Seven classic Game 7s

Nov. 4, 2001: Arizona Diamondbacks 3, New York Yankees 2: The Diamondbacks score two runs in the bottom of the ninth off the Yankees seemingly invincible closer, Mariano Rivera, to win the first championship in their four-year history. Luis Gonzalez lofts a soft single over New York’s drawn-in infield, scoring Jay Bell and ending the nation’s first major sporting event since the events of 9/11. Rivera entered the night having saved 23 straight postseason games.

The Hero: One night after pitching seven strong innings, Randy Johnson gets four outs out of the bullpen to win his third game of the Series. He and teammate Curt Schilling share MVP honors.

Oct. 26, 1997: Florida Marlins 3, Cleveland Indians 2, 11 innings: The Indians are two outs away from their first world championship in 49 years before the Marlins, who began play in 1993, tie the game on Craig Counsell’s sacrifice fly and win it two innings later when Edgar Renteria singled off Charles Nagy, scoring Counsell.

The Hero: Counsell drove in the tying run and scored the winning run – impressive stuff for a 26-year-old rookie.

Oct. 27, 1991: Minnesota Twins 1, Atlanta Braves 0, 10 innings: Jack Morris throws 10 scoreless innings before Gene Larkin ends the battle of worst-to-first teams by singling home Dan Gladden in the bottom of the 10th inning.

The Hero: Larkin’s hit may have clinched it, by the story was Morris, who struck out eight, walked two and pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning en route to earning Series MVP honors.

Oct. 22, 1975: Cincinnati Reds 4, Boston Red Sox 3: Contrary to popular belief, this series did feature a Game 7, and it was a dandy. Down 3-0, the Reds claw back to tie it and go ahead for good when Joe Morgan singles in Ken Griffey during the top of the ninth inning, winning the first of their two straight world championships.

The Hero: Pete Rose was the Series MVP, but the bullpen tandem of Jack Billingham, Clay Carroll and Will McEnaney limited the Red Sox to one it over the final five innings of Game 7.

Oct. 10, 1968: Detroit Tigers 4, St. Louis Cardinals 1: Mickey Lolich outduels Bob Gibson, winning for the third time in the series and cruising to Series MVP honors. The Tigers snap a scoreless tie in the seventh when, with two outs, Jim Northrup rips a two-run triple and Bill Freehan doubles him in. Lolich took care of the rest.

The Hero: Lolich, who posted a 1.67 ERA in his three Series wins.

Oct. 13, 1960: Pittsburgh Pirates 10, New York Yankees 9: Second baseman Bill Mazeroski lives out every kid’s dream by hitting a Series-winning walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry. Mazeroski’s heroics initially weren’t needed – Pittsburgh led 9-7 before New York tied the game in its half of the ninth inning.

The Hero: Take a wild guess…

Oct. 10, 1924: Washington Senators 4, New York Giants 3, 12 innings: In the fourth game of the series decided by a run, the Senators score two runs in the eighth inning to tie it and win it in the 12th when Earl McNeely doubles in Muddy Ruel in a rally fueled by two Giants errors. Interestingly enough, the series began when the Giants won Game 1 4-3 in 12 innings.

The Hero: After dropping two games in the series, including Game 1, when he threw all 12 innings, Walter Johnson doesn’t allow a run in four innings of relief to earn the win.