I’m sure there will be plenty of disagreement, but here’s how I rank the top five World Series. Let me know how you’d rank ‘em, if you’d put another series or two in the top five instead of any of these and why.
5. 1972: Athletics over Reds in seven games
The budding “Big Red Machine” was favored; the Oakland A’s played without injured Reggie Jackson. But unheralded Gene Tenace, with five homers in the season, hit four in the World Series and two in a 3-2 opening victory. The A’s led the series 3-1 before Pete Rose sparked a 5-4 victory in Game 5. Cincinnati took Game 6 before Catfish Hunter won in relief in a 3-2 Game 7.
4. 1924: Senators over Giants in seven
Washington won the first and only World Series title for the nation’s capital, despite losing both of Walter “Big Train” Johnson’s starts, including the 12-inning opener. Washington’s Roger Peckinpaugh had a walk-off double in Game 2, and close contests continued until the Nationals won a wild Game 7 on another 12th-inning walk-off hit, with Johnson winning in relief.
3. 2001: Diamondbacks over Yankees in seven
The memory of the 9/11 attacks was still fresh, and the Yankees stirred New Yorkers with a pair of extra-innings walk-off victories after tying both times in the ninth. Arizona, in its fourth season, rode aces Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling and got its own walk-off victory in Game 7, when they scored two in the ninth against Mariano Rivera.
2. 1975: Reds over Red Sox in seven
The series featured five one-run games and a few ninth-inning rallies. The jewel of the series was a legendary Game 6, when both teams came back from three-run deficits — Boston on Bernie Carbo’s three-run homer — before Carlton Fisk’s iconic 12th-inning walk-off homer that barely stayed fair. In Game 7, the Reds scored a run in the top of the ninth for a 4-3 victory.
1. 1991: Twins over Braves in seven
What can you say? Teams that finished last the year before. Five games decided by a run. Four walk-off hits, a postseason record. Kirby Puckett’s 11th-inning, Game 6 homer off Charlie Liebrandt, who had just entered the game (to the surprise of many). And three extra-inning games, including the Twins’ 1-0, 10-inning victory in the epic Game 7 duel of 24-year-old John Smoltz vs. aging Jack Morris, who pitched a 10-inning shutout.