Every team's most impactful postseason play

November 4th, 2022

Considering that every single postseason seems to bring with it a historic moment we'll never forget, let's look back to the most impactful postseason moments in each team's history. We're not just talking about subjectively putting together a list, either. There's a way to actually track this sort of thing. (Of course there is. There's a way to track everything.)

To do that, we'll turn to Baseball-Reference's "Pivotal Play Finder," which helps us sort plays out by "Championship Win Probability Added." (Or cWPA, for short.) That takes traditional Win Probability Added for a particular play and "increases the scope from winning a game to winning the World Series." That is, regular WPA tells us how much each play increases or decreases the odds of winning that game, but in this context, a game-winning hit to win Game 7 of the World Series is more important than one to win Game 3 of the World Series or Game 7 of the ALCS, for example.

(The way to read this, using one instance below: When you see that Hal Smith's 1960 World Series Game 7 home run was +63% cWPA added, it means that when he stepped to the plate with Pittsburgh down 7-5 in the eighth with two on and two outs, they had a 31% chance to win the Series. After his homer gave them a 9-6 lead, those odds shot up to 94% -- an improvement of 63 points.)

Some of these are going to be obvious -- you're already thinking of some walk-offs to win Game 7 of the World Series, the handful of moments that fans of every team know about. But some will be surprises, or not what you're expecting them to be. Maybe that's because they were seemingly smaller moments in bigger games, or came before most of us were alive. But they all mattered, a lot.

Not every team has a World Series ring, or has even reached the Fall Classic. Not every team has recent success. But, we were pleasantly surprised to report, every single team has at least one memorable postseason moment. And many of these actually came in series they eventually lost. So this isn't necessarily the most important moment, just the one that actually had the biggest impact on their chances of winning it all.

To be clear, we're focusing on each team's most positive moment. Howie Kendrick's Game 7 home run in the 2019 World Series is technically the most impactful moment for both the Astros and the Nationals, since it's one of the 10 most impactful moments in big league history. But clearly, Houston and Washington fans feel very differently about it, so it's only going to appear once here, for the Nationals.


+30% cWPA -- 1993 World Series Game 6 -- Joe Carter home run, 9th inning

They're not all going to be this obvious, we promise, but how in the world was this going to be anything other than one of the most famous moments in baseball history? You remember the outcome, but you might not recall the lead the Blue Jays actually blew to set this up. Toronto was up 3-2 in the Series and 5-1 in Game 6 entering the seventh inning, when three Blue Jays pitchers -- including Dave Stewart and Al Leiter -- combined to allow five runs, giving the Phillies a 6-5 lead. That's where it stood until the bottom of the ninth, when Mitch Williams entered, allowing this sequence: walk, flyout, single, walk-off home run.

Touch 'em all, Joe. You never did hit a bigger home run.

(Runner-up, +24% cWPA: Dave Winfield's two-run double to break a 2-2 tie in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the '92 World Series.)

+13% cWPA -- 1971 World Series Game 6 -- Davey Johnson single, 7th inning

Baltimore has three World Series flags flying outside Camden Yards, yet the Orioles' most important moment came in a Series they dropped to Pittsburgh in 1971. That's because the other three weren't exactly competitive -- the '66, '70, and '83 O's dropped only two World Series games between them -- while this one went the full seven. In this Series, the O's had taken the first two at home, then dropped three straight on the road in Pittsburgh. Down 2-1 in the seventh inning, Johnson came up with two on and two out, singling home Mark Belanger with the tying run. Baltimore would win in 10 to stay alive, though they'd drop Game 7.

(Runner-up, by fractions of a point, +13% cWPA: Terry Crowley's double in Game 4 of the 1979 World Series helped turn a 6-3 eighth inning deficit into a 9-6 lead.)

