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Postseason Pendulums - Part 2 - The "Walk Offs"

June 25, 2017
I’m changing the plan a little.  Originally, part 2 in this series was going to review significant, win-altering postseason plays as measured by Win Probability Added (WPA).  For example, the highest game-level WPA  for a single play in postseason history is a very famous one: Kirk Gibson’s game-ending home run off Dennis Eckersley in game 1 of the 1988 World Series.  Before he hit the home run, the Dodgers were down 4-3, 2 outs in the 9th, with a runner on 2nd.  Gibson’s home run took the Dodgers from a 13% chance of winning the game to 100%...the biggest single play turnaround in postseason history (the odds were even more stacked against the Dodgers before Mike Davis stole second base….when Gibson began the at bat with Davis on first base, the odds were 91% that Oakland was going to win). 
 
Once I got started on the article, though, I found something I was more interested in, so I thought I’d shift the focus to a certain type of play….the "walk off".
 
As best I can tell, the term "walk off" is fairly recent, catching on in just the past 20-30 years.  When we hear the term "walk off", it’s usually associated with a hit….a "walk off" home run, a "walk off" double, etc.  But, for terms of this review, "walk off" just refers to the final play of the game.  It could be a "walk off" strikeout, or a "walk off" wild pitch…..even the rather catchy "walk off" walk.
 
So, here’s a review of postseason "walk off" events, beginning with 1903 as our starting point.   As in the last article, I’m using Seamheads.com as my primary source.
 
Note – Bobby Thomson’s 1951 "Shot Heard ‘Round the World" is not included as a postseason home run here.
 
Postseason Walk Off Home Runs
 
Let’s start with glamour category of walk offs…the home run.  Some of the more memorable plays in baseball history are captured here.
 
How many have there been?
Quite a few.  49 postseason walk off home runs have been hit in history.  15 of the 49 occurred in the World Series.
 
Who hit the first one?
Interestingly enough, it took a long time for the first postseason walk off homer to occur.  Tommy Henrich of the Yankees hit the first one in game 1 of the 1949 World Series off Don Newcombe of the Dodgers, which broke up a scoreless pitcher’s duel between Newcombe and Allie Reynolds.
 
There is a bit of a "caveat" here in that pre-1920, baseball games ended at the moment the winning run scored, even on a ball hit over the fence.  I don’t know if there were any World Series "home runs" that were changed to something else under this rule.
 
The 2nd one in history was pretty famous as well –Dusty Rhodes 10th inning, pinch-hit 3-run home run off Bob Lemon in game 1 of the 1954 World Series.
 
Here are the first 5 chronologically, the first ones hit before the number of rounds expanded in 1969:
 
Year
Game
Inning
Outs
Batter
Pitcher
1949
1
Bottom 9
0
Tommy Henrich
Don Newcombe
1954
1
Bottom 10
1
Dusty Rhodes
Bob Lemon
1957
4
Bottom 10
1
Eddie Mathews
Bob Grim
1960
7
Bottom 9
0
Bill Mazeroski
Ralph Terry
1964
3
Bottom 9
0
Mickey Mantle
Barney Schultz
 
The most recent postseason walk off home run was hit in 2016 in game 1 of the AL Wild Card game, by Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays, a 3-run shot in the 11th inning off of Ubaldo Jimenez of the Orioles.
 
How often do they occur?
Pre-1969, as implied above, once Henrich hit the first one, we were seeing about 1 postseason walk off home run every 3 to 5 years.
 
Here’s a summary of postseason walk off home runs by decade.  It’s a little deceptive, of course, because, prior to 1969, there was only had a single postseason matchup each year as the league champions went directly to the World Series.  Now, with so many more rounds each year, there are more matchups and more games.  More games = more opportunities.
 
