The Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are set to begin the World Series on Tuesday night in Boston. This is sure to be a battle between two of the biggest heavyweights that Major League Baseball has to offer.
Both the Red Sox and Dodgers are no strangers to the Fall Classic, as they have a combined 14 World Series titles in 33 appearances. Neither team could have had so much success without massive game-changing plays every now and then, as well as a little luck.
We put together a list of the five greatest World Series moments from both teams in preparation for the second Fall Classic matchup between the two historic organizations.
Boston Red Sox:
5. Impossible Dream Team of 1967
The Sox went on a tough run from 1958-1966, in which they could not put together a winning team. In 1966, the Red Sox were just a half-game ahead of the last place New York Yankees, and seemed to be poised for more losing seasons. Times changed quickly in Boston as the young bunch, led by Hall of Fame left fielder Carl Yastrzemski, squeaked into the playoffs the very next year with a win on the final day of the regular season. The Sox would go on to defeat the California Angels to claim the pennant and punch their first ticket to the World Series since 1946. “The Curse of the Bambino” would remain in tact as the Sox would fall to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. But Yaz would have an astounding series, hitting .400 with three home runs.
4. Bill Dinneen leads Boston Americans to very First World Series title in 1903
The 1903 season saw the convergence of the American and National Leagues for the first time and the creation of the World Series. The AL champion Boston Americans, later renamed Red Sox, clashed with the NL Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series. Boston would fall in Game 1 by a score of 7-3, but Bill Dinneen would throw a three-hitter in a Game 2 victory to even the series. The Red Sox would drop the next two, giving the Pirates a 3-1 advantage in the series, but with the help of Dinneen would win the next four to clinch series. Dinneen pitched in the decisive Game 8 of the series, throwing his second shutout of the Series and earning his third victory.
3. Carlton Fisk pushes the ball fair in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series
The thrilling Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds featured everything from acrobatic catches to extra innings and an iconic walk-off home run by Carlton Fisk. The catcher almost didn’t have the opportunity to hit his famous 12th-inning home run, as the Reds almost ended the game in the 11th inning. Joe Morgan hit a long fly ball to right field with a man on that could’ve ended the game if it landed. Dwight Evans was able to make a difficult catch and throw the runner out at first, ending the threat. Fisk would then get an opportunity in the 12th when he launched one of the most famous home runs in MLB history. The Hall of Fame backstop smacked the ball to left field and it looked like it was hooking foul, but as Fisk ran to first waving the ball fair, the baseball clunked off of the foul pole, giving the Sox the victory.
2. David Ortiz’s incredible 2013 World Series and ‘Boston Strong’
David Ortiz had one of the most dominant World Series performances in MLB history in 2013, hitting an astronomical .688 with two home runs, six RBIs and eight walks. The 2013 World Series was significant as it represented more than just baseball with the Red Sox adopting the popular term “Boston Strong” following the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Ortiz and the entire Sox team became a representation of the resilience of the city in the face of disaster. The team became a rallying cry for the entire city with Ortiz at the heart of it. This never was more apparent than when he exclaimed “This is our f—ing city” to a massive applause before the first game played in Boston following the Marathon. The 2013 World Series was Boston’s third championship in 10 years, and David Ortiz’s role as a symbol of hope, as well as his performance on the brightest stage reinforced that this was much more than baseball.
1. “Red Sox fans have longed to hear It. The Boston Red Sox are World Champions!”
It took 86 years, but the Red Sox finally broke “The Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 with a sweep of the Cardinals. It was a long time coming that featured many close calls, but the Sox finally were able to reach the mountaintop. The entire season was a Cinderella story for Boston, with some of the most exciting moments of the postseason occurring in the American League Championship Series. The Sox made history by coming back against the New York Yankees after being down three games to none. Boston went into St. Louis after completing the greatest comeback in sports history and dismantled the Cardinals with four straight wins. The most iconic moment of the series was the final out as Cardinals shortstop Edgar Renteria hit a grounder to Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, who lightly tossed it to first to clinch the Red Sox’s first championship since 1918.
Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Chuck Essegian’s two pinch-hit home runs lead Dodgers to World Series in 1959
The Dodgers were able to win the series with the help of a record two pinch-hit home runs from left fielder Chuck Essegian in just their second season in Los Angeles. He only hit one home run throughout the regular season, but stepped up when the lights were at their brightest, propelling the Dodgers to a World Series victory. Los Angeles defeated the Chicago White Sox four games to two.
4. Sandy Koufax sets tone early with 15 strikeouts against Yankees in Game 1 of 1963 World Series
The Dodgers and Yankees are very familiar with each other, as the two clubs met 10 times in the World Series between 1941 and 1981. The legendary left-handed pitcher dominated from the get-go and struck out a then-World Series record 15 Yankees en route to a 4-0 series sweep for the Dodgers. The Yankees never led in the series, and it was the first time New York had ever been swept in the Fall Classic. Koufax’s impressive start established the Dodgers’ dominance from the very beginning and set the tone for the remainder of the series.
3. Sandy Koufax pitches shutout on short rest to win Game 7 in 1965
It’s not surprising that one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history finds himself on this list multiple times. The Minnesota Twins won Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7, and Koufax stepped up and brought it home for the Dodgers. On just two days rest, Koufax pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out 10 Twins to bring the second World Series trophy to L.A. in three years. The Hall of Famer was solid in the series, going 2-1 with a 0.38 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched.
2. The Dodgers finally take down the Evil Empire
In 1955, the Dodgers finally got the monkey off of their backs and defeated the Yankees. After losing to New York four times in the Fall Classic, Brooklyn finally got one back on its nemesis thanks to Duke Snider. Snider hit .320 with four homers and seven RBIs throughout the series and was a huge problem for the Yankees. New York knotted the series up 3-3 with a Game 6 victory to force a Game 7. Gil Hodges drove in two runs for the Dodgers and that would be enough as they would go on to win 2-0 and clinch their very first World Series victory. One of biggest moments from this series was Jackie Robinson’s bold steal of home plate during Game 1. Yankees catcher Yogi Berra claims Robinson was out, but this was a play that got the momentum on the Dodgers’ side and has vastly been discussed since it happened.
1. Kirk Gibson’s late game pinch-hit home run during Game 1 in 1988
Legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully described the moment best when he said “In a year that has been so improbable … the impossible has happened!” Gibson struggled throughout the postseason with two injured legs. He wasn’t expected to play at all during the World Series, but surprisingly pinch hit in the ninth inning of Game 1 and smacked a game-winning two-run home run off Hall of Fame pitcher, Dennis Eckersley. This would be Gibson’s only at-bat of the World Series, and would swing the momentum in L.A.’s favor. The Dodgers would go on to sweep the Oakland Athletics, but none of this would’ve been possible without Gibson’s heroic home run in Game 1.