+30% cWPA -- 2020 World Series Game 4 -- Brett Phillips' walk-off single, 9th inning

You can't be surprised that one of the wildest plays in baseball history ends up atop the Tampa Bay list, and it should say a lot that "walk-off single," while technically correct, doesn't even begin to explain what happened here. Down 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth, with two strikes and two outs, and facing a 3-1 series deficit in the face, the Rays sent up the light-hitting backup outfielder Phillips, who had only been acquired on Aug. 27 and had all of three hits, regular and postseason, with his new team. Hit number four was a single up the middle that the Dodgers turned into an absolute clownshow, allowing Kevin Kiermaier to score the tying run and Randy Arozarena to follow with the winning run, tying the series at two. It was one of the single most impactful plays in World Series history.

(Runner-up, +13% cWPA: Earlier in the same game, Brandon Lowe's home run off Pedro Baez turned a 4-2 Dodgers lead into a 5-4 Rays advantage.)

+51% cWPA -- 1912 World Series Game 8 -- Tris Speaker single, 10th inning

Yes, Game 8. That's not a typo. Game 2 had been called a 6-6 tie on account of darkness, so the Red Sox and Giants took a 3-3 tie into an eighth game. Not only that, they took a 1-1 tie into the 10th inning of that eighth game, which feels like about as tied as two teams can possibly get. In the top of the 10th, the Giants took a 2-1 lead, needing three outs for the World Series win. But thanks to an error and walk (around a flyout), Speaker walked up with runners on first and second with one out. His single to right tied the game 2-2, but also allowed the runner on first to advance to third -- where he'd come in with the Series-winning run on a Larry Gardner sacrifice fly.

Believe it or not, we're not done with this game yet. Keep reading.

(Runner-up, +32% cWPA: Dom DiMaggio's game-tying two-run double in the top of the 8th inning of Game 7 in the 1946 World Series.)

+34% cWPA -- 1960 World Series Game 7 -- Yogi Berra home run, 6th inning

The Yankees were on the opposite end of two of the most important postseason plays in baseball history, coming in the seventh games of the 1960 and 2001 World Series. The best one that went in their favor also came in Game 7 of 1960, just a little too early. New York was down 4-1 to Pittsburgh entering the sixth inning, and after a Mickey Mantle single made it 4-2, Berra's three-run homer gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead with three innings left. They'd tack on two more in the eighth ... before giving up the lead, taking it again, and giving it up again. This may be the best game not enough people remember.

(Runner-up, +27% cWPA: Throwing it way back to 1923, when Bob Meusel singled to center with the bases loaded in Game 6, which managed to clear the bases thanks to an error, putting Meusel on third base and turning a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.)


+39% cWPA -- 2016 World Series Game 7 -- Rajai Davis home run, 8th inning

If not quite as obvious as the Joe Carter home run, it's pretty close. This one, of course, didn't immediately win a Series like Carter's did. It didn't even give Cleveland the lead. But still, down 6-3 entering the eighth inning of Game 7, every moment is the most important moment. Cleveland had cut the lead to 6-4 with two outs, and in stepped Davis against Aroldis Chapman. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, his two-run shot tied the game, at least until the 10th inning. A fun but forgotten fact: In the bottom of the 10th, with the Indians now down 8-6, Davis drove in another run on a single, leading to the 8-7 final.

(Runner-up, +19% cWPA: In the famous Game 7 of the '97 World Series, Tony Fernández got Cleveland on the board in the 3rd inning with a two-run single, breaking a scoreless tie.)

+25% cWPA -- 1985 World Series Game 6 -- Dane Iorg RBI single, 9th inning

You would have thought -- or at least we would have -- that given back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15, the biggest Kansas City moment would have had to come a little more recently than this. But no, we're throwing this one way back to 1985, when the Royals entered Game 6 of the World Series down 3-2 to the Cardinals. They were down 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth -- their season had just three outs remaining -- hard to get more high-leverage than that. The first two Royals singled (with a little help from umpire Don Denkinger), then, after a sacrifice bunt, a passed ball and an intentional walk, pinch-hitter Iorg entered with the bases loaded. His single to right field didn't just bring home the tying run, but also the runner from second, giving the Royals a walk-off win. They'd take Game 7 by a score of 11-0, and their first title.

