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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top-10 World Series Game 7’s Since 1960: Which game 7 was the Greatest?

Top-10 World Series Game 7’s Since 1960: Which game 7 was the Greatest?

Greatest game 7's since 1960
Publish Date: 01/06/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Game 7 in any sport is huge, but no one has had the history of epic game 7s like America’s Pastime! The images are etched in our minds as baseball fans. Today, we are going to look at the greatest Game 7s ever played, and all of these were tense, hard-fought games that will go down in history.

Criteria

These game 7s are going to be judged on their merit only. The rest of the series will not affect these rankings. All of these games were dramatic and hard-fought. This is when Baseball is at its best, a one-game winner-take-all situation.

 

10) 1982 St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 3

A back-and-forth World Series, which in game 7 saw the Brewers jump to a 3-1 lead. The Cardinals returned and scored three runs in the sixth and two in the eighth. Bruce Sutter closed the game. What if Rollie Fingers wasn’t injured? Would the Brewers have won this series?

This was a great World Series, and you had some great young talent playing. Yount, Molitor for the Brewers, showed everybody a preview of what would come during their career. The St.Louis Cardinals have had a long and illustrious history see how many players on this 1982 Team made the All-Time Greatest Cardinals team.

Video: Cardinals win the 1982 World Series

Cardinals win the 1982 World Series

 

9) 1986 Mets 8, Red Sox 5

People seem to forget that the Red Sox led this game at one point, 3-0 before the Mets tied it with three runs in the sixth. In the seventh, John McNamara brought in Calvin Schiraldi, and Ray Knight greeted him with a home run. The Mets scored twice more, and the Red Sox made it 6-5 in the eighth, but the Mets tacked on two more runs, and then Jesse Orosco celebrated. People blamed a curse, but I blame McNamara, who did a terrible job managing the Red Sox in games 6 and 7 of the series.

This was a series where the Red Sox win the first two games at Shea Stadium and looked destined to end the supposed Curse of the Bambino. The Mets responded, taking two out of three games played at Fenway to extend the series to that fateful game 6.

Video: 1986 World Series, Game 7: Red Sox @ Mets

1986 World Series, Game 7: Red Sox @ Mets

 

8) 1972 A’s 3, Reds 2

Maybe the most underrated World Series in history, six games were decided by one run. Game 7 was no different. The A’s broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth when then-unknown backup Gene Tenace hit a go-ahead double; he hit four home runs in the series. The Reds and As were considered two of the Greatest Baseball Teams of the 1970s!

The Big Red Machine was derailed by Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Coming on in relief in the bottom of the fifth with a slim 1-0 lead and the bases loaded for the Reds Catfish limited the damage to a single run. It was the boost the A’s needed as Oakland scored two runs in the sixth, while the bullpen combination of Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Rollie Fingers kept the powerful Reds at bay and held on for the 3-2 victory.

Video: WS1972 Gm7: Tenace hits go-ahead double in 7th

WS1972 Gm7: Tenace hits go-ahead double in 7th

 

7) 1962 Yankees 1 Giants 0

Ralph Terry, who had served up Mazeroski’s historic home run in 1960, took the shutout into the bottom of the ninth for the Yankees. Matty Alou led off with a bunt single, but Terry struck out Felipe Alou and Chuck Hiller. Willie Mays then doubled down the right-field line, Roger Maris making a great play which held Matty at third. That brought up the fearsome slugger Willie McCovey. The Yankees elected to pitch to McCovey instead of Orlando Cepeda. On the second pitch, he drilled a line drive right to second baseman Bobby Richardson, one of the most heart-stopping endings in game seven’s histories.

Video: McCovey hits solo homer in 7th of 1962 World Series

McCovey hits solo homer in 7th of 1962 World Series

 

6) 1997 Marlins 3, Indians 2 (11 innings)

This was a World Series where it seemed every game lasted 4 hours or more. The Indians had their first World Series title since 1948 in their grasp, leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth. But Jose Mesa couldn’t hold the lead, and then Tony Fernandez let a ground ball go through his legs in the 11th, and Edgar Renteria drove in the winning run with two outs. The winning pitcher? Jay Powell. No, it was Jay Powell.

Video: A Game to Remember: 1997 World Series Game 7 Indians @ Marlins

A Game to Remember: 1997 World Series Game 7 Indians @ Marlins

 

5) 1975 Reds 4, Red Sox 3

This great game was forgotten because of what happened in game 6. People forget the Reds entered the 6th inning trailing 3-0. Tony Perez hit a two-run homer in the sixth off of a Bill Lee ephus pitch; the Reds tied it on Pete Rose’s two-out single in the seventh and scored the winner on Joe Morgan’s two-out bloop single in the ninth off an obscure rookie reliever named Jim Burton. The Reds would sweep the Yankees in 1976 to become the first National League team to win a back-to-back World Series in decades.

This may have been the greatest World Series ever played, and Sox fans will always wonder if things would have been different if the injured rookie Jim Rice could have played in this series.

Video: 1975 WS Gm7: Reds clinch World Series

1975 WS Gm7: Reds clinch World Series

 

4) 2001 Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2

The Diamondbacks dominated the first two games of the series. The Yankees recovered with three straight wins in New York, including two dramatic games that ended in walk-off home runs. Game 7 featured four likely future Hall of Fame pitchers: Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens started, and Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera factored in the decision. The Diamondbacks rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth of the invincible Rivera, winning on Luis Gonzalez’s walk-off single.

This was Arizona’s first-ever World Series Triumph and the Yankees were favorites coming into this series. Looking back I think its safe to say that the Diamondbacks were the better team as they dominated most of their home games and lost three close games on the road.

