Joe Carter's blast to win the 1993 World Series is just one of two walk-off home runs in World Series history
This year’s World Series has already seen history made when it comes to the home run. In Game 2 on Wednesday night, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers combined for eight home runs, the most ever in a World Series game. Of the 13 total run scored, only three were not courtesy of a home run.
And while George Springer’s two-run home run in top of the 11th inning proved to be the game-winner for Houston, it certainly was not one of the most important or significant blasts in the Fall Classic’s 113-year history. Here are the 10 greatest home runs in World Series history.
10. Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees
Oct. 10, 1964 – Yankee Stadium (Bronx, N.Y.)
Tied 1-1 with St. Louis in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 3 of the 1964 World Series, Mantle hit Barney Schultz’s movement-less knuckleball into the right field stands to give the Yankees a 2-1 win. The game-winning home run also broke Babe Ruth’s career record for World Series home runs of 15. Although the Yankees would ultimately lose in seven games, Mantle’s home run has not been forgotten.
9. Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees
Oct. 18, 1977 – Yankee Stadium (Bronx, N.Y.)
Jackson earned the nickname “Mr. October” with his performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Down 3-2 in the fourth inning, the Yankees outfielder hit a two-run home run and did the exact same thing in the fifth inning. Then in the eighth, he hit another home run to put the Yankees up 8-3. His performance secured the win and the series for New York. Which one of these three deserves the ninth spot on this list? Take your pick.
8. Babe Ruth, New York Yankees
Oct. 1, 1932 – Wrigley Field (Chicago)
The most mythical home run on this list came in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the Yankees and the Cubs. Tied 4-4, Ruth came to home plate and allegedly pointed to the center of Wrigley Field as Charlie Root prepared to pitch. The Bambino then blasted a home run to center field. Whether or not he called his shot has been the subject of intense debate, but it remains etched in pop culture and baseball folklore. Oh, and the Yankees won that game and swept the Cubs.
7. Dusty Rhodes, New York Giants
Sept. 29, 1954 – Polo Grounds (New York)
The 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians is best remembered for Willie Mays’ legendary catch in the eighth inning of Game One. Then in the bottom of the 10th, his teammate Rhodes pinch hit for Monte Irvin and smacked a walk-off home run that barely cleared the right field fence of the Polo Grounds. New York would go on to sweep Cleveland.
6. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
Nov. 1, 2001 – Yankee Stadium (Bronx, N.Y.)
The 2001 Fall Classic between the Diamondbacks and Yankees started later in October because of 9/11 and emotions were at a fever pitch during the three games played in New York. They may have very well peaked when Jeter took the plate in the 10th inning of Game 4 shortly after midnight on Nov. 1. Facing a full count with his team down two games to one against Arizona, Jeter (above, right) hit a walk-off home run to tie the Series. Although New York would lose the in seven games, Jeter’s home run remains etched in our memories.
5. Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins
Oct. 26, 1991 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minneapolis)
With five games decided by one run, the 1991 World Series between Minnesota and Atlanta is widely considered to be the best of all time. The most exciting moment came in Game 6 when Puckett came to the plate in the bottom of the 11th with his Twins down three games to two. Puckett told teammate Chili Davis he just planned to bunt to get on base and Davis responded, “Bunt my ass. Hit it out and let's go home!" Puckett did and the Twins won Game 7 to win a true Fall Classic.
4. Carlton Fisk, Boston Red Sox
Oct. 21, 1975 – Fenway Park (Boston)
Cincinnati and Boston were tied 6-6 in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series when Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk came to the plate in the bottom of the 12th. In a moment further immortalized in the movie Good Will Hunting, Fisk hit a shot towards Fenway Park’s Big Green Monster that looked like it would go foul. Fisk waved his arms as if he was willing it to go fair. The ball stayed fair and forced a Game 7, which the Reds won 4-3. Still, Fisk’s homer was the greatest moment of the Series.
3. Joe Carter, Toronto Blue Jays
Oct. 26, 1993 – SkyDome (Toronto, Ontario)
Carter came to the plate with his Blue Jays down 6-5 to Phillies in the bottom of the ninth of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Facing a 2-2 count with Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Carter blasted a three-run shot to win back-to-back world championships for the Jays. As he rounded the bases, Toronto’s radio announcer Tom Cheek famously said, “Touch 'em all, Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!" It remains one of only two walk-off home runs to win a Series.
2. Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Oct. 15, 1988 – Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
Gibson had injured his left hamstring in Game 5 and right knee in Game 7 of the National League Champion Series against the Mets and was not expected to play in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the A’s. But with the Dodgers down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth and Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley ready to put the nail in the coffin, he told manager Tommy Lasorda that he was available to pinch hit. So with Mike Davis on first base, Gibson hobbled to the plate and engaged in a duel with Eckersley that culminated in a home run to right field. Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully summed up the scene as Gibson celebrated with his teammates by saying, “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened!” Gibson would not have another at-bat for the season and wouldn’t need it as the Dodgers won the Series in five games.
1. Bill Mazeroski – Pittsburgh Pirates
Oct. 13, 1960 – Forbes Field (Pittsburgh)
The other walk-off home run to win a World Series closed one of the best Game 7s ever. The Pirates jumped out to 4-0 lead in the second inning, but the Yankees battled back to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth and extend it to 7-4 in the top of the eighth. Pittsburgh roared back with five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 9-7 lead, but New York tied the game in the top of the ninth. Then in the bottom, Mazeroski was the first up and hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” to left field on the second pitch to win the Series for the Pirates. It remains the only home run to win Game 7 of a World Series.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Joe Carter, Derek Jeter photos courtesy of Getty Images)