Some pitchers turn in great performances year-round, but other pitchers shine brightest under the October stars. Here are six World Series pitchers who came through at crunch time to give us memories we’ll always cherish.
1. Babe Ruth
When people think of Babe Ruth, they think of the home runs. They forget that George Herman Ruth, Jr., was also a mighty good pitcher. Back in 1916, Ruth was a southpaw pitching for the Red Sox, who’d earned a 23-12 record and a 1.75 ERA. He’d had to sit out the 1915 World Series because Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan decided to only use right-handed pitchers out of fear of Philadelphia slugger Gavvy Cravath.
Ruth got the nod in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series, and he pitched 13 shutout innings, allowing no hits in the last seven innings. “I told you a year ago I could take care of those National League bums, and you never gave me a chance,” Ruth reportedly told Carrigan after the game. “Forget it Babe,” Carrigan replied. “You made monkeys out of them today.”
2. Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford didn’t turn in just one memorable championship game. He has the most World Series starts of any pitcher (22) and leads baseball in World Series Game 1 starts, innings pitched, wins, and strikeouts. In three consecutive World Series starts — Game 3 and Game 6 in 1960 and Game 1 in 1961 — Ford threw three consecutive shutouts. In his first 16 World Series starts, he clocked an ERA of 1.98. The Yankees were great during the 1950s and 1960s, so Ford pitched the World Series in 11 of his 16 years in the Bronx.
3. Mariano Rivera
No baseball fan who uses a top reviewed betting site goes against the Bronx in October. Another Yankees pitcher, Mariano Rivera, bagged 11 World Series saves, the record for any pitcher in any World Series appearances. Rivera pitched 36 1/3 innings in the Fall Classic, during which he had a 0.99 ERA. Of the 11 saves, nine required four or more outs. The closest competitor to Rivera’s 11 World Series saves is Rollie Fingers, who had six.
4. Josh Beckett
Before Josh Beckett went to Boston, he became infamous in New York for helping the Florida Marlins win their second World Series title. He’d only had three days rest after his previous World Series start, but Marlins manager Jack McKeon figured there was no one else he’d go to with the World Series on the line.
The whole game was a pitching clash of the titans, with Andy Pettitte allowing only two runs in seven innings for New York and two scoreless relief innings from Mariano Rivera. Beckett pitched a 2-0 shutout against the Yankees with nine strikeouts, ensuring that the Yanks never won another World Series game at the old Yankee Stadium.
5. Jack Morris
Everyone has an opinion about the best World Series game ever pitched, but it’s hard to top what Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris did in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Like Beckett, Morris answered the call on just three days rest, and he pitched a shutout against the Braves. Morris fought an epic battle with Braves ace John Smoltz, and the game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the 10th.
In the end, Dan Gladden hit a double off of Braves reliever Alejandro Peña, and Bobby Cox walked the next two to bring Gene Larkin to the plate. Larkin hit a single to left-center, bringing Gladden home and winning the 1991 World Series for the Twins. Morris pitched all 10 innings; Tim Kelly realized there was no need to mess with a good thing.
6. Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling came to bloody sock fame in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees, when he allowed just one run in seven innings while pitching with an injured ankle. However, Schilling’s performance in the 2004 World Series, along with his performance in the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, left him with a 4-1 World Series record — and it would have been 5-0 if Byung-Hyun Kim hadn’t blown the save at the end of Game 4 in 2001.
After years of being accused of putting ketchup in his sock during the ACLS, Schilling finally tweeted a photo of his stitched-up ankle 10 years later.