The pressure is on during the World Series. While Major League Baseball’s championship series results in moments of triumph, viewers never forgot a memorable blunder either.
With all the World Series games played in the history of MLB, a number of costly mistakes have turned game time upside down and led to a completely different outcome than the expected.
Below are just a few of the most famous World Series gaffes in the order that they happened.
- 1912 – A missed pop fly by Fred Snodgrass
- 1924 – Hank Gowdy’s missed 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 controversial umpire call
- 1986 – The infamous Bill Buckner blunder
1. 1912 – A missed pop fly by Fred Snodgrass
The 1912 best-of-seven World Series ended up in an eighth game. The previous game was called at a tie due to the darkness on the field.
During the bottom of the 10th inning in game 8 of the 1912 World Series, Clyde Engle of the Boston Red Sox hit a fly ball into the outfield.
The ball was headed for Fred Snodgrass, who missed the catch as the ball bounced right out of his glove. In the same inning, the Red Sox played off the mistake and scored two runs, winning the entire series.
2. 1924 – Hank Gowdy’s missed foul ball
Hank Gowdy’s World Series fumble was in 1924, during the seventh game of the series between the Washington Senators and New York Giants.
The score was tied and Muddy Ruel, catcher for the Senators, hit a pop-up foul ball. If Giants’ catcher Gowdy caught it, there would have been two outs on the leader board.
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 went on to win the championship.
“It held me like a bear trap,” Gowdy later said about the unfortunate moment.
3. 1926 – Babe Ruth caught stealing
Babe Ruth set many records during his time in MLB, but it wasn’t all legendary moments for the iconic athlete.
In 1926, Ruth got caught stealing second base during game 7 of the World Series. The Yankees down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Ruth’s attempt to steal got him thrown out by the Cardinals catcher. This play ended the World Series.
This marked the only time in World Series history that a game has ended with a player caught stealing.
4. 1941 – A third strike missed by Mickey Owen
Mickey Owen let a third strike get past him during game 4 of the 1941 World Series. The Brooklyn Dodgers were up 4-3 and Hugh Casey, the team’s pitcher, had a full count on the New York Yankees’ Tommy Henrich.
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 get to first base.
In that inning, the Yankees went on to score four runs and won the game, 7-4. The following day, the Yankees won again and took home the title.
5. 1966 – A series of unfortunate events by Willie Davis
A sky full of sunshine worked against Los Angeles Dodgers’ Willie Davis during 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 into center field.
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 again lost the ball. After picking it up, he overthrew it to third.
“You can’t catch what you can’t see,” Davis later said of his missed catches.
The Orioles went on to win their first championship.
6. 1985 – The controversial umpire call
In 1985, it’s believed the most controversial calls in World Series history were made. The St. Louis Cardinals were up 1-0 in game 6 and needed just three outs to win the series.
Kansas City Royals’ Jorge Orta was the first hitter in the bottom of the ninth and hit a grounder. Jack Clark, the first baseman, fielded the ball and flipped it to Todd Worrell, who was covering the base.
Worrell seemed to clearly step on the base before the runner, but umpire Don Denkinger called the runner safe. The play was argued but was not overturned.
After this call, Royals hitter Dane Iorg knocked two runs in to win the game.
7. 1986 – The infamous Bill Buckner blunder
The Bill Buckner blunder happened in 1986 when the first baseman missed a ground ball in a pivotal moment during game 6 between the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. Red Sox manager John McNamara was using 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.
During the 10th inning, the score was tied at 3-3. A grounder off the bat of 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 go on to win game 7 and the series.