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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The scene prior to one  of the games of the 1947 World Series.  (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
The scene prior to one  of the games of the 1947 World Series.  (Photo by: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

17. Game 4, October 3, 1947. New York Yankees at Brooklyn Dodgers

Cookie Lavagetto vs. Bill Bevens. Change in Championship Probability: 30.01 percent

Cookie Lavagetto’s double off the right field wall at Ebbets is understandably recalled for ending Bevens’ no-hit. Overshadowed by that memory is the hit’s significant impact on the course of the World Series itself.

Remember that Lavagetto’s pinch hit double came with two on and two out in the ninth inning of a game the Yankees led 2-1. Forget the no-hitter; if Bevens had retired Lavagetto the Yanks would have taken a commanding 3-1 lead in the Series. Instead, the Dodgers walked off the field tied at two games each.

The hit was not, as it eventually turned out, as pivotal as it might have been. The Yankees came back to win two of the final three games and take the Series 4-3. But as Lavagetto came to the plate, nobody knew that.

Lavagetto was a 10-year veteran playing, as it turned out, in the final series of his career. A starter in only 13 games during the regular season he was manager Burt Shotton’s primary option off the bench.

So when Bevens chased his fated no-hit bid into that ninth inning, Lavagetto was always a logical option at the right moment.

Bevens’ control gave the Dodgers that moment. Although holding the Dodgers hitless, he had allowed eight walks and only twice retired the Dodgers in order. Brooklyn’s run came on a pair of bunts, a sacrifice, and an infield grounder.

Bevens got the first hitter, catcher Bruce Edwards, on a fly ball, but surrendered his ninth walk to Carl Furillo. After Spider Jorgensen popped out, Pete Reiser pinch hit for pitcher Hugh Casey but did not get a chance to swing the bat.  Al Gionfriddo, pinch running for Furillo, stole second, after which Yankee manager Casey Stengel directed Bevens to hand Reiser a tenth base on balls. It also put the potential winning run on base.

Second baseman Eddie Stanky, who had drawn two of Bevens’ walks, was due next. But Shotton opted to send up Lavagetto instead. As he stepped in, the two-on, two-out, one-run deficit translated to an  82 percent chance of  a Yankee victory, with less than a 20 percent likelihood of the Dodgers coming back to win the Series.

By the time Lavagetto’s hit crashed off the right field wall, allowing Gionfriddo and Reiser to score the tying and winning runs — and coincidentally ending the no-hitter —  the Dodgers had a 100 percent sure thing win that day and essentially an even shot at winning the Series.