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The additional MLB playoff round added starting this year plus the fact that the owner-induced lockout this past offseason ensured we'd once again experience one of the oddities of the sporting calendar -- Major League Baseball played in November. World Series Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park between the Houston and Astros and Philadelphia Phillies was originally scheduled for Monday, but rain pushed it back to Tuesday, which Gregorian-calendar experts agree is Nov. 1. By extension this means that every additional game of the 2022 World Series will fall -- stirring conclusion forthcoming -- squarely within the bounds of November. 

Postseason baseball is strongly associated with the month of October, so it follows that November MLB games are not a frequent occurrence. They are also very much a recent phenomenon. The first example of November baseball at the highest level traces back to 2001, when the attacks of Sept. 11 forced the final day of the regular season to be pushed back from Sept. 30 until Oct. 7. That, in turn, pushed back the postseason schedule, and Games 5, 6, and 7 of the World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks took place in November. 

From that point, occasional November baseball was a function of two coinciding events -- the regular season starting a bit later than it does in most seasons and the World Series lasting long enough to reach the rarely explored shores of November. In all, seven different World Series have stretched into November -- 2001 Diamondbacks-Yankees, 2009 Yankees-Phillies, 2010 Giants-Rangers, 2015 Royals-Mets, 2016 Cubs-Cleveland, 2017 Astros-Dodgers, 2021 Astros-Braves -- and the 2022 edition will make eight. Drilling down further, a total of 12 World Series games have been played in November. The 2022 Phillies-Astros World Series will push that total to at least 15 (16 if it goes six games and 17 if it goes seven).  

Other than 2001, the common theme of seasons that sprawl into November is the later Opening Day. Courtroom observers shall gasp at the forthcoming evidence: 

  • 2009 Opening Day: April 6
  • 2010 Opening Day: April 5
  • 2015 Opening Day: April 6
  • 2016 Opening Day: April 4
  • 2017 Opening Day: April 3
  • 2021 Opening Day: April 1
  • 2022 Opening Day: April 7 (pushed back one week after MLB lockout)

The general lesson is that the later you start in April, the more likely it is that the World Series will stretch into November. Also worth noting is that the schedule in normal years (i.e., non-lockout years) now has extra off days built in. That plus the addition of the Wild Card Series at the front end means November baseball will probably be a fairly regular occurrence moving forward.

It so happens that the month of November has occasioned some legendary World Series games. Of particular note is Game 5 of the 2001 World Series, when Scott Brosius hit a game-tying homer off Byung Hyun-Kim with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees went on to nip the D-Backs in 12 innings by a score of 3-2. Game 7 of that same series, on Nov. 4, was even more iconic, as Luis Gonzalez gave Arizona a walk-off win with his bloop hit off Mariano Rivera. 

Before we move on, you'll probably recall this moment from Game 4 in this series: 

That walk-off home run to even the series earned Derek Jeter the nickname Mr. November. His clutch blast did indeed occur in November, albeit barely. That, however, is only because Game 4, which began on Oct. 31, lasted past midnight local time. So it's not technically a November World Series game. 

Game 5 of the 2015 World Series went down on Nov. 1, and it's our next November classic. The Mets held a 2-0 lead going into the ninth, and manager Terry Collins famously/infamously let starter Matt Harvey continue pitching. Thanks in part to that decision, the Royals tied it up and eventually won the game and series in the 12th inning. 

Rivaling 2001 Game 7 is Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. With dueling title droughts hanging in the balance, Cleveland plated three runs in the eighth to tie the game. Two of those runs came on an unlikely home run from Rajai Davis off Aroldis Chapman. The game went to extras following a 17-minute rain delay, and in the top of the 10th the Cubs put two on the board. Cleveland mounted a serious threat in the home half -- Davis drove in a run -- but Michael Martinez grounded out to Kris Bryant at third to end it with the potential tying run on first.  

Perhaps the current World Series will add to that brief ledger of November classics? Perhaps indeed. 

Before we take leave of this subject, let's take a brief walking tour of the MLB November record book, shall we? We shall. To the digits: 

  • Most November games played: Six -- Derek Jeter, Yankees; Jorge Posada, Yankees
  • Most November hits: Eight -- Derek Jeter, Yankees
  • Most November home runs: Three -- Chase Utley, Phillies/Dodgers
  • Most November extra-base hits: Four -- Chase Utley, Phillies/Dodgers
  • Most November total bases: 14 -- Chase Utley, Phillies/Dodgers
  • Most November stolen bases: Two -- Lorenzo Cain, Royals; Johnny Damon, Yankees
  • Most November RBI: Seven -- Addison Russell, Cubs
  • Most November runs scored: Five -- Johnny Damon, Yankees; Chase Utley, Phillies/Dodgers
  • Most November walks: Four -- Nick Swisher, Yankees
  • Highest November batting average (min. 10 plate appearances): .600 -- Johnny Damon, Yankees
  • Highest November on-base percentage (min. 10 plate appearances): .667 -- Johnny Damon, Yankees
  • Highest November slugging percentage (min. 10 plate appearances): 1.273 -- Chase Utley, Phillies/Dodgers
  • Most November innings pitched: 14 -- Cliff Lee, Rangers
  • Most November pitching wins: Two -- Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
  • Most November strikeouts: 10 -- Roger Clemens, Yankees; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Mike Mussina, Yankees
  • Most November walks: Seven -- Andy Pettitte, Yankees
  • Lowest November ERA (min. 6 innings pitched): 0.00 -- Miguel Batista, Diamondbacks; Max Fried, Braves
  • Most November saves: One -- Ryan Madson, Royals; Mike Montgomery, Cubs; Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Brian Wilson, Giants

Of note for this series: Houston's Game 3 starter Lance McCullers Jr., thanks to his efforts in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, has a 0.00 ERA in 2 1/3 November innings. That means a scoreless gem on Tuesday night could give McCullers a spot on that ERA list above. As well, the Astros' Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve come in as two of just 13 players to have stolen a base in November. As you see above, the record for November thefts is an eminently reachable two. 

So who's the real Mr. November? With all apologies to Jeter, it's probably Chase Utley or Johnny Damon. Perhaps, though, an Astro or Phillie will barge into that conversation by the end of the 2022 World Series. 

November baseball forthcoming? November baseball forthcoming, people.