 6th) saves an out and two walks later, Berkman walks home -- but then Holliday gets picked off third with only one out. If I had been LaRussa, I'd have put Allen Craig in just to save the agony of wondering what strangeness would happen with Holliday next.

  16. Neal Says:

    Actually, this kind of reminds me of the 1975 Series. The Reds were on the verge of winning it all in game 6, the bullpen blew the lead late, and the Red Sox ended up winning on a walk-off homer in extra innings. The Reds didn't collapse; they came back the next day and won game 7. There's no reason the Rangers couldn't respond the same way.

  17. John Q Says:

    @12 John A,

    Valid points all around, excellent point on Molina making contact and not striking out.

    The bunt with Lewis was terrible. It looked terrible once the wheel play was in motion. I mean it's kind of tough with an A.L. pitcher up at bat but it's almost better if he just takes the K in that situation or at least tell him to chop at the ball or something.

    Yeah, I don't understand why Washington keeps going back to Ogando. It also brings up the question as to why Lewis was not pinch hit for in the 5th if he was only going to pitch another 1 1/3 innings and not even get out of the 6th inning. And I thought he should have kept Lewis in the game during the 6th because realistically the base-runners got on base from infield hits and an error by Young. That 6th inning is where Michael Young really screwed the Rangers with that terrible error as well.

    Also things could have been much worse for Ogando had Haliday not been picked off from third.

  18. John Q Says:

    John A,

    Adding to the questionable decisions Washington, don't you find it strange that Napoli has been batting 8th or 7th during this series?

    Off the to off my head I can't think of a anther MVP position player winner that has ever batted in the 8th spot during a series.

    The closest I can think is Brosius winning it in 1998 but that was a really short series (4 games) and Brosius batted in the 7th and 6th spots.

  19. Abbott Says:

    Why was Oliver pitching at all? And why did he pinch hit for Feldman? He had as much a chance of getting a hit as German.

    I would like see Adams close, but that will never happen.

  20. Joe D'Aniello Says:

    I fell asleep in the 8th inning and up to that point I thought both teams were trying to lose the game.

  21. SocraticGadfly Says:

    @Barry No. 1: I was thinking Game 6 of both 1985 and 1986. Road team blows a chance to win, then implodes in Game 7.

  22. dominguin Says:

    I think at this point....both laRussa and Washington are afraid of their bullpens. I hope tonight is NOT a blowout or an antclimax...a blowout, it s been a series wth a little of everything....except someone closing successfully.

    I ll be curious to see how far the starters can go....

  23. SocraticGadfly Says:

    If Carpenter goes 5 innings/90 pitches and gives up 2 runs or less, both I and Tony the Pony will be happy enough.

  24. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Or Carpenter may be in trouble ...

  25. Rodimus Prime Says:

    @2 Game 4 1993 World Series Blue Jays win 15-14, one of my all time favorite games. I have it on tape, very exciting and time consuming for rainy days. It is often forgot about because of Game 6 and Joe Carter, but Game 4 was a better game.

  26. Whiz Says:

    @23, well, Carp has allowed 2 runs in 5 innings, but on only 78 pitches. And I think you're right, the Cardinals must be pleased. He is following his pattern of being shaky early and settling in later -- he may get into the 7th at this rate.

  27. SocraticGadfly Says:

    @26 Yeah, especially now that the Cards are up three, I will take Carpenter's performance so far. And, with him leading off next inning, if he gets in trouble now, the double switch is availabe.

  28. Mugsy Says:

    Left off the game 6 list is 1975 Reds and Redsox. Everyone remembers the Carlton Fisk homerun that won it, but the great play that is lost in that tremendous series was Bernie Carbo's pinch hit, two out three run homer to tie it in the 8th.

  29. SocraticGadfly Says:


  30. otf Says:

    I just thought of something, and somebody came up with it already, at least once three years ago: would this data look more like an "excitement index" if we used a logarithmic scale on the y axis or some other sort of accentuation of the extremes? Or more theoretically I guess it'd be an extreme value issue so maybe you'd use a gumbel distribution but that's a bit overdoing it

  31. Doug Says:

    @10, @12 and Washington's "strategy"

    How about his choice of starting pitcher tonight? Or, rather, his choice to use Derek Holland in relief in last night's game.

    To me, the rain day worked beautifully for the Rangers by setting up Lewis and Holland to start games 6 and (if necessary) game 7. And, it wasn't like he used Holland in game 6 to ensure there wouldn't be a game 7. Holland came into a tied game in the 6th inning - it certainly wasn't as if game 7 was only a remote possibility at that point.

    And, tonight, sacrifice bunting, down a run on the road, with your #2 hitter and one of your faster runners (probably the fastest) at the plate. In the 5th inning! Never mind that the sacrifice "worked" - what was the point of that strategy at the point of the ball game?

    It's easy to be a critic, and I believe it does take time and experience for some managers to become good managers. I also think it's certainly too early to say that Washington couldn't be such a manager. But it sure is tough for a team in the WS to have to suffer through their manager's growing pains.