Decade
Total
1940's
1
1950's
2
1960's
2
1970's
5
1980's
7
1990's
8
2000's
16
2010's (to date)
8
 
So, it is now typical to see at least one postseason walk off home run per year.   However, if you limit the scope to just World Series walk off home runs, you get the following:
Decade
Total (World Series Only)
1940's
1
1950's
2
1960's
2
1970's
1
1980's
2
1990's
3
2000's
3
2010's (to date)
1
 
So, at least in the World Series, they seem to be occurring at about the same rate that they have been for decades.  We’re primarily seeing them more often now because there are so many more postseason rounds and postseason games nowadays. 
 
What are the most famous ones?
 
This is a bit subjective, but I would say the "Mount Rushmore" of postseason walk off home runs (in terms of how iconic they are) are:
 
1988 World Series – game 1 – Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckersley
1993 World Series – game 6 – Joe Carter off Mitch Williams
1960 World Series – game 7 – Bill Mazeroski off Ralph Terry
1975 World Series – game 6 – Carlton Fisk off Pat Darcy
 
Carter’s and Mazeroski’s ended not only the game, but the Series as well.  Even so, I think Gibson’s HR, even though it was only in game 1, might surpass the others in terms of how well-remembered it is.
 
I think the next rung down (on most famous) would include (in no particular order):
 
1991 World Series – game 6 – Kirby Puckett off Charlie Liebrandt
1985 NLCS – game 5 - Ozzie Smith off Tom Niedenfurer
1984 NLCS – game 4 - Steve Garvey off Lee Smith
2011 World Series – game 6 – David Freese off Mark Lowe
2003 ALCS – game 7 – Aaron Boone off Time Wakefield
1976 ALCS – game 5 – Chris Chambliss off Mark Littell
2004 ALCS – game 4 – David Ortiz off Paul Quantrill
 
There are certainly others you could argue in favor of.
 
What are the most unexpected ones?
Ozzie Smith’s home run off  Tom Niedenfuer was pretty unexpected, as was Scott Podsednik’s off of Brad Lidge.
 
Has anyone hit more than one?
Yes. 
Bernie Williams of the Yankees hit one in both the 1996 ALCS and the 1999 ALCS.
David Ortiz of the Red Sox is the only one to hit two in the same year – the 2004 ALDS and the 2004 ALCS.
Williams’ and Ortiz’ home runs were all in extra innings
 
Has anyone served up more than one?
Yes.  Dan Miceli of the Astros gave up 2 in 2004 – one to Rafael Furcal of the Braves in the NLDS, and one to Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals in the NLCS.  In addition to those 2 walk offs, Miceli surrendered 2 other home runs in that postseason.  A rough year for Dan.
 
Which Hall of Famers have hit or given up a postseason walk off homer?
Bob Lemon, Tom Seaver, and Dennis Eckersley have all given up a postseason walk off home run.  Among the other pitchers who have served one up, none are likely to be Hall of Famers with the possible exception of Lee Smith, who received pretty good support during his time on the ballot, and might eventually be inducted via a veteran’s committee. 
 
One possible bias in this area is that most walk off home runs, especially nowadays, have been hit off of relievers rather than starting pitchers, and there are very few relievers in the Hall.
 
Hall of Famers who have hit a postseason walk off are Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Bill Mazeroski , Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Smith, and Kirby Puckett.  That list will surely grow in the coming years, as Derek Jeter and David Ortiz become eligible.  In addition, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, Steve Garvey, Jeff Kent, or Jim Edmonds eventually make the Hall in one form or another, although of course they all face their own individual uphill battles.   None of their inductions would appear to be imminent.
 
Who else?  Mark Teixeira, maybe?  No, probably not.
 
I do find it interesting that, among the list of postseason walk-off home run hitters, 2 of them are the quintessential defensive players at their positions-Mazeroski at 2B and Ozzie at SS.   You could probably include Bench in that discussion as well, although he was a legitimate power hitter, and I’m not sure he’s a lock for similar stature anymore among defensive catchers (he may have been surpassed by Ivan Rodriguez).
 
What were some of the better player vs. player matchups?
Johnny Bench off of Tom Seaver (1973 NLCS) is the only instance to date where one Hall of Famer hit a home run off of another.
 
Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckerlsey (1988 World Series) was an intriguing matchup as well, despite Gibson’s injury, as Gibson was the NL MVP that year, and Eckersley was the runner-up for the AL Cy Young.
  
Manny Ramirez off Francisco Rodriguez (2007 ALDS) was another All-Star matchup, although Manny wasn’t having one of his better seasons.
 
And, actually, the first postseason walk off homer, Tommy Henrich off Don Newcombe (1949 World Series), was a solid matchup as well, as they were both All-Stars that season.
 
Any walk off grand slams?
Just one – Nelson Cruz of Texas off Ryan Perry of Detroit, 2011 ALCS game 2.
 
Another interesting note about this particular walk off home run is that, of the 49 postseason walk off home runs, this one had the lowest WPA – only .061, meaning that, even before the home run, Texas had a 94% probability of winning that game, with the key being that it was a tie game and the bases were loaded and there were 0 outs.  At that point, Texas was very likely going to win anyway…..a walk, a sac fly, a wild pitch, a single….a lot of ways to win at that point.  The fact that it was a grand slam was noteworthy, but the drama was a fraction of what it could have been due to the circumstances.
 
Any other observations?
Well, two of the pitchers who gave up postseason walk off home runs also each gave up another, probably even more notorious postseason home run.
 
Tom Niedenfuer gave up a walk off home run to Ozzie Smith in game 5 of the NLCS….and then came back in game 6 to give up a home run to Jack Clark that turned a 5-4 Dodger lead into a 7-5 deficit.  That latter home run was not a walk off, but might be more famous.
 
Brad Lidge gave up a walk off home run to Scott Podsednik in the 2005 World Series….but earlier that same year, in the 2005 NLCS, he served up a 2-out, 3-run home run in the top of the 9th of game 5 to Albert Pujols that turned a 4-2 Astros lead into a 5-4 Cardinals advantage.  Again, that latter one was not a walk off, but might be the more famous of the two.  That Pujols homer, by the way, is 4th on the postseason WPA list at .737 (that one swing took the Cardinals from a 7% chance of winning all the way up to 81%).
 
Well, I think that’s enough of walk off home runs.  Let’s look at some other types of walk off plays.
 
Postseason Walk Off Doubles
 
How many have there been?
There have been 12 walk off doubles, a lot fewer than the number of walk off home runs.  I suspect part of that is attributable to the fact that some hits that could have been doubles turn out to be singles since the game would end as soon as the winning run crosses the plate.  For example, if the winning run is on third base and you hit one to the wall, it’s likely only going to wind up officially scored as a single. 
 
Who hit the first one?
The earliest walk off double was hit by Roger Peckinpaugh of the Senators off Jack Bentley of the Giants in the bottom of the 9th of game 2 of the 1924 World Series.  Bentley also served up the second postseason walk off double in the bottom of the 12th of game 7 of that same World Series, this time to Earl McNeely.  Both hits broke up 3-3 tie games. 
 
The McNeely double is the first time that a World Series ended on a base hit.
 
The most recent walk off double was last year, Joe Panik off Mike Montgomery in the 13th inning of game 3 of the NLDS, briefly giving the Giants some hope against the Cubs.
 
What are the most famous ones?
I would nominate Cookie Lavagetto of the Dodgers over Bill Bevens of the Yankees, bottom of the 9th in game 4 of the 1947 World Series.  This is the hit that, with 2 outs in the 9th and the Dodgers trailing 2-1, runners on first on second, broke up Bevens’ no-hit bid. 
 
The Lavagetto double was one of 3 postseason walk off doubles that turned a deficit into a win.  The other 2 were:
 
1995 ALDS, game 5, Edgar Martinez off Jack McDowell to turn a 5-4 Yankees lead into a 6-5 Mariners win (this is the hit where Griffey scored the decisive run).  There were no outs, runners on first and third.  The hit also ended the series.
 
