The 25 most decisive plays in World Series history

Oct 24, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; The Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Brett Phillips (14) celebrate Phillips hitting the game winning two run walk off single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game four of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; The Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Brett Phillips (14) celebrate Phillips hitting the game winning two run walk off single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game four of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Rickey Henderson and Joe Carter with the 1993 World Series championship trophy. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
Rickey Henderson and Joe Carter with the 1993 World Series championship trophy. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images) /

15. Game 6, October 23, 1993. Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays

Joe Carter vs. Mitch Williams. Change in Championship Probability: 30.23 percent.

Carter’s World Series ending walk-off homer off Williams remains one of the memorable moments in World Series history. But because it occurred in a game 6, rather than a game 7, how much did it actually swing the outcome of the Series itself?

The Blue Jays,  after all, already led the Series three games to two. Beyond that, although they trailed 6-5 in that sixth game, the presence of two runners on base with just one out made it plausible – although not statistically likely —  that Toronto would somehow win that game, either in the ninth inning or later.

Here’s the reconstruction.

Facing Phillies closer Mitch Williams, the Blue Jays began the ninth down one run and with only a 21 percent chance of closing out the Series that night. But Rickey Henderson walked on four straight pitches to put the tying run on base with the heart of Toronto’s order coming up.

When Williams retired Devon White on a fly ball to deep left, the odds of a Jays comeback stalled at 22 percent. Paul Molitor followed with a line single to center, Henderson stopping at second. Carter was the next batter.

At that point — runners at first and second, one out, bottom of the ninth, down a run – the chances of a game-ending rally had improved, although the situation still favored a Phillies escape. Statistically, they measured 34 percent. In terms of that game’s outcome, Carter’s home run added the final 66 percent.

So why is Carter’s score Championship Win Probability less than half that? Simply put, with a three games to two Series advantage, the Jays were already nearly 70 percent favorites to win the Series, either that inning, later that night or the next.

That’s why Carter’s homer, although dramatic and memorable from a television standpoint, doesn’t crack the all-time top 10.