MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Cubs-Indians matches best World Series Game 7s

Cubs-Indians matches best World Series Game 7s

Suddenly, everybody has an opinion on whether Wednesday night's thriller between the Cubs and the Indians slid past those 36 other Game 7s in World Series history to become the greatest ever.

My thought? Well, glad you asked.

It's up there. It's way up there, but so is Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, when Joe Morgan dropped his lovely blooper into shallow center field at Fenway Park in the top of the ninth inning. That single scored Ken Griffey with what would become the game-winning run for the Reds, and all was well forever throughout every centimeter of the universe.

OK, I'm biased. I worshipped the Big Red Machine. That said, an already riveting World Series back then -- including Game 6 in Boston featuring extra innings, Carlton Fisk's swing and the left-field foul pole -- had the Red Sox soaring to a 3-0 lead in Game 7, but you know the rest: The Reds rallied at the end with much help from Morgan for a 4-3 advantage.

There's more. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and those Fenway walls never looking cozier, Carl Yastrzemski strolled to the plate for the Red Sox carrying his Hall of Fame credentials.

Swing, a drive to center as my body goes limp...

False alarm.

Cesar Geronimo squeezes the ball for an easy catch.

Reds win the best World Series ever.

14 Days of Pete: Moment #9

Was it the best Game 7 ever? Probably not, because the one in 1960 was outrageous between the Pirates and the Yankees. Since I hadn't reached kindergarten at the time, I'm going by old film clips and the written or spoken word. What most folks know is that Bill Mazeroski became the eternal king of Pittsburgh after he sprinted like crazy around the bases at Forbes Field courtesy of the only walk-off homer ripped in a Game 7.

Turns out, there was more. The Pirates went from a 4-0 lead in the second inning of that game to a 5-4 deficit after the sixth, which figured. They were playing a Yankees franchise with 10 World Series championships during the previous 13 seasons, and that wasn't a soothing thought for the hometown team, especially after the Bronx Bombers added two more runs in the seventh.

Maybe it was just me, but for years, I only knew about Mazeroski as opposed to those other moments in that Game 7. For instance: With Hal Smith's homer leading the way, the Pirates ignored that pinstripe mystique by rising to a 9-7 lead in the eighth. Then a couple of Yankees named Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra produced RBIs in the top of the ninth for a 9-all tie.

Then came Mazeroski.

Mazeroski Wins It

Difficult to top that, but 1991 is in the vicinity.

Nobody exhaled during Game 7 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, and that lasted from the opening pitch from Jack Morris of the Twins through the bottom of the 10th, when pinch-hitter Gene Larkin's single scored Dan Gladden with the winning run for the Twins over the Braves.

So much happened in between. For one, Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz matched Morris great pitch for great pitch. Literally. Even though Smoltz was replaced by relievers in the eighth, the game remained scoreless after nine innings, and everything was huge before, during and afterward. Like Lonnie Smith getting confused on the bases for the Braves in the eighth along the way to an out that would have been a run. Like the Twins turning a double play later that inning with the bases loaded.

Like Morris having the focus throughout and the juice on his pitches to hold the Braves without a run for 10 innings.

Twins win behind Jack

Not coincidentally, that matchup of two surprise teams going from last place in their divisions the previous year to the World Series was the most-watched baseball game by the nation until...

We're back to Wednesday night.

You already know about the ugly numbers, especially about the Indians not winning it all in 68 years and the Cubs in 108.

You already know about everything, period. In sum, the Cubs and their fans began dreaming about that victory parade in Wrigleyville with those Game 7 leads on the road against the Indians of 5-1 and 6-3. But along came thoughts of billy goats, black cats and Steve Bartman for doomsayers of the North Siders. It was only natural. With the Cubs sitting four outs away from sealing the deal, those old horrors surfaced after Indians outfielder Rajai Davis pushed a two-run homer over the left-field fence against flamethrower Aroldis Chapman.

The game was tied.

Now that's splendid drama.

The same goes for a 17-minute rain delay after the ninth that allowed the Cubs to regroup after they gathered in a weight room near their clubhouse for a pep talk from struggling outfielder Jason Heyward.

Guess it worked. The Cubs scored twice in the top of the 10th, and despite Davis' RBI single closing the gap to 8-7 for the Indians, the Cubs survived. But not without added drama, because you've seen the ending by now: When Kris Bryant fielded the World Series-clinching grounder at third, he smiled, but he slipped as he threw to Anthony Rizzo at first.

When you combine Bryant's near gaffe with all of those other heart-stopping moments from Cubs-Indians, this Game 7 at least matches those of the Three M's of Morgan, Mazeroski and Morris.

Let's call it a four-way draw.

Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.