Royals

World Series game sevens, like one that awaits Royals, are stuff of legend

The Royals celebrate their 1985 World Series Triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals, converging on the pitcher’s mound.
The Royals celebrate their 1985 World Series Triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals, converging on the pitcher’s mound. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ned Yost’s secret hope has come true.

Game seven of the World Series between the Royals and Giants has arrived.

In San Francisco, Yost ended a news conference with this answer when asked about the series momentum: “Oh, man, somewhere inside of me secretly I had hoped it would seven games for the excitement and thrill of it. Sure looks that way.”

The bizarre thing was Yost said this after game four, with the series tied. The Royals could have won twice and avoided a game seven. Perhaps Yost expressed this knowing how difficult it would be to defeat Giants ace Madison Bumgarner the next day.

It was. Bumgarner won, but the Royals captured game six at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday to bring baseball to its ultimate conclusion.

Game seven.

They don’t happen often. This will be the 34th game seven since the World Series moved to its current 2-3-2 format in 1924, and the home team is 18-15 in those games.

But like the game-six trend that favored home teams (13 home teams had won the previous 16 game sixes), the seventh game also has smiled on the home team.

They’re riding a nine-game winning streak, and the run includes the 1985 Royals, who battled back from a 3-1 deficit to the Cardinals to claim the franchise’s only crown.

In the last World Series to go seven games, the Cardinals overcame a 3-2 deficit to beat the Rangers twice in 2011.

Before then, Angels defeated the Giants in 2002 and the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001. The home team trailed 3-2 in both series.

Some winner-take-all games have provided baseball’s most memorable moments. The Diamondbacks’ Luis Gonzalez’s dropping a game-winning RBI single off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in 2001, and Edgar Renteria’s single that helped the Marlins beat the Indians and end the 11-inning marathon are among the most recent.

Through the years, game sevens have produced stuff of legends, on the mound and at the plate.

The remarkable durability of the the Twins’ Jack Morris, whose 126-pitch, 10-inning shutout of the Braves in 1991, remains the gold standard of game-seven starts.

The Tigers’ Mickey Lolich in 1968 and the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson in three of his World Series appearances were the definition of workhorses. Both pitched complete games in nearly all of their postseason appearances.

The Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski remains the only player to end a World Series seventh game with a home run when he beat the Yankees in 1960.

Enos “Country” Slaughter’s mad dash from first on Harry Walker’s double to give the Cardinals the late lead against the Red Sox in 1946, and the Cards’ Pepper Martin’s running catch that saved two runs to end the 1931 Series have been part of the game’s lore.

Because Yost got his wish, perhaps tonight’s game will add to the list of cherished moments.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

WORLD SERIES GAME SEVENS

Year

Home team

Visitor

Winner, score

Comment

1924

Senators

Giants

Senators, 4-3, 12 innings

Johnson gets victory pitching final three in relief

1925

Pirates

Senators

Pirates, 9-7

Pirates first to come back down 3-1 in series

1926

Yankees

Cardinals

Cardinals, 3-2

Ruth caught stealing for final out

1931

Cardinals

A’s

Cardinals, 4-2

Pepper Martin stars in Connie Macks’ last Series

1934

Tigers

Cardinals

Cardinals, 11-0

Dizzy won game seven, he and brother Paul won all four

1940

Reds

Tigers

Reds, 2-1

Reds rally with two in seventh

1945

Cubs

Tigers

Tigers, 9-3

Cubs’ last Series appearance

1946

Cardinals

Red Sox

Cardinals, 4-3

Slaughter scores from first on Walker’s double

1947

Yankees

Dodgers

Yankees, 5-2

Dodgers couldn’t build on game six catch by Gionfriddo

1952

Dodgers

Yankees

Yankees, 4-2

Yanks win final two at Ebbets

1955

Yankees

Dodgers

Dodgers, 2-0

Podres ends years of Brooklyn frustration vs. Yanks

1956

Dodgers

Yankees

Yankees, 9-0

No perfecto game like Larsen in game three, but Kucks blanks Bums

1957

Yankees

Braves

Braves, 5-0

Burdette blanks Yanks for Milwaukee’s only championship

1958

Braves

Yankees

Yankees, 6-2

Yanks complete comeback from 3-1 down

1960

Pirates

Yankees

Pirates, 10-9

Mazeroski homer ends wildest game seven

1962

Giants

Yankees

Yankees, 1-0

McCovey liner this close to game-winner

1964

Cardinals

Yankees

Cardinals, 7-5

Amazing Gibson wins first of two MVPs

1967

Red Sox

Cardinals

Cardinals, 7-2

Nine career WS starts, nine complete games for Gibson

1968

Cardinals

Tigers

Tigers, 4-1

Lolich throws complete game on two days rest

1971

Orioles

Pirates

Pirates, 2-1

Clemente homer caps great series

1972

Reds

A’s

A’s, 3-2

Series hero Tenace drives in two

1973

A’s

Mets

A’s, 5-2

A’s take second straight game seven

1975

Red Sox

Reds

Reds, 4-3

Fisk homer in game six couldn’t stop Reds

1979

Orioles

Pirates

Pirates, 4-1

Stargell put Pirates on his back

1982

Cardinals

Brewers

Cardinals, 6-3

Brewers went ahead, Cards answered in sixth inning

1985

Royals

Cardinals

Royals, 11-0

After game six rally, Royals couldn’t be stopped

1986

Mets

Red Sox

Mets, 8-5

Mets seemed destined after Buckner error

1987

Twins

Cardinals

Twins, 4-2

Cards couldn’t hold early lead

1991

Twins

Braves

Twins, 1-0, 10 innings

Morris throws 10 shutout innings

1997

Marlins

Indians

Marlins, 3-2, 11 innings

High drama ends with Renteria’s RBI single

2001

Diamondbacks

Yankees

Diamondbacks, 3-2

Gonzalez gets enough of Rivera to doink winning hit

2002

Angels

Giants

Angels, 4-1

Rally monkey pulled Angels through in game six

2011

Cardinals

Rangers

Cardinals, 6-2

Anti-climatic after Freese’s game six heroics

2014

Royals

Giants

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