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Possible Giants-Rangers World Series

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 13, 2010

The odds are not favorable for a Giants-Rangers World Series match-up this year. (And, it's probably not a pairing that the big cheeses at FOX are rooting for in this season's big dance.)  But, while it's extremely uphill, it's not impossible for these two teams to advance to the Fall Classic in 2010. And, these two franchises have faced each other before in a game that's part of baseball history.


The first "Interleague Game" in MLB history was played on June 12, 1997 - when the Texas Rangers hosted the San Francisco Giants at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Now, here comes another cool thing about all this: Darren Oliver pitched in that game back in 1997 and he's still pitching today - working this season...for the Texas Rangers.   Man, he's been around a loooong time.

37 Responses to “Possible Giants-Rangers World Series”

  1. Andrew Says:

    According to your source, the Rangers have a 42% chance of winning the ALCS and the Giants have a 46% chance of taking the NLCS. To say that a Tex-SF World Series matchup is "not impossible" short-changes their chances just a bit!

  2. Stud Gerbil Says:

    As an added advantage, neither team has ever won a WS in their current city.

  3. stan Says:

    And look at who played 1B for the Rangers in that first interleague game!

  4. Mike20001 Says:

    And Texas is a the giant-esque state!

  5. Dr. Doom Says:

    If one has a 46% chance and the other has a 42% chance, the math says that they'd only meet 19% of the time. So, not very likely.

  6. Djibouti Says:

    What a weird schedule that day, half regular games and half inter-league games. From a marketing standpoint I don't understand why they debuted inter-league on the west coast. The first game started at 9pm EDT. Wouldn't you think they'd make the first game a nationally televised east coast game involving someone like the yankees. Or make it some kind of rematch of a classic world series.

  7. mike Says:

    C'mon Senators! Giants/Rangers would be great but who doesn't want to See Halladay vs. Lee?

  8. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    The "L" section of players who played for both the Phillies and the Rangers:

    Ricky Ledee
    Cliff Lee
    Kenny Lofton
    Sparky Lyle

    Ledee and Lofton are the only two players who have played for the Rangers, Phillies, Yankees, and Giants.

  9. J-Doug Says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Steve. It should be noted that my simulator relies on season-long third-order win percentage. In other words, it only accounts for 1/3 of a season of Cliff Lee, so the Rangers chances of beating the Yanks are better than my simulator predicts.

    On the other hand, it also accounts for only 1/3 of a season of Roy Oswalt on the Phils, so the chances of the Giants making it are probably not as good as my simulator indicates.

    In the end, Rangers/Giants is probably the least likely outcome, but I guess we'll find out in the end!

  10. Tony Says:

    If that happens (which God forbid since I'm a die-hard Phils fan), Lincecum and Lee - the two 2008 Cy Young winners - will likely face off in Game 1. Last year, San Fran came into Philly in September, and Lincecum missed Lee by one day (Pedro outdueled Lincecum on 9/3 and Lee pitched for the Phils on 9/4). I wondered then whether that would have been the first ever matchup between the two reigning Cy Young winners. It's not often that the reigning Cy Young winds up in the other league the next year, but perhaps it's happened in interleague play or in the World Series. Is there any way to look that up?

  11. Tony Says:

    @3 -


  12. Brett Says:

    Did anyone else notice that Darren Oliver has been in the postseason 5 straight years (Mets 06, Angels 07-09 and now Texas)? That's crazy!

  13. Brett Says:

    I should've said the last five seasons to make it more meaningful. He's been rather effective as well!

  14. chancelikely Says:

    Tony: off the top of my head, Denny McLain and Bob Gibson in the '68 World Series.

  15. DavidRF Says:

    In addition to Gibson/McLain in 1968, there was Seaver/Cuellar in 1969.

    There were a couple of relief matchups as well. Randy Johnson got a relief win in game 7 of 2001 that Roger Clemens started. Though I think if Rivera hadn't blown the save, the win would have gone to Mike Stanton. (Yankees took the lead in the 8th).

    Also, in 1974, Mike Marshall pitched every game including both games that Catfish Hunter pitched. Hunter won game 4 as the starter and got a save (!) in game 1 as a reliever.

  16. Tony Says:

    @14, 15:

    In none of the above examples were the pitchers named the REIGNING award winners. They all won the awards in the years in which they faced each other, but did not win the award until after the World Series. My example was the two 2008 winners facing off in 2009. It makes sense that the pitchers that would ultimately win the awards would also meet in the World Series, since their performances would earn them both the award and the pennant. It seems less likely (or at least more random) to happen the next year.

