Tonight will be the 37th Game 7 in World Series History. Of course, that includes a Game 8 in the 1912 World Series between the Red Sox and the Giants in a 9 game series. There have been some memorable Game 7’s in the not-so-distant past.
In 2014, Madison Bumgarner of the Giants delivered a pitching performance for the ages throwin five shutout innings in relief (on two days’ rest no less) to clinch the Giants’ third championship with the longest save in postseason history.
In 2011, the Cardinals capitalized on their amazing comeback win against the Rangers in Game 6 – who were twice one strike away from the champagne shower – to secure 11th WS title. But Game 6 was the memorable game in that series.
In 2001, the Diamondbacks stunned the baseball world by defeating the Yankees 3-2 in Game 7. The game featured an epic battle between starters Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, but was decided when Yankees future HOF closer Mariano Rivera appeared human for a brief moment. Tony Womack tied the score with an RBI double, and Luis Gonzalez’s bloop single won it. Randy Johnson got the save mowing down the Yankees in the 9th inning on zero days rest.
In 1997, in a Game 7 the Indians pray is not repeated tonight, the upstart Marlins won their first championship in only their fifth season. Craig Counsell hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to tie the score and scored the winning run on Edgar Renteria’s 11th-inning walk-off single.
Red will be happy for whichever team breaks its long drought tonight. As with most fans, Red just hopes the game will be exciting.
The first World Series was played in 1903 when the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League challenged the Boston Americans of the recently formed American League to a nine game challenge dubbed the World’s Championship Series. The upstart Boston team took the title with a 5-4 record while winning the last 4 games. The American League had formed in 1901 after the National League contracted from 12 to 8 teams. The new league had raided the NL taking away such stars as Cy Young and Jimmy Collins. In September of 1903, the two clubs decided to play the series. It was perhaps intended to be a one off event as witnessed by the fact that no series was played in 1904. But by 1905, the leagues determined it was a good idea and participation by the respective pennant winners became mandatory.
The 1903 games were played at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Park in Boston and Exposition Field in Allegheny. Game three topped attendance with over 18,000 fans present. Bill Dinneen of the Pirates pitched four complete games winning three. The immortal Cy Young had a 2-1 record for the series. Both paled in comparison to Deacon Phillippe who pitched five games with a 3-2 record. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Patsy Dougherty of the Americans was the only player to ever hit a leadoff inside-the-park World Series home run until 2015, when Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar did it in Game 1.
In honor of the Fall Classic, Red will be posting something about the World Series every day. Today’s entry comes from a particularly odiferous made for TV movie called “Murder at the World Series.” Red remembers watching this with a group of friends back in 1977 mainly because it featured scenes shot in Houston in and around the beloved Astrodome.
Other than that, MATWS has little to offer. The basic plot is that an aspiring but psychopathic baseball player tries out for the Houston Astros and is rejected. He tries to get revenge by undertaking a series of kidnappings and plotting to bomb a World Series game at the Astrodome. His plans go awry when he sort of falls for one of his kidnapping victims. He intends to let her go, but ends up killing her when a bomb planted in his van goes off. He either gets captured or killed – Red doesn’t remember because this is some awful tripe masquerading as actual entertainment. The MFTVM is notable in featuring Joachim “Where’s My Head” Andujar as the starting pitcher for the Astros and the late great Bob Allen as a sportscaster. Red can’t imagine that this is ever showed anywhere, but if perchance it is, the only reason to watch is to see what the Astrodome looked like in its glory days – including the movie credits being displayed on the big light board in centerfield.
And finally, as Red’s old buddy Scooter said at the conclusion, “You know it had to be fiction because the Astros won the World Series.”