National League: St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) - 18th World Series (Won 10 previous times)
American League: Texas Rangers (96-66) - Second World Series
So that was it, then. The Cardinals kept trying to come back from deficits in the sixth game of the World Series, but they had finally run out of outs. David Freese's two-out line drive was hit right at Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz, and it was going to be the final out of series, and the Cardinals' season of comebacks will end one comeback short. Cruz had to just run back and to his left - not the easiest catch, but one he should have easily made.
But Cruz didn't run back and to his left. He drifted. Maybe he misread the ball, or maybe he thought he was closer to the wall than he was, but Cruz didn't get all the way back on the ball, and it sailed over his head, hitting the wall. Two runs scored, and Freese slid into third, and the Cardinals jumped up and down in exhilaration while the Rangers noticeably slumped their shoulders in shock. They were one strike from a championship. Instead, they had to play on ... and try to keep Freese at third.
Freese stayed there, and the teams entered the 10th. The Rangers took the lead again, as Josh Hamilton hit a massive home two-run home run. Once again, the Rangers had a two-run lead with three outs to go to clinch the championship. And once again, the Cardinals came back. They had already scored once when Albert Pujols came up to bat with two outs and a runner on second. That's when Texas manager Ron Washington made all major league managers, past and present, alive and dead, gasp in shock: he walked Pujols to put the game-winning run on base.
It defied all logic. It broke all the rules of managing, both written and unwritten. And ... it kinda made sense. That's how good Pujols had been that series, including his three home run game in Game 3. With the World Series on the line, Washington decided he'd rather face anybody else. And it almost didn't work, as Lance Berkman hit a single that scored the game-tying run and sent Pujols to third. Pujols stayed there, though, and the teams went on to the 11th.
And then David Freese did what Washington was afraid Pujols would do. He ended this incredible, indescribable game with a home run.
Game 6 was just one game, but it was the best World Series game in a decade. The 2011 World Series only happened a year ago, but it's the game that stands out, and deservedly so. There were a couple other great games in the series; Game 2, for example, was scoreless until a lone Cardinals run in the 7th, but the Rangers scored twice in the ninth to win it. But Game 6 is what stands out. It's true now, one year later, and it will likely be true 50 years from now. It was just one of those games.
Freese. He had the two huge hits in Game 6, plus the game-tying double early in Game 7. An easy pick.
(Home team shaded; winners in Bold)
|St. Louis||3||1||16||0||2||10 (11)||6|
I'm ranking all the World Series, from worst to best. Here are the ones I've done so far:
5. 2011 - St. Louis (N) def. Texas (A) 4-3
6. 1912 - Boston (A) def. New York (N) 4-3 (1 tie)
7. 1992 - Toronto (A) def. Atlanta (N) 4-2
8. 1947 - New York (A) def. Brooklyn (N) 4-3
9. 1972 - Oakland (A) def. Cincinnati (N) 4-3
Simultaneously, I'll rank all the Game 7s. The ones that have appeared in my countdown so far:
3. 1960: Pittsburgh 10, New York (A) 9
5. 1997: Florida 3, Cleveland 2
6. 1912: Boston (A) 3, New York (N) 2 (game 8)
7. 1946: St. Louis (N) 4, Boston (A) 3
9. 1925: Pittsburgh 9, Washington 7
10. 1926: St. Louis (N) 3, New York (A) 2
11. 1962: New York (A) 1, San Francisco 0
12. 1979: Pittsburgh 4, Baltimore 1
13. 1955: Brooklyn 2, New York (A) 0
14. 1952: New York (A) 4, Brooklyn 2
15. 1971: Pittsburgh 2, Baltimore 1
16. 1940: Cincinnati 2, Detroit 1
17. 1972: Oakland 3, Cincinnati 2
18. 1987: Minnesota 4, St. Louis 2
19. 1958: New York 6, Milwaukee 2
20. 1986: New York (N) 8, Boston 5
21. 1968: Detroit 4, St. Louis 1
22. 1931: St. Louis (N) 4, Philadelphia (A) 2
23. 1973: Oakland 5, New York (N) 2
24. 2002: Anaheim 4, San Francisco 1
25. 1982: St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 3
26. 1947: New York (A) 5, Brooklyn 2
27. 2011: St. Louis 6, Texas 2
28. 1965: Los Angeles (A) 2, Minnesota 0
29. 1964: St. Louis 7, New York (A) 5
30. 1957: Milwaukee 5, New York (A) 0
31. 1967: St. Louis 7, Boston 2
32. 1945: Detroit 9, Chicago (N) 3
33. 1909: Pittsburgh 8, Detroit 0
34. 1934: St. Louis (N) 11, Detroit 0
35. 1985: Kansas City 11, St. Louis 0
36. 1956: New York (A) 9, Brooklyn 0