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Most Rings Since American “I’ll Never Forget Where I Was When” Moments

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 29, 2011

How many teams have won 4+ World Series rings since the assassination of John F. Kennedy? That would be just the Yankees (7), Cardinals (5) and the A's (4). Honorable Mention to the Dodgers, Orioles and Reds who won 3 each since 1964.

How many teams have won 2+ World Series rings since the September 11 Attacks (in 2001)?  That would be just the Cardinals (2) and the Red Sox (2).

When it comes to the last half-century or so, Cardinals fans have a right to tell the rest of the world "Count the rings!," don't they?

Here are the queries used to "Count The Rings" -

Since 1964 -

Rk Tm Year #Matching W L   W-L% ERA CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 TOR 1992 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.64 0 0 1 11.0 8 2 0 5 8 1.18
2 TOR 1993 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 6.00 0 0 0 9.0 7 6 1 6 5 1.44
3 STL 1964 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 5.00 1 0 0 9.0 9 5 3 3 9 1.33
4 STL 1982 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 7 2 1 0 3 0.78
5 STL 1967 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 1 0 0 9.0 3 2 0 3 10 0.67
6 STL 2006 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 5 1 1 2 10 0.78
7 STL 2011 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 2 0 2 7 0.89
8 SFG 2010 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 3 1 1 2 12 0.56
9 PIT 1971 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 1 0 0 9.0 4 1 0 2 5 0.67
10 PIT 1979 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 4 1 1 4 6 0.89
11 PHI 2008 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 1 9.0 10 3 1 1 5 1.22
12 PHI 1980 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 7 1 0 5 9 1.33
13 OAK 1989 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 6.00 0 0 1 9.0 9 6 2 2 3 1.22
14 OAK 1972 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 4 2 0 6 5 1.11
15 OAK 1973 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 8 1 0 2 6 1.11
16 OAK 1974 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 5 2 0 6 4 1.22
17 NYY 1998 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 7 0 0 3 5 1.11
18 NYY 2009 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 3 1 7 7 1.44
19 NYY 1978 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 0 9.0 7 2 1 1 5 0.89
20 NYY 1977 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 1 0 0 9.0 9 2 1 2 6 1.22
21 NYY 1996 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 8 2 0 5 5 1.44
22 NYY 1999 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 5 1 0 2 4 0.78
23 NYY 2000 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 0 1 9.0 8 0 0 4 7 1.33
24 NYM 1969 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 1 0 0 9.0 5 3 2 1 5 0.67
25 NYM 1986 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 5.00 0 0 1 9.0 9 5 2 2 7 1.22
26 MIN 1987 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 6 2 0 0 7 0.67
27 MIN 1991 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 10.0 7 0 0 2 8 0.90
28 LAD 1965 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 3 0 0 3 10 0.67
29 LAD 1981 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 7 2 1 6 5 1.44
30 LAD 1988 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 1 0 0 9.0 4 2 0 4 9 0.89
31 KCR 1985 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 0 0 0 2 0.56
32 FLA 1997 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.64 0 0 0 11.0 6 2 0 6 13 1.09
33 FLA 2003 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 0 0 2 9 0.78
34 DET 1968 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 1 0 0 9.0 5 1 1 3 4 0.89
35 DET 1984 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 4.00 0 0 1 9.0 10 4 1 2 6 1.33
36 CIN 1975 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 1 9.0 5 3 0 8 7 1.44
37 CIN 1976 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 1 9.0 8 2 0 2 2 1.11
38 CIN 1990 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 2 1 0 3 9 0.56
39 CHW 2005 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 5 0 0 4 7 1.00
40 BOS 2004 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 4 0 0 2 6 0.67
41 BOS 2007 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 1 9.0 7 3 2 3 7 1.11
42 BAL 1966 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 4 0 0 2 4 0.67
43 BAL 1970 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 1 0 0 9.0 6 3 0 1 4 0.78
44 BAL 1983 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 0 0 2 6 0.78
45 ATL 1995 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 1 0 0 3 8 0.44
46 ARI 2001 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 2 1 0 10 0.67
47 ANA 2002 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 6 1 0 4 10 1.11
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/29/2011.