(Runner-up, +18% cWPA: The next night in Game 7, Darryl Motley's RBI single drove in the first run of what would be a six-run 5th inning, as the Royals blew out the Cardinals for the win.)

+36% cWPA -- 1968 World Series Game 7 -- Jim Northrup triple, 7th inning

Despite the long history of the Tigers, including 10 World Series appearances and four rings, most of their moments are more memorable locally than nationally; that is, everyone knows the Joe Carter and Bill Mazeroski moments, but how many outside of Detroit know Jim Northrup? In a scoreless game in the seventh inning, the Michigan native and 11-year Tiger gave his hometown team a huge boost when he doubled in the first two runs of the game on a drive to deep center off of Bob Gibson. There's long been controversy over whether the normally sure-handed Curt Flood could have caught this one had he not stumbled, as you can see in the video below. Either way, it landed, and Northrup would come around on Bill Freehan's double to give Detroit a 3-0 lead -- and, soon, a title.

(Runner-up, +17% cWPA: In a previous Game 7, in the '45 Series, Paul Richards' bases-loaded double in the bottom of the 1st turned a 2-0 Detroit lead into a 5-0 advantage.)

+35% cWPA -- 1924 World Series Game 7 -- Bucky Harris RBI single, 8th inning

The Twins, remember, originated in Washington as the original Senators. You probably don't recall the 1924 World Series, or the Game 7 that featured the original "opener," Curly Ogden. That move was brainstormed by Senators player-manager Bucky Harris, who was also playing second base that day. By the bottom of the eighth, the Senators were behind 3-1 to the Giants, but they loaded the bases with two outs against New York pitcher Virgil Barnes. Harris' single scored two to tie it up; they'd later win it in the 12th inning on Earl McNeely's double, giving Washington its only title until the Nationals in 2019.

(Runner-up, +29% cWPA, and also our Minnesota entry: A rare defensive play! In the 8th inning of the famous Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, with the game a scoreless tie, Jack Morris allowed a single and a double to the first two batters. After a groundout, an intentional walk loaded the bases. Any hit would score at least one, possibly more. Even a sacrifice fly would give Atlanta the lead. Instead, Sid Bream grounded into a 3-6-3 double play. The Twins would win in 10.)

+19% cWPA -- 2005 World Series Game 2 -- Paul Konerko grand slam, 7th inning

Most of these don't take place in four-game sweeps, which often are relatively devoid of heart-wrenching moments. But this wasn't just any home run, because it was a grand slam that came while Chicago was down 4-2 in the seventh inning. If the Astros hold onto that lead, the Series is tied 1-1 headed back to Houston. Instead, the White Sox took a 6-4 advantage, which proved to be vital when the Chicago bullpen gave the lead back, setting up Scott Podsednik to break a 6-6 tie with a walk-off home run in the ninth.

(Runner-up, +13% cWPA: What, you don't remember George Rohe? Way back in 1906, in the fourth World Series ever played, the Cubs and White Sox split the first two games, and in the sixth inning of a scoreless Game 3, Rohe's bases-clearing triple gave the White Sox a 3-0 lead.)


+20% cWPA -- 1972 World Series Game 4 -- Don Mincher single, 9th inning

Up 2-1 in the World Series, the A's were down 2-1 in Game 4 headed into the bottom of the 9th. After a Mike Hegan groundout, the next two Oakland hitters singled, setting up men on first and second with one out for Mincher, who singled off of Clay Carroll to tie the game at two apiece. Mincher, entertainingly, was immediately pinch-run for by a pitcher ("Blue Moon" Odom), and the A's would win the game and take a 3-1 series lead when the next batter, Anguel Mangual, chipped in the third consecutive single off of Carroll. Oakland would win the title in seven games.

