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David Freese's 2011 World Series home run

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Freese's 2011 World Series home run was a baseball play that occurred in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series on October 27, 2011, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. After the Texas Rangers[1] had taken the lead in the ninth and tenth innings by two runs each, the St. Louis Cardinals rallied twice to keep the score tied in the bottom of the tenth. Jake Westbrook pitched a scoreless 11th inning to set up David Freese's solo walk-off home run off of Mark Lowe to tie the series and force Game 7, which the Cardinals won.

Background

Freese was projected to start the 2011 season,[2] and he was named the starter on Opening Day, despite suffering minor ailments during spring training.[2] He started off the year batting over .320, but he missed 51 games after being hit by a pitch that fractured his left hand. After returning to the starting lineup, he finished the season with a .297 batting average, 10 home runs, and 55 RBIs. He recorded hits in eight of the final nine regular-season games. Freese credited his improvement in power hitting to hitting coach Mark McGwire, who helped him refine his stroke.[3][4]

Postseason

The Cardinals returned to the playoffs in 2011 by usurping the Wild Card spot on the final day from the Atlanta Braves after falling 10+12 games behind on the 130th game. Thus they completed the largest comeback in history with 32 left to play.[5][6][7] Due to their fixtures in different divisions, they played fewer head-to-head games, further lowering Cardinals' odds of catching the Braves.[8]

In the NLDS, the Cardinals defeated the Phillies. Freese drove in four runs against Philadelphia in Game 4 to force a fifth game.[9] Game 5 featured a pitching duel between Chris Carpenter and Phillies ace Roy Halladay that became the first NL playoff series to end in a 1–0 score and Carpenter's second complete game shutout clincher of the season.[10] In the National League Championship Series (NLCS) against Milwaukee, Freese had a .545 batting average, hit 3 home runs, drove in 9 runs, and scored 7 runs. He was named the NLCS Most Valuable Player.[11]

Because the National League had won the 2011 MLB All-Star Game, home field advantage went to the Cardinals as the National League champions, thus allowing the team to host the Texas Rangers for Games 1, 2, 6 and 7. Game 1 was won by the Cardinals on October 1. Through Game 3 of the World Series, Freese had a 13-game postseason hitting streak, a Cardinals record and just two short of matching the all-time National League record. The hitting streak was snapped in Game 4.[12]

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols tied a World Series record in Game 3 by smashing three home runs, joining only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.[13] "Mr. Octo-bert" also tied World Series single-game records for hits, total bases, RBIs, and runs scored.[14][15]

The setup

World Series Game 6

Nelson Cruz hit a solo home run to put the Rangers up 6 to 4 against the Cardinals in Game 6.[16] The home run allowed Cruz to tie the record for most postseason home runs in a season at 8; he shares the achievement with Carlos Beltrán and Barry Bonds.[17] Game 6 nearly saw the Rangers win the Series, but after twice being one strike away from elimination, St. Louis tied both times –– the first such occurrence in MLB history.

Besides David Freese, Lance Berkman made key contributions for the Cardinals in Game 6 against the Rangers. He hit his first home run in a World Series game in the first inning and in the ninth, with St. Louis down to their final strike before elimination, Berkman was driven home followed by Albert Pujols after a game-tying 2-run triple by Freese in the 10th.[18][19][20] After Texas scored two runs in the top of the tenth and Ryan Theriot hit a run-scoring groundout, Berkman hit a two-out two-strike RBI single scoring Jon Jay to tie the game.

The play

Leading off the 11th, Freese hit a walk-off home run to deep center field (420 feet),[21][22] to send the World Series to its first Game 7 since 2002.[23][24][25] Freese joined Jim Edmonds, the man for whom he was traded, as the only players in Cardinals history to hit an extra-inning walk-off home run in the postseason. He joined Aaron Boone (2003), David Ortiz (2004) and Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk (1975) and Kirby Puckett (1991) as the only players to hit an extra-inning walk-off home run when their team was facing postseason elimination.[25] Freese gave the fan an autographed bat and a baseball signed by the Cardinals, for returning the walk-off home run ball.[26][27]

In Game 6, Freese posted the best win probability added in Major League Baseball postseason history, with a 0.969, which was 0.099 better than the now-second-best WPA of .870, posted by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The third- and fourth-best WPAs are .854 (by the San Diego Padres' Steve Garvey in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series) and 0.832 (by the Cardinals' Lance Berkman in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series).[28]

The calls

Joe Buck

Fox play-by-play commentator Joe Buck echoed his late father Jack's call of Kirby Puckett's home run from the 1991 World Series, saying, "...we will see you tomorrow night!" Puckett's and Freese's home runs occurred under similar circumstances: 1) both happened during Game 6 of the World Series, and 2) both men were the first batter of the eleventh inning. The home runs were hit twenty years and a day apart from each other.

