A Brief History of World Series Game Sevens

2017 World Series, World Series Game 7, World Series History

Getty Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a game-winning single in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series

On Wednesday you’ll have to take a night off from your Stranger Things 2 binge because the 2017 World Series is going seven games and a general rule of thumb is that you don’t skip game sevens. Don’t worry, the boys from Hawkins will be there come Thursday. Baseball won’t though, and that’s part of what makes Wednesday night’s game so exciting.

All bets are off when it comes to a seventh game and as fans we should be prepared for anything once that first pitch is thrown. Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw has said he could go 27 innings if the team needs him too. In the visitor’s dugout, both of Houston’s aces, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, could be available if needed. Verlander started Game 6, going six innings. But hey, Game 7 baby.

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Thanks to the Dodgers’ 3-1 Game 6 victory on Halloween night, we’ll be treated to the 39th Game 7 in Major League history. It’ll be the first Game 7 for the Astros, while the Dodgers last played in a World Series Game 7 back in 1965. The Dodgers beat the Twins 2-0 behind pitcher Sandy Koufax.

Here is a brief history of World Series Game Sevens.

Chicago Cubs, World Series 2016, Cubs World Series

After a 17-minute rain delay, Ben Zobrist hit the game-winner for the Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series

The 2016 World Series, between the Cubs and Indians, featured one of the most memorable Game 7s ever. Chicago was up 5 to 1 and then 6 to 3 before Cleveland came storming back and sent the game into extra innings. Of course then there was a brief rain delay because baseball is never easy and then the Cubs pulled it out in the 10th inning on a Ben Zobrist double. It was the Cubbies first World Series championship in 108 years, which may have been mentioned once or twice during the Series.

Both the 2011 World Series and 2014 World Series went seven games and in each, Game 7 featured the winning team’s ace putting the team on their back to secure the win. Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals threw six innings of 6 hit ball, giving up two runs and striking out five, as St. Louis beat the Rangers 6-2. Then a couple years later Madison Bumgarner, who seemed to pitch in every game the Giants played that post season, came in and pitched five shutout innings on two days rest as the Giants beat the Royals 3-2. Bumgarner’s save was the longest ever in the postseason.

World Series Game 7, World Series History, 2017 World Series

The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate their Game 7 win in the 2001 World Series

Prior to 2016, probably the most notable and iconic World Series Game 7 happened in 2001. The mighty Yankees, playing for their battered, yet resilient home town following the attacks on 9/11 were up against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the series’ seventh game featured each of the team’s aces pitching against one another: Curt Schilling for Arizona and Roger Clemens for New York. The game came down to the ninth inning though, as Arizona tied the game and subsequently won it when Luis Gonzalez blooped a single off of New York’s closer Mariano Rivera.

There were four Game 7s in the 1980s, three in a row from 1985 to 1987 with the Royals beating the Cardinals in 1985, the Mets beating the Red Sox in 1986 and the Cardinals losing again in 1987, this time to the Twins. Don’t feel bad for the Cardinals though. They beat the Brewers in Game 7 in the 1982 series.

From 1950 to 1979, there was an average of five Game 7s each decade with 1960 being the outlier with six. There were four game 7s in the 1940s, only two in the 1930s and then three in the 1920s. The 1924 World Series between the Washington Senators and New York Giants went 12 innings, with Washington winning the game on ground ball that took a weird bounce and scored Muddy Ruel. It would be the only World Series title won by the Senators.

The 1912 World Series between the Red Sox and the Giants actually went eight games. The series second game had to be called due to darkness. Boston would win Game 8 in the tenth inning 3-2, as Boston pitcher Smoky Joe Wood out dueled New York’s Christy Mathewson.

Ty Cobb’s last World Series game would also be the first ever Game 7 in a World Series. The Series pit Cobb’s Tigers against the Pirates. It wouldn’t be a happy ending for Cobb, as the Pirates shut out the Tigers 8-0. It was Detroit’s third consecutive year losing the World Series.


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