It’s the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded. There are two outs, you’re down by three, and the count is full. It’s your last chance. Will you become a World Series legend? Or will the opposing team crush your childhood dreams?
Here comes the pitch … BAM! Grand slam! The crowd goes wild!
Great moments like this don’t happen often, but when they do, boy do we love them! And if you’re anything of a baseball buff, the World Series is the most wonderful time of the year. It doesn't matter if your home team is playing (although you wish they were of course). You appreciate talented, solid ball players – the ones who lay it all out on the field, the ones who give you butterflies as they approach the plate. From the dugout to the mound, around the bases and out of the park, you have an eye for them – you love watching a legend in the making.
So how many of these greats do you recognize? And do you remember that special moment when they became a World Series hero? We’re about to find out just how many Series you’ve watched through the years! Batter up … are you strong enough to bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy?
Madison Bumgarner was seriously dominant in the 2014 World Series. In fact, he is given credit for single-handedly pitching the Giants to the championship win. He won his first two starts of the series - one a shutout - and then returned to close out game seven in the final five innings. During those games, he had a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings.
Okay, so let's talk about the 1905 Series. He threw three shutouts in five games - 'nuff said. In all 11 World Series appearances Mathewson had a 0.97 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, played in a total of 34 World Series games for arguably the most dominant Yankees team in the history of the franchise. He had six championship rings that he brought home with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. His .731 slugging and .477 OBP aren't too bad either.
Bob Gibson played in nine World Series games posting a 7-2 record, 1.89 ERA in 81 innings pitched. In those games, he had 92 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP. He had 17 strikeouts in game one of the '68 series (a record) and struck out 10 or more batters in five of his nine appearances.
Randy Johnson shared the 2001 World Series MVP with Curt Schilling. He led the Diamondbacks to three victories and a championship ring in only their fourth year. Johnson gave up only two earned runs and boasted a 1.04 series ERA.
Hank Greenberg played in four World Series with a combined total of five home runs and 22 RBIs in 23 games. His triple-slash line speaks for itself .318/.420/.624.
Grover Cleveland Alexander will go down as the pitcher who saved the Cardinals in their first World Series championship (1926) Alexander is one of six Hall of Famers from that '26 Cardinals team - Hornsby, Bottomley, Hafey, Haines and Southworth. Alexander is considered the best pitcher of one of the best Cardinals teams in their long history.
Okay, so you look at Koufax's 4-3 World Series record and ask yourself, why is he on this list? Well in those three losses Koufax only gave up three earned runs in 19 innings (1.42 ERA). In his eight starts, he had a 0.95 ERA in 57 innings and threw two consecutive shutouts.
When you are nicknamed for your play in the playoffs and World Series, you know that you are one of the greatest to have ever played in the post-season. Reggie Jackson is famously nicknamed Mr. October and for good reason. Jackson played in 27 World Series games compiling 10 home runs and 24 RBIs, with a .755 slugging and .457 OBP. Despite his amazing numbers, there is one legendary game that he will be remembered for: Oct. 18, 1977, Jackson hit three home runs on three swings!
In the 1968 World Series, Mickey Lolich pitched three complete games. In those 27 innings, he gave up only five runs for a 1.67 ERA. But, many consider his real achievement of that series to be the three complete games he pitched in eight days.
Morris was a five-time all-star with 254 career wins. But, most notably, he will be remembered for his game 7 appearance in the '91 World Series. He threw 10 scoreless innings for the Twins win.
Love him or hate him, Derek Jeter will go down in Yankees lore as one of the greatest Yankees ever - and much of that is due to his World Series performances. Jeter has five World Series rings brought in with nine doubles, three home runs and 32 runs scored in 38 games.
Rollie Fingers pitched in 16 World Series Games with a 1.35 ERA, six saves and only giving up five earned runs.
Bret Saberhagen's '85 series will go down as one of the greatest by a pitcher. First off, you have to set the tone of the series. The Royals played the Cardinals in what is known as an I-70 classic and interleague rivalry. The Series went seven games, and the Royals came back from three games to one deficit to win it all. After an abysmal start by the Royals in the first two games, they rode Saberhagen's MVP series in games three and seven where he gave up only one run.
Paul Molitor played in 13 World Series games, making the most of them. In the '93 series he hit .500, going 12 for 24 with two doubles, two triples and two home runs, while knocking in 8. Perhaps his greatest moment was game one of the '82 series when he had five hits - a World Series record.
