Saturday, October 25, 2008

Walk-off hits in the World Series

I just finished watching the Phils beat the Rays in Game 3 of the Series. Lucky, for me I live on the west coast, where it was only 10:48 when the game ended. Gotta hand it to the Phils fans for sticking it out. I didn't see an empty seat in the house. (Insert cheap Los Angeles Dodgers fans joke here.)

A couple of observations:

- I've never seen a five-man infield, and I got the sense that Tim McCarver hadn't either. He's such a useless analyst that he never even bothered to analyze the tactic. The most he could muster was that he had never seen the maneuver in the World Series before. Well what about a regular-season game, Tim? Could you maybe talk about the pros and cons? No? Well then what good are you?

- That had to be the cheapest walk-off hit in the history of the World Series. Carlos Ruiz barely got his bat on that ball.

The final play got me wondering about how often World Series games end on walk-off plays. I actually did some research into this a few months ago for a book project I was working on, but walk-off plays are more common than you think in the post-season. We all remember Kirk Gibson, Bill Mazeroski, Joe Carter, Luis Gonzalez...

But do you remember Jose Vizcaino of the Yankees singling off Turk Wendell to win Game One of the 2000 World Series? Or Alex Gonzales homering off Jeff Weaver to win Game Four for Florida over New York in 2003?

I didn't, until I checked out's amazing Play Index. You can do a search for a bunch of different criteria, but they have a handy link that displays all 103 Walk-Off Hits in Post-Season Play (now 104).

In case you're too lazy to click the link, the all-time leader in career walk-off plays in the post-season is... David Ortiz, with 3. And the greatest post-season in history (based on the number of walk-off plays) was 2004.

Welcome to the club, Carlos Ruiz.

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