Ask any baseball fan for their favorite World Series memory, and they’ll give you a moment — they remember watching Kirk Gibson’s lightning strike or cheering Carlton Fisk’s drive down the line. Maybe they were lucky enough to be inside the ballpark when the Cubs won that Game 7 thriller.
October is all about the game’s lore. It can change forever with one big swing or one missed grounder.
Looking over these last 20 years, we see the whole spectrum, from Derek Jeter boosting the Yankees and Big Papi leading the Red Sox to Barry Bonds falling just short.
I’ve been lucky enough to be at most every World Series game over the last three decades, covering them for the AP.
My mom said it destined to be that way. I was born on the one-year anniversary of Don Larsen’s perfect game at Yankee Stadium against the Dodgers.
My favorite World Series memory? I’d say it was right after I turned 13, when my dad took me to Game 5 of the 1970 World Series in Baltimore. I grew up in Maryland rooting for the Orioles.
The O’s beat Cincinnati that afternoon to win the crown at old Memorial Stadium. I ran on the diamond after the game to join the celebration. And I can admit this now — I pulled up a small patch of grass from left field, and we planted it in our backyard that night. All these Octobers later, I can still remember how green it was.
Below is a selection of photos, along with my recollections, of the top 20 moments in the past 20 years in World Series history:
“One of the most exciting World Series we’ve seen in the last 50 years.”
“The unlikely third baseman becomes the MVP.”
“Derek Jeter always seemed to make the clutch play.”
“I’ve covered baseball for 35, 36 years and I’d never seen something like this.”
“It was an important year in baseball. That was the year of 9/11.”
“He was a home run hitting machine.”
“Here we go again.”
“Finally, the Boston Red Sox break the curse.”
“They hadn’t won since 1917.”
“Those poor Detroit Tigers.”
“Red Sox go from a team trying to break the curse, to a dominant force in baseball.”
“Well look at this.”
“Here is a picture you don’t see very often.”
“They finally bring a World Series to the Bay.”
“Down to their last strike.”
“The Panda and Pablo Sandoval’s power.”
“David Ortiz puts the city on his back.”
“A pitching performance like we have never seen.”
“A daring dash home.”
“What can you say about 2016 except, Cubs win.”
Born in Rockville, Maryland, Walker started with The Associated Press in Albany, N.Y., in 1980. He began covering baseball during the 1981 season, doing Phillies games. Walker moved to New York Sports in 1982 and covered his first World Series game in 1983 in Baltimore. Walker has covered most every World Series game since then. He has covered games in Cuba and Japan along the way during three decades as a baseball editor with AP and he still finds time to play a lot of softball and hardball, too.