Pivotal World Series Plays
Denkinger Blows the Call
1985 World Series Game 6: St. Louis Cardinals @ Kansas City Royals
The Cardinals led the Series three games to two.
The pitching duel between KC's Danny Leibrandt and St. Louis's Danny Cox moved along scoreless until the Cards broke through in the top of the 8th when a two-out bloop single by PH Brian Harper scored Pendleton from 2nd.
Ken Dayley mowed down the Royals in the bottom of the inning, striking out two, including Royals' star 3B George Brett.
After the Cards failed to plate an insurance run in the top of the 9th, Dayley returned to the mound for the bottom of the inning. But when KC manager Dick Howser sent right­hand-hitting Darryl Motley up to hit for RF Pat Sheridan, Herzog brought in Worrell to close the Series and extend the 1985 Cardinals streak to 89-0 when leading after eight innings.
Pinch hitter Jorge Orta chopped a ball between 1st and 2nd. Clark fielded it and tossed back to Worrell covering the bag. Although Orta was out by at least a foot, 1B umpire Don Denkinger ruled safe, provoking a loud protest from the Cardinals and Herzog.

Two views of the first play of the bottom of the 9th. Notice how umpire Denkinger is looking at Todd Worrell's glove and not at the base as Jorge Orta steps on it.
When play resumed, 1B Steve Balboni lifted a high foul that came down just in front of the 1B dugout. Clark ran over, looked twice at Porter, then apparently couldn't pick up the ball again and it dropped right in front of the Royals dugout. Given new life, Balboni lined a single to LF, Orta taking 2nd.
C Jeff Sundberg bunted, but Worrell make a clutch throw to get the runner at 3rd. With PH Hal McRae at bat, a pitch got past C Darrell Porter to put men on 2nd and 3rd anyway. So Herzog ordered a free pass for McRae.
With the bases loaded, PH Dane Iorg, a former Cardinal, blooped a single off his fists to RF that scored the tying and winning runs.
The next night, the Royals blasted the Cards 11-0 to become the first team to lose the first two games of the Series at home and win.

L-R: Steve Balboni, Jeff Sundberg, Hal McRae, Dane Iorg
Years later, St. Louis 2B Tommy Herr still recalled the 9th inning of Game 6: "The bottom of the ninth was such a nightmare. Ken Dayley had finished up in the 8th. Dayley was an extremely hot pitcher. He had blown the Dodgers away to get us into the World Series ... But Whitey was afraid of Hal McRae and his ability to pinch-hit, and because of that, he wanted to bring in Todd Worrell, the right hander. And that's not taking anything away from Todd, because he had pitched very well too, but when I look back on it, I always wonder, "What would have happened if we had just left Kenny in there?" ... The inning started with Jorge Orta hitting a little topper halfway between the pitcher and first baseman. Jack made the play and tossed to Todd, and Orta was clearly out. I had a perfect view of it. And Denkinger blows the call. ... I went over and got right in Denkinger's face. It was just unbelievable. ... The important out of an inning is the leadoff out. If we get that out, we win the ball game. I'm convinced of that. Not only don't we get the call, but the emotional upheaval it created - we were just screaming at this guy - it kind of got us off what we needed to do to finish that game out. After that there were a series of things. Steve Balboni hit a pop-up down the 1B line that Jack kind of misjudged around the dugout steps. ... We get a mix-up on the catcher getting crossed up, and it was a passed ball, and then Iorg hit a jamshot into right to win the game.
"Obviously, we were a devastated team after that. We felt like we had gotten ripped off. And it was just too much to bounce back from. Whitey was incredulous. He was really upset at Denkinger, really fired up. We all kind of felt we had one taken away from us."
Howser proclaimed after Game 6, "I'm the luckiest man on the face of the Earth right now."
Game 6 hero Iorg: "This is what you dream about when you're a little boy."
Herzog couldn't let it go. "I know damn well he didn't beat the play. How can he beat the play if he steps on his foot? If you don't get the best umpires, this is the kind of crap you get. They've got guys who could get in trouble umpiring the Fort Wayne Daisies. We had the World Series won. We had it won, and an umpire blows it. And now we've got this guy coming up behind the plate (in Game 7) who screwed us. And I mean screwed us."
Denkinger: "It was a bang bang play. The throw was high. In my judgment, the runner was on first before the catch."

Video of the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 6