7. Casey Stengel, 1923 New York Giants. The 1923 World Series not only represented the third consecutive meeting of the Giants and Yankees, but also the climactic moment in the playing career of the great future Yankee manager. Stengel was in center field for the Giants as Game 1 proceeded into the ninth inning at the brand new Yankee Stadium deadlocked at four runs a side.
Yankee starter Bullet Joe Bush dispensed with his first two foes, Ross Youngs and Irish Meusel, leaving only Stengel standing in his way. But Casey caught a Bush pitch he liked and smacked it into the deepest recesses of the new stadium’s center field. Before Whitey Witt could run it down out there, Stengel had raced all the way around the bases, sliding into home with an inside-the-park home run. Stengel Win Probability Added: 41 percent.
6. Rudy York, 1946 Boston Red Sox. The first post-war World Series featured the St. Louis Cardinals of Stan Musial and the Boston Red Sox of Ted Williams. But it was York, a veteran slugger, who would emerge as the Game 1 star.
At Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, the Cardinals carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the ninth only to see the Red Sox tie the game on Tom McBride’s pinch hit single. One inning later, left-handed starter Howie Pollet, who had given up that McBride hit, remained in to face the heart of the Boston order.
Pollet got Dom DiMaggio on a grounder and Williams on a weak pop fly. But York, a 32-year-old slugger with 256 home runs including 17 that season, drilled a Pollet pitch into the left field grandstand to give Boston a 3-2 lead. When reliever Earl Johnson set down the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth, that’s how the game ended.
The Cardinals did recover to win the series in seven games. York Win Probability Added: 42 percent.