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The biggest blunders in the World Series
Dec 6, 2021, 9:05:00 AM

The biggest blunders in the World Series

As the biggest event in baseball, the World Series has held numerous legendary games. However, the worst blunders happen from time to time and past teams to this date still regret their missed opportunity. 

In any sport, it’s impossible to not commit mistakes under the brightest spotlight in the game. Even to the best of them, the inner demons always creep up to haunt the most brilliant players and below are the most unforgettable blunders in the history of the World Series. 

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1912 World Series: The catch that could’ve been 

In the 1912 World Series, the New York Giants maintained a lead of one run in the latter parts of the 10th inning of the pivotal Game 8 (Game 2 ended with both teams scoring evenly resulting in a tie) against the Boston Red Sox. 

Boston pinch-hitter Clyde Engle hit a lazy swing, flying off to the left centre of the field. As the ball travelled mid-air, Giant’s centre fielder Fred Snodgrass was sizing himself to make a magnificent out-of-play catch and send Clyde packing without scoring a run. As he raised his glove to capture the ball, it bounced off his glove resulting in a delay of play that led to a very weak throw, allowing Clyde to rush to second base. 

The play was so bad, in fact, that the media reported that his mother fainted after hearing the play-by-play announcers on the radio. The disaster didn’t stop there, as Snodgrass retired Harry Hooper after hitting a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch rushing for a run. 

But after a walk when scoring a home run, Tris Speaker single-handedly homed Engle and surged past New York after the final two batters ended the play, giving the Red Sox the World Series win. 

Snodgrass was partly to blame for the loss since the Giants had an awful defence that put them on the wire in the first place. Everyone will remember the missed fly ball that would’ve secured their championship had he caught the ball with a firm grip. 

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1924 World Series: The bear trap

Another Giants’ downfall occurred during the 1924 World Series. New York led by 2 runs and four outs from a Championship until the Washington Senators’ Bucky Harris struck a stone at Giants baseman Freddy Lindstrom to even the score. 

In the 12th inning, Muddy Ruel of the Senators threw a foul ball. Then, Giants' Hank Gowdy threw his mask to the ground, causing him to almost trip over.. As he fumbled, he thought that his foot was being mauled by a bear trap, hence the famous word to describe this unfortunate blunder. 

As this little fiasco transpired, Ruel doubled down on the home plate and scored Washington’s winning home run. Decades later, that year’s World Series still sparked talks among baseball fans on what could’ve been for New York. 

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1926 World Series: Babe Ruth’s historic downfall

Babe Ruth is a baseball legend who had so many great games in the record books. But the 1926 World Series was not something he would allude to as his greatest World Series of all time. In fact, it was probably the worst. 

After surging past the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 with three impressive home runs, the Yankees led 1-0 as he slammed another solo home run to put them ahead of the curb against the Cardinals. However, St. Louis wasn’t going anywhere as they were ahead by one run into the bottom part of the ninth inning. 

After Babe Ruth took two-out walks, he sprinted to second base as the pitcher for the Cardinals, Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched to Bob Meusel who doubled off in Game 6. Not known as a sprinter, Babe Ruth was called for an out after a throw from Cardinals catcher Bob O'Farrell to second baseman Rogers Hornsby. 

This particular play will always go down as Babe Ruth’s biggest downfall that placed a gaping hole on his otherwise near-perfect career. It reminded everyone that legends aren’t always the perfect specimen we choose to believe. Nevertheless, Babe Ruth ended his career with 7 titles and is still regarded today as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. 

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1941 World Series: The off-curve pitch disaster

Despite the struggles that Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Mickey Owen had experienced at the plate in the 1941 season, he still earned the privilege of playing as an All-Star largely due to his defence and a National League record holder for his consecutive errorless chances.

The Dodgers were one strike away from winning a national title. To secure the championship, Mickey Owen thought it was a winning play to throw a curveball to Tommy Henrich, Yankees’ very own right fielder. 

So, he instructed relief pitcher Hugh Casey to do exactly that. However, the ball bounced off the heel of Owen’s glove and fell towards the backstop. Henrich then passed first base without even breaking a sweat. 

After breaking the prestigious record of errorless chances, the Yankees took advantage of Owen’s very first passed ball during that season by scoring four consecutive runs that led them to a 7-4 win. 

The loss by the Dodgers was so devastating that Owen returned to his farm in Missouri and sold all his goat herd after sarcastically denying that it had anything to do with his blunder in the past year’s World Series. 

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Words: Vonn Consul

Image: PA