Big Finale

With Game 7 on the horizon, artifacts from historic Game 6 on their way to Hall of Fame

October 28, 2011

World Series. Extra Innings. Walk-off home run. And that was only Game 6.

The Cardinals and Rangers will take the field in St. Louis again tonight for the 36th decisive World Series Game 7 in major league history. Game 7 is the dramatic culmination of an entire 162-game season plus playoffs into a winner-take-all one game finale. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more exciting, the season once again comes down to one final day.

"This is pretty special," Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols told "This is what baseball is all about."

On Thursday night, the Cardinals made history by rallying to overcome a deficit in the ninth-inning and in extra-innings. The Rangers found out what the Braves knew after losing a 10 game lead on St. Louis to miss the playoffs in September: This team doesn’t quit.

"It's the most unbelievable game I've ever seen in my life," Schumaker told "I'm not sure there's a game like this ever in World Series history. This is absolutely a classic."

Several artifacts from the game are on their way to Cooperstown, including the bat David Freese used to hit the dramatic walk-off home run and the jersey that was ripped off him by his teammates in celebration. With this much excitement in Game 6, tonight’s game shouldn’t disappoint.

"Our main goal is hopefully we can try and finish this off [on Friday],” said Pujols. “I think it's going to be sweeter."

The Cardinals have played in nine decisive Game 7s in their history – with the first in 1926 and the latest in 1987. With this being their 10th Game 7, the Cardinals have played in Game 7s more times than not in their 18 World Series appearances. They have six wins and three losses – but have never lost a decisive World Series Game 7 at home.

The Rangers have never played in a World Series Game 7. In the franchise’s first Fall Classic in 2010, Texas lost to the Giants in five games. Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba, however, has some Game 7 experience as he was on the 2002 San Francisco Giants team that lost to the Angels in a World Series that went the distance.

That Angels team came back from being down 3-2 to take home the trophy. The Cardinals have come back from that same deficit four times to win a World Series and would have to do it again to get a ring in 2011. The Rangers, however, haven’t lost consecutive games since Aug. 23-25.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina wasn’t on that 2002 Angels team, but his two older brothers Bengie and Jose both were. Yadier may not have played in a Game 7, but he has a World Series ring from the 2006 Cardinals.

The Cardinals and Rangers both won two of the three World Series games played at their home ballpark in 2011. During the regular season, the Cardinals were 45-36 at home and the Rangers were 44-37 on the road – very similar records. So far in the 2011 postseason, Texas is 4-4 on the road and the Cardinals are 5-3 at home.

If the Cardinals pull out the win, it will give them 11 World Series victories in their franchise history – second only to the New York Yankees, who have a whopping 27. If Texas takes home the title, it will be the team’s first – snapping a franchise drought that dates back to 1961.Only the Cubs (103 years) and Indians (63 years) have gone longer without a World Series win.

If the Rangers win, it will also be the 10th different champion in 11 years with five from each league and at least one from all six divisions.

With one game remaining in the 2011 season, the winner tonight goes home with a World Championship. Texas manager Ron Washington is ready for a battle.

"We've just got to come back and fight just as hard, because they certainly will."

Samantha Carr is the former manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum