“Never seen THAT in a Serious!”

There are many things we’ve never seen in a World Series. These are a few of them:


Home run or triple by the first batter of the Series: All nine game-opening HRs were in Games 2-5; the last one was Game 4 in 2004, Johnny Damon off Jason Marquis. Matt Carpenter has led off a game 70 times, all of them this year, going 16 for 63 (.254) with just three of his trademark doubles. The 108 prior Series-opening batters produced:

  • 20 strikeouts
  • 58 batted outs
  • 18 hits (13 singles, 5 doubles)
  • 8 walks
  • 2 HBP (neither one was 1919)
  • 2 reached on error. (Both teams committing the error won the Series. In 1995, Cleveland’s Kenny Lofton reached on Rafael Belliard’s E6, then swiped 2nd and 3rd and scored on a groundout, but the Braves won that game and the Series in six. In 1983, Joe Morgan reached when 3B Todd Cruz dropped a pop-up, but he was caught stealing; Little Joe later homered, and the Phillies won that game, 2-1, but Baltimore took the next four.)

Grand slam in the top of the 1st inning: Eighteen slams in all, two in the home 1st.

Pinch-hit grand slam: Pinch-hitters with the bases full are 13 for 48, 2 doubles, 8 walks. Every other position has a slam.

Walk-off triple, walk, HBP, wild pitch or passed ball: The 55 walk-off events include 48 hits (28 singles, 15 HRs, 5 doubles), four sacrifice flies, and three errors (two by pitchers on bunts, one by a certain first baseman).

Walk-off batting event by a pitcher: Every other position has at least two, pinch-hitters on top with 10 (counting one PH for the DH). There were two go-ahead hits by pitchers in the last inning, by Christy Mathewson (1913, Game 2, 10th inning, one out, set up by a sac bunt, Matty’s 2nd hit out of the team’s 7 and his 3rd time on base) and by Rube Foster (1915, Game 2, 9th inning, two outs, his 3rd hit among the team’s 10). The last tying or go-ahead hit by a pitcher later than the 5th inning was by Vic Raschi, 1952, Game 6, 7th inning, two outs. Don’t hold your breath this year.

The 15th inning: Four postseason games have gone to the 15th or beyond, but the high for a Series game is 14 innings. The first was in 1916, Game 2, a CG duel of Babe Ruth over Sherry McGee Sherry Smith. The other was 2005, Game 3, with the White Sox setting a WS record of 9 pitchers used, while the Astros merely tied the old record of 8. Three Series games were declared ties, none longer than 12 innings.

Cycle: Only Lou Brock has notched the three different extra-base hits, in 1968, Game 4, and he never got to the plate with a chance to finish the cycle. Five players have had HR, 3B and 1B (twice for Paul Molitor in 1993); of that group, Rickey Henderson had two shots at the double, and Elmer Smith had one try, all ending in groundouts. Fourteen different players had the single, double and triple, five of them adding a 4th hit, topped by Billy Hatcher’s two doubles in 1990, Game 2; he was intentionally walked in his 5th trip.

Four stolen bases: Jacoby Ellsbury has done that twice in a regular-season game, but unless Yadier Molina gets hurt, we think this record stands another year.

DH moved to a fielding position: During this regular season, the DH was switched to a fielding position (inserting the pitcher into the batting order) 24 times. It’s happened a few times in playoff games, but never in the World Series.

Shortened game: I’m not sure if the rules even allow such a thing. In 2008, Game 5 was played in rain that grew heavier as the night wore on. The home Phillies led into the 6th, 2-1, with the rain and wind reaching intensity that would never be played through in an ordinary game. After Tampa Bay tied it up in the top half, play was suspended, and finally resumed two nights later, with the Phillies pulling out a one-run win to capture the Series. The accounts I’ve read state that Commissioner Selig had informed the umpires prior to the 5th inning that, if play had to be stopped after 5 full innings with the Phillies leading, the game would not be shortened, but would be suspended and concluded whenever possible. But do such decisions still remain in the commissioner’s hands, or is there now a rule in place that covers the question? I’m sorry to say, I don’t know.


A few high-impact WS events you don’t hear much about:

Hit by pitch: 1907, Game 1 — Cubs trailing Tigers, 3-1, in the home 9th, no outs and a man on 1st — Harry Steinfeldt is hit by Wild Bill Donovan. Chicago would then tie the game without getting the ball out of the infield. A sac bunt failed, but an error by 3B Bill Coughlin filled the sacks with one out, and a groundout scored a run. Del Howard pinch-hit for Joe Tinker, who had whiffed in all three trips. Donovan fanned Howard, too; his 12 Ks in the game tied Ed Walsh’s WS record, which stood until 1929. But strike three got away from Boss Schmidt, and the tying run scored — the only time in Series history that a tying or go-ahead run scored on a strikeout. The inning ended with Johnny Evers caught trying to steal home. Neither team scored through the 12th inning, although the Cubs had several chances; the 10th ended with Jimmy Slagle called out for interference while trying to score from 3rd, and Donovan escaped a bags-full 11th with a whiff and a groundout. Frank Chance’s line-drive DP ended the 12th, and the game was declared a tie. Chicago won the next four games by a combined 16-3 score.

