Tuesday night, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will play the fifth World Series game in history on Halloween Night. Justin Verlander will meet Rich Hill on the field of glorious battle with eternity (or, just the winter...tomato, tomahto) in the Pit of Despair on the line.
Call it the HalloWorld Series for one night, if you want. Maybe the Samhain Slam. But no matter what you call it, the last twenty years have taught us that baseball played on All Hallow’s Eve usually has just a little more magic to it than many other World Series games, even in the same series.
In what has already been one of the craziest, most memorable World Series matchups of all time, “a little more magic” could be setting Game 6 up to be another All Time Great baseball game.
Grab your seats and hold on tight, here is a look at the previous four HalloWorld Series games.
October 31st, 2001: Mr. November Is Born
The New York Yankees, representing a city reeling after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, became the first baseball team in history to win a Major League Baseball game on Halloween in the 2001 World Series when Tino Martinez hit a home run in the Bronx against Byung-Hyun Kim of the Arizona Diamondbacks to tie the game and send it to extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth inning, Derek Jeter would hit a walk off home run against Kim that traveled just inside the right field foul pole in the wee hours of the morning on November 1st, immortalizing himself as Mr. November in one of the most symbolic baseball moments of all time. The Yankees would go on to lose Game 7 on a bloop base hit off the bat of former-Astro Luis Gonzalez against Mariano Rivera in Arizona to finish one of the most amazing World Series tilts of all time.
October 31st, 2009: Instant Replay Haunts Phillies
The Yankees became the only team to play in two different HalloWorld Series Games in 2009 by playing in the second such instance of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park. Much like the first Halloween game, home runs would haunt both teams. Alex Rodriguez hit a home run to right field that was reviewed (the first time that instant replay review was ever used in a World Series game) and ultimately ruled to have left the yard. The Yankees overcame prime Cole Hamels (and two Jayson Werth home runs) to win the game and, ultimately, the Series. The 2009 World Series remains the only Championship won this century by the most storied franchise in professional sports.
October 31st, 2010: The Wizardry of Madison Bumgarner
The very next year, the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants played a dandy of a Game 4 in Arlington on Halloween. Madison Bumgarner, then a 21-year-old rookie, was in the midst of putting his stamp on his own legendary postseason performance as a rookie. He fired off eight shutout innings to fellow-superstar rookie Buster Posey before Brian Wilson burned up the Rangers with a perfect ninth. It was the second time in the four-game-old series that the Rangers were shut out, and you know the rest. Bumgarner and the Giants went on to win, and the Even Year Magic was born.
October 31st, 2015: The Royals Refuse To Be Refused
Two years ago, the team that knocked the Astros out of the playoffs beat current Astro Tyler Clippard to win the fourth, penultimate game of the 2015 World Series. The Royals had the magic touch for most of the season and all of the postseason, winning the World Series against the New York Mets in five games while laughing in the face of all the advanced metrics that said they didn’t belong there. True to form, the Royals hit zero home runs. Additionally, they watched Michael Conforto hit a pair of home runs to become the first rookie since Andruw Jones in 1996 to hit a pair of home runs in a World Series game. Ben Zobrist, formerly an Astros farmhand and briefly of the Royals that year, tied a postseason record (shared with Albert Pujols and David Freese of the 2011 Cardinals…the last year they were presided over by current Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow) for the most doubles in the postseason by hitting his eighth double.