Welcome to our post of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. We’ll start with a preview of the series, and then we can continue the conversation in the comments throughout the week.
As per most of my previews, unlike Doug’s which are interesting and relevant, this is just a pile of random information on baseball history. So I hope you enjoy.
I posted this in the comments of the last thread, but this year was the fifth time in history the two LCS series have both gone the distance, joining 2004, 2003, 1973, and 1972. The latter two were best-of-5 series, so this is just the third time with two best-of-7 series both going the distance. In both ’72 (A’s over Reds) and ’73 (A’s over Mets), the World Series also went the limit. That did not happen in either ’03 (Marlins over Yankees in 6) or ’04 (Red Sox sweep Cardinals). So if this goes 7 games, we’ll have our first ever 21-game postseason wrap-up. 2003 was 20 (a 6-game World Series). So were the first two years of the best-of-7 LCS format: 1985 and 1986 featured a 6-game NLCS, a 7-game ALCS, and a 7-game World Series.
Feel free to comment throughout these series below!
American League: Tampa Bay vs. Houston
The Rays enter the series having been outscored in the Division Series by the Yankees, 24-21. But that doesn’t matter when you win the most games. Particularly impressive was the Rays’ ability to silence the New York bats in the decisive Game 5. The Rays allowed only three hits and four walks against one of the most potent lineups in the game. The question becomes, can their pitchers continue to silence the defending AL Champion Astros?
Hey everyone! Here’s the briefest of playoff previews, with one fun fact from each team. Check them out after the jump:
Thought I’d get up a thread to talk about the nitty-gritty over the next week. I’ll post a few top-line thoughts, and then feel free to comment below as the week goes on!
If you’ve been a regular reader since I started writing for the site, you’re familiar with this feature, in which I wax on (and on, and on) about a fun season in Major League history.
I want to turn back to 1967. I feel like 1968 gets all the love when we talk about the late 1960s. People want to talk about Denny McLain winning 30 or Bob Gibson posting the microscopic ERA, and then the resultant rule changes – the lowering of the mound, the eventual introduction of the DH, etc. But the previous, lesser-known season featured one of the greatest pennant races in history. For that reason alone, it’s worth a look. But there’s plenty more than that going on in 1967, as you’ll see below. Check out the rest of the post for more.
Well, if the last post was from before I was born, you know this one is from before then, too. So all the regular caveats about my own lack of personal experience with this particular season of Major League Baseball.
(Also, sorry for the length of this post, and sorry for taking so long to post. But it took me a couple weeks to research and write.)
So… why 1959? Is it because that was Mickey Mantle‘s worst offensive season from 1954-1964 (“only” a 151 OPS+)? Or maybe just that his Yankees actually didn’t win the pennant that year? Well, in part, yes; I thought it would be more interesting to cover a year in the ’50s that WASN’T the “usual suspects.” But the Senior Circuit featured one of the greatest three-team pennant races of all-time (including a season-ending three-game playoff), and some of the great individual performances of the 20th century. So I’ll give us a cursory look at the American League, and then spend the bulk of our time in the National. Hope you enjoy!
First things first: unlike 1997, our first post in the series, I was not alive for 1980. Still six years from being born, I’m writing here as an amateur baseball historian/enthusiast/guy-who-spends-too-much-time-on-Baseball-Reference.com. Therefore, your comments and discussion are particularly appreciated on this post. Also, I want to have, here in my opening paragraph, a shout-out to Tom Ra for the suggestion (and you really should click that link, because Tom pointed out a bunch of cool/interesting things about 1980 in his post; Doug added some other interesting tidbits below it). Without any further ado…
Well, Doug posted a quiz about sluggers; here’s one where you won’t find any of those. What career accomplishment do these Live Ball era players have in common? (I hope I caught them all, but I’m not 100% sure, so I make no promises!)
I have to say how little the subject matter of this post matters to me. As I’ve said before, batting average doesn’t super matter; we all know this. 1983 is before I was born. I have no emotional attachment or interest in any of the subjects of this post. And this took a tremendous amount of research.
But… all of that goes to show you that a good baseball story, is a good baseball story. Because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning more about this race, a batting title chase for the ages among four players: Bill Madlock of Pittsburgh, Jose Cruz of Houston, and teammates Lonnie Smith and George Hendrick of St. Louis. (To be clear, I started this post the day before MLB.com decided to feature an article about the Cruz family; it’s just a happy coincidence that there’s something fun there to link while I was writing about the eldest in the family.)
“Replacement-level.” In certain corners of the baseball internet, it’s a dirty word. In other corners, it’s a given. But what does it mean, truly, to be a “replacement-level hitter” in 2020? Is “replacement-level” a provable concept? Do you need an advanced math degree? Are there real examples of such hitters? Read on to find out!