By NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
Game 7 of the World Series.
It’s a chance to make history — whether you’re a star like Madison Bumgarner or a role player like Sandy Amoros.
The Dodgers and Astros will play Wednesday night on the biggest stage baseball has to offer, and in a one-game, winner-take-all scenario, just about anything is possible. This series has featured both home run binges and pitching duels, blown leads and surprising saves.
“I don’t anybody here is shocked that it’s going to Game 7,” Houston ace Justin Verlander said after Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss at Dodger Stadium.
Here’s a look back at Game 7 of the World Series, through the years:
These games need no introduction. One name is often enough.
Bill Mazeroski. Jack Morris. Luis Gonzalez.
In 1960, Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 with a homer that gave Pittsburgh a 10-9 win over the New York Yankees. That slugfest was a wild one, with 10 runs scored in the final two innings.
The 1991 finale between Minnesota and Atlanta at the Metrodome was tense for different reasons. Morris pitched all 10 innings for the Twins, who finally won 1-0 on Gene Larkin’s bases-loaded single .
Gonzalez’s RBI single in 2001 capped a two-run, ninth-inning rally by Arizona against Mariano Rivera and the Yankees. The Diamondbacks won 3-2, denying New York a fourth straight championship.
Nearly a century ago, in 1924, Washington rallied from a two-run deficit in the eighth and eventually beat the New York Giants 4-3 in 12, with Walter Johnson pitching the final four innings in relief.
Amoros made his mark as a defensive sub in 1955, running down Yogi Berra’s drive in left field to halt a sixth-inning rally by the Yankees. Brooklyn held on for a 2-0 victory and finally won its first crown.
Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948 but came agonizingly close in 1997 and 2016, losing Game 7 in extra innings both years. Edgar Renteria’s 11th-inning hit won the ’97 Series for Florida, and the Chicago Cubs outlasted the Indians last year, winning 8-7 in 10 to take their first title since 1908.
Sometimes, Game 7 turns into a blowout. Detroit fans threw things at Joe Medwick of the Cardinals in 1934, as St. Louis was on its way to an 11-0 win over the Tigers. In 1985, the Cardinals were on the other end of an 11-0 drubbing, and this time they were the ones venting their frustration against the Royals. A missed call had gone Kansas City’s way near the end of Game 6, and St. Louis fell apart in Game 7. Manager Whitey Herzog and pitcher Joaquin Andujar were ejected.
Sometimes, the finale feels anticlimactic compared to what happened in Game 6. The 1975 World Series is remembered for Carlton Fisk’s game-winning homer for Boston that forced Game 7 — even though that last game was pretty special in its own right. Cincinnati beat the Red Sox 4-3 in Game 7, with Joe Morgan driving in the winning run in the top of the ninth.
After winning Game 6 on Bill Buckner’s error in 1986, the New York Mets made the most of their reprieve, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat Boston 8-5 in Game 7. In 2011, the Cardinals were down to their last strike in the ninth and 10th innings of Game 6. But they won that one, and Game 7 — a 6-2 St. Louis victory — wasn’t nearly as memorable.
Only one player has homered twice in Game 7 of the World Series. That was Berra in 1956, when the Yankees beat Brooklyn 9-0. Four players have had four hits — Max Carey (1925), Ripper Collins (1934), Willie Stargell (1979) and George Brett (1985). Their teams all won.
The most strikeouts for a pitcher in Game 7 is 10, by Hal Newhouser (1945), Sandy Koufax (1965), Bob Gibson (1967) and Roger Clemens (2001). Koufax’s gem — a 2-0 shutout of Minnesota — was the last time the Dodgers played in Game 7. Only two pitchers have thrown shutouts in Game 7 since then — Bret Saberhagen in ’85 and Morris in ’91.
A World Series that ends on a hit will be remembered for a while, but sometimes the final out is what goes down in history. In 1926, Babe Ruth tried to steal second base for the Yankees in the ninth inning of Game 7. He was caught for the final out in the Cardinals’ 3-2 win.
In 1962, the Yankees were the team trying to hold on against San Francisco. The Giants had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth when Willie McCovey lined out to second base to end it. New York won 1-0.
The Giants were on the other side of a finish like that in 2014. With San Francisco up 3-2, Kansas City’s Alex Gordon lined a single and went all the way around to third on an error by outfielder Gregor Blanco. But Gordon was stranded when Salvador Perez fouled out to third against Bumgarner, who completed a remarkable five-inning save.
Information from Baseball-Reference.com was used in this report.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)