This year's Fall Classic will begin October 24 in the park of the National League champion.
In the century-plus since the World Series was first played in 1903, these 10 pitchers have staked a claim on the best single World Series pitching performance:
Whitey Ford, New York Yankees, 1961 - The Yanks beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1961 World Series. Ford, who had won 25 games in the regular season, continued his mastery in the World Series. He beat the Reds twice and did not allow a run in the process. Ford allowed just six hits and a walk in 14 innings pitched.
Don Larsen, New York Yankees, 1956 - Larsen has to be on this list, even though he won just one game in the 1956 World Series. Of course, that one game was the only perfect game in World Series history. Larsen struck out seven in his gem, part of the Yankees' seven-game win over Brooklyn.
Mickey Lolich, Detroit Tigers, 1968 - In winning three games in the 1968 World Series, Lolich overshadowed both Hall of Famer Bob Gibson and his own teammate, 31-game winner Denny McClain. Lolich was 3-0 in the '68 Series, tossing three complete games and allowing just five runs for an ERA of 1.67. Lolich was named the MVP as the Tigers beat the Cardinals in seven games.
Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals, 1967 - The year before Lolich beat the Cardinals, Gibson did the same to the Boston Red Sox. Gibson was 3-0 with three complete games and an ERA of 1.00. My favorite part is that Gibson pitched three complete games in a nine-day period. The Cards beat the Red Sox and Gibson was named MVP.
Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001 - Johnson was 3-0 in the Diamondbacks' win over the Yankees. Johnson went above the call of duty when he won Game 6 with seven innings and then picked up the win in Game 7 with 1 1/3 innings of relief. Overall, Johnson posted an ERA of 1.04 and was named co-MVP.
Curt Schilling, Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001 - The man who shared MVP honors with Johnson was teammate Curt Schilling. Schilling picked up a win in Game 1 and could have had another in Game 4 if not for a blown save. Schilling notched just one win, but he posted a WHIP of .656 and an ERA of 1.69 in over 21 1/3 innings pitched.
Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals, 2011 - Carpenter led the National League in innings pitched with 237, and he pitched 17 more in the National League playoffs. But he had enough left in the tank to pitch another 19 innings in the World Series. Carpenter beat the Texas Rangers in Game 1 and took a no-decision in Game 5. When the Cardinals needed Carpenter to take the mound on short rest in Game 7, he pitched into the seventh inning and ended up with the win as the Cardinals clinched the title.
Christy Mathewson, New York Giants, 1905 - Mathewson had already won 31 games in the regular season in 1905, so what was another three wins in the World Series? Mathewson pitched three complete games and allowed no runs in 27 innings. Hitters read Matty for just 13 hits and a single walk in the Giants' five-game win over the Philadelphia A's.
Steve Blass, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1971 - Before his name became synonymous with wildness, Blass was a pretty good pitcher. He won 15 games in the regular season in 1971 and was 2-0 in the Pirates' World Series win over Baltimore. Blass started two games in the '71 Fall Classic and won both with complete-game efforts. His 2-1 win over 20-game winner Mike Cuellar in Game 7 clinched the crown for Pittsburgh.
Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, 1998 - Rivera saved Games 1, 3, and 4 in the Yanks' sweep of the San Diego Padres in 1998. I am sure he would have saved Game 2, but New York had a six-run lead. Rivera allowed neither a run nor a walk in his three appearances.
A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Yankees
- World Series
- Bob Gibson
- Curt Schilling