6. Carl Hubbell, 1933 New York Giants. Hubbell won 253 games in his 16 season career with the Giants, and he added four World Series wins, two of them coming against the American League champion Washington Nationals in 1933.
In Game Four of that Series, Hubbell’s Giants, leading two-games-to-one, were tied 1-1 through the regulation nine innings. Both Hubbell and his mound opponent, Monte Weaver, retired the side in order in the 10th, then in the top of the 11th light-hitting infielder Blondie Ryan touched Weaver for a single that scored Travis Jackson with the go-ahead run.
It fell to Hubbell to protect that slim lead in the bottom of the 10th, and the challenge quickly escalated. Fred Schulte opened the inning with a line single, and Joe Kuhel followed with a bunt single down the first base line. After Ossie Bluege sacrificed the tying and winning runs into scoring position, Hubbell intentionally walked Luke Sewell, loading the bases with one out and the pitcher due up.
Nats manager Joe Cronin's bench was led by Cliff Bolton, a rookie backup catcher who was a defensive liability but a threat at the plate. In just 33 games, Bolton, who hit left handed, had managed to post a .410 batting average for Cronin. In a spot where a base hit would win the game and even the Series, his was a presence to be taken seriously, even against such a famed left-handed pitcher as Hubbell.
Hubbell fell behind Bolton 2-1, then relied on his famous screwball. Bolton hacked at it, but managed only a one-hopper to Jackson at short. Ryan took Jackson’s toss for the force at second and relayed to Bill Terry at first to complete the game-ending double play. The next day, New York wrapped up the Series in five games. Hubbell Win Probability Added: 55 percent.
5. Don Mincher, 1972 Oakland Athletics. Game Four of the 1972 World Series produced not one but two moments of major import, and they fall back-to-back on this list. Although marginally less valuable statistically, Mincher’s was the one that ultimately decided the issue in favor of his Athletics.
For reasons that will be discussed shortly, the A’s trailed the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning at Oakland Alameda County Stadium. Pedro Borbon, one of Reds manager Sparky Anderson’s bullpen favorites, retired Mike Hegan on a grounder to open the inning, but then surrendered a base hit to pinch hitter Gonzalo Marquez.
Anderson, whose nickname was Captain Hook, summoned Clay Carroll to replace Borbon and face Gene Tenace, who also singled. With the tying and winning runs now on base, Mincher lined a single into center field, scoring Allen Lewis, a pinch runner for Marquez, and advancing Tenace to third. When Angel Mangual followed Mincher with another ground single, the A’s walked off as 3-2 winners. Mincher Win Probability Added: 52 percent.