World Series Game 1: The 10 most decisive moments in MLB history

Kirk Gibson's iconic 1988 pinch hit home run is the most decisive of many decisive moments from Games One in the history of the World Series. Here are the 10 most decisive.
1988 World Series GM 1 - Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers
1988 World Series GM 1 - Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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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 starting 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 One.

The standard of measurement is Win Probability Added, a relatively new statistic that calculates the extent to which any play influenced the game’s outcome.

On subsequent days, you can keep an eye open for installments looking at the 10 most decisive moments from World Series Games 2, 3, 4 and right on through to Game 7. For tonight, here are the 10 most decisive moments of Games One of the past.

t-9. Glendon Rusch, 2000 New York Mets. An odd candidate for heroism, Rusch was a middle reliever who worked only four innings of that 2000 Mets-Yankee series. In its place, however, his work in that opening Series game was critical.

The fifth pitcher summoned by Mets manager Bobby Valentine, Rusch got the call in the bottom of the 10th inning of a 3-3 tie at Yankee Stadium. There was trouble afoot; his predecessor, Dennis Cook, had walked David Justice and Bernie Williams, presenting Rusch with the potential winning run in scoring  position and none out.

Just to compound matters, Rusch’s first pitch sailed to the screen, advancing Justice and Williams to second and third. Then he steadied, getting Tino Martinez to pop out to shortstop Kurt Abbott on the outfield grass.

Rusch walked Jorge Posada intentionally to load the bases and set up a double play with Paul O’Neill due up. It was exactly what he got, O’Neill grounding to second baseman Edgardo Alfonso who turned it to kill the threat.

The Yankees eventually won the game in 12 innings and took the Series in five games. But Rusch had done his part. Rusch Win Probability Added: 39 percent.