Pablo Sandoval is only one of three players to have hit three home runs in a single World Series. The other two are Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols. Not to mention, two of those home runs came off one of the best pitchers of the year - Justin Verlander.
Mark Lemke holds the all-time record for most plate appearances without being hit by a pitch - 3,664. He also played in four World Series for the dominant Braves, taking home a ring in '95. His most notable series was '91 where he led all Braves players with a .417 batting average.
While Mantle's averages aren't staggering, due to playing a staggering 65 World Series games and hitting-for-power numbers he is one of the greatest. He has 18 home runs and 40 RBIs in World Series play. Add to that a .535 slugging percentage and a walk-off home run in the '64 World Series and there is no doubt he was great.
Some World Series greats are known for their willingness to perform despite fatigue. While Warren Spahn doesn't have the most dominant statistics in the Series, he will always be known for his performance in the '47 Series. That year, Spahn led the league with a 2.33 ERA with 21 wins. During the Series, with the Braves trailing three games to one, Spahn won game five with one hit in 5 2/3 innings. The following day, he was asked to pitch relief in the 8th, knocking out the last four batters and striking out the side in the ninth, giving him 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.
David Ortiz played in 14 World Series games with 20 hits in 44 at bats, scoring 14 runs. His triple-slash line n the three Series is .455/.576/.795, but his standout series and MVP came in 2013 with .688/.760/1.188.
There is no doubt Babe Ruth would wind up on this list. His triple-slash line says it all: .326/.467/.744. Add 15 home runs and 33 RBIs in 41 World Series games and you get the picture. Oh and don't forget he was a pitcher too. He went 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA with the Red Sox.
Billy Hatcher holds a record for a single-series batting average and on-base percentage. Oh, yeah, his slugging wasn't too bad either: .750/.800/1.250 in the '90s series.
Hall of Famer Al Simmons was a hitting machine for the American League. He played in four World Series and 19 games - eight of which were multi-hit games. He had six doubles, six home runs, and 17 RBIs.
Barry Bonds has arguably one of the greatest World Series performances in baseball. He only played in the 2002 series, but his triple slash line is off the charts, literally - look at the slugging: .471/.700/1.294. In that series, he had four home runs and six RBIs. Curious about those huge numbers and relatively low RBIs? It's because the Angels were afraid to pitch to him. They intentionally walked Bonds seven times in the series.
If you were heading into the World Series in the late '50s, Lew Burdette is the guy you wanted on the mound. In six games and 49 innings pitched, Burdette had a 4-2 record and 2.92 ERA. While that may not sound overly dominating, take a look at his '57 series. He was 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and only giving up two earned runs.
Duke Snider played in 36 World Series games. He is a World Series legend due to two different series where he had four home runs each, and two series with at least seven RBIs.
Marty Barrett may not be a name you think of when it comes to World Series greats. But, Barrett took advantage of his only World Series with a record 13 hits in 30 at-bats in '86. His post-season performance that year was even better hitting a record 24 hits in 14 games - another record which earned him the ALCS Most Valuable Player for the post-season.
Chris Sabo's career World Series highlight came in the 1990 Series. He hit .583 with nine hits in 16 at-bats. He had two home runs and five RBIs. Despite his amazing performance, he may most be remembered for his post-series speech when he grabbed the microphone and yelled, "We've got the rings, we've got the money, we've got everything!"
Johnny Bench is one of the greatest catchers in baseball. In four World Series and 23 games he posted an unremarkable average of .279. But, it was his final Series in '76 where he shined. He had eight hits in four games with six RBIs and a triple slash line of .533/.533/1.133.
Being the best comes with high expectations. Tris Speaker is a legendary hitter who was so good that when his batting average dropped from .338 to .322 the Boston Red Sox asked him to take a pay cut even though they had just won the World Series behind Tris. Tris said no and moved on to the Indians, where he led the league with a .386/.470/.502. Speaker would win another championship with the Indians in 1920 with better stats in each category.
Orel Hershiser played in three World Series and six games. In the '88 Series, he went 2-0 with an ERA of 1.00 with 17 strikeouts and giving up no home runs.
Yogi Berra played in an astounding 75 World Series games in 14 Series, compiling 41 runs on 71 hits and adding 32 RBIs. In his 14 trips to the World Series, Berra had several standout performances including 10 hits in '55, 10 RBIs and .800 slugging in '56 and batting averages above .417 in '53 and '55.
