When fans look back at the World Championships in the past, most focus on the big hits that made a difference, especially the home run. But why not focus more on the greatest catches in the world championships? After all, the best of the catch from the Fall Classic played as big a role in the series as any success, and maybe more.
In our humble opinion, some of the best MLB playoffs of all time have featured a player making an amazing shot that changed the course of the game, or perhaps even the entire series. If you’re going to highlight the best kicks in World Championship history, it’s only fair to highlight the greatest moments in the World Championship that robbed what could have been a huge success.
The greatest catch in the world championship
Perhaps the best thing about the World Series’ greatest catches is that they’re a bit rarer than the most memorable house catches. We had to dig deep into the archives of baseball history to find some of the best catches of the Fall Classic. But here’s a trip down memory lane and a look back at the greatest World Championship moments in baseball history.
Paul O’Neill, 1996
The Yankees were one stroke away from a 3-2 lead, although the Braves were one stroke away from a 3-2 lead.
With two runners at the base, Luis Bologna’s shot into the right midfield would have scored the win if he had fallen. But Paul O’Neill ran a long way and caught the ball with his arm fully extended. This was the game’s final end, allowing the Yankees to close the series in Game 6.
Willie McGee, 1982
Gorman Thomas thought he reduced Milwaukee’s deficit to 6-4 by pushing it into the center-left field. But Willie McGee jumped high enough to catch the ball before it cleared the wall, keeping the score 6-2. This was McGee’s second great catch in that match.
He also submitted the offense to the Cardinals twice on his home soil. St. Louis held onto winning the match 6–2 and won the series in seven games.
Bell Wampsganese 1920
The pickup difficulty Bill Wambsgans had might not be that high, but he’s managed to pull off the only unsupported triple play in world championship history to date.
101 YEARS AGO TODAY: Cleveland Indians No. 2 Bill Wampsganese turns into the first and only unassisted triple-play in World Series history! Here’s Bill posing with the three Brooklyn Dodgers players he brought out! (10 October 1920) #MLB #baseball #Postseason pic.twitter.com/rRyzTPuxBd
– Baseball by BSmile (BSmile) October 10, 2021
That’s more than 100 world championships without another player achieving a similar feat. While playing Cleveland’s second base in Game 5, Wambsganss made a great play on the command line, climbed onto second base, and then flagged the unsuspecting runner who took off from first base. The stakes weren’t quite that high, even though the best of nine series was tied at 2-2 at the time. Unassisted triple play helped Cleveland win Game 5 8-1 on his way to winning the series.
Ron Soboda, 1969
Even great shooters like Tom Seaver need a little help from their players, which Ron Swoboda provided in the 9th inning of Game 4.
Cefer and the Mets were leading 1-0 when Brooks Robinson fired a sharp streak into the right field.
Swoboda ran and put it all down to hunt. Granted, the third-place runner was able to score in the play to tie the match. But if the ball gets past Swoboda or the Mets can’t get it out, the Orioles will likely have taken the lead. Instead, the Mets won the match in the 10th inning on their way to winning the series in five games.
Kirby Bucket, 1991
Kirby Bucket’s run at home to finish Game 6 is one of the greatest post-season moments of all time.
But earlier in the game, he had one of the greatest moments in the world championships.
Atlanta’s Ron Gantt earned a point on the center-left field. But Puckett ran low and jumped high enough to catch him before crashing off the Metrodome’s Plexiglas wall. While the catch occurred in the third inning, that would have been a difference in the game if Puckett had not been able to catch him, eventually making himself a homer for Homer in the eleventh inning.
Dwight Evans 1975
Before Carlton Fisk finished the match in the bottom 12, Dwight Evans kept the game pegged with a stunning catch in the top 11.
With a runner at first base, Joe Morgan drove the ball deep into the right field. The ball may not be a ground stroke, but at least it will be a two.
Evans didn’t quite get there, but he jumped up and reached out with one arm and was only able to catch him. Even though his first base throw was off target, the runner doubled because off the bat, there was almost no way Evans could hit the target.
Al Gonfredo, 1947
While he was leading 8-5 over the Yankees in the sixth game of Game 6, Dodgers put Al Gionfriddo into the game for defensive purposes.
It’s a move that paid off big time for Brooklyn. With two runners at the base and two naysayers, Joe Dimaggio’s shot into the center-left field thought the partisan crowd at Yankee Stadium would score at least two runs. But Gionfriddo got on his horse and fished as he faced the chain-link fence separating the field from the Bullpen. His catch took the wind off the field with the Dodgers eventually winning to force Game 7, only to claim a win in the deciding game.
Sandy Amoros, 1955
This catch came from Sandy Amoros in Game 7 as the Yankees threatened to score with two runners and one in the sixth inning. Yogi Berra jumped a ball that went on the left foul line.
The runners thought the ball would fall deep into the corner, but Amoros was influenced by it, making it fall by extending his arm as far as possible. Then he threw the ball back into the field to help double Jill McDougald. The half ended with the Dodgers still leading 2-0, which ended up being the final score in the deciding match for the first World Franchise Championship title.
Devon White, 1992
In the fourth inning of Game 3, the Braves had two runners at the base with no one out when David Justice cracked a ball deep into the field.
Deon Sanders and Terry Pendleton, who were at a base for Atlanta, thought they would be sure it would be a hit that would enable them to score. But Devon White was able to play before he hit the wall.
Pendleton was so surprised that he bypassed Sanders on the rules, so he automatically got out. White got the ball fast enough to catch Sanders in a race down. Replay later showed that he was outside while sliding to second base, so it should have been a triple play. Despite this, it was a fine catch by White that prevented the Braves from scoring in a game that Toronto eventually won 3-2 on their way to winning the series in six games.
Willie Mays, 1954
This is perhaps the best defensive game in the history of the World Championships and is likely to remain that way for a long time to come.
Not every catch has its own Wikipedia page or is universally known as “The Catch”.
It’s important to keep in mind that this play took place at the Polo Grounds, which had the most bizarre shape of a baseball field imaginable, which is why it was 483 feet from Dead Center Square. As a result, when the ball left Vic Wertz’s racket, Willie Mays had a long way to run, and ended up about 440 feet off the home plate when he performed an over-the-shoulder miracle while still in a full sprint.
He also had the awareness of spinning quickly and throwing the ball backwards; Otherwise, the runner at second base may be able to score the green light. The only detractors of this catch is the fact that it came in the first game of the series Wrecked by Giants. With or without the catch, the Giants might win the world championship, but you never know. In addition, there are not many footballers in the history of baseball who have had a chance to make it happen.