Jazayerli: The 15 biggest plays in baseball history

From Rany Jazayerli at Grantland on October 27, 2015:

The Kansas City Royals may have lost last year’s World Series, but in the most indelible moment of the series — indeed, of the season — the Royals held the fate of the championship in their hands. With Kansas City down to its final out in Game 7, trailing by a run to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, Alex Gordon lined a single into the left-center-field gap. Center fielder Gregor Blanco allowed it to bounce past him all the way to the wall. Left fielder Juan Perez had trouble picking up the ball before throwing it to the cutoff man, shortstop Brandon Crawford. Gordon was pulling into third base by the time Crawford had secured the ball.

Gordon would stop there; third-base coach Mike Jirschele held him up. Salvador Perez batted next, needing only a single to tie the game, but he popped out to Pablo Sandoval to give the Giants the title. Jirschele — who showed in Game 6 of the just-completed ALCS that he wasn’t afraid to gamble on sending a runner home — almost certainly made the correct decision. Gordon’s chances of making it to home safely were roughly the same as Bartolo Colon’s chances would have been to drive him home had he batted instead of Perez.

But arguments over the decision to hold Gordon lingered all winter, not simply because Perez failed to come through, but because we missed out on the incredible drama of a play at the plate that had only two possible outcomes: The Giants record the final out of the game and win the World Series or the Royals score the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Read the full article here: http://grantland.com/features/mlb-win-percentage-added-world-series-championship-kirk-gibson-bobby-thomson-david-freese-mariano-rivera-yogi-berra/

Originally published: October 29, 2015. Last Updated: October 29, 2015.