Best World Series Games Of All Time: Top 5 Fall Classics, According To Experts

The World Series is where legends are made. From Kirk Gibson limping around the bases and pumping his fist to Joe Carter’s World Series-clinching home run to Don Larsen’s perfect game, their names will forever live in lore thanks to their heroics. There have been many unforgettable World Series games since its inception in 1903. StudyFinds decided to delve into baseball past and find the best World Series games of all time.

Throughout the storied history of the World Series, several games have etched their place in baseball folklore as the most unforgettable contests. These games are characterized by their sheer drama, extraordinary moments, and nail-biting suspense. They exemplify the essence of the Fall Classic, where legends are born, and dreams are realized.

In some of the finest World Series matchups, the outcome hung in the balance until the final pitch, with players stepping up when it mattered most. Whether it was a walk-off hit, an incredible defensive play, or a dominant pitching performance, these games showcased the beauty of baseball’s unpredictability. They left an indelible mark on the sport, reminding us why the World Series is the grandest stage in the baseball world, where history is made, and heroes are celebrated.

These games transcend time and team loyalties, uniting baseball enthusiasts in their appreciation for the game’s magic. Are you excited for the playoffs? StudyFinds has compiled the five best World Series games of all time. Did we miss your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!

Baseball glove holding a ball
Baseball in a glove (Photo by Jon Eckert on Unsplash)

The List: Best World Series Games, According to Experts

1. Game 6 of the 1986 World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Mets

Game 6 of the 1986 World Series will forever be known as the “Bill Buckner Game” when the first baseman let a ground ball go through his legs for the winning run. The New York Mets would end up beating the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 to capture its second World Series championship. “There are World Series rallies, then there was the 10th inning of Game 6,” writes Yardbarker. “Boston was one strike away from winning its first World Series since 1918. But the Mets had other ideas, scoring three times in the bottom of the frame and capping the improbable 6-5 victory when Mookie Wilson’s roller went through the legs of Bill Buckner to allow Ray Knight to score the winning run and turn Shea Stadium upside down.”

For many baseball fans, this game continues to stick out in their memory. “All these years later, it’s still a shocking ending,” notes ESPN.

Everyone remembers Buckner’s error, but it was Calvin Shiraldi who gave up the game-tying run in the 8th inning and wasn’t able to secure the final out of the game in the 10th. “[T]he Red Sox built up an even better shot to win the Series in the tenth, scoring twice to take a 5-3 lead before retiring the first two New York hitters in the bottom half. Then, down to their last out, the Mets came back from the dead with consecutive singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight, cutting the Sox lead to 5-4, putting the tying and winning runs on base, and knocking Schiraldi out of the game,” says Men’s Journal. “Boston brought in Bob Stanley to face Mookie Wilson, who had an epic at-bat. Several pitches in, the pressure came off significantly as Stanley tossed a wild pitch, scoring Mitchell to tie the game and moving Knight up to second. From there, we all know what happened – Wilson hit a ground ball to Buckner, right through the legs for the win. The next day, the Mets finished off the Sox with an 8-5 win in Game 7.”

2. Game 6 of the 2011 World Series: Texas Rangers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

This was one of the craziest World Series games that was ever played. The St. Louis Cardinals were down to their final strike TWICE — once in the 9th and then in the 10th — before winning on a walk-off home run in the 11th. “Texas took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth and had St. Louis down to its last strike before David Freese’s game-tying triple over the head of right fielder Nelson Cruz,” writes MLB.com. “A Josh Hamilton two-run homer in the 10th put the Rangers back in front, but the Cardinals again survived being down to their last strike, as Lance Berkman knotted things up with an RBI single. Freese then played hero once more with his walk-off homer in the 11th, and St. Louis took Game 7 the next night.”

“With a 7-4 lead after seven innings, the Rangers were almost counting their chickens before they hatched,” says Franchise Sports. “Even after St. Louis got a run back in the eighth, Texas was just three outs away. But a David Freese triple tied the game in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings and keep the Cardinals alive. But the drama didn’t end there. The Rangers scored two runs in the top of the 10th to retake the lead, only for St. Louis to match them in the bottom of the 10th. In the 11th, Freese came up again and ended things with a walk-off home run, forcing a Game 7 that the Cardinals eventually won with Freese earning World Series MVP honors.”

This is easily one of the greatest back-and-forth games ever played. “A great Series in general, the Rangers won Games 4 and 5 home to take a 3-2 lead and led 7-4 in a back-and-forth Game 6. St. Louis, though, rallied as David Freese’s two-run triple tied it at 7 in the ninth,” notes Yardbarker. “After Texas scored two in the top of the 10th, the Cardinals again answered with two in the bottom of the frame. They ultimately won the game on Freese’s solo homer in the 11th.”

