MLB’s rarest pitching matchup: 20-game winners facing off in Game 7

New York Yankees starting pitcher Roger Clemens winds up for a pitch to the plate in the first inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix 04 November 2001. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo by Timothy A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Roger Clemens winds up for a pitch to the plate in the first inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix 04 November 2001. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo by Timothy A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 6
Next
Managers Bill McKechnie of the Reds and Del Baker of the Tigers prior to the 1940 World Series. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Managers Bill McKechnie of the Reds and Del Baker of the Tigers prior to the 1940 World Series. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

1940: Paul Derringer vs. Bobo Newsom

Nearly three decades elapsed before a Series Game 7 again pitted 20-game winners. This time, Detroit’s Bobo Newsom, a 21-game winner, met 20-game Reds ace Paul Derringer.

The pair had met before, Newsome defeating Derringer 7-2 in Game 1. Derringer recovered to take Game 4 5-2 over Dizzy Trout, while Newsome breezed to a three-hit 8-0 win in Game 5.

Despite working on just one day of rest, Newsom was brilliant for most of that Game 7 matchup. Through six innings he allowed just four hits and held a narrow 1-0 lead gained on Charlie Gehringer’s run-producing third-inning base hit.

But in the bottom of the seventh, Newsom weakened and the Reds took advantage. Reds cleanup hitting first baseman Frank McCormick opened with a double to left, and outfielder Jimmy Ripple doubled him home to tie the game.

Jimmie Wilson bunted Ripple to third and, following an intentional walk to Ernie Lombardi, light-hitting shortstop Billy Myers lifted a fly ball deep enough into center to allow Ripple to score.

It was only a one-run lead, but it was all Derringer needed. After allowing a base hit to Gehringer to open the eighth, he rolled through the Tiger order, retiring the final six batters he faced to wrap up the 2-1 Series-clinching victory.

A scene from the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
A scene from the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images) /

1945: Hal Newhouser vs. Hank Borowy

The Detroit Tigers are the only team ever to have sent two 20-game winners to the mound in a Game 7 showdown.

Five years after Newsom couldn’t close the deal against Cincinnati, future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser got his chance in Wrigley Field against Hank Borowy and the Chicago Cubs.

Newhouser was a 25-game winner in 1945, and in the midst of a three-season stretch in which he accumulated 80 victories. Borowy was a phenom, a war-time fill-in who won 10 games for the Yankees before being traded in midseason to the Cubs, for whom he added 11 more.

The two had met in Game 1 in Detroit, Borowy’s Cubs pasting Newhouser 9-0. They met again in Game 5, Newhouser this time getting the better of it 8-4.

One day later in Chicago, Borowy pitched the final four innings of a must-have 8-7 Cubs win in 12 innings. But that meant Borowy had to start Game 7 on just one day of rest, and he had nothing. After the first three Tigers hit safely, Cubs manager Charley Grimm lifted Borowy in favor of Derringer, now an over-the-hill 38-year-old making his final big league appearance.

The Tigers scored five runs before Derringer managed to get three outs, giving Newhouser all the cushion he needed and then some. It was 6-1 by the end of the second and 9-3 at game’s end, Newhouser going the distance and spreading 10 hits.