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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Dom DiMaggio (right) with brothers and fellow players  vince and Joe.. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Dom DiMaggio (right) with brothers and fellow players  vince and Joe.. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

14. Game 7, October 15, 1946. Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals

Dom DiMaggio vs. Harry Brecheen. Change in Championship Probability: 31.86 percent

Two moments from the climactic game of this first postwar World Series rank among the 10 most pivotal of all time, and they end up back-to-back in our measurement.

Because his Red Sox did not ultimately win the Series, Dom DiMaggio’s moment tends to get covered over by the one that followed. That’s unfair to Dom.

Here’s the situation. It’s the top of the eighth inning at Sportsman’s Park, the Series deadlocked at three games a side. Boston enters the eighth trailing the Cardinals 3-1, St. Louis starter Murry Dickson having held them to just three hits. The only Boston run scored on DiMaggio’s first inning sacrifice fly.

But when  pinch hitter Rip Russell opened the inning with  a base hit and George Metkovich followed with a  double to the wall in left, the Red Sox had the tying runs at second and third and  none out. In mere seconds, the prospects of a Cardinal wrapup had diminished from 88 percent when the inning began to around 60 percent; still good, but squeamish.

Cardinal manager Eddie Dyer was squeamish enough to remove Dickson in favor of his left handed ace, Harry Brecheen. When Brecheen fanned Wally Moses and got Johnny Pesky on a soft liner to shallow right, the change looked like genius level. Only DiMaggio remained as an obstacle to quell the threat.

Brecheen would not be so fortunate; not yet, anyway. DiMaggio slapped a shot over first baseman Stan Musial’s head and into right field, Russell and Metkovich carrying the game-tying runs across.

Boston’s hopes, on life support moments earlier, had now improved to a point where statistically they had a 47 percent chance of winning.

But there remained the bottom of the eighth and the ninth to navigate.