Entering Friday night, the last time a road team won Game 7 of the World Series was 32 years ago. Those 1979 Pirates, the "We are Family Pirates," weren't facing adversity only by being on the road, they had trailed in the Series, 3-1. Since that Fall Classic, being the visiting team alone has proved insurmountable. No road club, even those that held a 3-2 lead entering Game 6, has won it all in Series that have gone seven. The streak, coincidentally, starts with a Cardinals victory in 1982, the first of eight Game 7s since '79. The Cardinals in '82, like the Angels in the most recent Game 7 in 2002, all won at home.
But in the story of those '79 Pirates, as well as the World Series' more extended history, there's plenty of hope for the Rangers, who are on the road for Game 7 on Friday night. All-time, the road team hasn't done that much worse than the home team, winning 17 times in 37 tries (47.2 percent). Chuck Tanner, the manager who led those Pirates to the title and passed away just this February, recalled in 2009 what it took for his team 30 years earlier. "I can still feel it," Tanner said of defeating the Orioles. Pittsburgh won Game 7, 4-1. "It was hard. It was a sellout. They were yelling at us, and we couldn't hear. But it was something that we kind of made fun of. We were hearing about how there would be a parade, and we said, 'Not in Baltimore.' "They're still waiting for that parade." Being on the road is never easy in sports, but the Pirates paid the situation no mind on baseball's biggest stage. "We never ever thought about it being any different going on the road," right-hander Kent Tekulve said. "We just played where the games were. They've got grass. We've got turf. They have a little more familiarity with the park. OK, whatever. We just played." "In a short series, momentum can be your 10th player," said second baseman Phil Garner. "Once you get on that roll, it gathers steam. Players begin to believe they're invincible. We did."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.