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Shutouts in the World Series

Posted by Andy on October 25, 2011

Since there are only a handful of World Series games each year, the same size is never very large for any particular set. Nevertheless, it's sometimes fun to see if there are any patterns.

Here are the last 20 times that a team was shut out in a World Series game:

Rk Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt
1 2011-10-23 WS 4 STL TEX L 0-4
2 2010-10-31 WS 4 TEX SFG L 0-4
3 2010-10-28 WS 2 TEX SFG L 0-9
4 2006-10-24 WS 3 DET STL L 0-5
5 2005-10-26 WS 4 HOU CHW L 0-1
6 2004-10-27 WS 4 STL BOS L 0-3
7 2003-10-25 WS 6 NYY FLA L 0-2
8 2001-10-28 WS 2 NYY ARI L 0-4
9 1998-10-21 WS 4 SDP NYY L 0-3
10 1996-10-24 WS 5 ATL NYY L 0-1
11 1996-10-21 WS 2 NYY ATL L 0-4
12 1995-10-28 WS 6 CLE ATL L 0-1
13 1993-10-21 WS 5 TOR PHI L 0-2
14 1991-10-27 WS 7 ATL MIN L 0-1
15 1990-10-16 WS 1 OAK CIN L 0-7
16 1989-10-14 WS 1 SFG OAK L 0-5
17 1988-10-16 WS 2 OAK LAD L 0-6
18 1986-10-18 WS 1 NYM BOS L 0-1
19 1985-10-27 WS 7 STL KCR L 0-11
20 1985-10-23 WS 4 KCR STL L 0-3
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/24/2011.

We don't yet know about the 2011 series, but before that you have to go all the way back to the Yankees' loss in Game 2 of the 1996 series to find a team that got shut out but eventually won the championship.

The only other teams among these 20 to win the World Series were the 1993 Blue Jays, 1986 Mets, and 1985 Royals.

In all, there have been 112 shutouts in the World Series since 1919, and that's in 535 total World Series games (which includes through Game 4 of the 2011 series, again through 1919.) On a percentage basis, that's 20.9% of World Series games that resulted in shutouts.

By taking a quick peek at the MLB Pitching Encyclopedia, it looks like about 4.3% of games have historically ended up with either team being shut out. Although I calculated that using a weighted average, it's still an average over a lot of different eras, but nevertheless it does suggest that it's good pitching more than good hitting that gets teams to the World Series.

16 Responses to “Shutouts in the World Series”

  1. Tim Says:


    You counted the numbers of games played by each team. The number of World Series games played is actually half of 1070 - 535. So the % of shutouts is 20.9% or more than one out of every five WS games is a shutout. This high rate is probably generated by the fact that #5 starters never pitch in the WS, and #1 starters often pitch twice (and in the old days even 3 times).

  2. Chipmaker Says:

    The 1985 Cardinals finished second in the World Series.

  3. Paul E Says:

    Don't you mean the 1985 Royals ....or did you really mean the 1985 Cardinals ?

    "The only other teams among these 20 to win the World Series were the 1993 Blue Jays, 1986 Mets, and 1985 Cardinals".

  4. Tim Says:

    Obviously the 1985 Cards statement was an error - the list shows them shutout in game 7. The only time a team lost game 7 and still won the series was the Reds in 1919.

  5. Frank Says:

    Not sure why the range of dates is so limited. More interesting observations if you go back further. 1966 - Orioles shut out the Dodgers 3 out of 4 games / shut out for the last 33 innings of the Series. 1905 - All five games were shutouts, including 3 by Mathewson.

    Another interesting set of stats would be WS shut outs in the clinching game.

  6. Barry Says:

    Maybe he means the '85 Cardinals should have won if not for Don Denkinger's blown calll.....

  7. Andy Says:

    Tim, thanks for pointing out my error, and yes I made a typo about the 1985 series since each team was shut out once.

  8. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Another interesting set of stats would be WS shut outs in the clinching game.

    Here you go. There have been 23 shutouts in 106 Series-clinching games. The Tigers were shut out in the clinching game of each of the first four World Series they played in (1907-09, 1934).