2009 NLCS, game 4, Jimmy Rollins off Jonathan Broxton, 2 outs, runners on first and second.  The hit turned a 4-3 Dodger lead into a 5-4 Phillies win.
 
Any Hall of Famers involved?
Not yet, although Edgar Martinez is knocking on the door.
 
Postseason Walk Off Triples
 
So, far, there haven’t been any postseason walk off triples.  Which, when I started thinking about it, brought up an interesting question….I was wondering whether it was even possible to have a walk-off triple? 
 
Here’s the dilemma.  Let’s say you come up to bat and the winning run is on first base.  You slash a ball into the gap.  Even if you’re Vince Coleman or Willie Wilson, isn’t the runner likely to score before you reach third?  And wouldn’t that result in a walk off double, technically?
 
Well, apparently it is possible, and it has happened during the regular season.  For example, Andrelton Simmons (of Atlanta at the time) hit one in 2013 (Dan Uggla was the baserunner, which probably helped matters).  So, apparently they do happen….we just haven’t seen one in postseason play yet.  Maybe if the Reds can make the postseason one of these days and Billy Hamilton slices one into the gap, we’ll have a good chance to see one.
 
By the way, here are other event types that have never been part of a postseason walk off.  We’ve never had:
 
  • A walk off hit by pitch
  • A walk off interference
  • A walk off triple play (now, that would be memorable!)
  • A walk off intentional walk (just seeing if you're still paying attention.....)
 
Postseason Walk Off Singles
 
Walk off singles have been fairly common in the postseason, having occurred 67 times. 
 
The first occurrence was in the 1910 World Series, game 4, Jimmy Sheckard of the Cubs knocking in Jimmy Archer from third base with a single off Hall of Famer Chief Bender of the Athletics to give the Cubs a 4-3 win.  The winning pitcher was another Hall of Famer, Mordecai Brown.
 
The most recent occurrence was the 2014 AL Wild Card game between the Royals and the A’s, with Salvador Perez knocking in Christian Colon from second base with a single off Jason Hammel to complete a wild comeback by the Royals in a game in which they trailed 7-3 at one point.
 
Has anyone hit more than one?
Yes.  Edgar Renteria has two, both in 1997 -  one off Roberto Hernandez of the Giants in game 1 of the 1997 NLDS, and the other one to clinch game 7 of the 1997 World Series off Charles Nagy of the Indians.
 
Goose Goslin also has two, both with the Tigers – one in the 1934 World Series off Bill Walker of the Cardinals, and another one in the 1935 World Series off Larry French of the Cubs.
 
Paul Blair also has 2 – one for the Orioles in the 1969 ALCS, and one for the Yankees in the 1977 World Series.
 
Anyone given up more than one?
Yes, there have been 7 – I’ll spare you the game details, but  Alejandro Pena,  Clem Labine,  Rick Porcello,  Roberto Hernandez,  Ron Perranoski,  Steve Kline, and  Tug McGraw have all been two-time victims.
 
Any other observations?
In 61 of the 67 occurrences, the walk off single broke a tie ball game.  Let’s look at the other 6.
 
There are 4 occurrences where the walk off single turned a deficit into victory.  Those 4 are:
 
  • 1992 NLCS game 7, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs, Pirates lead the Braves 2-1, Francisco Cabrera hits a 2-run single off Stan Belinda to end the game and the series

  • 2003 NLDS, game 3, bottom of the 11th, bases loaded, 2 outs, Giants lead the Marlins 3-2, Ivan Rodriguez hits a 2-run single off Tim Worrell

  • 1972 ALCS, game 1, bottom of the 11th, runners on first and second, Tigers lead the A’s 2-1, Gonzalo Marquez (more on him later) hits a 2-run single off Chuck Seelbach.

  • 1985 World Series, game 6, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 1 out, Cardinals lead the Royals 1-0, Dane Iorg hits a 2-run single off Todd Worrell to give the Royals the victory and force a game 7 (which, of course, the Royals won).
 
Clearly, this is not a topic to bring up in the Worrell household.
 
