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Pitchers Fielding Last Out In Post-Season Series Winner

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 9, 2011

How many times has a pitcher been involved in fielding the last out of a series-winning post-season game?

Just nine times - and here's the list:

Cr# Gm# Date Series Gm# Pitcher Tm Opp Batter Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) R WPA RE24 LI Play Description
1 1 1938-10-09 WS 4 Red Ruffing NYY CHC Billy Herman ahead 8-3 t9 1-- 2   0 0.00 0.27 .07 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B
2 1 1974-10-17 WS 5 Rollie Fingers OAK LAD Von Joshua ahead 3-2 t9 --- 2 1 (0-0) 0 0.03 0.09 1.30 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B
3 1 1977-10-18 WS 6 Mike Torrez NYY LAD Lee Lacy ahead 8-4 t9 12- 2 3 (1-1) 0 0.01 0.44 .42 *ENDED GAME*:Bunt Popfly: P
4 1 1987-10-12 ALCS 5 Jeff Reardon MIN @DET Matt Nokes ahead 9-5 b9 12- 2 5 (2-2) 0 0.02 0.45 .56 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B
5 1 1992-10-24 WS 6 Mike Timlin TOR @ATL Otis Nixon ahead 4-3 b11 --3 2 2 (0-1) 0 0.15 0.34 5.78 *ENDED GAME*:Bunt Groundout: P-1B (Front of Home)
6 1 1998-10-13 ALCS 6 Mariano Rivera NYY CLE Omar Vizquel ahead 9-5 t9 --- 2 3 (1-1) 0 0.00 0.12 .06 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B (P's Right)
7 1 2003-10-25 WS 6 Josh Beckett FLA @NYY Jorge Posada ahead 2-0 b9 --- 2 3 (1-1) 0 0.02 0.11 .60 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P unassisted (Short 1B Line)
8 1 2004-10-27 WS 4 Keith Foulke BOS @STL Edgar Renteria ahead 3-0 b9 -2- 2 2 (1-0) 0 0.02 0.33 .58 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B
9 1 2005-10-08 NLDS 3 Jason Isringhausen STL @SDP Ryan Klesko ahead 7-4 b9 12- 2 3 (1-1) 0 0.04 0.42 1.57 *ENDED GAME*:Groundout: P-1B
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/9/2011.

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Beckett and Torrez are the only ones to do it all by themselves.  Now, there's a trivia question for you.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 at 5:51 pm and is filed under Event Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

27 Responses to “Pitchers Fielding Last Out In Post-Season Series Winner”

  1. didn't bobby jenks do it as well?

  2. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I see that none of these occurred in the final game of a series that went the maximum number of games. By 1987, the League Championship Series were 7 games. But three of them capped off sweeps (1, 8, and 9).

  3. What I remember about Mike Timlin and '92 WS was how Cito Gaston handled his first baseman. A young John Olerud was the regular Jays 1B that year but was the odd man out when the Jays were facing a southpaw without the DH (in Games 1 and 6). Instead, outfielder Joe Carter moved to first base for those games, despite playing that position only 4 times during the season.

    Anyway, my memory of game 6 was thinking that Cito had to bring in Olerud for defense in the bottom of the 9th with the Jays ahead. But, Carter stayed in the game. As it happened, Henke blew the save, the game went to extras, and the Jays took the lead in the 11th. So, again, I thought, he's got to bring in Olerud for defense. And, again, Gaston didn't do it.

    A small thing perhaps, and, of course, it had no bearing on the game result, but it's always kind of bugged how a big league manager could fail to make an obvious (and, in my view, necessary) move like that, not once but twice.

  4. The other thing about the '92 WS clincher was the play of Otis Nixon.

    Bottom of the 9th, Braves down a run, two outs, runner on 3rd (and 2nd), Nixon singles through the left-side hole to drive in the tying run.

    Bottom of the 11th, Braves down a run, two outs, runner on 3rd, and Nixon ..... bunts. Yeah, bunts? A comebacker to the mound. Never understood that one.

  5. I saw the title and immediately thought of Foulke! WHEW!

  6. Funny how stats and chance work sometimes ... 3 years in a row in the middle of the '00s when it had never even happened back-to-back before.

  7. @4 Doug,

    Good point, seriously What was Otis Nixon thinking with that attempted bunt single with the tying run at third?

  8. dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ #4

    I remember watching that game and thinking; there will never be a worse ending to a series, then finding out Babe Ruth made the final out of the World Series getting caught stealing second.
    That makes a two out bunt seem genius.
    What do you tell the manager on the way back to the dugout?

  9. dukeofflatbush Says:

    @4
    Yeah, it was game 7 of the 1926 WS. Cards up 3-2 in the 9th. With 2 outs Ruth walks, bringing up Meusel. Ruth gets thrown out. Game over. Series over. Season over.
    After Meusel was Gehrig then Lazzeri.
    Ruth had homered and walked 4 times that game.

  10. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    As a Blue Jays fan since 1977, I couldn't possibly have cared less how Nixon made the final out of the game. Just so long as the Jays got him out.

    I still can't believe I picked that night to go out on a date. (Wasn't much of a date, either.) I did watch Game 6 of the following year's Series. (-;þ

  11. joe baseball Says:

    5 of the 9 pitchers and 2 of the hitters played for Boston at one time or another

  12. joe baseball Says:

    my bad, it was 6 of the 9 played for the Red Sox

  13. Apropos of nothing in particular, but I noticed a bit if a chain happening with players being involved in consecutive games on this list, even though the gamnes were 5 or 6 years apart.