  17. Nate Says:

    Djibouti - It happened because in 1997 both West divisions were 4 teams and so were playing a 16-game interleague slate instead of the 15 that the East and West divisions played. SF@TX went first solely because all the other teams were in the Pacific Time Zone.

    Also, it actually was a rematch of sorts. A rematch of the NFC Championship Game 🙂

  18. DavidRF Says:

    Oh... OK. I read that wrong.

    The closest I can find is Clemens/Glavine in 1999. Their teams met in the World Series, but the rotation wasn't lined up.

    I might have missed a league-jumper causing a meeting in the LDS/LCS though. Those are hard to spot.

  19. Artie Z Says:


    Peavy and Sabathia were a day off (twice) in 2008, after Sabathia was traded to the Brewers. Peavy faced Ben Sheets both times.

    However, on July 15th, 1999, Tom Glavine (1998 NL Cy Young winner) and Roger Clemens (1998 AL Cy Young winner) faced off when the Braves met the Yankees in New York. Clemens got rocked for 6 ER in 6 IP.

    On August 28th, 1989, Orel Hershiser (1988 NL Cy Young winner) and Frank Viola (1988 AL Cy Young winner) faced off when the Mets met the Dodgers in LA. Viola threw a CG SHO and won 1-0.

    Those are the only two instances I found.

  20. BSK Says:

    "Dr. Doom Says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    If one has a 46% chance and the other has a 42% chance, the math says that they'd only meet 19% of the time. So, not very likely."

    It all depends on how we are defining likely. With 4 possible match-ups, if all things were equal, each matchup would have a 25% chance of happening. Obviously, not all things are equal. But even the most likely matchup based on those same percentages would be Yankees/Phils at 31%, still not terribly likely. No matchup is "likely" to happen, in the sense that they are all more likely not to happen than to happen. Relative to the other matchups, Rangers/Giants is the least likely, roughly 50% less likely to happen than Yanks/Phils, 20% less likely than Rangers/Phils (23%) and (40%) less likely than Giants/Yankees (27%). Looking at 19% does make it seem very unlikely, and it is the least likely, but not considerably so.

  21. Gonzo Says:

    (And, it's probably not a pairing that the big cheeses at FOX are rooting for in this season's big dance.)

    I've always wondered why "the media" (mostly the online media) is so enamored over what teams the networks want to see make the finals of any sport. I've never seen any numbers stating whether a network was in the black or red after a post season has ended. Do the rates for commercials fluctuate depending on which teams are in the finals?

  22. DavidRF Says:

    Plus its not like the other two markets are small. By metro area, they rank NY-1, Dallas-4, Philly-5, SF-13 (they split SF/SJ). By "media market" they rank NY-1, Philly-4, Dallas-5, SF-6. So, its all large markets this year.

  23. BSK Says:


    Ratings matter for two reasons:
    1.) The higher the ratings, the higher a price MLB can negotiate for when working on the next TV deal.
    2.) The higher the ratings, the higher the ad rates the network can charge its sponsors.

    Obviously, there is a lot more to either negotiation than just ratings. But ratings do matter. As David points out, it might be a bit overblown, given the size of the 4 markets in play. However, we'd also have to look at viewership. The Dallas/FW metro area is huge and highly populated, but how many baseball fans are there? And will they change the channel from the Cowboys? I don't know enough about the Rangers fan base to say one way or another.

  24. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @2 - The franchise currently known as the Texas Rangers has never won the World Series in any city. The Washington Senators franchise that won the 1924 World Series is the one that moved to Minnesota and got swept by the Yankees in the NLDS again this year.

    This year's Final Four features three teams with nicknames found among professional sports teams bearing the city name of New York - the Yankees (of course), the Rangers, and the Giants (who were once the New York Giants themselves, of course, and while I don't know this for sure, likely inspired the football team's name). If the Phillies end up playing the Rangers, there will no doubt be a couple of interesting references to longstanding rivalries in other sports - the Eagles against Dallas and the Flyers against the Rangers. (Of course, if by some strange quirk of fate, the Mets instead of the Phillies were that fourth team, then all four would have New York team names.)