In looking at that list, I would pick the Cabrera single as the most famous walk off single in postseason history, with probably the Iorg single coming in second.
 
The other 2 instances of walk off singles that did not break tie ball games were oddball ones:
 
In the 1953 World Series, game 4, the Dodgers were ahead of the Yankees 7-2 in the top of the 9th with 2 outs and the bases loaded.  Mickey Mantle hit a single off Clem Labine to score Gene Woodling from third base, but Billy Martin was thrown out at the plate to end the game.  He later commented that he didn’t think there was any way he would be thrown out, and that the third base coach Frankie Crosetti had waved him in.
 
The other oddball one was in the 2007 NLCS, game 1, bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, no one on base, Rockies leading the Diamondbacks 5-1.  Miguel Montero hit a single, but was thrown out trying for second base.
 
The Gonzalo Marquez game-winner is part of a great story.  Marquez was a 32-year old rookie in 1972, and was almost exclusively used as a pinch-hitting specialist.  He hit .381 down the stretch in 1972, and then proceeded to go 2 for 3 in the ALCS and 3 for 5 against the Reds in the World Series, a combined 5 for 8 in the postseason.  All of his hits were singles, but he had some key hits, including the one referenced above against the Tigers.  He also was part of a comeback in the pivotal game 4 against the Reds that year when the A’s had 3 pinch hit singles in the bottom of the 9th to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.
 
That was about it for Marquez, however.  He only played 2 more seasons, never again recreating the magic he generated in that 1972 season. 
 
He did have a bit of an odd notoriety in his brief career for having played a couple of games in 1973 for Oakland at second base.  Marquez, you see, threw left-handed, an obvious rarity at the position.  Then again, second base for Oakland in 1973 was an unusual year all the way around – I believe it was the year where they utilized the strategy of pinch-hitting often for their second basemen.  The list of players who played second base that year for Oakland included Dick Green, Ted Kubiak, Manny Trillo, Dal Maxvill, Mike Andrews, Rich McKinney, Gene Tenace, Jay Johnstone (the only year he ever played any second base), Gonzalo Marquez, Billy Conigliaro, and Angel Mangual (Phil Garner was also on that team, although he didn’t get any time at second base that year).  Quite the contingent.
 
 
Other Postseason Walk Off Events
 
Here are a few different types that have occurred, although they’ve been rare:
 
Walk off Stolen Bases
Sounds crazy, because it would have to be someone stealing home, but it technically has occurred once.  Game 3, 1997 ALCS, the Indians hosting the Orioles, bottom of the 12th inning, 1 out, runners on first and third, 1-1 score.  Randy Myers is on the mound for the Orioles.  The runner on third, Marquis Grissom, was off with the pitch for a suicide squeeze attempt, Omar Vizquel attempted to bunt and either missed it or fouled it off, depending on your perspective.  The ball got away from catcher Lenny Webster, and Grissom scored standing up.  Crazy.
 
Walk off Errors
There have been 6 of these, with certainly the most famous being the "Bill Bucker" misplay on the ball hit by Mookie Wilson in game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  That has been the "king" of all walk off errors.
 
But the first one occurred way back in the 1914 World Series, when Les Mann of the Boston Braves, pinch running for catcher Hank Gowdy, scored from second on an error by pitcher Bullet Joe Bush, who was trying to throw out Mann at third on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Herbie Moran.  This was game 3 out of the eventual 4-game sweep of the Athletics by the "Miracle" Braves.
 
The winning pitcher?  Bill James.
 
Another "miracle" team was the beneficiary of a walk off error.  1969 World Series, game 4, Mets vs. Orioles, ended in an error in the bottom of the 10th inning, 1-1 score, runners on first and second, no outs.  Backup catcher J.C. Martin pinch hit for Tom Seaver and laid down a bunt, pitcher Pete Richert fielded it and threw to first, but the throw hit Martin in the wrist and ended up in right field, allowing Rod Gaspar to score the winning run from second base.  A big controversy ensued as Martin was running inside the first base line (in fair territory) when the throw hit him.  However, the umpires ruled no interference.
 
