Nothing Like a Game 7
In June 2011 I wrote a blog post complaining, or at least detailing, the dearth of recent Game 7s in the World Series. How far we've come.
When I was a kid in the early 1970s, we seemed to get them every year—and it was even better earlier. In the 21 years between 1955 and 1975 there were 14 Game 7s—or two every three years. In the 35 years between that great Red Sox-Reds World Series in '75, and my blog post in June 2011, we'd had only 11: less than one every three years. And this despite a flurry of them in the mid-1980s.
Since then we've had four more—including tonight's game. “Back on top, baby!” as St. George once said.
Here's how they break down by decade:
- 1900s: 1 (1909)
- 1910s: 1 (1912)
- 1920s: 3 (1924, 1925, 1926)
- 1930s: 2 (1931, 1934)
- 1940s: 4 (1940, 1945, 1946, 1947)
- 1950s: 5 (1952, 1955 1956, 1957, 1958)
- 1960s: 6 (1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968)
- 1970s: 5 (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1979)
- 1980s: 4 (1982, 1985, 1986, 1987)
- 1990s: 2 (1991, 1997)
- 2000s: 2 (2001, 2002)
- 2010s: 4 (2011, 2014, 2016, 2017)
Most Game 7s in a row? Four: 1955-1958. All with the Yankees, by the way, and with the same pattern: Yankees lose the first series to team X (Dodgers), then beat team X; Yankees lose the first series to team Y (Mil. Braves), then beat team Y.
Game 7s have come in three-plusses four times, and usually in the middle of the decade: 1924-26; 1945-47; 1955-58; 1971-73; 1985-87. So fingers crossed for next year.
The team with the most Game 7s? It's not the Yankees outright, believe it or not. The Evil Empire has far and away the most WS appearances (40) but only about a quarter of those (11) went to Game 7. The Cardinals, with fewer than half the pennants (19), have the same number of Game 7s: 11. Cards also have the better record in those 7s: 8-3. Yanks are 5-6.
Fun fact: During the Red Sox “Curse of the Babe” era, from 1919 to 2004, the Sox made it to the World Series four times. And every time it went to Game 7. And every time, of course, they lost: in '46 to the Cards, in '67 to the Cards, in '75 to the Reds, and in '86 to the Mets. Those, by the way, are the only losses the BoSox have ever had in the World Series. Meaning they either win or it goes to Game 7. (They've won one Game 7, in 1912, vs. the Giants.)
Team with the best record in Game 7? The Pirates, far and away. They've been to the World Series seven times, and every time they've gone to a Game 7 they've won: 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971 and 1979. They're 5-0.
Worst record? Orioles are 0-2, both times against the Pirates in the '70s. Indians are 0-2 ('97 and last year). Red Sox, as mentioned, are 1-4, while the Giants are also 1-4. That “1” was via Madison Baumgarner vs. the KC Royals in 2014.
Greatest percentage of Game 7s? Might be the Senators/Twins franchise. They've gone six times and have five Game 7s. The only miss was in '33, when they lost in five to the Giants.
As for which of the original 16 franchises haven't managed a Game 7? The usual sad sacks: ChiSox and Phillies.
This is (obviously) the Astros' first Game 7, and (less obviously) the Dodgers' sixth. The Dodgers first four were when they were in Brooklyn, and all of them were against the Yankees, where the Dodgers went 1-3. In L.A., they beat the Twins in seven in '65. That was it. Until this.
How often does a team win Game 6 at home and then lose Game 7 at home? It's not common. But it did happen to the Royals in 2014 and to the Red Sox in '75. But the more common experience is the 2011 Cards, 2002 Angels, the Twins in '91 and '87, and the Mets in '86.