Dan Shulman

Shulman teamed with Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine for the ESPN Radio broadcast of the 2011 World Series.[29]

Aftermath

Game 7

In Game 7 of the World Series, Freese hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning, bringing his 2011 postseason RBI total to 21, an MLB record.[30][31] The Cardinals went on to win the game and the series,[32] making Freese a World Series champion for the first time. For his efforts, Freese was named the World Series MVP.[33] He became the sixth player to win the LCS and World Series MVP awards in the same year.[34] Freese also won the Babe Ruth Award as the postseason MVP.[35]

Offseason

Despite the elation of having won a championship in extraordinary fashion, the offseason events following brought about the appearance the Cardinals franchise were systematically dismantling itself. Three days after the Series ended, manager Tony La Russa announced his retirement, making him the first manager to end his career with a World Series win and with the most managerial victories (1,408) in franchise history.[36][37] Pujols declared free agency on October 31.[38] On December 7, the Houston Astros hired Jeff Luhnow as their general manager, culminating his rise through the Cardinals ranks as a top player developer.[39] The next day, Pujols ended the bidding war over himself by signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for $254 million, the second-highest valued contract in history.[40]

However, not all news was bad. One week later, Baseball America bestowed the Cardinals with their Organization of the Year award for the first time, an award given since 1982. It was given in part to recognize the increased productivity of the Cardinals farm system. Seventeen of the 25 players on the Cardinals' 2011 postseason roster were drafted and developed by the Cardinals. Along with Luhnow, John Mozeliak helped fulfill owner Bill DeWitt, Jr.'s mission to make Cardinals' farm system a consistent producer of prospects who would be key in the Major League's club success.[41][42] Attesting to the award the franchise had just been crowned, the Cardinals later proved they had successfully established a system that could thrive after the departure of three key personnel.

