9. Bruce Hurst – ’86 World Series
Another player performance that fails to garner much recognition because of it being a non-championship campaign, Bruce Hurst in the ’86 Fall Classic unfortunately finds himself within the same category as Jim Lonberg. While the ’86 series is remembered for some other incident I’m failing to recall at the moment, Bruce Hurst was the Red Sox shining star throughout this Fall Classic for all but one inning.
In starting Games 1, 5, and 7, Hurst – much like Lonberg – displayed his brilliance on the mound in his first two outings, but ultimately faltered when his name was called on for a third and final time. After going 2-0 across 17 IP and surrendering just two runs over his first two starts, Hurst entered the 6th inning of his Game 7 start with the Red Sox up 3-0 and just 12 outs from a World Series title.
While Hurst failed to preserve the lead, his previously dominant outings still need to be recalled and recognized. Throughout this series, Hurst put the Red Sox in the best possible positions to take home their first title since 1918 time and time again.
By taking the ball in Game 1, Hurst led the Sox to a 1-0 series lead (at the opposition’s home ballpark no less), and by taking the ball in Game 5 he put the Red Sox up 3-2 in the series by throwing a complete game.
One bad inning is what separated Hurst from becoming a Boston sports legend for life. The work he did to put himself in that position in the first place should not be forgotten.