Reached on error: The big one has been done to death, so here’s another: 2004, Game 1 — Cardinals trailing Red Sox, 9-8, top of the 8th, two on, one out — Manny Ramirez, who had just plated the go-ahead run, muffed Larry Walker’s fly to LF, tying the game and leaving men at 3rd and 2nd. Keith Foulke intentionally walked Albert Pujols, then retired Scott Rolen on a pop fly and caught Jim Edmonds looking at a 1-2 pitch. Mark Bellhorn hit a 2-run HR in the bottom half, and Boston went on to sweep.

Game-ending strikeout: 1980, Game 5 — Royals trailing Phillies, 4-3, in the home 9th, bases loaded, series tied 2-all — Jose Cardenal had pinch-hit in the 7th against Tug McGraw and flied out with two aboard, ending the inning with K.C. ahead by one. After Philly scored twice in the 9th off Dan Quisenberry, McGraw walked two of the first three in his 9th, and with two outs and men on the corners, a 4-pitch walk to Amos Otis pushed the winning run to 2nd. Cardenal, in his 18th season, had joined the Royals in August and hit .340 in a part-time role. But McGraw got him swinging, and the Phils took a 3-2 Series lead back home. In Game 6, McGraw escaped a bags-full jam in the 8th to hold a 4-1 lead, then faced the same again in the 9th, when Cardenal’s single filled ’em up with one out. But Frank White fouled out on the first pitch, and Willie Wilson sealed his miserable Series with a whiff, giving the Phillies their first World Series title. McGraw made 26 career postseason relief appearances and went 2 innings or more in 15 of them, second only to Mariano Rivera (33). Jose Cardenal, who debuted in 1963 at age 19, retired after that year, having never played for a postseason series winner.


33 thoughts on ““Never seen THAT in a Serious!”

  1. 1
    Richard Chester says:

    There’s never been 3 HBP in a WS game. Keep your eye on Victorino.

  2. 2
    John Autin says:

    Well, dang — I was really hoping for a first-batter triple!

  3. 3
    John Autin says:

    Umps get together and overrule a blown call — excellent!

    Have we ever seen THAT particular overrule before, in a Series or otherwise?

    • 7
      birtelcom says:

      Especially with DeMuth staring right at the play. Not like he was blocked or had a bad angle. Not the normal protocol to overrule a fellow ump in that scenario.

  4. 4
    John Autin says:

    One prior 3-run double in the 1st inning — 1945, game 7, Detroit catcher Paul Richards against the Cubs’ Paul Derringer, completing a 5-run inning. Tigers went on to win, 9-3.

    This was just the second 3-run double ever off Wainwright. It’s the 2nd time in 8 career postseason starts that he allowed 3+ runs in the 1st; the other was last year’s NLDS, game 5.

    • 5
      birtelcom says:

      Never before in Game 1/Inning 1 though. Three-RBI hits in Game 1/Inning 1:
      Billy Martin triple 1953; homers by Big Papi in 2004 and Bob Watson for the Yankees in 1981. No doubles until now.

      • 9
        Richard Chester says:

        Prior to Martin’s triple Hank Bauer hit a triple scoring Joe Collins. It looks like the only occasion of two run-producing triples in the first inning of a WS.

  5. 6
    John Autin says:

    During the regular season, David Ortiz never scored from 1st on a double, in 9 chances.

    Meanwhile, MLB.com shows just 1 earned run against Wainwright in that 1st inning. Can anyone explain that? You can’t assume a DP would have been turned on Ortiz, so he’s safe at 1st on a fielder’s choice. Pedroia is safe at 2nd on the error, so his run is unearned. Then the 1-out double scores the runner from 3rd, and Ortiz from 1st. Both those runs have to be earned, no? [Update: They corrected it the next inning.]

  6. 10
    RJ says:

    All these infield errors are highly reminiscent of 2006. One on top of the other.

  7. 11
    birtelcom says:

    Cardinals: “Could we just, like, start over again?”

  8. 12
    John Autin says:

    If any Cardinal feels like catching a ball, that would probably be OK with Adam Wainwright.

  9. 15
    John Autin says:

    Largest deficit overcome by the Cards this year: 4 runs.

  10. 17
    John Autin says:

    BTW, in 2004 Game 1, the Cards came back from 7-2 hole to tie the game, and also rallied to tie from 9-7 down, but ultimately lost, 11-9.

  11. 18
    oneblankspace says:

    In 1959, the Sox won the first game 11-0 over the Dodgers. The next home game they won in the postseason was in 2005 against the Red Sox.

  12. 19
    Doug says:

    Teams winning the first game are 67-40 (.626) in the WS (there was one first game tie). Home teams that win the first game are 42-20 (.677).

