Greatest walk-off clinches in World Series history

September 22nd, 2019

It's a scenario that has been reenacted ad infinitum by baseball-playing youngsters around the globe -- coming to bat with the championship on the line and delivering the hit that wins it all. A select group of players actually got to live out that fantasy on baseball's biggest stage. 

There have been nine title-clinching walk-off hits in World Series history, all coming in the past century. (The only other World Series-ending walk-off was a sacrifice fly in 1912.) These are the most memorable of those epic knocks.

Edgar Renteria, Marlins
1997 World Series Game 7 vs. Indians

The 1997 Fall Classic truly was a seesaw affair, as the teams traded wins over the first six games of the series. Looking for a second straight victory in South Florida to clinch their first title since 1948, the Indians had the Marlins down to their final two outs in Game 7 when then-rookie Craig Counsell plated the tying run with a sacrifice fly off Jose Mesa.

Two innings later, Counsell found himself on third base, representing the winning run with two outs and Renteria at bat. Renteria lined a ball that barely eluded pitcher Charles Nagy's glove and squeaked past second baseman Tony Fernandez, rolling into center field as Counsell trotted home. The Marlins became the quickest expansion team to win a World Series, doing so in their fifth year of existence, but they wouldn't hold that record for long.

Luis Gonzalez, D-backs
2001 World Series Game 7 vs. Yankees

Just four years after joining the Majors as an expansion club in 1998, the D-backs triumphed over the mighty Yankees in one of the most memorable Fall Classics ever. After withstanding stunning comeback wins by New York in Games 4 and 5 at Yankee Stadium, Arizona won in a rout back home in Game 6 to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

In the deciding contest, a solo homer by Alfonso Soriano off Curt Schilling in the top of the eighth gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and they called upon legendary closer Mariano Rivera to clinch their fourth straight World Series title. However, the D-backs rallied and tied the game on a double by Tony Womack, and after Rivera hit Counsell (yep, him again) with a pitch to load the bases, Gonzalez blooped a ball over the Yankees' drawn-in infield to score Jay Bell as Arizona walked off to a title.

Joe Carter, Blue Jays
1993 World Series Game 6 vs. Phillies

After winning the first World Series championship in franchise history the previous season, the Blue Jays had a chance to clinch their second straight title in Game 5 of the 1993 Fall Classic, but the Phillies staved off elimination and sent the series back to Toronto with a 2-0 win. Philadelphia was resilient again in Game 6, rallying from a 5-1 deficit to take a one-run lead in the top of the seventh inning. However, closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams was anything but automatic, especially during the 1993 postseason.

Handed a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Williams walked Rickey Henderson to start the inning and allowed a one-out single to Paul Molitor, putting the tying run on second base for Carter. The Blue Jays slugger then socked Williams' 2-2 pitch to deep left field, bringing Toronto another crown with the second World Series-ending home run in baseball history and eliciting an all-time great call from Tom Cheek: "Touch em' all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!"

Bill Mazeroski, Pirates
1960 World Series Game 7 vs. Yankees

Thirty-three years before Carter's big blast, the Pirates gave the Yankees -- a team that had won seven of the previous 11 World Series titles -- all they could handle in the Fall Classic. The Yanks actually outscored the Pirates, 55-27, and New York second baseman Bobby Richardson was named World Series MVP, but Pittsburgh won four close games to topple a juggernaut.

The two clubs went back and forth in a thrilling Game 7 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, with the Yankees rallying from a 4-0 deficit to take the lead and the Pirates doing the same after falling behind 7-4. The Yanks scored two times in the top of the ninth to tie the game, setting the stage for one of the most iconic home runs in baseball history as Mazeroski, a second baseman known more for his glove than his bat, blasted a leadoff shot to left field in the bottom of the frame. Mazeroski's homer remains the only walk-off big fly in a winner-take-all World Series game.

Remembering the rest

The World Series has ended on a walk-off hit five other times.

Gene Larkin, Twins
1991 World Series Game 7 vs. Braves

A series best remembered for Kirby Puckett's walk-off homer in Game 6 and an incredible pitchers' duel between John Smoltz and Jack Morris in Game 7 ended on Larkin's pinch-hit, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th. Watch >

Billy Martin, Yankees
1953 World Series Game 6 vs. Dodgers

After suffering World Series losses to the crosstown Yankees in 1941, 1947, 1949 and 1952, the Dodgers fell again in 1953 as Martin ended Game 6 and the series with a walk-off single. Watch >

Goose Goslin, Tigers
1935 World Series Game 6 vs. Cubs

The Tigers lost in seven games to the Cardinals in the 1934 Fall Classic, but they made it back in 1935 and put the Cubs away on Goslin's walk-off single to win the franchise's first title. Watch >

Bing Miller, Athletics
1929 World Series Game 5 vs. Cubs

Pat Malone was two outs away from a shutout that would have forced Game 6 when Mule Haas slugged a game-tying homer, and after the Cubs opted to intentionally walk future Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx, Miller ended the series with a walk-off double.

Earl McNeely, Senators
1924 World Series Game 7 vs. Giants

McNeely notched the first title-clinching hit in World Series history and ended the longest Game 7 (in terms of innings) in postseason history with his double in the bottom of the 12th. This is still the only World Series championship for a team representing Washington, D.C.