- A walk-off in baseball is when the home team scores a run to take the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings.
- The game is over, and the home team is credited with a win since the visiting team will not get another chance to hit.
- A walk-off happens when a batter on the home team hits a ball in play in the ninth or extra innings that scores go-ahead run.
- It is called a walk-off because once winning run crosses home plate and losing teams walks off field, game ends.
The walk-off explained
A walk-off in baseball happens when the home team scores the go-ahead run in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings to end the game. The batter who drives home the game-winning run with a hit or walk is only required to touch first base since the game is over once the baserunner touches home plate.
The term originated in 1988 when pitcher Dennis Eckersley described the defeated walk of a pitcher after a game-winning home run as a “walk-off piece.” The walk-off refers to one team walking off the field after losing the game in the final inning.
Walk-offs are an exciting way to win baseball games, and a walk-off home run is even more dramatic. Seven big league postseason series—including a pair of World Series—have been won with a walk-off home run.
1960 World Series
The New York Yankees dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates but lost the series despite tallying more runs (55-27) and hits (91-60) than the National League champions. Bill Mazeroski, a career .260 hitter, led off the bottom of the ninth against reliever Ralph Terry in Game 7 with the score knotted at 9-9.
The second baseman hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-center wall to win the Pirates’ title.
1993 World Series
The Toronto Blue Jays led the series against the Philadelphia Phillies, three games to two, but were a pair of outs away from a winner-take-all Game 7. Joe Carter stepped into the batter’s box against reliever Mitch Williams with the Blue Jays down by one run and two runners on base.
The outfielder hit a three-run homer to help Toronto win their second consecutive World Series championship game.
1951 Playoff Series
The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers split the first two games of a best-of-three series to determine which team would advance to the World Series. The Dodgers led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but a pair of singles and an RBI double cut the lead to 4-2.
Bobby Thomson squared off against relief pitcher Branca with two runners on base and hit a three-run blast to give the Giants the National League pennant.
1975 World Series
The Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds hooked up for a 12-inning, four-hour classic in Game 6. The Reds managed to put two runners on base in the top of the 12th, but Red Sox pitcher Rick Wise struck out Cesar Geronimo to end the frame.
Boston catcher Carlton Fisk led off the 12th for the home team and hit a towering 1-0 pitch into the left field corner that banged off the foul pole for a walk-off home run to force a Game 7.
1988 World Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s opened the “California Classic” with a thrilling Game 1. Oakland took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth and had All-Star closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound.
Meanwhile, the relief pitcher retired the first two batters before issuing a base on balls to Mike Davis. Pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson, who had a swollen right knee and a pulled left hamstring, hit a slider over the right field wall to give the Dodgers the comeback win.
1991 World Series
The Minnesota Twins trailed the Atlanta Braves three games to two, and the score was tied at three in Game 6. Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the 11th inning against Charlie Leibrandt, who had started Game 1 for the Braves.
Puckett took the first two pitches – a strike and two balls – before hitting the fourth pitch over the left-center field to force a Game 7. The following night, the Twins scored the game’s lone run in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the World Series, 1-0.
Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees capped off an exciting ALCS with a memorable Game 7. The Bronx Bombers rallied for three runs in the eighth to knot the score and send the game into extra innings.
Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield recorded three outs in the 10th and returned to the mound in the 11th to square off against leadoff hitter Aaron Boone. The third baseman hit Wakefield’s first pitch over the left field wall to propel the Yankees to the World Series.
What is the definition of a walk-off in baseball?
A walk-off in baseball is when the home team scores a run to take the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. The game is over, and the home team is credited with a win since the visiting team will not get another chance to hit.
How does a walk-off happen?
A walk-off happens when a batter on the home team hits a ball in play in the ninth or extra innings that scores the go-ahead run. For example, with the score tied in the bottom of the 10th inning and a runner on third base, the hitter laces a single into the right field to end the game.
Why is it called a walk-off?
It is called a walk-off because the game ends once the winning run crosses home plate and the losing team walks off the field.
What does a walk-off home run mean?
A walk-off home run means a batter hits a homer in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings to give his team the lead and end the game.
A thrilling way to win a baseball game
The walk-off is an exciting play in baseball that occurs when the home team scores the go-ahead run in the final inning. Since the visiting team does not get another turn to hit, the game is over once the home team takes the lead in the bottom of the ninth or extra innings. A walk-off can happen on any hit, an out, walk, hit-by-pitch, balk, passed ball, sacrifice, wild pitch, or error.
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