(Runner-up, +19% cWPA: Way back in the Philadelphia A's days, Jimmie Foxx's two-run homer in Game 5 of a tied 1930 World Series came in a scoreless ninth inning.)

+15% cWPA -- 2002 World Series Game 6 -- Garret Anderson RBI single, 8th inning

The Angels have just a single World Series appearance in their history, and that one went seven games, so it was always safe to assume that 2002 would be making an appearance here. Their big moment actually came in Game 6, however, with the Giants holding a 3-2 Series advantage. This is a weird one, actually; it's the only one on our list, aside from defensive plays, that doesn't result in a run being scored. The Angels entered the bottom of the eighth down 5-3, just six outs from the end of their season. Darin Erstad led off with a homer, then Tim Salmon singled ahead of Anderson, who singled and reached second on an error. That play alone swung the game's win expectancy from 42% for the Angels to 69% -- and the next batter, Troy Glaus, doubled in two runs to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.

(Runner-up, +14% cWPA: Anderson, again! The next night in Game 7, his bases-clearing double in a 1-1 game in the 3rd inning boosted the Angels to 4-1, which ended up being the final score.

+20% cWPA -- 2017 World Series Game 5 -- Alex Bregman walk-off single, 10th inning

If you don't remember Game 5, it was an absolutely wild one, with seven homer runs and a 13-12 final score. Unsurprisingly, the final plate appearance ended up being the most impactful. After Houston blew a 12-9 ninth-inning lead, the Astros put two on with two outs against Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the 10th. Bregman's single to left field scored Derek Fisher with the game-ending run, giving the Astros a 3-2 series advantage.

(Runner-up, +17% cWPA: In the decisive Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS, the Astros were down 7-5 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. After Rafael Landestoy's single cut the gap to one run, José Cruz singled home Terry Puhl with the tying run, though Houston would lose in the 10th inning.)

+9% cWPA -- 1995 ALCS Game 3 -- Jay Buhner home run, 11th inning

We thought for sure this was going to be the 1995 Edgar Martinez two-run double that allowed Ken Griffey Jr. to hustle from first base to turn a 5-4 11th-inning deficit into a 6-5 series-ending victory over the Yankees. That play is almost certainly the most famous in Mariners history; it's even got its own Wikipedia page titled simply "The Double."

But the most important play in Seattle history actually came five days later, in Game 3 of the ALCS. With the series tied at one game apiece, Game 3 went into the 11th inning tied at 2. (Buhner had already homered in the game, a leadoff shot in the second.) Buhner stepped up against Eric Plunk, the third pitcher of the inning, with two outs and two on. His blast to right-center gave the Mariners a 5-2 lead and a 2-1 series lead ... as well as the final game they'd win that year.

(Runner-up, +8% cWPA: The Martinez double, obviously.)

+23% cWPA -- 2011 World Series Game 6 -- Josh Hamilton home run, 10th inning

The top 16 moments in Rangers postseason history -- counting good and bad here -- all occurred in the final three games of the 2011 World Series, which says a lot about how exciting the end of that Series was. The No. 3 moment on that list was their top positive one, which came in the 10th inning of a tied (7-7) Game 6. Hamilton's two-run homer off of Jason Motte gave Texas a 9-7 lead ... and the less said about the remainder of that game, the better. (At least for Rangers fans.)

(Runner-up, +12% cWPA: Hamilton, again, in the same game, when his single in the 1st inning put the first run on the board.)


+37% cWPA -- 1992 NLCS Game 7 -- Francisco Cabrera single, 9th inning

You've seen this one before, right? The lightly used backup catcher/first baseman Cabrera (who collected only 374 career regular-season plate appearances) entered Game 7 as a pinch-hitter with the highest possible stakes: two outs, bases loaded, ninth inning, his team down 2-1. If not for the fact it was the NLCS and not the World Series, it almost literally cannot get bigger than that. Cabrera's single to left scored Sid Bream ahead of Barry Bonds' throw, sending the Braves past the Pirates and into the World Series.

