The 2012 World Series begins on Oct. 24. It is hard to believe that the first Fall Classic took place more than a hundred years ago-in 1903. Over that time a number of players have etched their names in the record books for the wrong reasons. They made crucial blunders that hurt their teams' chances of winning the league championship.
Here are the top 10 World Series blunders committed by players over the last 35 years:
Bill Russell's error, 1978, Game 4: Down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning with two men on base, New York Yankees batter Lou Piniella hit a low line drive towards Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell. After picking the ball off the ground, Russell touched second base for one out and then threw to first. The ball glanced off of Yankees base runner Reggie Jackson and went into the outfield, allowing a run to score. The Yankees won the game in extra innings.
Willie Aikens' error, 1980, Game 5: The game was tied at 0-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Kansas City Royals first baseman Willie Aikens committed an error on a throw by pitcher Larry Gura. The Philadelphia Phillies' Mike Schmidt made the Royals pay for that mistake when he hit a two run homer. The Phillies won the game 4-3.
Bill Buckner's error, 1986, Game 6: The Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets were tied 5-5 in the bottom of the tenth inning when the Mets' Mookie Wilson came to the plate with two outs and a man on second. Wilson hit a grounder down the first base line. Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner let the ball slip through his legs, allowing the Mets to score the winning run.
Bob Stanley's wild pitch, 1986, Game 6: Red Sox fans might blame Buckner for the team's Game 6 loss. However, Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley may have played a bigger role in the debacle. During Wilson's plate appearance, Stanley threw a wild pitch that allowed one Mets player to score and permitted the winning run to advance to second base.
David Justice's error, 1991, Game 2: Minnesota Twins batter Dan Gladden hit a fly ball past second base in the bottom of the first inning. Braves outfielder David Justice collided with second baseman Mark Lemke as he went for the ball, allowing Gladden to reach base safely. Chili Davis made the Braves pay for that snafu when he hit a two run homer later in the inning. Davis likely would never have come to the plate if Justice had not committed the error. The Twins won the game 3-2.
Tony Fernandez's error, 1997, Game 7: The game was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eleventh inning when the Florida Marlins' Craig Counsell came to the plate with a man on base and one out. Counsell hit a grounder to Indians second baseman Tony Fernandez, who was unable to field the ball cleanly. Counsell reached base safely and later scored the winning run on an Edgar Renteria single.
Mariano Rivera's error, 2001, Game 7: The Yankees were leading the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. With a man on first and no outs, the Diamondbacks' Damian Miller bunted a ball to Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera for what should have been an easy out. Instead, Rivera threw the ball away. His error led to an unearned run. The Diamondbacks won the game 3-2.
Fernando Rodney's error, 2006, Game 4: The Detroit Tigers led the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With a runner on base and no outs, Cardinals hitter So Taguchi bunted the ball to Tigers pitcher Fernando Rodney, who made an errant throw to first. Rodney's foible resulted in two unearned runs. The Cardinals won the game 5-4.
Michael Young's first error, 2011, Game 6: The Texas Rangers held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when the Cardinals' Lance Berkman hit a grounder towards Rangers first baseman Michael Young. Young successfully snagged the ball but made a poor throw to first, allowing Berkman to reach base safely. Berkman eventually scored.
Michael Young's second error, 2011, Game 6: The Rangers regained the lead in the fifth inning only to see it evaporate in the bottom of the sixth inning. With Berkman on first base and one out, Matt Holliday hit a grounder to Young, who bobbled the ball trying to make a throw to second. Both Berkman and Holliday reached base safely. Berkman would eventually cross home plate to tie the game. The Cardinals won Game 6 in extra innings.
The author has followed professional baseball for many years and is an Atlanta Braves fan.
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