  25. Fireworks Says:

    @21 The media desires certain matchups because they draw a larger audience. I can't tell you about individual markets for postseason games, but I imagine they are similar to the regular season. ESPN's ratings per region were broken down a couple years go, perhaps by ESPN, perhaps by someone else. I forget. Anyhow, except for STL/CHC games for the Central Region, the biggest television draws in every region of the country were teams like the Yankees or Red Sox, also the Mets. In the actual local team's city, of course, that team will draw well. But in terms of a whole large region... Yanks and Sox and other big cities draw eyes. Anyway, FOX execs would be happy if every NLCS featured some combination of the Mets Cubs Dodgers Phillies and every ALCS featured the Yankees or Red Sox (and, possibly, the Angels).

    It's not like a casual fan who hopes the Yankees will lose is going to turn in to root against the Giants or Rangers.

    @24 Yes, the baseball Giants inspired the football Giants. Baseball teams had nicknames before other professional sports teams. Hence the Bears are so-named because of the Cubs, the Lions because of the Tigers, and probably there are a couple other examples escaping me, though the seemingly obvious connection between the current Arizona Cardinals (previously the St. Louis Cardinals), and the... St. Louis Cardinals, doesn't really exist. Nor are either team actually named for the bird (but instead for the color of red--cardinal red).

  26. andyr Says:

    If not mistaken, the Arizona Cardinals, as the Chicago Cardinals, predate the NFL by about 20 years...

  27. Jeff Says:

    @ 25

    The Football Cardinals were the Chicago Cardinals before they moved to St. Louis.

  28. Phrozen Says:

    #4; Mike20001

    Alaska is actually the Giant-esque state. Texas is third, behind East Alaska and West Alaska.

    No offense to the Giants, they're a great team in a great city, but I'm rooting for a Threepeat pennant-winner.

  29. Tom Says:

    Yes, TV advertising is sold by the size of audience. Usually networks guarantee a certain audience size. If the ratings come up short, the network has to throw in something else to make it up.
    Fox -- nor anything other broadcaster nor company -- generally doesn't break out specifics, but in most years the network says it loses money on the World Series. However, Fox uses baseball to promote its other programming.
    Fox did all right last year.

    The markets involved in the World Series or NBA Finals make a huge difference on the ratings.
    If Tampa and Pittsburgh were to meet it would be a ratings disaster. Sacramento and Orlando in the NBA Final would be a ratings disaster for the network.

  30. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @25 Thanks for the verification of the Giants origin. The Cardinals football team has gone through four place names in the time that I have been aware of them - Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Arizona - so I knew they were not named for the baseball Cardinals. I also know that the Stanford teams are called the Cardinal instead the Cardinals. They were formerly called the Indians.

    I have heard of long-ago pro football teams called the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. The Washington Redskins were formerly the Boston Redskins. I read somewhere a long, long time ago that this name, that, unlike the former Stanford name or the one-time Redskins of Miami University of Ohio or Ohio's American League team, has never been changed to something more "politically correct", was chosen because it was reminiscent of both of Boston's major league baseball teams of that era - the Red Sox and the Braves.

  31. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I read somewhere a long, long time ago that this name [Boston Redskins] . . . was chosen because it was reminiscent of both of Boston's major league baseball teams of that era - the Red Sox and the Braves.

    Ah, for the days when football rode the coattails of baseball.

  32. tim Says:

    Wow, the respondents here did a nice job of changing the subject by the time this one was done. You went from the chances of a Giants-Rangers series, to television advertising rates, to the Boston Redskins. I'm just gonna bring up Komodo Dragons and see if anyone wants to take it from there.

  33. aldon hilton Says:


    I just heard a sport show host state that "most of the time the favorite teams when the NLCS series."

    Is that true?

    What is the percentage of time that the favorites win and what is the percentage that the underdogs win their NLCS series?

  34. megan Says:

    That statement makes absolutely no sense!!! June 12th 1997 was first "interleague game" in MLB history.....where do you get that??

  35. Steve Lombardi Says:

    Megan - see:

  36. megan Says:

    Steve, I thought 'Interleague' had gone on a lot longer than least the 70s. Especially considering All Star competition has been going on since 1933. Thanks for getting back to me :). I am a die hard RED SOX fan and extactic Rangers kicked Yankee butt! BASEBALL ROCKS!!!

  37. Bryn Says:

    well, it looks like the match up is right. it will be the rangers and giants this year. looking forward to it.