Time for a question.  What do the following walk offs all have in common?
  • Marquis Grissom’s steal of home
  • The Bill Buckner error
  • The J.C. Martin/Pete Richert play
Answer – Davey Johnson was present for all 3.  He was the manager of the Orioles at the time of the Grissom steal.  He was the Mets manager when Buckner’s error occurred.  And, he was the second baseman on the Orioles who was covering first base when Richert tried to throw out Martin.
 
Walk off Caught Stealing
This has happened three times.  In all three cases, it happened with a runner on first trying to steal second base when trailing by a run.  By far the most famous of these was in 1926, when Babe Ruth was thrown out trying to steal second base with Pete Alexander pitching and Bob Meusel at the plate, ending not only the game, but the World Series as well.
 
We have not seen a walk off caught stealing in 80 years now, the most recent one occurring in 1936.
 
Walk off Wild Pitches
This has only happened twice, with one of them being one of the most exciting early moments for me as a young Reds fan. 
 
Game 5 of the 1972 NLCS between the Reds and the Pirates was the deciding game of that series, and it was looking grim for the Reds as the Pirates carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 9th.  Dave Giusti, the Pirates’ closer (actually part of a very strong righty/left duo with Ramon Hernandez that year) came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th.   Johnny Bench greeted him with an opposite-field home run, and the place went nuts.
 
After that, Tony Perez singled, and was replaced by pinch runner George Foster (this was a few years before he became one of the better power hitters around).  Eventually, Bob Moose relieved Giusti, and with 2 outs and runners on first and third, and with a young Hal McRae (in his pre-DH days) at the plate, Moose uncorked a wild pitch.  One of my sweetest early baseball memories.
 
The only other postseason walk off wild pitch was in the 1927 World Series, game 4, bases loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, 3-3 score, with Tony Lazzeri of the Yankees at the plate, Johnny Miljus of the Pirates on the mound.  Miljus had just struck out Lou Gehrig and Bob Meusel and looked like he might get out of the jam, but he let loose a wild pitch that allowed Earle Combs to score from third base, the final nail in a four-game sweep by the Yankees.
 
Walk Off Walks
I’m surprised that there’s only been one of these.  1999 NLCS, game 6, bottom of the 11th, Andruw Jones of the Braves draws a based loaded walk off Kenny Rogers of the Mets in a wild, 10-9 ball game.  Gerald Williams led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a Bret Boone groundout.  Manager Bobby Valentine then ordered consecutive intentional walks of Chipper Jones and Brian Jordan to load the bases and try to set up a force play at all bases and a potential double play.  I wonder how many times that strategy pays off, and how many times it blows up?
 
Walk off Strikeouts
This is a pretty common ending, having occurred 372 times.  Most of the time, it’s not particularly noteworthy or dramatic…..just another out.  Here’s a few notes on this particular event:
 
  • No big surprise - Mariano Rivera has the most walk off strikeouts with 18 (and 18 different batters, at that).  Brad Lidge is #2 with 10.

  • 3 batters are tied for the most walk off strikeouts with 4: Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, and Matt Holliday

  • There have been 6 duos that have "teamed up" for 2 walk off strikeouts: 
    • Tug McGraw vs.  Willie Wilson
    • Greg Holland vs.  Mike Trout
    • Randy Myers vs. Omar Vizquel
    • Jonathan Broxton vs. Rick Ankiel
    • Jeff Reardon vs. Kirk Gibson
    • Brad Lidge vs. Marcus Giles
 
What is the most famous walk off strikeout?  Hard to say.  A game-ending strikeout often isn’t as memorable because it preserves a lead rather than a game-ending hit that provides a lead.  But, here are my nominations for the most famous walk off strikeouts in postseason history:
 
  • 2006 NLCS game 7, Cardinals at Mets, bases loaded, Cardinals lead 3-1, Adam Wainwright strikes out Carlos Beltran

  • 1978 World Series game 2, Yankees at Dodgers, runners on first and second, Dodgers lead 4-3, a young Bob Welch strikes out Reggie Jackson.  Jackson, of course, gets his revenge later in the series with a single off Welch in game 4 and, eventually, a home run off Welch in game 6.

