The top five greatest performances in World Series history

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Baseball and the World Series

Since its inception, baseball has defined summer, childhood, memories and even America itself. And nothing in baseball is more iconic than the World Series. First played in 1903, the World Series has offered generations of baseball fans some of the greatest match ups in sports history. Take a look back at the five greatest World Series performances in history.

5. "The Called Shot": Babe Ruth homers against the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series

Babe Ruth's called shot is one of the most iconic moments in baseball lore. But since there is disagreement as to whether or not it happened, it cannot be higher on the list. After two victories in New York, the World Series moved to Chicago for game three where Ruth gave a legendary performance. After blasting a home run in his first at-bat, Ruth was heckled horribly by the fans and the Cubs bench. When he came to bat in the fifth inning, Ruth either pointed at the Cubs bench, the Cubs pitcher or the center field bleachers. On the next pitch, Ruth hit a home run over the center field wall. If Ruth homered after predicting his shot, it is one of the greatest performances in World Series history.

4. Joe Carter homers off of Mitch Williams to win the 1993 World Series

Anytime a player wins the World Series with a home run, that performance is worthy of high recognition. In game six of the 1993 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays held a 3-2 series lead, but trailed 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams gave up a walk and a single in the ninth. Then Joe Carter came to bat with one out and hit his second homer of the World Series, a three run shot on a 2-2 pitch, to give the Blue Jays the series title. By winning the World Series with a walk-off home run, Joe Carter's performance is one of the greatest ever in a World Series.

3. "I don't believe what I just saw!" Kirk Gibson homers off of Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series

Kirk Gibson's home run in game one of the 1988 World Series led to a broadcaster's call being just as memorable a performance as the play itself. Kirk Gibson was the 1988 National League MVP. But he was hurt for the World Series and figured to play little if at all. But Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda put him on the roster for pinch hitting duties. Facing the greatest closer in baseball at that time, Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland A's, Kirk Gibson hit a walk-off two run homer to win the game 5-4. As Gibson hobbled around the bases, CBS radio broadcaster Jack Buck gave his greatest call. Gibson's World Series performance inspired the Dodgers to defeat the A's in five games.

2. Bill Mazeroski hits a walk-off home run to win game seven of the 1960 World Series

In 1960, the Yankees were in the midst of the greatest dynasty in baseball history. Sporting superstars such as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, the Yankees had won eight of the previous 13 World Series. But the Pittsburgh Pirates pushed the Yankees to a game seven in the 1960 World Series. After the Yankees tied the score 9-9 with two runs in the top of the 9th, Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth and gave an historic performance against Ralph Terry. On a 1-0 pitch, Mazeroski pulled a home run over the left field wall to win the World Series. As the only game seven walk-off home run ever, Maseroski's blast is one of the greatest performances in World Series history.

1. Don Larsen throws a perfect game in the 1956 World Series

Don Larsen lost more games than he won during his Major League Baseball career. And he was knocked out of game two of the 1956 World Series in the second inning by the Brooklyn Dodgers who won that game 13-8. But Larsen started game five for the New York Yankees and delivered the greatest performance in World Series history.

The perfect game is one of the rarest feats in baseball. And Larsen's performance is the only perfect game in World Series history. Following game five, the Dodgers came back to win game six 1-0, but the Yankees crushed the Dodgers 9-0 in game seven to win the World Series. By throwing a perfect game in the World Series, Don Larsen gave the greatest performance ever in the fall classic.

Sources

"1932 World Series Game 3," baseball-reference.com

"1993 World Series Game 6," baseball-reference.com

"1988 World Series Game 1," baseball-reference.com

"1960 World series Game 7," baseball-reference.com

"1956 World Series Game 5," baseball-reference.com

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Updated Friday, Oct 15, 2010