Comeback among October's best

Comeback among October's best

Recent events have had Americans recalling October 1929. The Great Depression, and all that.

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And now there are the Red Sox, who on Thursday night sent baseball statisticians scurrying to find the greatest postseason comeback in history, which led them to ... October 1929. To be exact, Oct. 12, 1929, when the Philadelphia Athletics overcame an eight-run deficit to defeat the Chicago Cubs, 10-8, in Game 4 of the World Series.

That means the Red Sox's amazing 8-7 victory on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays was merely the second-best comeback in postseason history, as they overcame a 7-0 deficit to win.

But, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team facing postseason elimination had ever come back from seven or more runs down.

"A playoff game facing elimination, we're down by so much," said center fielder Coco Crisp, who had one of many key hits during the rally. "To come back and win it in the ninth with a walk-off like that from J.D. [Drew], it's pretty much the most amazing game I've been a part of."

Remarkable rallies
Biggest deficits overcome in postseason history
TeamOpp.DateGameDef.Score
AthleticsCubs10/12/29WS 4810-8
Red SoxRays10/16/08ALCS 578-7
YankeesBraves10/23/96WS 468-6
DodgersYankees10/5/56WS 2613-8

Two teams have overcome six-run deficits to win postseason games: In 1956, the Brooklyn Dodgers came back to beat the New York Yankees, 13-8, in Game 2 of the World Series; and in 1996, the Yankees came back to beat the Atlanta Braves, 8-6, in Game 4 of the World Series. Had New York lost that game, Atlanta would have taken a 3-1 series lead. Instead, the Yankees tied the series and won the Fall Classic in six games.

There have been eight other postseason games in which teams overcame five-run deficits.

In the 1929 miracle comeback, the Cubs were leading, 8-0, after 7 1/2 innings. One out, two lost balls in the sun and 13 batters later, the Cubs found themselves trailing, 10-8. The next two hitters struck out, but the damage was done. Athletics ace Lefty Grove tossed two innings of perfect relief to clinch the improbable victory, and two days later, the A's beat the Cubs, 3-2, to win the championship.