(Runner-up, +28% cWPA: In the World Series the same year, Game 7 was scoreless in the eighth inning when the Twins loaded the bases with one out. Kent Hrbek hit a line drive, but right to the second baseman, who turned an unassisted double play.)

+34% cWPA -- 1997 World Series Game 7 -- Edgar Renteria single, 11th inning

You've seen this one before, too, right? There's only so many walk-off Game 7 wins in World Series history. We're not giving extra credit for Renteria being just 21 years old at the time, but perhaps we should. His liner up the middle, his third hit of the game, drove in Craig Counsell for the first Marlins championship.

(Runner-up, +25% cWPA: In the 9th inning of the same game, with the Marlins down 2-1, Charles Johnson's single allowed Moises Alou to move from first to third, where he'd then score the tying run on Counsell's sacrifice fly.)

+22% cWPA --1986 World Series Game 7 -- Keith Hernandez single, 6th inning

You thought this was going to be the Mookie Wilson/Bill Buckner play, didn't you? That's one of the most famous plays in sports history, but what no one remembers is that after the Mets survived Game 6, they then quickly fell behind Boston 3-0 in the second inning of Game 7. The Red Sox had a second shot, and they blew it again. This time, it began with the Mets loading the bases against Bruce Hurst with one out, and Hernandez driving in two with a single. The next batter, Gary Carter, tied it up with a groundout, and the Mets took the lead for good in the seventh. But the biggest hit was Hernandez's, the one that cut the deficit from three to one.

(Runner-up, by a fraction of a decimal point, +22% cWPA: The immortal Wilson/Buckner play, obviously, and barely at that.)

+33% cWPA -- 2019 World Series Game 7 -- Howie Kendrick home run, 7th inning

As we wrote at the time last fall, Kendrick's go-ahead two-run shot off the right field foul pole was merely one of the 10 most important hits in the history of baseball. It was just the second time ever in a winner-take-all game that a batter hit a go-ahead homer with his team trailing in the seventh or later. So yes, obviously, this makes this list.

(Runner-up, +12% cWPA: In the next inning, Juan Soto's run-scoring single gave the Nationals a 4-2 lead and some breathing room.)

+20% cWPA -- 1980 NLCS Game 5 -- Manny Trillo triple, 8th inning

The Astros should have had this one, you know. They had a 5-2 lead entering the eighth, and they had Nolan Ryan on the mound. Here's how the first four batters of that frame went for him: Single, single, single, bases-loaded walk. That ended Ryan's night, and by the time Trillo came up four batters later, it was a tie game, with two on and two out. Trillo's triple bounced around seemingly endlessly, scoring two to give Philadelphia a 7-5 lead.

(Trillo, for what it's worth, had himself a game. In the second inning, his strong relay throw home nailed Luis Pujols, keeping an important run off the board.)

(Runner-up, +20% cWPA: In Game 5 of that year's World Series, the Phillies entered the ninth down 3-2 in the game and trying to prevent a third consecutive Kansas City victory. After Mike Schmidt's leadoff single, pinch-hitter Del Unser doubled home Schmidt with the tying run. He'd later come around to score the go-ahead run.)


+20% cWPA -- 1982 ALCS Game 5 -- Cecil Cooper single, 7th inning

The Brewers are still seeking their first World Series win, but it took a huge moment to get to their only appearance back in 1982. In the deciding fifth game of the ALCS, the Angels held a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, but Luis Sánchez allowed Milwaukee to load the bases with two outs. On a 1-1 pitch, Cooper singled to left, scoring Charlie Moore and Jim Gantner, giving the Brewers the lead.

(Runner-up, +15% cWPA: After moving on to the '82 Series, Milwaukee was down 1-0 in the fifth inning, when Ben Oglivie's leadoff home run tied the game at 1-1.)