Since 2001 -

Rk Tm 5 Year #Matching W L   W-L% ERA CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 ANA 2002 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 6 1 0 4 10 1.11
2 ARI 2001 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 2 1 0 10 0.67
3 BOS 2007 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 1 9.0 7 3 2 3 7 1.11
4 BOS 2004 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 4 0 0 2 6 0.67
5 CHW 2005 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 0 1 1 9.0 5 0 0 4 7 1.00
6 FLA 2003 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 0.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 0 0 2 9 0.78
7 NYY 2009 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 3 1 7 7 1.44
8 PHI 2008 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 3.00 0 0 1 9.0 10 3 1 1 5 1.22
9 SFG 2010 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 3 1 1 2 12 0.56
10 STL 2011 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 2.00 0 0 0 9.0 6 2 0 2 7 0.89
11 STL 2006 1 1 0 Ind. Games 1.000 1.00 0 0 1 9.0 5 1 1 2 10 0.78
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/29/2011.


82 Responses to “Most Rings Since American “I’ll Never Forget Where I Was When” Moments”

  1. scott-53 Says:

    Cardinals also the first to win 3 pennants in 21st century.

  2. El Dandy Says:

    @1: False.

    New York Yankees: 2001, 2003, 2009 (Also 2000, though that doesn't quite count since the 21st century didn't start until 2001).

  3. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    If you count before '45, the Reds are also on this list with three, including 1940 {actually four, if you count the Black Sox Series of 1919, which I don't, really}.

  4. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    I say that because I remember where I was when Roosevelt whupped Wilkie and won his third election in '40.

  5. scott-53 Says:

    @2: Oops. You're right.

  6. Wine Curmudgeon Says:

    What, having Stan Musial and Bob Gibson wasn't enough?

  7. Jason Says:

    @4-What about 36 when Alf Landon got whipped and Joe D. first
    graced a large ball yard in the Bronx.

  8. Phil Gaskill Says:


    Reds won in 1975, 1976, and 1990. so you don't have to count pre-1945 to get to three.

  9. birtelcom Says:

    Although the Yankees have won more than one-quarter of all the World Series championships that have ever been played (27 of 107, or 25.2%), over the period from 1963 through 1995 the Yankees won only two World Series championships, which constituted a mere 6.25% of the World Series championships played over that 33-season period. Indeed, over that 33-season period, the Mets and Yankees won the same number of World Series championships.

    The NL has just won the World Series two years in a row for the first time in 29 seasons.

  10. Paul E Says:

    Where were you when Newark NJ burned?


  11. Todd Says:

    I tend to agree with Sparky Anderson: I like to start counting from the beginning.

    You can cherry pick stats anyway you want to, but in the end the only thing that matters when it comes to championships is the number of them.

    Interesting thing about the Cardinals, though. In '85 and '87, better Cardinals teams lost to awful KC and Minny teams. But in '06 and '11, awful Cardinals teams beat better Detroit and Texas teams.

    So I guess it balanced out over the long haul.

    In any event, I wonder whether Andy still thinks the Rangers are the next dynasty?

  12. Genis26 Says:

    The Cardinals have now won a World Series in 7 of the last 10 decades (every one but the 50's, 70's, & 90's) and have never won two in a row.

  13. Genis26 Says:


    Since when was 90 wins awful?

  14. Todd Says:


    Since it was only the 4th-best record in the league and the Cardinals were only barely better than average according to BR. Their SRS was only 0.2, the same as Toronto's.

    Anyway you look at it, this year's Cardinals team is among the worst World Series champions ever, although not as awful as the '06 team. Of course, anything can happen in a short series and usually does, but why not shorten the regular season a bit if you're going to reduce the postseason to a crapshoot?

  15. nightfly Says:

    I remember where I was when the Challenger exploded. Sort of the JFK moment for my generation.

  16. Michael Says:

    And yet, the trophy for the 'awful' Cardinals of aught six and eleven is the same size as all those other trophies.

    Nothing, and I mean nothing will balance out the 1985 series. As my KC friend is often fond of saying "It's not so much that KC they failed to lose."

    Or, put another way:
    About 10 years ago, game 6 of the '85 series was on ESPN Classic. My then wife walks in and asks "What are you watching?" I tell her and she says..."Isn't that the one where everything fell apart in the 9th inning?" As it goes to commercial at the end of the 8th, I very calmly tell her, "Sure...but it can't happen that way again...there's just no way."

    Worst. Call. Ever.