3. Game 6 of the 1975 World Series: Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox

Game 6 of the 1975 World Series will forever be remembered for the iconic image of Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk waving the ball fair for his walk-off home run. “Three days of rain helped build tension for this classic from Fenway,” writes ESPN. “The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in the first on Fred Lynn’s three-run homer, but the Reds surged to a 6-3 lead. Bernie Carbo’s two-out, pinch-hit, three-run homer in the eighth tied it. The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth but failed to score when George Foster caught Lynn’s shallow hit to left and gunned down Denny Doyle at the plate. In the 11th, Dwight Evans made a spectacular catch of Joe Morgan’s drive to right and doubled Ken Griffey Sr. off the first. Finally, Carlton Fisk famously waved the ball fair in the 12th. The only problem here: The Reds won Game 7.”

“In the 12th inning, Boston’s Carlton Fisk hit a sinker down the left-field line and made gestures on his way to first by waving his hands for the ball to stay fair and the Home Run to stand when it struck the foul pole above the Green Monster,” says Bolavip. “The home run counted, and the Red Sox tied the series and took that momentum into Game 7. Unfortunately, it was all for not as the Red Sox would blow a 3-0 lead and the Cincinnati Reds would claim the championship.”

Men’s Journal calls it “one of the most dramatic and iconic games in baseball history.” “Cincinnati added three runs in the seventh and eighth innings, putting Boston’s backs against the wall for the last of the eighth. Eventually, with two on and two out, the Sox sent in pinch hitter Bernie Carbo, who heroically tied the game with a three-run blast to straightaway center. Despite a couple great scoring opportunities for each team, it remained 6-6 when Carlton Fisk led off for Boston in the bottom of the twelfth. Lining the second pitch high down the left field line, Fisk wildly waved his arms, willing the ball to stay fair. The crazy gestures worked, as the ball smashed off the foul pole over the Green Monster for a home run, giving the Red Sox a 7-6 win to force a Game 7. Still, it wasn’t enough to shift the course of the Series, as the Reds came back from a 3-0 deficit in the next game for a 4-3 series-ending win.”

4. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians

It was a World Series championship 108 years in the making for the Chicago Cubs and it was one of the most dramatic Game 7s ever played. “In terms of entertainment and emotion , there might not be a better Game 7 in World Series history,” writes Yardbarker. “Dexter Fowler’s lead-off homer for the Cubs and David Ross’ home run in his final game helped them take a 6-3 lead into the eighth. However, Aroldis Chapman allowed a two-run, tying homer to Rajai Davis. The game went to 10, when the skies opened up, but a 17-minute rain delay helped Chicago regroup, score twice in the extra frame then hold on for an 8-7 victory that snapped the Cub’s 108-year World Series drought.”

“Who can forget Game 7 — the Cubs taking control, the Cleveland comeback, and the rain delay that altered the entire dynamic?” notes MLB.com.

A memorable moment from Game 7 didn’t happen on the field — it happened in the Cubs’ locker room. During the 10th inning rain delay, outfielder Jayson Heyward gave his teammates a pep talk that helped them clinch the championship. “The Cubs came out aggressive in the top of the 10th, scoring two runs to take back the lead and then they finished off the Indians — who scratched back one run to make it 8-7 — to win their first championship in 108 years. That’s quite the memorable Game 7,” says Men’s Journal.

5. Game 7 of the 1991 World Series: Atlanta Braves vs. Minnesota Twins

The greatest pitching duel of all-time took place in Game 7 of the World Series between the Braves’ John Smoltz and the Twins’ Jack Morris. And we wouldn’t have gotten to that classic if not for Kirby Puckett’s 11th inning walk-off home run against the Braves in Game 6. “While Game 6 of the ’91 series featured the offensive heroics of Kirby Puckett, this contest was all about pitching, or Jack Morris for that matter,” says Yardbarker. “The Twins star hurler outpitched Atlanta’s John Smoltz by throwing 122 pitches over 10 innings before Gene Larkin’s pinch-hit, game-winning single in the bottom of that frame won Minnesota the title.”

“Anybody who thinks a low-scoring baseball game is boring has never watched this one,” writes ESPN. “Beyond the Jack Morris masterpiece, it was the clinching game of a drama-filled World Series that saw five one-run games (three in extra innings), with four won in walk-off fashion.”

MLB.com ranked it as the second-greatest Game 7 of all-time. “Everyone recalls Game 7, when Jack Morris threw 10 shutout innings to outduel John Smoltz. But that whole series was incredible, with five one-run games and three extra-inning affairs, including a Game 6 that ended with Kirby Puckett’s walk-off in the 11th.”

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About the Author

Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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