The pressure is on during the World Series. Although the Major League Baseball Championship Series has its moments of triumph, viewers have never forgotten one memorable mistake, either.
With every World Series game played in MLB history, there have been a number of costly mistakes that have upended playing time and led to a completely different outcome than expected.
Below are some of the most famous World Series gaffes, in the order they occurred.
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- 1912 – A Missed Pop Fly by Fred Snodgrass
- 1924 – Hank Gowdy foul ball
- 1926 – Babe Ruth caught stealing
- 1941 – A third strike missed by Mickey Owen
- 1966 – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Willie Davis
- 1985 – The referee’s controversial call
- 1986 – Bill Buckner’s famous mistake
1. 1912 – A Missed Pop Fly by Fred Snodgrass
The 1912 World Series, the best of seven, ended in a game eight. The previous match was called off in a tie due to darkness on the field.
In the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 8 of the 1912 World Series, Clyde Engle of the Boston Red Sox hit a fly ball into the outfield.
The ball was heading toward Fred Snodgrass, who missed the catch as the ball bounced out of his glove. In the same inning, the Red Sox made up for the error and scored two runs, winning the entire series.
2. 1924 – Hank Gowdy foul ball
Hank Gowdy’s World Series fumble dates back to 1924, during Game 7 of the series between the Washington Senators and the New York Giants.
The score was tied and Senators catcher Muddy Ruel hit a pop-up foul ball. If Giants catcher Gowdy had caught it, there would have been two outs on the scoreboard.
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Gowdy’s foot got caught in his mask and he missed the catch. Ruel made the most of his extra life at bat and hit a double. The Senators won the championship.
“It held me like a bear trap,” Gowdy later said of the unfortunate moment.
3. 1926 – Babe Ruth caught stealing
Babe Ruth set many records during his time in the MLB, but they weren’t all legendary moments for the iconic athlete.
In 1926, Ruth was caught stealing second base in Game 7 of the World Series. The Yankees were down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ruth’s attempted steal got him thrown out by the Cardinals catcher. This play ended the World Series.
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It was the only time in World Series history that a game ended with a player caught stealing.
4. 1941 – A third strike missed by Mickey Owen
Mickey Owen dropped a third strike in Game 4 of the 1941 World Series. The Brooklyn Dodgers were leading 4-3 and Hugh Casey, the team’s pitcher, was fully counting on Tommy Henrich of the New York Yankees.
Henrich swung and missed a curveball for strike three. Owen missed the catch on the third strike, sending the ball into the backstop and giving Henrich time to reach first base.
In this inning, the Yankees scored four runs and won the game 7-4. The next day, the Yankees won again and took the title.
5. 1966 – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Willie Davis
A sunny sky played against Willie Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the 1966 World Series. In the fifth inning of a scoreless game, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Paul Blair hit a pop fly in center field.
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Davis, outfielder for the Dodgers, lost the ball in the sun and missed the catch. The next batter also hit the ball toward Davis, who lost the ball again. After recovering it, he knocked it down to third.
“You can’t catch what you can’t see,” Davis later said of his missed catches.
The Orioles won their first championship.
6. 1985 – The referee’s controversial call
In 1985, the most controversial decisions in World Series history are believed to have been made. The St. Louis Cardinals led 1-0 in game six and needed just three outs to win the series.
Jorge Orta of the Kansas City Royals took the leadoff hit in the bottom of the ninth and hit a grounder. Jack Clark, the first baseman, fielded the ball and threw it to Todd Worrell, who was covering the base.
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Worrell appeared to clearly step on base before the runner, but umpire Don Denkinger declared the runner safe. The piece was challenged but not overturned.
After that call, Royals slugger Dane Iorg scored two runs to win the game.
7. 1986 – Bill Buckner’s infamous mistake
Bill Buckner’s error occurred in 1986 when the first baseman botched a ground ball at a crucial moment in Game 6 between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. Red Sox manager John McNamara used Dave Stapleton as a defensive replacement for Buckner, who had two bad ankles, late in games in which Boston was ahead. This time, McNamara decided to stick with Buckner.
In the 10th round, the score was 3-3. A grounder by Mookie Wilson rolled down the baseline and through Buckner’s legs, allowing the New York Mets to score and win the game. The Mets would win Game 7 and the Series.