From snow to dust storms: 6 remarkable weather events that impacted the MLB World Series
By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer
October 24, 2018, 12:51:26 PM EDT
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October is the most exciting time of the year for Major League Baseball, as the regular season ends and the playoffs begin.
While teams battle for championship glory, weather conditions have played unfavorable roles in numerous World Series clashes. Lower fall temperatures plus all types of precipitation have set the stage for some of the most memorable weather-influenced MLB championship moments.
Here are a few of the most notable.
2016 World Series: Rain delay in Game 7 in Cleveland
After six wildly entertaining games between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, the two championship-starved franchises traveled back to Cleveland for what some consider the most incredible Game 7 in World Series history. Nine innings of clutch hitting and late rallies led the two teams to a 6-6 deadlock going into extra innings. But then the rain fell.
For 17 minutes, the two teams were forced to evacuate the field. Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward rallied his teammates during the delay and delivered a Hollywood-like motivational speech before play resumed. Just a few minutes later, Cubs hitter Ben Zobrist delivered the go-ahead RBI double and the Chicago defense prevailed in the bottom half of the inning to deliver the franchise's first championship in 108 years.
After the game, first baseman Anthony Rizzo said his team wouldn’t have won the game without the weather and called the rain delay “the most important thing to happen to the Chicago Cubs in the past 100 years."
2008 World Series: Rain suspension delays Phillies-Rays game
In a regular season game, the MLB rule book states that once a game passes five innings, the game is considered official even if called early due to weather. But in the postseason, that call is made by the Commissioner’s Office.
With the Philadelphia Phillies holding a 3-1 series lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5, heavy rain made the game unplayable and umpires ordered the players off the field in the top of the sixth inning with the game tied 2-2. While Phillies fans were ready to celebrate on the Monday night, the game wouldn’t be finished until two nights later. When play restarted, Philadelphia outlasted Tampa Bay as the franchise clinched its second-ever World Series championship.
Game 3 also featured a 90-minute delay causing the Saturday evening game to end at 1:47 a.m. on Sunday. Game 5 would be suspended for 46 hours. A postseason game had never been shortened due to weather and if the series had gone to a sixth or seventh game back in Florida, the series would’ve needed to be moved back numerous days to accommodate for the players to rest.
That offseason, then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig made official rule changes regarding postseason games impacted by weather. The new rules state that all postseason games must be completed, regardless of when a weather delay is called.
2001 World Series: Small dust storm hits Phoenix
One of the more unique weather occurrences coincided with one of the most intense games ever played. With the New York Yankees looking for a fourth straight championship and the Arizona Diamondbacks fighting for a first, the two clubs clashed in a deciding Game 7 to finish the longest season in history (Game 7 was played on Nov. 4).
With the Diamondbacks clinging to a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning, fans and players were greeted by a miniature dust storm that blew into the stadium, sending dirt and trash flying around the field. While blowing dust is common in the dessert, the rain that followed minutes later was certainly unexpected. Yankees relief pitcher Mike Stanton said he and his teammates couldn’t see because of the sand getting in players’ eyes. "We were asking, 'This is a domed stadium, why don't they close the roof?'," Stanton told ESPN.
When the dust settled, the Diamondbacks mounted a memorable walk-off comeback in the ninth inning to win one of the most exciting World Series of all time.
1997 World Series: Snow flurries in Cleveland
After a regular season stretch of 162 games played in summer heat, the Cleveland Indians hosted the Florida Marlins in a winter-like World Series Game 4 that is remembered as the coldest in history.
As the teams set out for pre-game batting practice, they were greeted by snow flurries and freezing temperatures. During the game, media outlets reported wind chill readings of 18 degrees at Jacobs Field. The cold aided the Indians in a 10-3 rout, but the series concluded back in the warmth when the Marlins won Game 7 in Pro Player Stadium, where temperatures stayed in the 80s.
1979 World Series: Snow cancellation in Pittsburgh
The only game in World Series history to be canceled due to snow was Game 1 of the 1979 Fall Classic between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Game 1 was supposed to be on Tuesday, Oct. 9, but was postponed a day due to snow and freezing rain falling in Baltimore. When Game 1 did finally start the next night, the first-pitch temperature was the coldest in history (until World Series Game 4 in 1997 broke that record).
Rain fell throughout Game 1, causing six total errors by the two teams. Game 3 also featured a 67-minute rain delay. The series was ultimately won in seven games by the Pirates.
1925 World Series: Downpours and fog reach Forbes Field in Pittsburgh
The final game of the 1925 World Series between the Washington Senators and the Pittsburgh Pirates is considered one of the strangest Game 7s in MLB history.
Over 42,000 fans packed Forbes Field to watch their Pirates try to overcome Senators’ legendary pitcher Walter Johnson. The only problem was that not many of those fans could see the game.
Playing in a thick fog and heavy rain, writers in the press box reportedly were unable to see the field and Senators outfielder Goose Goslin said he couldn’t even see the infield during the last portion of the game. New York Times journalist James Harrison described the infield as a “grave of mud” and a weather-related controversy marred a deciding play. In the eighth inning, Pirates star Kiki Cuyler knocked a ground-rule double, scoring the go-ahead runs to put the Senators away. But after the game, Goslin doubted the call on account of fog.
“The umpires couldn’t see it,” he told reporters. “It was too dark and foggy. It wasn’t fair at all, it was foul by two feet. I know because the ball hit in the mud and stuck there.”
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