Josh Dubow

In Kansas City, Game 7 of the World Series conjures up memories of Bret Saberhagen’s brilliance, a St. Louis meltdown and the only Royals championship in 1985.

The flashbacks in San Francisco aren’t nearly as sweet. There was Willie McCovey’s game-ending lineout that was oh-so-close to being a Series-winning hit in 1962 and another loss 40 years later by Barry Bonds & Co. to the Angels.

Be it Babe Ruth, Jack Morris or Mariano Rivera, the moments created in an all-or-nothing game resonate through baseball history.

On Wednesday night the Giants visited the Royals in the 37th winner-take-all game in Series history.

“Game 7s don’t come around very often. We’re all hoping for them,” Morris said at Kauffman Stadium, two hours before the first pitch.

Morris produced a performance for the ages in 1991 when he threw a 10-inning shutout to lead Minnesota over Atlanta 1-0 at the Metrodome.

“I knew what it meant, and I was ready to pitch,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous. I was confident.”

“That’s how it should be. Every fielder should want the ball. Every hitter should want to be at the plate,” he said.

No surprise, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence sounded prepared.

“A Game 7 in the World Series is a gift for everyone,” Pence said. “It’s pretty special. It’s like incredibly entertaining for fans, incredibly entertaining for the world and the game of baseball.”

It can also be heartbreaking. Just ask McCovey.

He came up with runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the Giants trailing Ralph Terry and the Yankees 1-0 in 1962. McCovey hit a screaming liner that went right to second baseman Bobby Richardson to give the Yankees the Series. Had the ball been a foot or two in either direction, San Francisco would have won it all.

“I think about the line drive, yes,” McCovey said during the 2012 Series. “Can’t get away from it.”

That dramatic ending came two years after Terry lost Game 7 on a game-ending homer by Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski.

“I was looking at this as a chance to redeem myself,” Terry said. “Otherwise, I might have been remembered as one of the great losers of all time.”

San Francisco’s other Game 7 of the World Series was much more anticlimactic. The Giants had a 5-0 lead in Game 6 that year against the Angels, just eight outs away from a title. But Anaheim scored three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win it.

John Lackey then shut down Bonds and the Giants in a 4-1 victory in Game 7.

The Royals’ only Game 7 followed a similar pattern, but with a much happier result for them. Kansas City rallied to win Game 6 against St. Louis with two runs in the bottom of the ninth with help from a missed call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger.

The Cardinals never recovered and lost 11-0 in Game 7 behind a five-hitter by Saberhagen.