+32% cWPA -- 1946 World Series Game 7 -- Harry Walker double, 8th inning

Whenever a play has its own Wikipedia entry, and gets immortalized in statue form, it's safe to say it was a big one. We're of course talking about Walker's double to score Enos Slaughter (on his "mad dash") to bring home the go-ahead run in the 8th inning of Game 7 in 1946. The Cardinals had just blown a 3-1 lead by allowing Boston to score two in the top of the eighth, then had failed to make use of Slaughter's leadoff single in the bottom of the frame when the next two hitters bunted out and flew out. That left Walker against Bob Klinger, and his double allowed Slaughter to come all the way around from first with the go-ahead -- and eventually, Series-winning -- run, one of the most famous moments in baseball history.

(Runner-up, +29% cWPA: It's David Freese, sure, and in the 2011 World Series, yes, but you thought for sure this would be Freese's 11th-inning walk-off home run, right? Us too -- but no. That's because that came in a tie game, while his ninth-inning triple that Nelson Cruz couldn't corral was actually a much bigger deal, coming as it did with the Cardinals down by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. )

+32% cWPA -- 2016 World Series Game 7 -- Ben Zobrist double, 10th inning

Earlier, we showed how Rajai Davis's game-tying homer in the eighth inning was the biggest moment in Cleveland postseason history. The Indians didn't win the game, though, obviously. That's because with the game tied 6-6, it went into the 10th inning, where Bryan Shaw allowed a single, sacrifice fly and an intentional walk ... setting the stage for Zobrist to double in the go-ahead run in pinch-runner Albert Almora Jr.

(Runner-up, +22% cWPA: In 1945, the Cubs were down three games to two in the World Series to the Tigers, when Stan Hack's Game 6 walk-off double in the 12th sent it to Game 7. You probably know that was just delaying the inevitable, however.)

+64% cWPA -- 1960 World Series Game 7 -- Hal Smith home run, 8th inning

Everyone remembers Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the ninth inning of Game 7. It's one of the most defining moments in the history of sports. But it wasn't the most valuable moment in Pirates history. It wasn't even the most valuable moment of the final two innings of the game. That's because Mazeroski doesn't even get the chance to win the World Series if not for Hal Smith putting up the single most important postseason play baseball has ever seen.

The stakes: Pirates down 7-4, bottom of the seventh. The first six hitters cut the lead to 7-6, putting men at the corners with two outs for the pinch-hitter Smith -- who promptly blasted a three-run homer to give Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead headed into the ninth. Of course, no one remembers that, because the Pirates blew the lead, setting up Mazeroski to break a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the ninth.

(Runner-up, +34% cWPA: Mazeroski's walk-off wasn't the biggest moment of the game, but it was the second-biggest moment in Pirates history.)

+34% cWPA -- 1975 World Series Game 7 -- Joe Morgan single, 9th inning

The '75 Series is undoubtedly most famous for Carlton Fisk willing his Game 6 home run to stay fair, but the biggest moment came the next day in Game 7, because that one went to the ninth inning as a 3-3 tie, as the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead built in the third inning. Boston's Jim Burton walked Ken Griffey and Pete Rose around two outs, but Morgan's single brought home Griffey with the go-ahead run, and Boston failed to score in the ninth.

(Runner-up, +23% cWPA: This wasn't Morgan's first time being a Game 7 hero. In '72, the Reds were down 3-1 to the A's in the 8th inning when Morgan's double put runners on second and third with no outs.)


+50% cWPA -- 2001 World Series Game 7 -- Tony Womack double, 9th inning

Hard to top "bottom of the ninth inning hits in a Game 7 to literally win the World Series," so you're expecting Luis Gonzalez's single off of Mariano Rivera here. But this Womack hit, two batters earlier, actually does top it, because Gonzalez's hit came in a 2-2 tie. If he'd failed, the game would continue. However, the ninth inning started with a 2-1 Yankees lead, where Rivera allowed a single, made an error and got a sacrifice bunt, putting men at first and second with one out. Womack's double not only tied the game, it pushed Jay Bell to third ... where he'd come home with the Series-winning run when Gonzalez's blooper made it through.

