We all remember the big blasts from the World Series. Names like Bill Mazeroski, Kirk Gibson, and Joe Carter come to mind. These are iconic moments in baseball history. There are some lesser-known facts about postseason walkoffs in general. In honor of the 13 wins it takes to get that World Series ring, let’s take a look at 13 little-known facts about MLB postseason walkoff history.
There are two teams in baseball that have never been walked off. The Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins are the lucky franchises to have never suffered the agony. The Colorado Rockies are the only team that has never had a walkoff in the postseason.
Multiple Walkoffs in a World Series
There have been five World Series where there have been multiple walkoffs.
The Washington Senators walked off the New York Giants twice in 1924. Pitcher Jake Bentley was the victim both times.
While many remember Carlton Fisk waving his HR fair in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, Joe Morgan walked off the Red Sox in Game 3 with a bases-loaded single off of Roger Moret in the 10th inning.
Another can’t-forget moment. Gibson limped off the bench for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 in Game 1 to win it. The forgotten HR that series happened in the only game the Oakland A’s won in Game 3 when Mark McGwire hit a HR off of Jay Howell in the bottom of the ninth.
In 1991, four of the seven victories were won in walkoff fashion. Mark Lemke drove in David Justice with a single off of Rick Aguilera in Game 3. The following day, Jerry Willard drove in Lemke with a sacrifice fly to tie the series. Game 6 brought another memorable HR as Kirby Puckett drove one over the wall to force a Game 7. That final game would not disappoint. Jack Morris threw 10 shutout innings, but it was Gene Larkin with the big hit in the bottom of the 10th to bring home Dan Gladden and the last Minnesota Twins championship.
In 2001, Mr. November was born. Derek Jeter hit an opposite-field HR off of Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4. The following day Alfonso Soriano singled to give the New York Yankees a 3-2 series lead. In Game 7 Luis Gonzalez got to the seemingly invincible Mariano Rivera and brought home Jay Bell to give the Arizona Diamondbacks their only ring.
Winner Take All
Only four walkoff HRs have been hit in a winner-take-all game in postseason history. Mazeroski’s in 1960 is the standard. There was Chris Chambliss off Mark Littell in Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS. Of course Aaron “bleeping” Boone ended the 2003 Red Sox run with a blast off of Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the ALCS. Edwin Encarnacion brought out the parrot in the 2016 ALWC game against Ubaldo Jimenez.
The only time a walkoff was actually a walk was in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS when Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones to force in the winning run for the Atlanta Braves.
Playing the Victim
The only pitcher to allow three walkoffs in his postseason career is Tug McGraw. Interestingly enough two of those were in 1980 when his Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series anyway.
David Ortiz and Carlos Correa are the only two players to have three walkoff hits in postseason history. Papi’s all came in 2004 for the Red Sox curse-breaking run. Correa’s have all come with the Houston Astros but in separate years (2017,2019,2020).
Time to Get it Done
Only three players in postseason history have hit a walkoff HR when their team was losing. Lenny Dykstra hit his off of Dave Smith in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS. Gibson’s HR off of Dennis Eckersley was also from behind. Carter hit his iconic blast off of Mitch Williams with his Blue Jays trailing.
Battle of the Big Boys
Only once in postseason history has a walkoff hit been seen between two Hall of Famers. In Game 1 of the 1973 NLCS, Johnny Bench hit a ninth-inning HR off of Tom Seaver to give the Cincinnati Reds an early series lead. RIP Tom Terrific
Dan Miceli is the only pitcher to allow two walkoff HRs in his postseason career. The first was to Rafael Furcal in Game 2 of the 2004 NLDS. He then allowed one to Jim Edmonds in Game 6 of the NLCS that same year.
The Unlikeliest of Heroes
Scott Podsednik hit a walkoff HR off of Brad Lidge in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. In 568 plate appearances that season, Podsednik had zero HRs.
Likewise, when Ozzie Smith hit his walkoff against Tom Niedenfuer of the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS, the Cardinals shortstop had never hit a HR batting lefty before in his career.
Mistakes Will Kill You
There have been seven times when an error was the walkoff play. Six times that team went on to win the World Series. The outlier was when Russell Martin hit into a fielder’s choice in Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS and Rougned Odor threw the ball away allowing Josh Donaldson to score the winning run.
Brothers in Arms
Todd Worrell gave up a walkoff to Dane Iorg in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. In 2003, Nearly 18 years later to the day, Todd’s brother Tim gave up a walkoff hit in Game 3 of the NLDS to Ivan Rodriguez.
Walkoffs Equal Wins
There have been 15 World Series where there was a walkoff HR. Aside from the only series where there were two in 1988, the team hitting the walkoff HR is 10-4 in the series. Whether it is momentum, excitement, or the boost a team needs, there will surely be more fireworks this season. Enjoy.
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images