  17. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    I remember where I was when we heard over the radio that Pearl Harbor had been hit -- sort of the JFK moment for my generation {ouch!}

  18. scott-53 Says:

    @9: Cubs & White Sox have won 1 combined since the live ball era started. It is still the highest payoff per game World Series ring. (Player's winning share)(2005)

    White Sox got it done in only 12 games. (11-1)

  19. John Q Says:

    @11 Todd,

    I wouldn't call the '85 Royals "awful". The offensive other than George Brett was awful but the pitching staff was great. Basically it was George Brett having one of his greatest seasons with a great starting staff and Dan Quisenberry.

    The '87 Twins were kind of mediocre. Basically that team was a great Frank Viola and a very good Bert Blyleven plus some great defenders like Gagne, Gladden and Gaetti. Then they had some decent hitters.

    The '87 Cardinals pitching staff was kind of mediocre. They didn't really have a staff ace or a great #2 pitcher.

    That '87 Cardinals team strength was based almost entirely on Jack Clark and Ozzie Smith.

    The strength of the 06 Cardinals was Pujols and Carpenter and two extremely underrated players in Rolen and Edmunds.

    The '11 Cardinals were all about three great offensive players; Pujols, Berkman and Holiday. That starting pitching staff other than Carpenter was pretty terrible and Carpenter didn't even have great regular season.

  20. scott-53 Says:

    @18: 2005 White Sox $324,532 winners share (12games)
    2006 Cardinals $362,173 winners share (16 games)

    *Yankees had to refund about $15,000 of their 2009 share.
    (baseball almanac still shows $365,052)
    Ended up at $350,029.

  21. John Q Says:

    @16 Michael,

    The Denkinger call was terrible but that's not what lost it for the Cardinals. It would have only had been the first out of that inning and not the end of the game. The Cardinals just became unhinged and did about 4-5 other things wrong to lose that series.

    *Originally Howser pinch hit for Sheridan with Daryl Motley because Ken Dayley was still in the game. Herzog then brought in Worrell and Howser countered with Orta. I always thought it was interesting that Herzog just didn't bring in Worrell to start the inning in the first place because Worrell was going to pitch to Balboni. He must have know that Howser would have never left Sheridan in the game to hit against the lefty Dayley. I'm really surprised Howser just didn't bring up Mcrae to pinch hit for Sheridan to begin with then he could have saved Orta to pinch hit in Biancalana's spot. Essentially he had to burn Motley without ever using him. There was also no guarantee that Biancalana would even get up.

    *Jack Clark and Daryl Porter let an easy Balboni foul pop-up fall in between them.

    *Worrell gives up a single to Balboni right after that blown call.

    *The Cardinals luck out when Sunberg makes a bad bunt and they were able to get the runner out at third.

    *The thing that everyone leaves out is the passed ball that Porter had which moved runners to second and third.

    *Hal McRae was intentionally walked.

    *The Cardinals were still in good shape with Worrell on the mound and Dane Iorg a .223 hitter up.

    *Iorg singles and scores two.

    Even after all of that the Cardinals could have still come back and won game 7.

  22. birtelcom Says:

    One has to be careful of treating teams as if they were static entities over a season. Many of their top players missed time with injuries during the season, but with everybody in the lineup late in the season they seemed a much stonger club. They made some tweaks in the roster before the trade deadline and seemed to have emerged a stronger club form that, too. The August through October Cardinals may simply not have been the same level of team in terms of the talent being put on the field as the April thorugh July version. In short, be careful of using season-long stats to judge the true talent level of the team on the field in October.

  23. steven Says:

    I don't think this year's Cardinal team was terrible. They got healthy late, reversing a Post-Season trend that began in 1985 with the Killer Tarp swallowing Vince Coleman's leg. Freese and Craig healed at the right time this year.

  24. BSK Says:


    John Hollinger, who does SABR style stats for the NBA on, has a power rankings tool that uses thinking similar to what you've put here. He more heavily weights the last 25% of games played since he believes it is more representative of the team than a larger sample. The other games still matter, but not as much. I don't know that all his numbers make sense, but the logic seems sound, for the very reasons you've offered here.

  25. steven Says:

    And don't forget how valuable Colby Rasmus' dad was to the Cardinals' playoff push.

  26. John Q Says:

    @22, 23,

    Excellent points.

    I think Freese missed almost all of May and June and Craig missed most of July.

