t-9. Bill Bruton, 1958 Milwaukee Braves. Bruton was a quality center fielder but an easy-to-overlook threat in a Braves lineup that also included Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Joe Adcock. Against the New York Yankees in the first game of the 1958 World Series at Milwaukee County Stadium, however, Bruton played as menacing as any of his teammates.
The game was tied at 3-3 when the defending champion Braves took their shot against fireballing reliever Ryne Duren in the bottom of the ninth. Duren fanned Aaron, but allowed ground singles to Adcock and Del Crandall sandwiched around Wes Covington’s fly ball. With two on and two out, that left the issue to Bruton.
He delivered the biggest hit of his life, a line single into the right-center gap that allowed Adcock to race home from second with the winning run. Alas for Braves fans, Bruton’s Game One heroics were not enough to prevent a 4-3 Yankee series victory. Bruton Win Probability Added: 9 percent.
8. Boss Schmidt, 1907 Detroit Tigers. Schmidt, a veteran catcher for the American League champion Tigers, had the misfortune to screw up at the worst possible moment. The Tigers led the National League champion Chicago Cubs 3-2 with two out in the bottom of the ninth, but the Cubs had managed to push the tying and lead runs to second and third as light-hitting pinch hitter Del Howard came to the plate, batting for Joe Tinker.
Tiger pitcher Bill Donovan needed only to subdue Howard to put Game 1 in Detroit’s victory column, and he thought he’d done so when Howard whiffed at strike three. But the pitch eluded Schmidt and rolled to the backstop, allowing Johnny Evers to carry the tying run across.
Three innings later, with darkness intervening, the game was halted and declared a 3-3 tie. The Cubs swept the next four games to take the Series in five. Howard Win Probability Added: 40 percent.