1925 World Series

In the 1925 World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the defending champion Washington Senators in seven games.

In a reversal of fortune on all counts from the previous 1924 World Series, when Washington's Walter Johnson had come back from two losses to win the seventh and deciding game, Johnson dominated in Games 1 and 4, but lost Game 7.
The Senators built up a 3–1 Series lead. After Pittsburgh won the next two games, Johnson again took the mound for Game 7, and carried a 6–4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. But errors by shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh in both the seventh and eighth innings led to four unearned runs, and the Pirates become the first team in a best-of-seven Series to overcome a 3–1 Series deficit to win the championship. Peckinpaugh, the Senators' regular shortstop and the 1925 American League Most Valuable Player, had a tough Series in the field, committing a record eight errors.
Playing conditions were of no help. The 1925 Series was postponed twice due to poor weather, and Game Seven was played in what soon became a steady downpour, described as "probably the worst conditions ever for a World Series game." Senators outfielder Goose Goslin reported that the fog prevented him from clearly seeing the infield during the last three innings of the game, and claimed that the Series-winning hit was actually a foul ball. In the next day's New York Times, James Harrison wrote "In a grave of mud was buried Walter Johnson's amibition to join the select panel of pitchers who have won three victories in one World Series. With mud shackling his ankles and water running down his neck, the grand old man of baseball succumbed to weariness, a sore leg, wretched support and the most miserable weather conditions that ever confronted a pitcher."
A memorable play occurred during the eighth inning of Game 3. The Senators' Sam Rice ran after an Earl Smith line drive hit into right center field. Rice made a diving "catch" into the temporary stands, but did not emerge with the ball for approximately fifteen seconds. The Pirates contested the play, saying a fan probably stuffed the ball into Rice's glove. The call stood and Rice parried questions about the incident for the rest of his life—never explicitly saying whether he had or had not really made the catch. His typical answer (including to Commissioner Landis, who said it was a good answer) was always "The umpire said I caught it." Rice left a sealed letter at the Hall of Fame to be opened after his death. In it, he had written: "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."
Writer Lamont Buchanan wrote, "In 1925, the Senators hopped the Big Train once too often... earning Bucky [Harris] the criticism of many fans and American League head [Ban] Johnson who dispatched an irate wire to the Senators manager." In his telegram, Ban Johnson accused the manager of failing to relieve Walter Johnson "for sentimental reasons." Despite the second-guessing, Harris always said, 'If I had it to do over again, I'd still pitch Johnson.'"

As the "Roaring Twenties" reached their midpoint, the Washington Senators returned for their second consecutive Fall Classic against one of the Series' original pioneers, the Pittsburgh Pirates. After defeating the perennial Giants in a seven game thriller the previous year, the Senators showed no signs of slowing down and quickly set the pace by winning Game 1 with little resistance. The next day the Pirates evened the score with a 3-2 victory on the arm of Vic Aldridge (who had gone the distance) and the swing of Kiki Cuyler who knocked a two run homer in the eighth. Both teams continued to trade W's as the Senators netted a 4-3 win thanks to spectacular fielding by Sam Rice and the Pirates' Vic Aldridge returned for a 6-3 triumph over Stan Covelski.

The Pirates maintained their momentum for a crucial 3-2 victory in Game 5 due to the efforts of rookie second baseman Eddie Moore and second year pitcher Ray Kremer. Moore had broken a tie in the eighth with a monster blast and Kremer held the Senators to just six hits. With the Series tied at three games apiece, it would all come down to the final outing at historic Forbes Field. Veteran ace, Walter Johnson (who had won Game 7 the year before) drew the start against the Pirates' Vic Aldridge in what promised to be a fantastic finish. In 1925, The Big Train had reached 20+ wins for the twelfth season and was within four wins of the four-hundred mark (and he had done it entirely in a Washington uniform). Old Reliable was coming off of a 15-7 season with the Pirates and was the only pitcher in Pittsburgh's rotation that was a billed in the New York papers as a "worthy opponent of the mighty Johnson".