  27. Doug Says:

    Cardinals also won 3 WS in the five years following Pearl Harbor day.

  28. SocraticGadfly Says:

    John Q 19 and 21 nails it. The Cards blew Game 6 in 1985 in many ways. AND, in 1987, don't forget about missing Jack Clark, speaking of teams not being static entities. Either Porter's passed ball, if caught, or the let-drop pop-up, if caught, changes the game.

    And, the meltdown in Game 7, plus Herzog knowing Tudor was pitching 1, 4 and now 7, should have made him ready to have a quicker hook.

    This year's Cards, with the big four of Pujols, Holliday, Berkman and Freese healthy, or nearly so, at the same time down the stretch had a killer lineup.

  29. Rich Says:

    In the 2008 World Series, a just as awful call went against the Phillies.

    You know why you don't hear about it? Because the Phillies still rallied to win the game in the 9th. And that game would have been critical because if the Rays had won, they would have gone up 2-1 in the series.

  30. SocraticGadfly Says:

    1964 Cards, winning 16 of last 21 in regular season, might rank with this year's, and the 1969 Mets, as among "miracle" teams. Sure, the Phils coughed it up. But, the Cards put the pressure on.

  31. Charles Saeger Says:

    How about, since OJ was acquitted?

  32. Elliott Says:

    How would one use the play index to find the single highest WPA PLAY (not game or season) ever?

  33. Todd Says:

    Re #19 and #22

    When I used the term "awful," I didn't mean awful like the Cubs or Astros this year, just awful for a World Series champion. This year's Cardinals team isn't among the best 500 teams in MLB history, IMO. It's not just the aggregrate record, but the lack of a good bullpen or rotation as well. Moreover, the Cardinals won only 90 games playing a disproportionate number of games against 4 bad to really bad teams in the Central. (To be fair, their lineup was pretty good.)

    And I agree that teams aren't static entities, but I also think the larger sample size of a full season is more meaningful than the last 30-40 games. David Freese isn't a great player anyway you slice it, but he had a disproportionate impact on the postseason this year, just as Fury Gene Tenace did in the '72 Series. When you get that much production from a guy of marginal quality like Freese, the short term record will greatly outweigh the reality. Unfortunately, Freese will spend the rest of his career, however long it lasts, trying to live up to what he accomplished this postseason, but always falling short, as he must.

    As far as the '85 Cardinals go, I agree that Denkinger's call was awful, but pinning the Series loss on him just seems like sour grapes to me. The Cardinals should have been able to play through that error, and they lost their composure and came unglued. They were still a much better team than the Royals that year, though.

  34. DavidRF Says:

    I think you can just look up the situation. There's only so many base-out states. A two-out come-from-behind walkoff HR is the most valuable play. There is three types of those, all worth between 90-91%.

    Bottom of 9+, 2 outs, down 1, runner on first, HR is worth 90.1%.
    Bottom of 9+, 2 outs, down 2, runners on first and second, HR is worth 91.0%.
    Bottom of 9+, 2 outs, down 3, bases loaded, HR is worth 90.9%.

  35. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Now I am REALLY worried about my mind -- I remembered the Reds-Tigers Series of 1940, but forgot 1990! Oy vey !!!

  36. RimJob Mike Says:

    The year 2000 doesn't count for this century?!?! How the hell does that make sense!?!?!? It was the 1st year of the new millennium. Of course it counts!! The Yanks, Red Sox, and now Cardinals have each won 2 WS since the beginning of the millennium!!! The Yanks have won the most pennants with 4.

  37. birtelcom Says:

    #36: Historians don't use a Year Zero: there is 1 BC and then 1 AD. If you count up 100 years beginning with Year One AD as the "First Century" AD, that would take you from the first day of Year 1 through the end of the Year 100. So the beginning of the Second Century would be the first day of 101, not 100. Follow that out and the first day of the 21st Century AD as 1/1/2001, not 1/1/2000. You can avoid the issue by just referring to the beginning of the "00's" or the "2000s", which you can count as having started with 1/1/2000.

  38. Matthew Conrwell Says:

    The Cardinals were mediocre through mid -August for 3 reasons:

    1. bad bullpen (completely fixed at trade deadline)
    2. poor up-the-middle-defense (fixed at trade deadline with Furcal and Jay moving to CF)
    3. Tons of injuries with Craig, Freese, Holliday, Pujols,,, and Wainwright with 0 starts, etc. (Craig and Freese got healthy by the last month of the season)

    A Cardinal team with the August -through October bullpen, Furcal, and Wainwright wins close to 100 games easily.

