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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, March 3, 2024

Extra Innings: The best World Series of the 21st Century

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In honor of the 2022 World Series between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, which began on Friday, here’s a look back at some of the more memorable series in recent memory. These are the top five greatest World Series of the 21st century. 

5: 2017–Astros over Dodgers in seven

Sign-stealing scandal aside, this series can’t be faulted for lack of entertainment. It featured two teams that had won over 100 games in the regular season, and they were clearly evenly matched, as almost every game was close. Game five was a battle for the ages, with the Astros winning a ten inning, 13–12 back-and-forth affair. The Dodgers forced a game seven, but the Astros would prevail 5–1, capturing their first title in franchise history. 

4: 2002–Angels over Giants in seven

The Angels’ first trip to the Fall Classic did not disappoint. With the Giants up three games to two and holding a 5–0 lead late in game six, the Angels rallied, scoring three in the seventh and three more in the eighth to win it 6–5. The Angels would win game seven, 4–1, to claim the franchise’s first and only World Series title. It was the only World Series appearance for Giants icon Barry Bonds, who hit four homers in the series. Rumor has it the moonshot he hit off Angels closer Troy Percival in game two is still in orbit. 

3: 2011–Cardinals over Rangers in seven

In game six, the Cardinals were down to their last strike of the season — twice — and found a way to win. David Freese tied the game in the ninth with a two-run triple that just cleared Nelson Cruz’s outstretched glove, and after the Cardinals came back from two runs down again in the tenth, he would win the game with a walk-off solo homer in the eleventh. St. Louis took game seven, 6–2, earning their eleventh World Series ring, while the Rangers remain without a title. 

2: 2001–Diamondbacks over Yankees in seven

More men have walked on the moon than have scored an earned run off of Mariano Rivera in the postseason. That fact didn’t bother the Diamondbacks, who came back from 2–1 in the bottom of the ninth of game seven against the legendary closer to walk off the Yankees, who were just three outs from a fourth straight World Series. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were outstanding for Arizona, giving up just six combined runs in 38 and two thirds innings pitched as they led the Diamondbacks to a World Series in the franchise’s fourth year of existence. 

1: 2016–Cubs over Indians in seven

I’ll admit, I might be a little biased — I can remember few greater days in my life than Nov. 2, 2016. But I truly believe this series deserves the top spot. In a series featuring the two teams with the longest active title droughts in baseball, the Cubs came back from a 3–1 series deficit to force a game seven, which would attract more viewers than any baseball game had in 25 years. With Chicago leading 6–3 and just four outs away from the championship, the Indians scored three runs off of closer Aroldis Chapman to tie the game. After a 17-minute rain delay before extras, the Cubs scored two runs in the tenth to reclaim the lead and held Cleveland to just one to win their first World Series in 108 years, ending the longest title drought in American sports history.