Was Cubs-Indians Game Seven the best game ever?

Dramatic curse-breaking win was a classic, but where does it rank?

USA Today Sports—USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta celebrates in the clubhouse after defeating the Cleveland Indians in game seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland

The Chicago Cubs erased 108 years of futility Wednesday night by winning the World Series over the Cleveland Indians, who were working on their own 68-year title drought, and provided the world some of the most intense drama in the lengthy history of baseball.The Series matched the two teams who had gone the longest without winning a championship, and the Indians and Cubs certainly played with the emotion and desperation of a combined 176 years of going without.The Cubs became the first team in 31 years, and just the sixth ever, to come back from a three games to one deficit in the World Series, capping it with a Game Seven for the ages.Game Seven had it all. Cleveland rallied from behind twice, including erasing a 5-1 deficit. There was a leadoff home run and an eighth-inning, game-tying blast. There were extra innings and a rain delay, as well as a final frame in which both teams scored and the tying run was left on base.But was it the best game ever?Obviously, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. The winner would be crowned champion and end decades of frustration.The historical impact also couldn’t have been greater. The Cubs title will be talked about for generations, just as an Indians win would have.There was plenty of star power in the game: Three Indians and seven Cubs were named to the 2016 All-Star teams, with Chicago supplying the entire starting infield for the National League.The game itself also scored high marks for drama.Clearly, Wednesday’s game was a classic, and definitely worth a spot near the top, but best-ever is a high bar to clear. Here’s a look at the updated top 10 list:First, the honorable mentions: Regular season games, even extra win-or-go-home tiebreakers, are high stakes, but the winner still has plenty of work to do before claiming a title. While the 1951 “Giants win the pennant!” Bobby Thompson home run game was a classic, the Giants lost in the World Series, as did the “Aaron Bleeping Boone” Yankees in 2003, eliminating the walk-off ALCS Game Seven win over the Red Sox from the list. Steve Bartman and Bucky Dent will live in baseball history, but the top 10 is limited to World Series games.Then there are the series near misses:Carlton Fisk waving a walk-off homer fair in 1975. Mickey Owens’ dropped third strike on what would have been a game-ending strikeout led to a game-winning rally by the Yankees in 1941. The Don Denkinger missed call in 1985. Bill Bevins went from throwing the first World Series no-hitter ever to losing the game on one pitch in 1947. Willie Mays made his famous catch to send the opening game of the 1954 series to extras, where it was won on a pinch-hit walk-off homer. 1924’s Game Seven was won on a gutty relief appearance by Hall of Famer Walter Johnson. None made the cut.The top 10:10. 1920 Game 5: Indians 8, Dodgers 1. This would have been the game many fans would choose to go back and watch. Elmer Smith hit the first-ever World Series grand slam, Jim Bagby hit the first home run by a pitcher in a Series game, and Bill Wambsganss turned the only unassisted triple play in World Series history, and just the second in baseball history up until that point. The game was a blowout, however, keeping it at the bottom of the list.9. 1956 Game 5: Yankees 2, Dodgers 0. Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history. Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle hit a home run. The series still had two games remaining, so the stakes weren’t as high as a Game Seven, but a perfect game is a perfect game.8. 1988 Game 1: Dodgers 5, A’s 4. Oakland was the best team in baseball, led by superstars Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Ace Dave Stewart staked the team to a lead, and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley came on to close. That’s when injured MVP Kirk Gibson hobbled to the plate and hit a walk-off, pinch-hit home run, leading announcer Jack Buck to exclaim, “I do not believe what I just saw!” The game punctured the A’s aura of invincibility, and the Dodgers went on to upset them in the Series.7. 1993 Game 6: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6. The defending world champion Jays and loveable ragamuffin Phils played a 15-14 slugfest two days earlier. The wild games continued. Philadelphia came back from 3-0 and 5-1 deficits, and Toronto trailed 6-5 after a five-run rally in the seventh by the Phillies. Then Joe Carter came up in the ninth inning with one runner on and hit a walk-off, Series winning homer. It’s the only time a team went from trailing in the game to winning the Series on one swing of the bat.6. 2011 Game 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9. Perhaps one of the top-two games from a pure excitement perspective. The Cardinals rallied from a 1-0 deficit, Texas from a 2-1, all in the first two innings. From innings four through six, the Rangers took and lost the lead two times. Texas rallied the three in the seventh, then gave up runs in the eighth and ninth to send the game to extras. Both teams scored two in the tenth, before the Cards finally won it in the eleventh. The Cardinals were down to their last strike in both the ninth and tenth. David Freese tied the game with a two-run triple in the ninth, then hit the walk-off two innings later.5. 2016 Game 7: Cubs 8, Indians 7. If the Cubs go on to establish a dynasty with more championship in recent years, it might be enough to move this game up slightly, but it’s nearly impossible to crack the Mount Rushmore of greatest games ever.4. 1986 Game 6: Mets 6, Red Sox 5 in 10 innings. The ’86 Series was jam packed with star power. Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez and Darryl Strawberry led the Mets, while the Red Sox hoped to end their then-68 year drought behind Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Jim Rice. Game six featured three Mets rallies, including a pair from two runs down. There was a rally in the eighth and one in each half of the 10th. David Henderson could have gone down as a Red Sox legend after leading off the 10th with a go-ahead home run. The Sox had the Mets down to their last strike twice, but the final batter of the game will forever remain in baseball lore. Mookie Wilson stepped in with the Mets trailing by one. A wild pitch tied the game, and then Bill Buckner allowed Wilson’s slow grounder to roll through his legs and send the Series to Game Seven.3. 2001 Game 7. Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2. The World Series already had a lifetime of drama in the first six games. George W. Bush threw a strike in the first post-9/11 game in New York City. Tino Martinez hit a two-run home run to send Game Four to extras, when Mr. November, Derek Jeter hit a walk-off a few minutes after midnight on Nov. 1. Later that night, Scott Brosius hit a two-run game-tying homer in the ninth inning to send Game Five to extras, where the Yankees won in 12. Then, in Game Seven, Roger Clemens faced Curt Schilling in a marquee pitching matchup. When Schilling tired, Hall of Famer Randy Johnson came out of the bullpen to keep the Yankees at bay. The Yankees rallied from one run down and headed to the ninth with a one-run lead and the game’s greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, on the mound. The Diamondbacks rallied and won on a blooper that barely left the infield.2. 1991 Game 7: Twins 1, Braves 0. Hall of Famer John Smoltz pitched 7.1 shutout innings, but his effort paled in comparison to Twins ace Jack Morris, who pitched all 10 innings, striking out seven and not allowing a run. While they weren’t the Cubs and Indians, both the Twins and Braves went from finishing in last place in 1990 to playing for the title a year later, the first teams ever to do so.1. 1960, Game 7: Pirates 10, Yankees 9. A game jam-packed with Hall of Famers, all of whom played that way in the game. Mickey Mantle went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Yogi Berra drove in four and homered. Roberto Clemente drove in a run. The Series was wild and dramatic. The Yankees had outscored the Pirates 46 to 17 in the first six games, but somehow, the World Series was tied. Game Seven was the wildest of them all. Yankee shortstop (and future announcer) Tony Kubek was forced to leave the game after being hit in the throat with a grounder. New York rallied from four runs down early in the game. Pittsburgh came back from three down with a five-run eighth inning. New York rallied from two down in the top of the ninth to tie the game at nine. Then Bill Mazeroski hit the most famous home run in World Series history to walk off the title for Pittsburgh.