The World Series is the oldest national team sports championship in the world. Contested since 1903 and this year in its 119th iteration, that span of experience has given the Series plenty of time to develop a legendary history.
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers will try to write some of that history for themselves this week. But as they do, it might be fun to look back on the best moments from past Series.
This article focuses on the 10 most decisive moments from World Series Games 2
The standard of measurement is Win Probability Added, a relatively new statistic that calculates the extent to which the play in question influenced the game’s outcome.
Historically, the stars of Games 2 are an eclectic mix. They include two Hall of Famers (Tony Perez and Tris Speaker) but also several lesser-knowns enjoying their one moment in the sun. Whatever happened to Ed Sprague, anyway?
You can keep an eye open for installments looking at the 10 most decisive moments from World Series Games 3, 4 and right on through to Game 7. For tonight, here are the 10 most decisive moments of Games 2.
10. Tony Perez, 1976 Cincinnati Reds. The defending champion Reds had rolled the American League champion Yankees 5-1 in the Series’ first game, but New York fought back in Game Two. After the Reds took an early 3-0 lead, the Yanks scored once in the fourth and twice in the seventh to tie the game entering the bottom of the ninth at Riverfront Stadium.
Yankee starter Catfish Hunter retired the first two Reds, then coaxed a ground ball out of Ken Griffey that looked like a routine third out. But shortstop Fred Stanley threw wildly, allowing Griffey to take second and prompting Hunter to intentionally walk Joe Morgan and throw the issue of extra innings to the next batter, Perez.
The Reds first baseman vetoed the notion of extra innings, lining a single over shortstop Dave Concepcion’s head into left field. With two out, the fleet Morgan scored easily with the run that gave the Reds a 4-3 victory and a two-games to none Series lead. Two games later they wrapped up the Series sweep. Perez Win Probability Added: 39 percent.