    1903 Game 8: Boston A (Dinneen) 3, Pittsburgh (Phillippe) 0
    1905 Game 5: New York N (Mathewson) 2, Philadelphia A (Bender) 0
    1907 Game 5: Chicago N (Brown) 2, Detroit (Mullin) 0
    1908 Game 5: Chicago N (Overall) 2, Detroit (Donovan) 0
    1909 Game 7: Pittsburgh (Adams) 8, Detroit (Donovan) 0
    1920 Game 7: Cleveland (Coveleski) 3, Brooklyn (Grimes) 0
    1921 Game 8: New York N (Nehf) 1, New York A (Hoyt) 0
    1934 Game 7: St. Louis N (D. Dean) 11, Detroit (Auker) 0
    1943 Game 5: New York A (Chandler) 2, St. Louis N (Cooper) 0
    1955 Game 7: Brooklyn (Podres) 2, New York A (Byrne) 0
    1956 Game 7: New York A (Kucks) 9, Brooklyn (Newcombe) 0
    1957 Game 7: Milwaukee (Burdette) 5, New York A (Larsen) 0
    1962 Game 7: New York A (Terry) 1, San Francisco (Sanford) 0
    1965 Game 7: Los Angeles (Koufax) 2, Minnesota (Kaat) 0
    1966 Game 4: Baltimore (McNally) 1, Los Angeles (Drysdale) 0
    1983 Game 5: Baltimore (McGregor) 5, Philadelphia (Hudson) 0
    1985 Game 7: Kansas City (Saberhagen) 11, St. Louis (Tudor) 0
    1991 Game 7: Minnesota (Morris) 1, Atlanta (Smoltz starter, loss to Peña) 0 (10 innings)
    1995 Game 6: Atlanta (Glavine) 1, Cleveland (Martínez starter, loss to Poole) 0
    1998 Game 4: New York A (Pettitte) 3, San Diego (Brown) 0
    2003 Game 6: Florida (Beckett) 2, New York A (Pettitte) 0
    2004 Game 4: Boston (Lowe) 3, St. Louis (Marquis) 0
    2005 Game 4: Chicago A (García) 1, Houston (Backe starter, loss to Lidge) 0

  9. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    An interesting statistical oddity: There have been 23 World Series that ended in six games. Five of those Series-clinching games ended with a score of 4-3 (1935, 1948, 1951, 1953, and my personal favorite, 1992). All of the other 17 Series-clinching Game 6s ended with unique scores.

  10. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Oops — "All of the other 18 Series-clinching Game 6s ended with unique scores."

  11. Richard Chester Says:


    That spread sheet you referenced in the MLB Pitching Encyclopedia lists the number of complete game shutouts only.

    From P-I it can be determined that there were 19570 shutouts, complete games and otherwise, in 157,347 games from 1919 to 2011. That is a percentage of 12.4.

  12. Andy Says:

    Richard, thank you very much for that. I never knew that, and I had a really time hard believing the discrepancy between regular season and post-season could be so large.

  13. Richard Chester Says:


    I don't think anybody in the world would realize that the list of shutouts was for CG only. I found it by accident. In recent posts I mentioned the number of shutouts and games played, along with BSK, as determined by the P-I. The percentage of shutouts that you mentioned was nowhere near what we determined so I did some investigating. I copied and pasted the MLB Pitching Encyclopedia list into an Excel spreadsheet and summed the number of games and the number of shutouts (from 1919-2011) and compared them. The number of games differed by three but the number of shutouts differed by almost 6000. Then I compared the number of shutouts for 2011 only. The Encyclopedia list showed 75 versus 323 as determined by the league statistics on B-R. I then went back to the Encyclopedia list and placed the cursor on the shutout column heading and found out what was going on.

  14. Richard Chester Says:


    I meant @12.

  15. Andy Says:

    @14 Don't you love recursion?


  16. Richard Chester Says:

    Looking again at my blog #13 I realized that my English was a bit mangled. I was comparing games played and shutouts from the MLB Pitching Encyclopedia to those that I extracted from B-R's Play Index.