People throw around the word “great” way more than they should when it comes to sports. I would say that you probably only see five to ten athletes in each sport in your lifetime that can be considered great. Same thing goes for games. You can watch a lot of games but only a select few should be considered great.
In my opinion, game six of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers is one of those games and it had a ton of moments that will stick with me forever. The fact that I really didn’t care one way or the other who won makes it all the more impressive. I could just sit back and watch the theatrics take place.
The extreme ebb and flow of baseball can be hard to come by compared to other sports because of the pace of the game, but there was at least one run scored in 10 of the 11 innings in game six which made it hard to miss an inning.
I was more on the side of the Rangers due to them never winning a World Series since the franchise began as the Washington Senators in 1961 and relocated to Texas in 1972. They had just been to the World Series last season and the Cardinals are the Yankees of the National League having been to 18 World Series and winning 11 of them.
When Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning, I thought that was the defining moment that would clinch the championship for the Rangers, but it was only the beginning.
St. Louis was left for dead in late August when they were 10 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the division and 10.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the Wild Card, so it probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they came back the way they did in the late innings.
The thing that puts this game in that special category is all the storylines it involved. Texas was one strike away more than once from winning its first championship. The Cardinals’ only lead in the game was at 2-1 after the first inning and it seemed like they could never get over that hump after tying the game in the ninth and tenth innings after trailing by two. The bullpen phone mistake that St. Louis manager Tony La Russa made in game five did not help with the outcome; a Rangers win. Albert Pujols possibly playing his final game for the only franchise he has ever known in the Cardinals. A hurting Josh Hamilton hits a two- run home run in the 10th inning to put Texas back up by two at 9-7 only to have St. Louis respond again with two runs in the bottom half.
And then to cap it off, a 428-foot homer to center field by hometown hero David Freese to force a game seven. It’s cliché, but it was a Hollywood-type ending, even though it was better than anything you could ever see on the big screen.
Sports have a way of making the unreal a reality, where in any other instances, nobody would believe a story like game six.
If the Cardinals don’t come back and win game seven the next night, then game six loses a bit of its luster.
Twins fans remember the extra inning walk off home run by Kirby Puckett during game six of the 1991 Series, but they also fondly remember the next night when Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings to make the comeback complete.
Likewise, you never hear anyone mention game seven of the 1975 Series even though game six had one of the most famous endings of all-time with Carlton Fisk waving his home run down the left field line fair. That’s because the Cincinnati Reds won game seven, not Fisk’s Red Sox.
If the Texas Rangers had won game seven, then game six doesn’t have as much meaning to Cardinals fans or Rangers fans for that matter. For Cardinals fans, it was a dream come true while it left Rangers fans thinking what might have been.