As a baseball fan, I don’t need a good reason to watch the World Series; it being the World Series is reason enough. What about for those who aren’t baseball fans? Is there a good enough reason to tune in and watch or listen? Many say no, and the numbers seem to back that up.
Super Bowl XLVII was played on Feb. 3, 2013, and broadcast by CBS. In the U.S., it had more than 108 million viewers. That is almost 35 percent of the current U.S. population.
In contrast, last year’s World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Detroit Tigers averaged a rather insignificant 12.7 million viewers per game. This happened to be the lowest ratings ever for a World Series.
While this series is the most recent one, it is not the model for what makes the World Series great.
More people might make an event out of the Super Bowl, but the World Series remains the pinnacle of America’s pastime. It is an event as American as Thanksgiving, as patriotic as the Fourth of July, and as eagerly awaited as Christmas morning. One does not have to be a huge baseball fan to appreciate its prominence for giving us some of sport’s greatest moments.
Here is a countdown of five of history’s most memorable World Series moments:
5. “The Catch”
It was Sept. 29, 1954, in Game 1 of that year’s World Series, and Giants centerfielder Willie Mays made one of the best defensive plays in baseball history. Mays made an unbelievable over-the-shoulder catch on a ball roped off the bat of the Indians’ first baseman, Vic Wertz. This remains one of the most iconic baseball videos and is recognized by many.
4. Red Sox get Bucknered
The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series since Babe Ruth led them to victory in 1918. He was then traded to the Yankees, and they had been without a title ever since, leading to a “curse” that plagued the Sox. This curse was no more evident than in 1986, when the Sox were closer to the title than ever before. With two outs in the 10th inning of Game 6, the New York Mets’ Mookie Wilson dribbled a routine ground ball in first baseman Bill Buckner’s direction. Buckner misplayed the ball and watched in horror as it went through his legs. This costly error let the winning run score and forced a Game 7, a game that the deflated Red Sox would lose, thus continuing the “Curse of the Bambino.”
3. Larsen’s perfect game
In Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, New York Yankees’ pitcher Don Larsen pitched the greatest World Series game ever. He pitched to 27 hitters and recorded an out each and every time. There have only been 23 perfect games in the history of baseball and only one in the postseason — Larsen’s.
2. Kurt Gibson’s hobbled HR
On Oct. 15, 1988, Kurt Gibson hit a Game-1-winning two-run home run. A sore-legged Gibson could barely walk to home plate, and after a long at-bat filled with foul balls, Gibson yanked a pitch off the seemingly unhittable Dennis Eckersley into the right-field seats to win the game. Gibson pumped his fists in exuberance as he rounded the bases in celebration. The Athletics never recovered from the Game 1 loss, and the Dodgers went on to win the series.
1. Mazeroski’s series-winning HR
In the 1960 World Series, Pittsburgh second baseman Bill Mazeroski won the title for the Pirates in Game 7 with a game-winning home run. The Yankees had rallied with two runs to tie the game, 9-9, in the top of the inning, setting up Mazeroski’s heroics. This is one of the most famous sports radio calls of all time. This remains the only Game-7-winning home run in World Series history.
These are just a handful of great moments, and the series is filled with many more. Potentially seeing a moment like these is reason enough to watch the World Series. So put on your American flag T-shirt, grab a slice of apple pie and watch this year’s World Series, because moments like these could be one pitch, one hit or one game away.