    With a win tonight, Boston is 9-3 in first games of a World Series, but only 5-3 in WS wins when they win the first tilt. The Red Sox are 2-1 in WS when they lose the first game. When the Red Sox win the first game at home, they are 3-1 in series, and 1-1 in series when they lose game 1 in Boston.

    Bad news for Cardinal fans. When the Redbids lose game 1 on the road, they are 1-5 in those WS. The last time they won a series when they lost game 1 on the road was in 1926, with the Babe’s ill-fated stolen base attempt ending game 7.

  13. 20
    John Autin says:

    Home teams now 63-45 in Game 1, with one tie.

    Those who won Game 1 at home won 42 of 62 Series, by my count.

    (IT’S OVER!)

  14. 22

    I’m sure Sherry Magee would have loved to try his hand at pitching in the 1916 World Series, but his Boston Braves finished third in the NL. Sherry Smith pitched Game 2 for the Robins.

  15. 23
    John Autin says:

    On the game’s key misplay, it seems that Kozma is getting all the blame and Carpenter none. I’d give Carpenter a one-third share. Turn and throw the ball, instead of a 35-foot backhand push pass with no oomph.

    I think Kozma still could have made the pivot, and above all he HAD to get one out. But the soft flip made it much tougher than it had to be.


    The play’s rhythm was all fouled up. With Kozma in the shift, his path to the keystone was away from the play. I’m sure he’s turned DPs from that position, but not so many as to make all contingencies become instinctive, as it would be with a normal approach. The soft flip threw off the timing. It’s just not what you expect to get, from that distance.

    • 25
      RJ says:

      Tangentially, whilst commenting on the incident John Farrell said “I think we’re fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but…”. To which I ask, ‘why’? It’s not a rule, it looks farcical on replay and is likely to run into serious problems once the challenge system is implemented next year.

      I wasn’t even aware of the “rule” until recently and it seems like a typically ass-backwards solution. If you want to avoid injuries to fielders, outlaw dangerous slides.

      • 26
        John Autin says:

        Outlaw dangerous slides … or just lower your expectation of DPs turned. After all, you don’t get a neighborhood play at any other base, just because the fielder might be trying to get an additional out on the play. Why should we expect (and thus make allowance for) a GDP on a play where the fielder can’t both truly make the force play and evade a reasonable slide to complete the turn?

        Eliminating the neighborhood play (which I think the new replay rule will eventually do) would slightly reward (a) faster runners, (b) nimble, strong-armed middle infielders, and (c) contact hitters — all of which sounds good to me.

  16. 27
    John Autin says:

    A WS first from Game 1: Teams reaching base safely 9 times or fewer had never scored more than 6 runs.

    Two prior teams scored exactly 8 runs with 10 times on base — the Yanks in 1977, Game 6 (Reggie’s 3 HRs), and the Yanks in 1927, Game 3 (Ruth hit a 3-run HR, Gehrig a 2-run triple).

    To find more than 8 runs, you have to go up to 12 TOB, and that just once — White Sox, 1959, Game 1 (with 2 Kluszewski 2-run HRs).

    Even adding in the errors, home teams in 9-inning WS games with exactly 12 TOB(w/e) had averaged 3.4 runs. Just one other with exactly 12 TOB(w/e) reached 8 runs — last year, Game 1, Giants 8, Tigers 3, with 3 Sandoval’s 3 HRs.

  17. 28
    John Autin says:

    Teams hitting a grand slam in consecutive postseason games:

    — 1977 Dodgers, NLCS Games 1 and 2 — Ron Cey off Steve Carlton, Dusty Baker off Jim Lonborg — lost the first, won the second, won the series.
    — 2011 Diamondbacks, NLDS Games 3 and 4 — Paul Goldschmidt off Shaun Marcum, Ryan Roberts off Randy Wolf — won both games, but lost the series in 5.

    Without Beltran’s catch, Ortiz would have hit the first World Series slam in Red Sox history and in Fenway history. He would have joined Victorino and Jim Thome as players with 2 postseason slams. Cards would have tied the Dodgers for most WS slams allowed (5).

    Napoli’s 3-run double was just the 2nd bags-full extra-base hit in Fenway WS history. Before last night, WS bags-full batters in Fenway were 9 for 48, with one double; now they’re 11 for 51, two doubles.

  18. 29
    Fireworks says:

    After 2008’s suspended game MLB announced that normal rules don’t apply and that all postseason games would be played to completion.

  19. 30
    Fireworks says:

    I think. I’m not sure it covered all postseason games and not just the World Series. But I am sure it covers at least the World Series. No shortened games. Suspend and resume.

  20. 32
    TheGoof says:

    Well, there’s your first obstruction walkoff. So wacky that you didn’t even include that on the list!

  21. 33
    oneblankspace says:

    We have also seen a pickoff to end the game and a 1-3-6-3-4-botched rundown on a pickoff.

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