  • 1956 World Series game 5, Dodgers at Yankees, Don Larsen strikes out Dale Mitchell to complete his perfect game.
 I’m probably missing some obvious ones, but those ones stand out to me.
 
Walk Off Pickoffs
There’s only been one of these as well, and you probably remember it.  2013 World Series, game 4, Red Sox up on the Cardinals 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, Kolten Wong on first base, Carlos Beltran at bat, Koji Uehara on the mound.  Uehara picked off Wong, which was especially embarrassing for the young pinch runner since he was not the tying run, and his main job was to not get thrown out on the bases.
 
So, Wong remains the only player to ever have a postseason walk off pickoff.  However, he did get some measure of redemption the next year, though, when he hit a walk off home run in game 2 of the 2014 NLCS. 
 
That’s one of the beauties of the walk off….sometimes you’re the goat, sometimes you’re the hero.
 
Hope you enjoyed reading.
 
Dan
 
    
 
 

COMMENTS (18 Comments, most recent shown first)

DMBBHF
Bruce,

I hate to point this out....but Harry Walker's hit wasn't a walk off....it occurred in the 8th inning. And, even though a lot of people do remember it as a single, it was officially scored as a double. :)

GaryWMaloney,

Re: Luis Gonzalez - That's my fault...I intended to list the most "famous" walk off singles, same as I did for doubles and home runs, but I forgot to include them in the article. That would definitely be one of them.

I would nominate the following for the most famous postseason walk off singles:

1992 NLCS Francisco Cabrera off Stan Belinda
2001 WS Luis Gonzalez off Mariano Rivera
1991 WS Gene Larkin off Alejandro Pena
1997 WS Edgar Renteria off Charles Nagy
1985 WS Dane Iorg off Todd Worrell

Dan
11:17 AM Jul 1st
 
evanecurb
In 1970, Lee May came to bat for the Reds in the top of the ninth with two runners on in game 4 of the World Series. The Reds were down 3-0 in the series and 5-3 in the game. May hit a 3 run home run, and the Reds won, 6-5. It was a very dramatic hit, because it won the game and staved off elimination. But the Orioles clinched the next day with a 9-3 win, so it's been lost to the annals of history. It also wasn't a walk off because the Reds were the visiting team.

Have there been any stellar defensive plays that ended a postseason game? I can't think of any, but I'm sure there have been.

In my opinion, the most famous walk off single in baseball history was Harry Walker's hit in game 7 of the 1946 World Series, on which Enos Slaughter scored from first, allegedly because Johnny Pesky held the ball a second too long before throwing home.
8:12 AM Jul 1st
 
Davidg32
Oops...forgot to add (re: the Angels "walk off" strikeout) that THEIR batter was the one who struck out, and they still won the game on the throwing error.

10:37 PM Jun 30th
 
Davidg32
How 'bout the Angels the other day...winning the game on a walk-off strikeout!
8:10 PM Jun 30th
 
bearbyz
Thanks Dan for answering my question. It was funny, I just watched the replay. No pointed out the third base ump called obstruction right away. It was no hidden signal it was very visible on the screen. Someone called it the controversial ending to game 3 on one amateur film. I didn't see nothing controversial about it. The umpires made the right call.
5:36 PM Jun 30th
 
garywmaloney
Fun article -- stunned by lack of mentions (until comments) of Luis Gonzalez's Series-winning single in 2001 Game 7, coming off a Hall of Famer (who had relieved ANOTHER Hall of Famer).

Also, IMO, Carter's walk-off in 1993 Game 6 should always be seen in the context that it came in Game 6 (and the Blue Jays were up 3 games to 2). It was magnified in the media, but pales in impact compared to Mazeroski's in 1960, which came in Game 7, came from a primarily defensive player, and upended the Yankees after their record offensive display in all 7 contests; plus, the insane see-saw nature of that Game 7 itself, a game with several climaxes.

