6. Jim Northrup, 1968 Detroit Tigers. The concluding game of the 1968 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers featured a pair of pitchers seeking thir third Series victory. Bob Gibson had won Games 1 and 4 for St. Louis, while Mickey Lolich won Games 2 and 5 for the Tigers.
Through six innings, neither pitcher had given up a run, Gibson allowing just one hit, Lolich just four. Gibson retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the seventh before Norm Cash and Willie Horton put together back-to-back singles. That brought Northrup to the plate.
Northrup lifted a fly ball deep into center field at Busch Stadium. But normally reliable Cardinal center fielder Curt Flood misjudged the ball, initially coming in before racing back in a vain attempt to corral Northrup’s blow. The ball flew over Flood’s head and rolled to the wall for a triple, Cash and Horton both scoring. Northrup came home on Bill Freehan’s double into the left field corner, and with Lolich completing a five-hitter for his third Series victory, the Tigers won 4-1. Northrup Win Probability Added: 36 percent.
5. Bill Mazeroski, 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. Shocked to see Mazeroski’s iconic Game 7-winning walk-off home run this low on the list? Its placement here is a product of mathematical circumstances.
As Maz came to bat, his Pirates and the New York Yankees were tied 9-9 in the decisive game. That game was played at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, meaning the Pirates – with last at bats – had a natural statistical advantage. Combine that with the fact that there were none out and the Pirates already had a 63 percent chance of winning the game – at some point that inning or in a later one, if not immediately.
This obviously does not diminish what Mazeroski accomplished in hitting the only Game Seven walk-off homer in World Series history. It simply puts it in mathematical context. Mazeroski Win Probability Added: 37 percent.