(Runner-up, +18% cWPA: Unsurprisingly, this also came in the 9th inning of 2001's Game 7, when Damian Miller was the one who put the ball in play that Rivera failed to handle, leading to two on and none out.)

+30% cWPA -- 1947 World Series Game 4 -- Cookie Lavagetto double, 9th inning

If you were expecting Kirk Gibson's famous 1988 home run off of Dennis Eckersley, it came in second, because saving a Game 4 when you're already down two games to one is more valuable than saving a Game 1 in a Series where no one has won anything. Back in '47, the Dodgers were down 2-1 entering the ninth inning, attempting to avoid falling behind 3-1 to the Bronx Bombers. It started off poorly: Two of the first three hitters failed to reach, around a walk. But pinch-runner Al Gionfriddo stole second to get into scoring position, then, after an intentional walk, pinch-hitter Lavagetto doubled to bring home both runners for a 3-2 win. The Dodgers would lose in seven anyway.

(Runner-up, +27% cWPA: Here's the Gibson home run you were looking for..)

+33% cWPA -- 1924 World Series Game 7 -- Hugh McQuillan gets a double play, 9th inning

In the 1924 World Series, the Giants and Senators went to bottom of the 9th inning tied 3-3, so right away you know the stakes don't get much higher than this. After getting the leadoff man to ground out, Giants pitcher Art Nehf allowed a single to Joe Judge, who then advanced to third base when the next batter reached via an E-6. Now with one out, runners on the corners, and the series-winning run a mere 90 feet away, Nehf was lifted in favor of McQuillan, who promptly got Ralph Miller to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

(Runner-up, +29% cWPA: If you remember Fred Merkle, it's because he committed one of the most infamous mistakes in baseball history as a 19-year-old rookie late in the 1908 season. He'd go on to have a successful career and play in five World Series, including this huge moment in the same deciding game in 1912 that Tris Speaker ended up winning. [See the Red Sox above.] Speaker couldn't have his Series-tying hit if Merkle hadn't first put the Giants ahead with a 10th-inning single to score Red Murray, giving New York a 2-1 lead.)

(Where's Bobby Thomson's famous "Shot Heard 'Round the World," you ask? Memorable as it was, it wasn't a postseason game, as it came in a three-game tiebreaker to resolve a 96-58 stalemate at the end of the '51 regular season.)

+14% cWPA -- 1984 NLCS Game 5 -- Tony Gwynn double, 7th inning

The deciding fifth game of the '84 NLCS is probably best known for Cubs first baseman Leon Durham's game-tying error in the seventh, but that was merely a setup for what came next. After Alan Wiggins singled, putting men at first and second with one out, Gwynn's double right through Ryne Sandberg scored both. Gwynn then scored on Steve Garvey's single; the Padres went up 6-3, and six outs later they were on to the World Series.

(Runner-up, +11% cWPA: In the ensuing World Series, Kurt Bevacqua's three-run homer in the 5th turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 San Diego victory in Game 2 vs. Detroit.)

+6% cWPA -- 2007 World Series Game 3 -- Matt Holliday home run, 8th inning

Colorado didn't win a game in its first and only World Series appearance, but that doesn't mean it didn't have any memorable moments. Down 2-0 in the Series and 6-2 in the seventh inning of Game 3, Holliday's three-run blast off of new pitcher Hideki Okajima pulled the Rockies to within one run, though they never did take the lead, as Boston tacked on four more.

(Runner-up, +5% cWPA: Game 2 of the '07 NLCS went 11 innings, with the tie finally being broken by the only walk on this entire list, Wily Taveras drawing a bases-loaded ball four to push ahead the go-ahead run.)