References

  1. ^ DiComo, Anthony (October 28, 2011). "'Unbelievable' Game 6 ranks among the best". MLB.com. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Strauss, Joe (February 25, 2011). "Freese uncertain for exhibition opener". Stltoday.com. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Wilhelm, David (October 13, 2011). "Freese earning rave reviews for postseason performance — St. Louis Cardinals". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 'I've been a top-hand guy my whole life, basically,' the right-handed-hitting Freese said. 'I rarely use strength in my left hand, which is what you really can do damage with. So that's what I'm working on—trying to use my left arm as strength.'[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Carpenter, Les (October 11, 2011). "Mark McGwire's Quiet Comeback". ThePostGame. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  5. ^ "Wild Card Standings | MLB.com: Standings". Mlb.mlb.com. 2011-08-24. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  6. ^ "Wild Card Standings | MLB.com: Standings". Mlb.mlb.com. September 29, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Miklasz, Bernie (2011-10-29). "Cardinals win like never before". St Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  8. ^ "Braves, Cardinals fight for NL Wild Card – Stats & Info Blog – ESPN". Espn.go.com. 2005-09-03. Retrieved 2012-12-13.
  9. ^ "David Freese's 4 RBIs help Cardinals even series with Phillies". ESPN.com. Associated Press. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011. David Freese, shut down by Phillies aces the first three games, became a hometown star ....
  10. ^ "Cards, Phillies make history with 1–0 Game 5". Mlb.mlb.com. 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  11. ^ Gardner, Charles F. (October 16, 2011). "Freese wins NLCS MVP award". JSOnline. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 17, 2011.
  12. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (October 23, 2011). "Freese held hitless, ending club-record streak: Third baseman records knocks in 13 straight playoff games". MLB.com. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  13. ^ Strauss, Joe (Oct 22, 2011). "Pujols puts on historic display of power". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved Aug 5, 2011.
  14. ^ Leach, Matthew (Oct 23, 2011). "Mr. Octo'bert: Pujols' 3 HRs answer critics". Cardinals.MLB.com. Retrieved Aug 5, 2011.
  15. ^ Miklasz, Bernie (Oct 23, 2011). "Bernie: Pujols' performance is one for the ages". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
  16. ^ "Blog: Freese homer lifts Cardinals to victory in 11 innings". Content.usatoday.com. October 28, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  17. ^ "All-time and Single-Season Postseason Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. January 1, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  18. ^ Wojciechowski, Gene (October 28, 2011). "2011 World Series: Game 6 defines what baseball history looks like". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
  19. ^ Sheinin, Dave (October 28, 2011). "2011 World Series Game 6: St. Louis Cardinals beat Texas Rangers, force Game 7 on David Freese homer in 11th". Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  20. ^ Thriving Berkman marvels at Series' drama MLB.com
  21. ^ "Freese powers Cardinals past Rangers". FOXSports.com. Associated Press. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011. It was as great a game as the sport has ever witnessed, rivaling the Carlton Fisk homer in Game 6 of the 1975 Series and Bill Buckner's error in Game 6 of the 1986 Series. … This was just the third time that a team one out from elimination in the World Series came back to win the game, according to STATS LLC. … Freese had already written himself into St. Louis lore with [the] tying … triple.
  22. ^ Verducci, Tom (February 13, 2012). "The New Man In St. Louis: Nobody, least of all David Freese, saw this coming: The World Series MVP is a hero in his hometown—and, after the departure of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals' cornerstone". Sports Illustrated. SI.com. Retrieved 2012-03-17. One of the greatest months of postseason hitting was complete …
  23. ^ "Freese powers Cardinals past Rangers". FOXSports.com. Associated Press. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011. It was as great a game as the sport has ever witnessed, rivaling the Carlton Fisk homer in Game 6 of the 1975 Series and Bill Buckner's error in Game 6 of the 1986 Series. … This was just the third time that a team one out from elimination in the World Series came back to win the game, according to STATS LLC. … Freese had already written himself into St. Louis lore with [the] tying … triple.
  24. ^ In Game 6 of the World Series, Freese posted the best "win probability added" (WPA) in MLB postseason history, with a 0.969. "David Freese: now THAT was the best World Series performance in history". Baseball-Reference.com. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Verducci, Tom (February 13, 2012). "The New Man In St. Louis: Nobody, least of all David Freese, saw this coming: The World Series MVP is a hero in his hometown—and, after the departure of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals' cornerstone". Sports Illustrated. SI.com. Retrieved March 17, 2012. One of the greatest months of postseason hitting was complete …
  26. ^ "Fan happy to return ball to Cardinals". ESPN. Associated Press. October 30, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  27. ^ Roberts, Mark (October 28, 2011). "Super Fan Gives The Home Run Ball Back". WFGR. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  28. ^ "David Freese: now THAT was the best World Series performance in history". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. October 28, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  29. ^ Jarvis, Kimberly (October 18, 2011). "ESPN Radio to Exclusively Broadcast Every World Series Game". espnpressroom.com. ESPN.
  30. ^ "David Freese sets postseason RBI record, wins World Series MVP — MLB — Sporting News". Aol.sportingnews.com. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  31. ^ See also: Run batted in#Postseason (single season).
  32. ^ "Cardinals complete improbable run, win 11th World Series title". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  33. ^ "Hometown boy David Freese wins MVP". ESPN. Associated Press. October 29, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  34. ^ "Freese sets postseason RBI record, named MVP". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. October 28, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  35. ^ Goold, Derrick (November 7, 2011). "Freese to receive Babe Ruth Award as postseason MVP". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  36. ^ Jenkins, Bruce (October 12, 2012). "Cardinals carry on winning tradition". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  37. ^ "Cardinals to retire Tony La Russa's No. 10 jersey". USATODAY.com (AP). May 1, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  38. ^ Goold, Derrick (October 31, 2011). "Pujols hits free agent market for first time". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  39. ^ Levine, Zachary (December 8, 2011). "Astros hire Cards' Luhnow as GM". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  40. ^ Strauss, Joe (December 8, 2011). "Pujols signs with Angels: 10 years, $254 million". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  41. ^ McTaggert, Brian (Dec 16, 2011). "Cards named Organization of the Year: Club takes home prestigious award from Baseball America". www.stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com. Retrieved December 16, 2011. The Cardinals' Minor League system ranked fourth overall with a .530 winning percentage (401–355), and Double-A Springfield first baseman Matt Adams was named Texas League Player of the Year. Adams and pitcher Shelby Miller were named the Cardinals' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively.
  42. ^ Noles, Corey (February 25, 2013). "3 reasons the St. Louis Cardinals have had so much homegrown success". Bleacher Report.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 June 2022, at 03:59
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