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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George Kelly, power-hitting first baseman of the 1924  New York Giants. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
George Kelly, power-hitting first baseman of the 1924  New York Giants. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

12. Game 7, October 10, 1924. New York Giants at Washington Senators

Hugh McQuillen vs. Hack Miller. Change in Championship Probability: 32.81 percent

The conclusion of this great game has already been detailed in entry No. 24. How the two teams got to that point involves two even more dramatic moments, one of them unfolding in the bottom of the ninth.

With one out in that 3-3 tie game, Washington’s Ralph Miller came to bat against Giants pitcher Hugh McQuillen, who had been called on by John McGraw to relieve Art Nehf. McQuillen was a 14-game winner during the regular season, and he had been given the win in the series’ Game 3 four days earlier despite leaving the game in the fourth inning.

Miller was a utility infielder thrust into this critical moment because Senators manager Bucky Walters opted for a pinch hitter for starting third baseman Tommy Taylor as his team trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth.

Now, with the game a 3-3 tie, Miller faced the most important moment of his obscure baseball life. Joe Judge, who had singled off Nehf with one out, sat at first base as the potential Series winning run.

During the regular season, Miller had hit safely just twice in 15 official at bats. His entire major league career consisted of that plus parts of the 1920 and 1921 seasons.

This was his opportunity to redeem all the frustration contained in that slim resume.

Miller took a first-pitch ball from McQuillen, then swung with all his might. But all he could manage was a simple ground ball to Giants shortstop Travis Jackson. One of the most reliable glovemen of his era, Jackson had no problem turning the ground ball into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The 1924 World Series would in short order become a classic. But not because of anything Ralph Miller did. When he came up, the Senators had an 83 percent chance of winning. When Miller failed to beat the throw to Giants first baseman George Kelly, those odds fell to dead even 50 percent.