Monday, October 17, 2005

May the Best Team Win

With the White Sox victory over the Angels in the ALCS, the team with the best overall record in the American League will represent the league in the World Series. If the Cardinals come back from 3-1 down against the Astros to win, the best overall record in the NL will be in the Series, and for the first time since 1999 the teams with the best overall records in each league will meet in the World Series.

Below is a list of the teams from each league with the best overall record (National League listed first) for each year since divisional play in 1969. In bold are the teams that actually made it to the World Series. Note that where there was a tie for best overall record, I've listed both clubs, and I've listed best overall record for the strike years in 1981 and 1994. As you would expect, the increase in playoff teams has decreased the chance of the best teams meeting in the Series, and Atlanta would have a lot more World Series appearances. I find it interesting to look at a list like this and think of what Series I would have liked to see.

I've also put in lines when the playoff format changed. From 1969 through 1984, it was Best of 5 for the LCS, from 1985 through 1993 it was Best of 7 for LCS. Since 1995 we've have the LDS and LCS in a Best of 5, Best of 7 format. Again, as you would expect, under the original format, the "best" teams met 7 out of 16 years. In the "Best of 7 LCS" years, the "best" teams met 2 out of 9, and in the current playoff structure they've met 2 out of 10, not including this year (if the Cards win, it would be 3 out of 11).

Ranking the "best" teams by number of World Series appearances "missed":

Atlanta - 5
Yankees - 3.5 (counting the tie in 2002 as a 0.5)
Baltimore - 3
Pittsburgh - 3
Oakland - 2.5
White Sox - 2
Cubs - 2
Houston - 1.5
St. Louis - 1.5

2005 St. Louis vs. Chicago White Sox
2004 St. Louis vs. New York Yankees
2003 Atlanta vs. New York Yankees
2002 Atlanta vs. New York/Oakland
2001 St.Louis/Houston vs. Seattle
2000 San Francisco vs. Chicago White Sox
1999 Atlanta vs. New York Yankees
1998 Atlanta vs. New York Yankees
1997 Atlanta vs. Baltimore
1996 Atlanta vs. Cleveland
1995 Atlanta vs. Cleveland
1994 Montreal vs. New York Yankees (No World Series played)
1993 Atlanta vs. Toronto
1992 Atlanta vs. Toronto
1991 Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota
1990 Pittsburgh vs. Oakland
1989 Chicago vs. Oakland
1988 New York Mets vs. Oakland
1987 St. Louis vs. Detroit
1986 New York Mets vs. Boston
1985 St. Louis vs. Toronto
1984 Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit
1983 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox
1982 St. Louis vs. Milwaukee
1981 Cincinnati vs. Oakland
1980 Houston vs. New York Yankees
1979 Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore
1978 Los Angeles vs. New York Yankees
1977 Philadelphia vs. Kansas City Royals
1976 Cincinnati vs. New York Yankees
1975 Cincinnati vs. Oakland
1974 Los Angeles vs. Baltimore
1973 Cincinnati vs. Baltimore
1972 Pittsburgh vs. Oakland
1971 Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore
1970 Cincinnati vs. Baltimore
1969 New York Mets vs. Baltimore


At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...under the pre-1969 rules, the Braves would have gone to a record SEVEN straight World Series



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