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10 Memorable World Series Moments We’re Still Celebrating

Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner
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The World Series features the very best of the best — two teams duking it out for the right to call themselves world champions. With so much at stake, every play goes under the microscope, with a select few going down in history for the impact and legacy they have. Here are some moments from the World Series over the last 30 years that live on — some in infamy — and have made some players legends.

Bill Buckner – 1986, Game 6

Buckner’s play is arguably the most famous play not just in World Series history, but in all of baseball history. You know the story — a soft grounder hit by the Mets’ Mookie Wilson somehow sneaks through Red Sox first baseman Buckner’s legs in the bottom of the 10th inning, scoring Ray Knight and giving the Mets an improbable 6-5 win. New York closed out the series in Game 7, while the Sox drought that dated back to 1918 remained intact.

Kirk Gibson – 1988, Game 1

The Dodgers, huge underdogs to the Oakland A’s, set the tone in the series with a hobbled Gibson’s two-out, pinch-hit, two-run home run off Dennis Eckersley, one of the game’s premiere closers. The homer is also remembered for Vin Scully’s classic call. Gibson, who was battling injuries in both legs, never batted again in the series, but it didn’t matter. Los Angeles won in five games — the last World Series title for the Dodgers. In fact, they’ve yet to even return to play in the Fall Classic.

Kirby Puckett — 1991, Game 6

Puckett, one of the most beloved players in Twins history, earned his place in Minnesota sports and Major League Baseball lore with his 11th inning home run off the Braves Charlie Liebrandt. The call from Jack Buck is also pretty darned memorable. The solo shot gave the Twins a 4-3 victory, setting up one of the best game sevens ever.

Jack Morris — 1991, Game 7

Okay, so this isn’t so much a memorable moment as  a heroic performance. The stakes weren’t any higher than in this seventh game. Morris, the majors’ winningest pitcher in the ’80s, cemented his legacy as a big-game pitcher with this gutsy 10-inning shutout, the culmination of the Twins unlikely rise from cellar dwellers the year before to World Series champs. In today’s era of pitch counts, it’s hard to imagine a pitcher going into extra innings, but Morris went the distance, giving up seven hits and striking out eight in this nail-biting 1-0 win that ended when Gene Larkin drove in Dan Gladden for the game’s lone run in giving the Twins their second World Series title in five years.

Joe Carter – 1993, Game 6

Every kid dreams of hitting a home run to win the World Series. Only Bill Mazeroski and Carter can actually say they did it. Carter clinched the Blue Jays second consecutive World Series title with a three-run blast off Phillies closer Mitch Williams. Carter’s elation rounding the bases is still one of baseball’s most indelible images.

Derek Jeter – 2001, Game 4

It’s hard to put a list like this together and not feature the Yankees. With the pall of the September 11 attacks still hanging over New York City, Jeter earned the moniker “Mr. November” when he took Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim deep in the bottom of the 10th to give the Yankees a 4-3 victory. The game had other memorable moments, too: in the bottom of the 9th, Tino Martinez hit a two-run home run to send the game into extra innings. More dramatics followed the next night, too, when Scott Brosius hit a two-run shot off Kim in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game before Alfoso Soriano won it for the Yankees with a single in the bottom of the 12th.

Luis Gonzalez — 2001, Game 7

Drama in the 2001 World Series shifted from the Bronx to the desert when the Diamondbacks hosted the Yankees in a classic game 7. The Yankees were clinging to a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the 9th and had Mariano Rivera on the mound facing Arizona’s 7-8-9 hitters. A sure thing, right? Not quite. Something unexpected happened on the way to the Yankees clinching their fourth straight World Series. A single, a throwing error by Rivera and a double set the stage for Gonzalez’s little flair up the middle, scoring Jay Bell and securing the D-Backs first and only World Series title.

David Freese — 2011, Game 6

Freese has the honor of being on this list for two heroics at two separate points in the same game. With the Rangers one strike away from winning their first-ever World Series, Freese took Neftali Feliz’s offering the opposite way for a game-tying triple in the bottom of the ninth.

The Rangers and Cardinals put up two runs apiece in the visitor and home half of the 10th, setting the stage for Freese’s second stab at the dramatic with his game-winning solo home run in the home half of the 11th inning. The Cardinals would go on to win the seventh game and secure the franchise’s 11th World Series championship.

Madison Bumgarner – 2014, Game 7

Like Morris before him, you can’t pick just any one moment for Bumgarner in which he appeared in this series, but the seventh and deciding game against the Royals was packed with tension. Bumgarner, on two days rest, pitched a filthy five innings in Game 7 and earned the unconventional save in the deciding game. MadBum remained cool after an error in the bottom 9th enabled Alex Gordon to go all the way to third base. No matter — he induced Salvador Perez to foul out to end the game, cementing his performance as one of the all-time best in postseason history. Bumgarner’s World Series line? A 2-0 record, with one save, one walk and an ERA of 0.43 in 21 innings pitched.

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