Baseball fans have had a rough year in 2020. Like all sport, baseball has been shook to its foundations by the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. There were fears that a 2020 MLB campaign would be shelved due to the outbreak, before a controversial shortened season was announced as a compromise.
Ultimately however, baseball did return, to the relief of millions of fans across the States and worldwide. After a hectic season, the World Series finally concludes later this month with the Dodgers favorites to win the championship against the Rays, according to most of the popular picks and parlays.
To get us in the mood for the World Series finals, we’ve taken a look back at some of the greatest pitching performances to have graced championship games.
Sandy Koufax – Los Angeles Dodgers vs Minnesota Twins – 1965
Rightly heralded as amongst the greatest pitchers of all time, Sandy Koufax’s achievements in baseball are still the stuff of legend, especially when one considers he retired at the young age of 30 due to career blighting arthritis.
Perhaps the best example of Koufax’s pitching prestige came in the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins. With the game tied at 2-2, Koufax pitched a complete game shutout in Game 5 to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead before game 6, which the Twins won. Pitching through his arthritic pain, Koufax threw a three-hit shutout to ensure victory for the Dodgers.
Grover Cleveland Alexander – St. Louis Cardinals vs New York Yankees- 1926
Another memorable performance from a Hall of Fame pitcher came courtesy of Grover Cleveland Alexander in the 1926 series. What was perhaps most impressive is that he was reportedly nursing a hangover for game seven of the series. After pitching complete game victories in games 2 and 6, Old Pete hit the booze and was still shaking off the effects during game 7. It didn’t seem to inhabit his powers too much however, as St Louis clinched the championship.
Jack Morris – Minnesota Twins vs Atlanta Braves – 1991
Morris’s feats in the 1991 World Series saw him named as MVP for the series, and joined Sandy Koufax as the only players to win the Babe Ruth Award for the best performance in the post season.
His performance in game 7, pitching a 10 inning, 1-0 shutout victory over Atlanta saw the World Series go back to Minnesota.
Bob Gibson – St. Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox – 1967
World Series hero Bob Gibson passed away earlier this month, which gives us the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to him by featuring his greatest performances.
Gibson featured in multiple World Series, and was awarded MVP in 1964 and 1967, and the latter was perhaps his best performance over a Series. Gibson won games 1, 4 and 7, including a shutout victory in game 4, and added a homerun in the last game to cap off a perfect World Series.
The baseball world is a darker place with the loss of this incredible athlete.