    The Cardinals won 36 of their last 50 games, for a .680 winning %. That is pretty good, but when you consider that 31 of those 50 games were against the Brewers, Phillies, Rangers, and Braves, that .680 winning% is remarkable.

    The June Cardinals were not a great World Series team, but the healthy, revamped bullpen Mid-august through October Cardinals were.

  39. John Q Says:

    @33 Todd,

    Yeah I get what you mean by the word "awful" but I don't think it's really best describes a WS champion or that '85 Royals team in particular. I don't think the word "mediocre" describes them either. Other than Brett, they were an awful offensive team, so that's valid. But Brett was having a career year so that has to be factored in as well. Also, they had a great starting staff with Saberhagen, Leibrandt, Guibiza and D. Jackson. and they had an awesome season by Dan Quisenberry. I think Leibrandt gets kind of overlooked on that staff. For instance he was second in the A.L. in era in 1985 with a 2.69.

    They won 91 games which is the same as the '80 Phillies and only 1 less win than the '96 Yanks. They actually won 1 more game than the '74 A's. There's been 16 teams that have won 93 or less games since the LCS started in 1969. There's been 43 World Series champs so about 37% have won 93 or less games.

    1972 A's-93 wins
    1974 A's-90 Wins
    1980 Phillies-91 Wins
    1982 Cards-92 Wins
    1985 Royals-91 Wins
    1987 Twins-85 Wins
    1990 Reds-91 Wins
    1996 Yanks-92 Wins
    1997 Marlins-92 Wins
    2000 Yanks-87 Wins
    2001 D-Backs-92 Wins
    2003 Marlins-91 Wins
    2006 Cards-83 Wins
    2008 Phillies-92 Wins
    2010 Giants-92 Wins
    2011 Cards-90 Wins

    I think there's really only been two mediocre teams to win the WS, the 1987 Twins and the 2006 Cards. The '00 Yankees are kind of borderline above average team. That team is really hard to judge anyway because of all the players on that team linked to steroids.

    I think the other 13 teams on this list should probably be described as good teams that are usually not well rounded but feature one great dimension (pitching, offense or defense) or 2 or 3 great players having great seasons.

    As far as the 2011 Cards, there's been about 200 odd World series teams in bb history so I would think they should at least be one of the top 250 teams of all time.

  40. John Q Says:

    Also, I think what that list @39 shows the impact the extra round of playoffs have had on WS teams.

    There's been 16 WS since the season with a wild card and a full season in 1996. Out of those 16 WS, nine of them have been won by teams with 93 wins or less. So more than half of the WS teams since 1996 have won 93 games or less. That's a pretty amazing trend that's not really discussed at all.

    I don't think there's really that much incentive anymore to build a 100 win team, it's kind of pointless when you think about it. The extra rounds of playoffs just make the entire post-season far too unpredictable. You're probably better off to save your money and try building a 90-95 win team.

    Take the Phillies this year. They won 102 games and set the franchise record yet didn't even get to the LCS. The two WS champs for the Phillies won 91 and 92 games respectively.

  41. Matthew Conrwell Says:

    A few questions/comments:

    Were people saying the same things when the 87-win Yankees won the World Series? I don't remember that at all. I also do not spend as much time on other sport's internet sites, even though I am an avid fan of the other sports. I am asking a legit question to those who do frequent other sport's blogs: was there this same sentiment when a 10-6 Wild Card team won the Superbowl or when a Huskies team that barely cracked the top -15 won the NCAA tournament? Or when the Bruins with the 4th or 5th best record in the eastern conference won the Cup? I know we hear about the BCS being broke all the time, but I don't recall the legitimacy of any of these other teams' championships be questioned. Maybe it comes from baseball fans primarily since they seem to have more connection with the past and tradition?

    Also - to those who keep talking about the Cardinals not winning the division:

    Through game 6 of the NLCS, the Cardinals had a better run differential than the Brewers, a slightly better strength of schedule, a drastically better road record, and vastly superior record vs. teams over .500. The Cards won the 24-game head-to-head series, and went to an extra round in the playoffs. The Cards feature more perennial past and most likely future All-Stars to boot. Other than having a few more regular season wins than a team that used the DL 18x (almost twice as many as Milwaukee), what criteria can we use to determine that the Brewers were really a better team?