No wonder Bill (in The Baseball Book 1992) opined that 1960 Game 7 may have been the greatest GAME every played . . . don't think anyone would make that claim about 1993 Game 6.
12:32 AM Jun 28th
 
billsizer
Great article, Dan. Thank you. Re Game 5 in 1972, I've never seen a pitcher look more stricken than Dave Giusti as he walked from the mound to the dugout. It got worse.
9:41 PM Jun 27th
 
Steven Goldleaf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jcCDOcV_ZY

Ventura's grand-slam single. He had an amazing bases-loaded batting record, but he kinda got screwed out of another grand-slam HR here, officially.
5:33 PM Jun 27th
 
DMBBHF
Fireball Wenz,

The 1951 game in which Thomson hit his memorable home run was considered to be regular season. The Giants officially played 157 regular season games that year, so his homer was outside the scope of the data I was looking at.

Chuck,

Good call-out on Ventura's "grand slam" single. I should have given that one its due....certainly one of the more memorable walk off singles in postseason history.

Bearbyz,

Seamheads.com has the final play of game 3 of the 2013 World Series categorized as a "fielder's choice".

Dan

5:27 PM Jun 27th
 
RangeFactor
Oops; the game-tying HRs referenced in the previous comment were in Games 4 and 5.
5:05 PM Jun 27th
 
RangeFactor
These weren't walkoff HRs, but deserve honorable mention:

1. Game three, 2001 World Series, Yankees trail the Diamondbacks by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth... Tino Martinez hits a two-run home run off Byung-hyun Kim to tie the game. Derek Jeter had a walkoff HR later on, in extra innings.

2. Game four, 2001 World Series, Yankees trail the Diamondbacks by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth... Scott Brosius hits a two-run home run off Byung-hyun Kim to tie the game.

Byung-hyun Kim was shell-shocked after that Game 4 home run. Thank goodness for the walk-off single that Luis Gonzales hit in Game 7 to win it all, in yet another famous postseason moment.
6:36 PM Jun 26th
 
bearbyz
Great article. What did you call the play to end game 3 of the 2013 World Series. It could be an error, runner interference, ground out, or fielders choice. One of my most memorable endings to a post season game.
12:20 PM Jun 26th
 
those
Fireball -- it's in the 5th paragraph of the article
9:41 PM Jun 25th
 
chuck
Thanks for the fun article, Dan. A mention for Robin Ventura... didn't he have a walk-off home run or even a grand slam that became only a single due to his being mobbed by teammates before reaching 2nd base?
8:50 PM Jun 25th
 
Fireball Wenz
Maybe because it's neither fish nor fowl - it wasn't part of the "regular season" or the "postseason" as both are commonly understood, but I can't believe no one has mentioned the Shot Heard 'Round the World.
6:20 PM Jun 25th
 
DMBBHF
Poincare,

Thanks for the kind words.

Sayhey,

You came up with 3 pretty good ones for famous non-walk off postseason homers, and I would go with the Ruth "called shot" homer as the most famousb.

Some other possibilities:

- Rajai Davis home run off Aroldis Chapman last year
- The Derek Jeter "Jeffrey Maier" home run in 1996 off Armando Benitez
- Dave Henderson home run off Donnie Moore in 1986
- Albert Pujols off Brad Lidge in 2005
- Jack Clark off Tom Niedenfuer in 1985
- George Brett off Goose Gossage in 1980
- Roberto Alomar off Dennis Eckersley in 1992

Thanks,
Dan

5:06 PM Jun 25th
 
Poincare
Great article Dan. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It brought back some wonderful memories. Keep up the great work.
2:19 PM Jun 25th
 
sayhey
Daniel: What would you say is the most famous non-walk-off post-season HR? Three candidates: Bautista's bat flip, Reggie's third in '77, Ruth's called shot.
2:10 PM Jun 25th
 
 
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