Best Injured MLB Postseason Performances

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The postseason makes heroes. Every year, a new hero is born. Sometimes they are already a household name. Sometimes, nobody outside of the sport has ever heard of them. After Atlanta Braves pitcher Charlie Morton threw 16 pitches in Game 1 of the 2021 World Series with a fractured leg, one has to wonder, what are some of the other best injured MLB postseason performances that have occurred?

Triumphant MLB Postseason Performances

In baseball history, a select few have battled injuries to help their teams in the postseason. Most recently, Charlie Morton added himself to the list. After only going 2 1/3 innings in his Game 1 start, he said to his team, “I’m sorry.” That type of selflessness is how these heroes are made. Others on the list include Kyle Schwarber, Curt Schilling and Kirk Gibson.

Charlie Morton

At age 37, Morton clawed his way back into the game to become a reliable starter the past few seasons.  Starting in 2018, he become an above-average starter–what most thought he was destined for before injuries derailed his career. During his first season with the Braves, he won 14 games and struck out 216. Enough to earn him an extension with the team.

During Game 1 of the 2021 World Series, Morton showed that he had what it takes to put him on the list of most triumphant MLB postseason performances. After a 102 mph line drive hit his right fibula in the second inning, he continued on. He slightly grimaced, but other than that, he showed no signs of injury. After throwing 16 pitches and retiring three more batters, his leg gave out on him as he landed during his follow-through.

He wanted to pitch as long as he could–against his former team, the Houston Astros, no less. He did just that. Except, instead of on his own terms, his body announced the end. History will remember him for his selfless action when the 2021 World Series is looked back on, no matter the final outcome of the series.

Kyle Schwarber

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year World Series drought against the Cleveland Indians. The series featured a rain delay and extra innings during Game 7. Still, they came away victorious. However, it is possible that they don’t end the drought if Kyle Schwarber doesn’t come back from a torn ACL.

On April 7, 2016, Schwarber tore his ACL. Initially, the team estimated his return for the start of the 2017 season. He had other plans, however. Rather than take it slow, he worked hard at his rehab and sped up his return date. With the DH in play for the World Series, the Cubs activated him to the roster.

A little over six months after his injury, Schwarber played in five games during the series. In 17 at-bats, he hit .412 and had two RBI. Along with his offensive production, he provided a spark for the team. Despite a less than stellar next few seasons, Cubs fans continue to consider Schwarber a legend for his 2016 performance.

Curt Schilling

After going down 3-0 to the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the Boston Red Sox fought back to win four in a row. They eventually went on to win the 2004 World Series. Game 6 of the ALCS is forever known as “The Bloody Sock Game”. Curt Schilling injured his ankle in the ALDS and struggled in his Game 2 start of the ALCS. As a result, he had a radical procedure done so he could pitch in Game 6.

Binding his tendons into place, Schilling took the mound. By the end of his 7-inning outing, blood had soaked through his sock. Clearly injured, he could barely cover first base on a ground ball hit to the right side. He fought through the pain to help the Red Sox win Game 6. Much like Morton, Schilling dismissed every reason to stop pitching. His performance went down as one of the best injured MLB postseason performances of all time.

Kirk Gibson

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson won the 1988 MVP award. Also, he hit one of the most memorable home runs in baseball and World Series history that year. In the 1988 NLCS against the New York Mets, Gibson pulled his hamstring. Many feared he would not play in the World Series against the Oakland Athletics. He proved them wrong.

With the Dodgers trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Gibson sat in the trainer’s room with ice bags on his legs. Vin Scully famously remarked that it was doubtful they would see him in action. In the 9th inning, Gibson convinced manager Tommy Lasorda that he could pinch-hit. With a runner on first, Gibson hobbled to the plate. On a 3-2 count, Gibson took a Dennis Eckersley slider deep, winning the game for the Dodgers with a two-run homer.

Gibson’s home run is considered the most unlikely home run, and the one of the best injured postseason performances of all time. As Vin Scully said, “in a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

Always Remembered

With each postseason comes a new chance for greatness to happen. Charlie Morton is the most recent example of this. History will continue to remember these players for their triumphant injured performances. In a single moment, an event can define a player’s career. Exuding selflessness when one’s team needs them most is not a bad way to be defined.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Charlie Morton, Kyle Schwarber, Curt SchillingKirk Gibson, Tommy LasordaDennis Eckersley