It isn't fair that the same man could be a hero for three weeks in October and a modern-day Bill Buckner in the last week of October. But this is baseball. This is life. Sometimes beautiful. Sometimes cruel. Sometimes all at once.
Until Halloween night in Flushing, Murphy's postseason was the kind of story you would have expected to read in the pages of a W.P. Kinsella novel. Too amazing to be real. Too heroic to besmirch.
But as long as there's another baseball game on the schedule, there's always a chance to rewrite the script.
Will Murphy's error go down in Bill Buckner lore? Maybe not. The Mets are in a 29-year stretch without a World Series title; the Red Sox were sitting at 68 years in 1986. But where does Murphy's error rank in World Series annals?
August Fagerstrom has a fun look at the question, using a combination of Win Probability Added and Championship Leverage Index. WPA factors in how the outcome of one play affected each team's chances of winning the game. Murphy's error decreased the Mets' chances of winning the game by 35 percent. Factoring in that it was Game 4, the Mets' chances of winning the series decreased 13 percent on that one play.
That's a lot. But it's not the No. 1 error in World Series history. It ranks sixth. You may remember Mariano Rivera's throwing error in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 of 2001. That's No. 4. Tony Fernandez's error in the ninth inning of Game 7 for the Indians in 1997 is second. No. 1? Still Buckner. There's a reason that play is still remembered all these years later.