Frank Robinson has a crazy number of achievements throughout his career - including two World Series rings and a World Series MVP in '66. His series was highlighted by two home runs in game one and a game-clinching home run in game four.
Ford was a pitcher for the great Yankees of the '50s and '60s. He has one of the lengthiest resumes of all World Series players, so we'll just give you a few to ponder. He played in 11 series in his first 16 years. he started with a 1.98 ERA in 109 innings that include three consecutive shutouts. Ford is the all-time leader in: World Series starts (22), innings (146), wins (10), strikeouts (94) and losses (8 - can't win them all).
Bobby Brown played in 17 World Series games. In 41 at-bats Brown had a .439/.500/.707 averages. What is probably the most underrated statistic of his 41 at-bats is that he only struck out three times.
Bobby Richardson was an outstanding player in his own right. And during the 1960 World Series, he proved it with .367/.387/.667 averages. Along with those numbers were a grand slam, two triples and 12 runs batted in, of which only one came in a Yankees loss. What is most memorable though is that he is the first player to have won a World Series MVP and be from the losing team. While many attribute his MVP as a result of timely performances, The reality is more likely that MVP voting had to be submitted by the 8th inning when the Yankees were winning and most voters thought the Yankees would win the series. They lost in the ninth with a Mazeroski home run.
John Wetteland may have only pitched in four innings of the '96 World Series, but they were enough to give him the MVP. Having led the American League with 43 saves during the regular season, Wetteland produced four saves in the '96 Series, tying the most saves in a post-season series and setting the record for post-season saves with 7.
Clemente was a two-time World Series champion, taking home the series MVP in 1971. During the series, he had a .414 batting average and hit the game-winning home run in the 7th inning.
Renteria is a two-time World Series winner, hitting the game-winning RBI to lead the Florida Marlins to their first World Series in team history. He replicated his clutch play in 2010 by hitting game-winning home runs in game 2 and game 5 of the series.
Don Larsen has the only perfect game in World Series and post-season history. He did it on two days' rest in game five of the '56 series.
Notoriously confident, Eddie Collins was a member of the 1919 Black Sox, although he was considered to have played the game honestly. Of his 34 World Series games he was a standout in three of them posting an overall .328/.376/.414.
Albert Pujols will go down as one of the greatest home run hitters of all time, add to that the magical 2011 Cardinals season it is no wonder Pujols is on this list. While his triple-slash line was average, he did have four home runs and eight RBIs in his 16 World Series appearances. However, three of those home runs and six of those RBIs came in just one game - 3 of the 2011 series.
Schilling went 4-1 in seven World Series starts. He has a 2.06 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 48 innings. By the way, he was also on the 2004 Red Sox team to break "the curse." So, that always bolsters a World Series career resume.
Lenny Dykstra helped the Mets to the '86 World Series championship. After winning 108 regular-season games, the Mets dropped their first two games of the Series against the Red Sox. In game three Dykstra hit what many believe to be the greatest moment in Mets history with a game-winning home run. The home run proved to be the pivotal moment that turned the season around for the Mets in game seven.
Munson was considered the heart of the Yankees as he led them to consecutive World Series from 1976 to 1978, the last two of which they won. Munson played in 16 World Series games posting .373/.417/.493 averages. He would die of asphyxiation the following year at the age of 32 while trying to land his Cessna.
Willie Aikens hit two home runs in game one and game four of the 1980 World Series. In addition, he hit the game-winning RBI in game 3. Despite his efforts, the Royals lost in six games to the Yankees.
Frankie Frisch played in eight World Series between the Giants and the Cardinals. He would later note the difference of the two teams, the Cardinals being relaxed and happy-go-lucky while the Giants were the opposite. In total, he won four World Series between both teams.
Billy Martin played in 28 World Series games in five series with the Yankees. However, it was his highlight-laden '53 series that he will be remembered for. Along with a record 12 hits, Martin had .500/.520/.958.
Lou Brock, the Cardinals Hall of Famer, played in a total of 21 World Series games. His stats are among the greatest in the history of baseball, compiling 12 multi-hit games and four multi-steal games (14 steals in total). In 21 games he had a .391 average, .424 OBP, and .655 slugging (seven doubles, two triples, and four home runs.
Phil Garner only appeared in the 1979 World Series, but that was enough to hold the all-time record for series batting average. Garner hit .500 for the series with a .667 slugging percentage.