Video: 2001 World Series Game 7 Highlights (New York Yankees vs Arizona Diamondbacks)

2001 World Series Game 7 Highlights (New York Yankees vs Arizona Diamondbacks)

 

3) 1960 Pirates 10, Yankees 9

The Yankees thoroughly dominated in their three games, but the scrappy Pirates won the close ones. As everybody knows, the Pirates pulled the dramatic upset when Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run to clinch the series for the Pirates.

This is a series where the Yankees were the better team, but the Pirates were relentless and kept coming. They always bounced back and responded even after getting blown out in three games.

In the top of the 9th inning, with one out and the Yankees down by one and runners on 1st and 3rd (Mickey Mantle on first), Yogi Berra hit a ground ball to first that should’ve been an easy double play to end the game and World Series. The Pirates’ first baseman stepped on first for the out, and Mickey Mantle, knowing the force had been taken away, managed to sneak back to first to allow the tying run to score. It was a masterful base-running move that went completely unrecognized due to the events at the bottom of the 9th.

Where does Mazeroski’s Home Run rank among the greatest Home Runs in baseball history?

Video: 1960 World Series Game 7 Highlights (New York Yankees vs Pittsburgh Pirates)

1960 World Series Game 7 Highlights (New York Yankees vs Pittsburgh Pirates)

 

2) 1991 Twins 1, Braves 0

This series was exceptional; three games went extra innings, four were walk-off wins, and five were decided in a team’s final at-bat. Considering the circumstances, Morris’s ten-inning shutout is maybe the most significant game anyone has ever pitched.

It was both starters in this game as the game went through nine full innings tied at 0-0. The tension in this game was enormous because of everything that was on the line.

Game 7 featured Morris and Smoltz working smoothly through four innings before Morris struggled in the fifth. Mark Lemke singled to lead off, and Rafael Belliard bunted to put a runner at third before Morris got out of that situation.

Both teams had good scoring opportunities in the eighth inning.

Morris allowed Lonnie Smith a leadoff single, and Pendleton followed with a double. When Ron Gant grounded out, Twins manager Tom Kelly visited the mound and decided to walk David Justice to pitch to Sid Bream intentionally.

At one out and with bases loaded, Bream worked the count down to 1-2 before hitting a ground ball that Kent Hrbek of the Twins immediately turned into a rare 3-2-3 double play that ended their threat.

The game was won in the tenth off the bat of little-known Gene Larkin, who had the game-winning single.

Video: 1991 WS Gm7: Larkin's single wins series for Twins

1991 WS Gm7: Larkin’s single wins series for Twins

 

1) 2016 Cubs 8, Indians 7

Game 7, an 8–7 victory in 10 innings, marked the fifth time Game 7 had gone into extra innings and the first since 1997 (which the Indians also lost). It was also the first Game 7 to have a rain delay which added to the drama as the tenth inning was about to start. The Cubs became the sixth team to come back from a 3–1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1958 New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.

Game 7 was more than a classic, with the game tied 6–6 after nine innings, a sudden cloudburst resulted in a 17-minute rain delay. During the wait, Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward called his teammates into a weight room behind Chicago’s dugout and told them, “We’re the best team in baseball. . . for a reason. . . So stick together, and we’re going to win this game.”

When play resumed in the top of the tenth, Kyle Schwarber led off with a single off Bryan Shaw to the right and was replaced by pinch-runner Albert Almora. Kris Bryant then hit a deep fly ball to center, and Almora tagged up and advanced to second base in the “savviest baserunning play of the season. After an intentional walk to Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist stepped up to the plate. Zobrist had been 0-for-4 in the game, but he delivered a clutch RBI double into the left-field corner, scoring Almora and breaking the tie, making the score 7–6. Zobrist later said, “I was battling, grinding up there. Fortunately, he left that last one over the plate and up to where I could slap it down the line, and that was all I was trying to do.

After another intentional walk to Addison Russell, Miguel Montero, who had replaced Ross at catcher and hit just .091 in the postseason, singled into left, scoring Rizzo and scoring the score 8–6. Trevor Bauer, the loser of Games 2 and 5, relieved Shaw and got out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Heyward and retiring Baez on a flyout to escape further damage.

Carl Edwards Jr. was called on to finish off the Indians in the bottom of the tenth. Still, after retiring the first two hitters (Mike Napoli and José Ramírez), he walked Brandon Guyer, who took second base on defensive indifference. Following up on his eighth-inning heroics, Rajai Davis lined a single to center, making it a one-run game, and the score was 8–7. Then, Maddon called on Mike Montgomery, who had zero career saves.

Montgomery retired Michael Martinez (who had scored the game-winning run in Game 3) with an infield grounder fielded by Bryant, who threw to Rizzo. This ended the game and the World Series, with the Cubs winning the series and ending their 108-year World Series championship drought. Zobrist was awarded the World Series MVP award after hitting .357 in the series and delivering the go-ahead hit.

Video: 2016 World Series Game 7 (Cubs win World Series for first time in over 100 years!)

2016 World Series Game 7 (Cubs win World Series for first time in over 100 years!)

Honorable Mention

1987 Minnesota 4, St. Louis 2

This was a World Series where the home team won every game. A masterful pitching performance by Twins starter Frank Viola highlighted game 7. The Twins trailed early 2-0 and did not take the lead until the 6th inning on Greg Gagne’s two-out hit, putting the Twins up 3-2. Jeff Reardon came in and closed the game out, giving the Twins their first-ever title.

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