The press couldn't have been more wrong about Aldridge as the Senators tagged him for four runs in the first before being pulled and lasting only 1/3 of an inning. Washington maintained control with a 6-3 lead going into the fourth, but Johnson broke down as well on the way to surrendering fifteen hits in eight innings. They managed to hold onto a 6-4 lead thanks to several fielding errors on the Pirates' part but paid back the favor with several follies of their own including the seventh error by Roger Peckinpaugh who was having an awful postseason. Capitalizing on the Senator's backslide, Pie Traynor stepped up and laced a timely game-tying triple (but was tagged out himself as he tried to reach home). Pirates' reliever Ray Kremer took the mound against a desperate Washington team who must have cringed at the site of "Series goat" Peckinpaugh stepping up to the batter's box. The thirty-four year old veteran had experienced every ballplayer's nightmare with one error in Game 1, two in Game 2, one in Game 3, another in Game 5, one in Game 6 and, to this point, one in Game 7. Even worse, he had gone 5-23 at the plate. However, all that was momentarily forgotten as the struggling workhorse launched a rocket into the left-field seats, giving his team the 7-6 lead. Things appeared to be going in the Senator's favor as Johnson sat down the first two Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. Once again, "goat-turned-hero-turned-goat" Peckinpaugh made a poor throw while attempting to record a forceout at second allowing Eddie Moore and Max Carey to reach base. Game 2 hero, Kiki Cuyler, sealed the victory with a two-run ground-rule double (the Pirates eighth base hit of the day). The defending champions had fallen hard to the underdog Pirates whose comeback marked the first time a team had rallied from a 3-1 deficit in games to win a best-of-seven Series.

While Max Carey batted a Series-leading .458 for Pittsburgh and Aldridge and Kremer each won two games, the focus fell mainly on Washington's players. Goose Goslin had hit three Series home runs for the second straight year; Joe Harris hit .440 (with three home runs) and Sam Rice, batted .364 and played exceptional defense. One particular play involving Rice sparked a controversy that would last for over fifty years: In the eighth inning of Game 3 (with the Senators leading by one run), the fielder tumbled into the right-field stands while reaching for a line drive. After several seconds he reemerged holding the ball signaling the out. Understandably, the Pirates contested umpire Cy Rigler stating that a Washington fan may have stuffed the ball into Rice's glove. Questions about that moment followed Rice for the rest of his life resulting in a letter being sent to the Hall of Fame Officials (to be opened after his death in 1974) that stated simply, "At no time did I lose possession of the ball."

Back in the World Series, Walter Johnson dominated the Pirates in Game 1, striking out 10 and beating them 4-1 with a five-hitter.
Game 2 was tied at one apiece until the bottom of the eighth, when Pirates center fielder Kiki Cuyler hit a two-run homer into the right-field bleachers. The Senators loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth, but could score just one run and lost, 3-2. In Washington for Game 3, the clubs played another tight game. The Senators finished on top, 4-3, on the strength of a two-run seventh.

Johnson started Game 4, and topped his performance in the opener with a six-hit shutout. All of Washington's runs came in the fourth, Goose Goslin accounting for three runs with a long homer into the left-field bleachers. Now the Senators led the Series three games to one, and needed just one more victory for a second straight Championship.

Game 5 would not be that victory, however, as the Pirates piled up 13 hits against four Senator pitchers on their way to a 6-3 decision. Game 6, back in Pittsburgh, was closer, but again the Pirates finished on top, this time 3-2, thereby forcing a seventh game.

Walter Johnson, already twice a winner, didn't have his best stuff in Game 7. Neither did Pirates pitchers Vic Aldridge and Johnny Morrison, however, and after four innings the Senators enjoyed a 6-3 advantage. Johnson tired in the late innings but manager Bucky Harris refused to remove his ace, and the Pirates scored twice in the seventh and thrice in the eighth, clinching the Series with a 9-7 victory. The "goat" of the Series was Washington shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh, who was named American League MVP for the regular season but committed eight errors in Series play, including two in Game 7 that resulted in four unearned runs.