Baseball’s Greatest Games: 7 Classic Matchups Every Fan Must See

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Bobby Thomson

We all remember the baseball games that hooked us in. The kind that had you holding your breath during every pitch. You remember the company you kept and the setting in which you took it in. Without meaning to get too sentimental, it’s a bit like falling in love. Baseball does that to you. From walk-off homers and record-breaking performances to nail-biting playoff battles, baseball gives us memories that will sustain us for years to come. 

Anyone who’s perused the Ontario sports betting scene could tell you how many games happen every day in this wonderful sport of ours. While we’re sure many of them will be worth the price of admission, it’s unlikely that they’ll be regarded as all-time classics. You put those admission stubs in a glass case on your mantelpiece. Today, we’re going to list 7 matches that anyone who dares to call themselves a baseball fan needs to watch immediately.

1951 MLB Playoff – New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers 

Do a more dramatic few seconds in baseball history exist? Bobby Thompson’s incredible pennant-winning walk-off homer is so famous that it’s often simply called “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World.” What followed was a magical outpouring of raw emotion that could still bring tears to the eyes of Giants fans. Thompson’s teammates mob him at the plate with unconstrained elation. The moment is made all the more goosebump-inducing by broadcaster Russ Hodges’ unforgettable “The Giants win the pennant!” call.

1975 World Series Game 6 – Boston Red Sox vs. Cincinnati Reds

Not every classic game needs to be an epic, but it doesn’t hurt. This rollercoaster of a battle involved multiple lead changes and titanic home runs from Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk and Reds star Tony Perez. And that’s not even the half of it – from Bernie Carbo’s pinch-hit heroics to send it to extras, Ed Armbrister’s circus catch, and the nail-biting tension of an extra-inning World Series Game 6 that went down to the final pitch, it will leave you breathless.

2001 World Series Game 3 – New York Yankees vs. Arizona Diamondbacks 

The game is worth watching for Mariano Rivera alone. The Panamanian put in the greatest relief pitching performance in playoff history in a game that pulled out all the stop. Tino Martinez hit two crucial game-tying homers for a Yankees side fighting for their season. When Rivera entered the fray, the Yankees were trailing. He then proceeded to strike out 8 over 4 innings of scoreless relief, allowing his side to walk it off in the 10th on Derek Jeter’s dramatic homer.

2016 World Series Game 7 – Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians 

The Cubs had to wait 108 years for a World Series title, and fans would say it was worth the wait. The epic featured rain delays, a comeback from a 3-1 Series deficit, Ben Zobrist’s clutch hitting, Kyle Schwarber’s standout moment as the DH after missing most of the year – and, of course, the incredible final out from Mike Montgomery. That’s without even mentioning that this all happened after the Cubs squandered a 6-3 lead late as Rajai Davis’s game-tying homer in the 8th set up a blockbuster 10th inning. 

1988 NLCS Game 1 – Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets 

The baseball equivalent of a slobberknocker. This game was like a punch-for-punch boxing match between two heavyweights that refused to go down. Kirk Gibson had two bad legs and still managed to hit an astonishing walk-off homer. Everyone left their all on the field, with Jesse Orosco famously crying on the mound. Gibson’s legendary shot arrived after a gutsy relief outing from the ageing hero Orel Hershiser, and the stark contrast of the images of ecstasy and devastation thereafter summed up playoff baseball.

1986 World Series Game 6 – New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox 

Look away now, Red Sox fans. The boys from Boston were famously only one strike away from claiming a first World Series title since 1918 before a pair of errors gave the Mets a lifeline. An improbable comeback followed and forced Game 7. Boston took command again, racing into a 5-3 lead in the 10th, with Roger Clemens standing out, only for a routine grounder to trickle through Bill Buckner’s legs. The floodgates opened and the Mets stunned the world with a 6-5 victory. 

2011 World Series Game 6 – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers 

If you want to be a playoff legend, coming to the fore in Game 6 will do the job – just ask David Freese. The Cardinals were down to their last strike twice only for Freese to rip a game-tying triple in the 9th and towering walk-off homer in the 10th. It was a virtuoso performance from Freese, who made a diving stop at third base earlier in the game to keep the Cardinals alive. When his team needed him most, Freese stepped up and then some. 

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.