This season's post about unusual World Series items could be three words long: "The Cubs won." Or "108 years ago." However, with the help of our friends at Baseball-Reference.com, we're going to write more than that.
Dexter Fowler became the first batter to start the World Series with a strikeout since Willy Taveras in 2007, and when Rajai Davis did likewise in the bottom of the inning, it was the first time both Game 1 leadoff batters fanned since 1965 (Maury Wills and Zoilo Versalles). Fowler and Davis would go on to be the first pair of players to lead off Game 1 with a strikeout and then homer in the last game. Fowler also had a leadoff double in Game 4, his third of the postseason to establish a new major league record.
Fowler finished Game 7 as the seventh player ever to have three hits, including a leadoff homer, in a World Series game, and the first to do it in a winner-take-all contest. The previous player to do it was Rickey Henderson in 1989; the list also includes Len Dykstra (1986), Pete Rose (1972) and Lou Brock (1968).
Thanks in part to Fowler and Davis striking out again, Game 5 marked the second time in World Series history that the first five outs of a game were K's. The other was between John Smoltz and Andy Pettitte in 1996.
One for the road
The Indians escaped Game 3 with a 1-0 victory thanks to Coco Crisp's pinch-hit single in the seventh inning. It was the first 1-0 road win in a World Series since 2005, and the Cubs' second 1-0 loss in October. The only other team to lose two 1-0 games in a postseason and still win the championship was the 1986 Mets. It was also the Cubs' third 1-0 loss at Wrigley Field this season, the most since 1948.
For his part, in Game 4 Crisp became the first American League batter with pinch-hits in consecutive games of a World Series since John Lowenstein of the 1979 Orioles.
Jake Arrieta dominated Cleveland in Game 2, not allowing a hit until Jason Kipnis doubled in the sixth inning. That was the longest postseason no-hit bid ever against the Indians; Tony Pena's leadoff single in the sixth was the only hit the Indians got off Tom Glavine in the finale of the 1995 World Series.
Kipnis would later score on Arrieta's wild pitch; it was the third game in World Series history where a team scored its only run(s) on a wild pitch. The Brewers had such a game in 1982, as did the Cubs in 1906. Jon Lester's two-run wild pitch in Game 7 was also the third in World Series history; Rube Marquard uncorked one in 1911, while Jack Coombs did it the year before.
Clark and Addison
Addison Russell's grand slam put away Game 6 to force Wednesday's epic finale. Not only was he the second-youngest player to hit a World Series slam (behind Mickey Mantle), but his two-run double also made Russell, 22, the youngest player to have a homer, a double and six RBIs in any postseason game. He broke by nearly three years the 1989 mark of then-25-year-old Will Clark.
There were only two grand slams hit at Progressive Field this year, and both were by Chicago players. Adam Eaton of the White Sox had the other one in August; the Indians and Braves were the only two MLB teams not to hit one this year.
Game 6 made the Cubs the first team to hit three homers and win a road game when facing elimination since the 1964 Yankees (Mantle, Roger Maris, Joe Pepitone). When Javier Baez homered in Game 7, it made the Cubs the first team since 1975 to have two players younger than 24 homer in the same World Series. Those Red Sox were Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans.
Best of seven
The Cubs became the first team since the 1960 Pirates (thanks, Bill Mazeroski) to win a World Series in which they were shut out twice. In contrast, the Cubs scored 17 runs in the final two games, running their record this year to 49-0 in games where they scored seven or more. The Cubs were the only team to win every seven-run game during the regular season, and 49 is the second-most number of seven-run wins in a season without a loss. The 1986 Red Sox went 53-0 but couldn't seal the deal.
Mike Montgomery came on to record the final out of the year by retiring Michael Martinez (with Miguel Montero catching). Excluding nicknames (sorry, Dizzy Dean and Goose Gossage), Montgomery is only the second alliterative pitcher to be on the mound for a final out. The other is another Cub, and a name fans came to know this postseason. It's Orval Overall in 1908... 108 years ago.
More Series nuggets
Brandon Guyer: First player ever with two hit-by-pitches in World Series after leading majors in hit-by-pitches during regular season.
David Ross, Game 7: First Cub ever to homer in a World Series game he didn't start. Game 7 was also the only World Series game where three catchers had an RBI for the same team.
Ben Zobrist, Game 2: Replaces Heinie Zimmerman of the 1917 Giants as the alphabetically last player to hit a World Series triple.