Friday, October 25, 2013

World Series Errors

With the first two games of the World Series featuring seven errors and multiple mental mistakes, it may be interesting to revisit the most famous errors in World Series history. It is also the 27th anniversary of the Buckner Error.

It seems fitting that the first error in modern (since 1903) World Series history was made by a member of the Boston Americans (now Red Sox). Second baseman Hobe Ferris (the chap on the left) booted a ball hit by Pittsburgh's Kitty Bransfield in the first inning of the first game. There were two further throwing errors in the inning, leading to three runs for the Pirates.

On October 16, 1912, the New York Giants entered the 9th inning of game 8 (series tied 3-3 due to game two being called a tie because of darkness) needing three outs to win their first series since 1905. The Giants were beaten the previous year by the Philadelphia A's. Again, this series featured the Red Sox. Pinch hitter Claude Engle hit a fly ball out to center fielder Fred Snodgrass.

Describing what happened, Snodgrass said "I got under it and, well, I dropped the darn thing." Engle wound up on second base.

The next hitter, Harry Hooper, hit a line drive into deep center field. Snodgrass made a fine catch on the ball, but Engle tagged up and reached third. Christy Mathewson walked the next hitter, then gave up a single to Tris Speaker which tied the game at 2. After an intentional walk which set up a would be double play, Larry Gardner lifted a sacrifice fly to score Steve Yerkes and win the series for the Sox. Unlike Bill Buckner's error in the 1986 series, the Snodgrass Muff in 1912 did cost the Giants the series. Snodgrass survived until 1974 and became a very successful banker. He also served as mayor of Oxnard, California. However, his obituary led with the error he made over 60 years before.

Errors deciding game seven in the World Series are very rare.

1. In 1925, the Washington Senators led 7-6 as the bottom of the 8th inning started. After two quick outs, Walter Johnson gave up two doubles and a walk to tie the game. Max Carey then reached on an error by third baseman Ossie Bleuge. The next hitter, Kiki Cuyler, pounded a ground rule double into right field, scoring two runs. The Pirates won the game and the series.

2. In game 7 of the 1926 World Series, the Cardinals scored two runs in the fourth inning off two errors by the Yankees and went on to win the game 3-2. This is the famous game where Grover Cleveland Alexander struck out Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded in the seventh inning.

3. In 2001, Mark Grace led off with a single to center field off of Mariano Rivera. Damian Miller followed with a sacrifice bunt, but Jorge Posada made a poor throw trying to get Grace at second. The next hitter bunted as well, which forced Grace at third. Tony Womack then doubled into right field, tying the game. After hitting Craig Counsell, Rivera gave up a soft line drive single to Luis Gonzalez, which won the series for the Diamondbacks.

4. In 1997, Craig Counsell (yep, same guy) reached on an error by Tony Fernandez. This put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Bobby Bonilla was forced at home after an intentional walk. Edgar Renteria then singled to center field to score Counsell and win the series for the Florida Marlins. It is interesting that Counsell should hold such a place in world series game sevens with expansion teams.

Bill Buckner's famous error in the 1986 world series did not happen in game seven. It happened in game six. It tied up the series for the Mets, who went on  in Game 7 to score three runs off Calvin Schiraldi in the bottom of the seventh inning to win. What is also forgotten about the Buckner miscue is that it happened after the game was tied. The Mets won the game on Buckner's error, but they tied it on back to back singles followed by a wild pitch by Bob Stanley. The wild pitch also put Ray Knight on second base instead of first. No wild pitch, Buckner's error puts runners at first and third with two outs, and the Red Sox are still alive.


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