    Reardon was in #4 and in the Braves bullpen in #5.
    David Justice played in both #5 and #6.
    Rivera, Posada and others were in #6 and #7.

  14. Only two starters...

    Ruffing, which makes sense given that it was back in the '30s, and Beckett.

  15. Futher to 13.

    If we fudge things just a bit, the chain goes all the way from #2 to #7.

    The fudge is between #3 and #4. Dave Bergman was on the '87 Tigers team and played in the ALCS against the Twins. He was also a September call-up on the '77 Yanks getting into 6 games. I don't know for sure, but I highly doubt he was on the Yankees post-season roster that year.

    I might have missed someone, but looks like the chain breaks after #7.

  16. Justin Bailey Says:

    @8
    You tell him whatever the hell you feel like telling him, because you are Babe Ruth.

  17. Ruth was the tying run in a game seven!! Doesn't get any worse than that.

  18. I don't think the Nixon play was bad. A bunt single would have tied the game. He wasn't going to get any more than a single.

    About the Ruth game. Was this the game where they had him sacrificing a couple of innings earlier. If I am not mistaken Ruth sacrificed leading to Gehrig being intentionally walked. I could easily be mixing up a couple of games.

  19. dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 16 Justin
    I guess your right. He already had 4 BB and 1 HR He probably had a cigar lit before he crossed the first base line.

    @ 17 Panrell
    Tying run, with two outs, with 3 of the best hitters in the league to follow.

    @ 18 Cook

    Yeah, I agree that Nixon had about equal chance via a bunt or swing, just such an odd way to see a series end.
    But no about the Ruth sac. Gehrig was hitting 5th that day. And Ruth was walked 4 times with a HR to boot.

  20. About Otis Nixon bunting into the last out:

    We can't judge the strategy without knowing where the corner infielders were playing.

    But ... consider that, in the years for which data are available, Nixon's career BA on bunts was .368 (and that's counting all sac bunts as AB), wheras his BA on non-bunts was .257.

    BTW, in game 1 of the 2003 ALDS, in the bottom of the 12th inning, with 2 out and the bases loaded, Oakland catcher Ramon Hernandez dropped a bunt up the 3B line in front of Boston's Bill Mueller and beat it out to drive in the winning run. Hernandez had hit 21 HRs that year.

  21. @21 John Autin,

    It took me a while to figure out why you included the sac bunts in with the AB's when calculating Nixon's "Bunting Average", because, of course, sac bunts are typically not counted as AB's. But in the given situation you needed to figure out how the % of total bunts nixon has had that would have NOT resulted in an out. Nice, I never would have thought of that.

    Using that number of .368 you would think it would be wise to bunt all the time, but the element of surprise counts somewhat in the success rate. And with the given situation (2 outs / tying run on 3rd), the surprise level may not have been too high. I just can't decide if it was a good play or bad play to bunt there. But if I had to choose, the bunt is probably the best way for him to get a ball in play on the ground...and any mishandle or poor throw and he will beat it out with that speed. I would say it was a good play for him to force the action there. I think his non-bunt AVG would have been higher if he were adept at putting the ball in play (on the ground) by swinging away, so the bunt was probably a good choice there.

  22. Charles Saeger Says:

    Wow, that LI for Nixon was amazing. I knew it was tense at the time, but that's high.

  23. @ 6
    Very true, although having the extra round helps the odds from 1995-onward

    @16 It may seem like that now, but maybe not at the time. While Babe did have downright nutty stats by the end of 1926, he still wasn't known as much of a winner in a "big series." That was his 4th with the Yankees, and despite winning three with the Red Sox as a pitcher, he was just 1-3 with the Yankees. If you search newspaper articles from around that time (esp after the back-to-back losses in 1921-1922) you'll find many sportswriters saying he can't get it done when it counts.

    Stupid sportswriters. Some things never change, eh?

  24. Phil Gaskill Says:

    1. Ruth said "Well, I wasn't doing any good standing there on first base."

    2. Nixon's bunt was right back to the pitcher. I'm sure that was by accident, but still. Blech.

  25. Rich @23 -- Good points about Ruth's first 4 WS with the Yanks.

    But to be precise: He was 1-2 in Yankee WS when he took off for 2nd base in game 7 of '26. He fell to 1-3 after he was tagged out.

    BTW ... John McGraw was a leader of the "Ruth is overrated" camp; his Giants of course prevailed in the 1921-22 WS matchups, and McGraw consistently disdained Ruth. Before game 2 of the '23 Series, with the Giants off to a 1-0 start, McGraw famously proclaimed: "Why shouldn't we pitch to Ruth? I've said before, and I'll say it again, we pitch to better hitters than Ruth in the National League."

    Ruth slugged 2 HRs that game to even the Series; more tellingly, the Giants walked him 8 times over the last 5 games, and he scored 8 runs in the Series, as the Yankees finally came out on top, 4 games to 2. After game 2, the great Heywood Broun wrote what has become perhaps the most famous opening line in the history of sportswriting:

    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug02/yeung/baberuth/broun.html

  26. Didn't McGraw pass on Lou Gehrig because he didn't like his footwork at first base or something.

  27. Vince F. Bundy Says:

    Dennis Eckersley definitely recorded the putout at first base for the last out of the 1989 World Series...yet it's not listed here.