t-1. Cookie Lavagetto, 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. The first no-hitter in World Series history was NOT pitched by Bill Bevens on Oct. 3, 1947, and Lavagetto is the reason why.
Bevens’ Yankees were seeking their third win of the Series at Ebbets Field, and although the Yankee right-hander had been less than stellar – allowing one run on no hits but walking eight entering the ninth inning – he still led 2-1. Bruce Edwards made the first out, then Bevens made Carl Furillo his ninth base on balls.
After Spider Jorgensen popped out, pinch runner Al Gionfriddo stole second, prompting Bevens to issue walk No. 10 intentionally to Pete Reiser. Dodger manager Burt Shotton summoned Eddie Miksis to run for Reiser and called on Lavagetto to hit for Eddie Stanky.
Bevens’ first pitch was a fastball that Lavagetto swung through. But he caught the second squarely and flew it over the head of Yankee right fielder Tommy Henrich. The ball rattled off the scoreboard wall while Gionfriddo and Miksis both raced around to score, handing Brooklyn a 3-2 victory and evening the Series.
Lavagetto’s hit not only won the game and broke up Bevens’ no-hit bid, but it ended his own 10-season career. He retired at the end of the Series. Lavagetto Win Probability Added: 82 percent.
t-1. Brett Phillips, 2020 Tampa Bay Rays. It would be hard to imagine a less-likely World Series hero than Brett Phillips. A career backup outfielder, Phillips played in only 17 games for the 2020 Rays after being acquired in mid-season from Kansas City, and hit under .200.
The at bat for which he became famous was his only appearance at the plate during that six-game Rays-Dodgers Series. Phillips didn’t even enter the game until being called on as a pinch runner for Ji-Man Choi in the bottom of the eighth at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex., site the Covid-altered World Series.
Down two-games-to-one, the Rays trailed 7-6 as the bottom of the ninth got underway with Dodger closer Kenley Jansen on the mound. Jansen fanned Yoshi Tsutsugo, but gave up a base hit to Kevin Kiermaier.
Joey Wendle’s lineout left the dangerous rookie Randy Arozarena as the last obstacle between Jansen’s Dodgers and victory. Jansen worked too carefully, walking Arozarena. That made Phillips Tampa Bay’s final hope.
Jansen got two called strikes, then, in Phillips’ own words, “I closed my eyes and swung.” The ball settled on a soft line in centerfield allowing Kiermaier to score the tying run. Baseball madness ensued. Center fielder Chris Taylor bobbled the ball, enticing Arozarena to barrel around third and attempt to score. But he stumbled on the baseline halfway home, leaving himself a sure out … except that the throw home escaped catcher Will Smith, enabling Arozarena to pick himself up and score the inning run after all.
It was Tampa Bay’s last hurrah, the Dodgers taking the final two games and the Series in six. But it was a career highlight for Brett Phillips. Phillips Win Probability Added: 82 percent.