    Finally, to the point that the current system is "broken" and does not crown the best team:

    It is true that the playoffs do not determine the best team much of the time. That doesn't completely de-legitimatize the whole system either. The name of the game is for a GM to put out a top 9-10 team, as any top 9-10 team will have a chance of winning the whole thing any year. Of course the more times that a team is top 9-10, the better % chance they have of winning. A team like the Reds who were at that level once in the past 11 years, are not likely to win. That is just, IMO. A quality organization like the Cardinals, who are almost always in the category, have had many chances to win the "crapshoot." And they have been rewarded justly for putting out that top 10 team year after year after year with multiple WS wins. So one season they lost to a team in the playoffs with 8 fewer wins. The next year they lost to a team in the NLCS with 11 fewer wins. Two other times, they beat teams with 10+ more wins. In 1985 and 1987, they lost to teams with 10 fewer wins. It has all balanced out, but more power to the organization for always putting out a team that has a chance.

    No longer is it largely (it was never entirely) "to the best team goes the spoils." It is now, "the best organizations have the most chances of getting the spoils." Back in the day before the divisional era, baseball's 2nd-3rd best organizations often came away with nothing to show for it over long periods of time.

    Is this better? That is debatable, but I do not see the level of injustice that some other are seeing.

  42. John Autin Says:

    @41, Matthew -- The 87-win Yankees (2000) had already won 3 of the past 4 championships, so it wasn't considered such an upset when they went all the way in spite of a mediocre record.

    I agree with the rest of your post, though.

  43. John Autin Says:

    @40, John Q -- The 1972-74 A's averaged 92 wins a year. Does that take away from their dynasty?

    Some other pre-wild-card champions with 93 wins or less:

    1990 Reds, 91-71
    1987 Twins, 85-77 (and outscored on the season)
    1985 Royals, 91-71
    1982 Cards, 92-70
    1981 Dodgers, 93-69 (pro rated from 63-47)
    1980 Phillies, 91-71

    Pre-division era, teams that won the WS with at least 5 wins fewer than the team they beat:
    1965 Dodgers (-5)
    1964 Cards (-6)
    1963 Dodgers (-5)
    1962 Yankees (-7)
    1959 Dodgers (-6)
    1954 Giants (-14)
    1953 Yankees (-6)
    1946 Cards (-6)
    1945 Tigers (-10)
    1943 Yankees (-7)
    1935 Tigers (-7)
    1934 Cards (-6)
    1933 Giants (-8)
    1931 Cards (-6)
    1918 Red Sox (-9)
    1914 Braves (-5)
    1913 A's (-5)
    1906 White Sox (-13)

  44. Matthew Conrwell Says:


    This is absolutely my point - there is more to a WS winner than just a team's record that season, since many things can impact it: disproportionate amount of injuries, trade deadline trades, strength of schedule, etc, etc., etc.

    Just as there was nothing seemingly unjust about an 87-win Yankee team winning a World Series when surrounded by other great teams, read these next two sentences and tell me if there is anything surprising or unjust:

    1. A team (that won 205 games the previous two seasons) with Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Yadier Molina, Chris Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright won the World Series.

    2. A team with Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and David Freese won the World Series.

    Neither of those two statements seems so puzzling or surprising whatsoever when those highly-influenced-by-other-factors win totals are stripped away.

    If anyone questions the level of pure talent on these two WS winners, they are missing the boat. Didn't Tom Tango say that the true talent level of a baseball team is around +/- 10 of their actual record? If this is true, why do we get bogged down in looking at records so much? We all know that there is tons of luck (randomness) that goes into winning and that the current playoff system allows for weaker teams to win; we all get that. But looking at W/L record as the main tool to determine if a WS team was legit will not capture the whole picture.

    So when the 200 Yankees wins the WS with 87 wins (or when the 2001 Yankees beat a team with 20+ more regular-season wins in the ALCS), everybody said "we knew they were the best team all-along." Why? Because of who was on the team and because what that core group of players had done in the recent past. Those things have to be considered alongside with W/L and run differential, etc.

  45. John Autin Says:

    @44, Matthew -- Well said.

  46. John Q Says:

    @43 John A,

    The irony of those A's teams is that the '71 & '75 teams were the best of the group yet they both got shut out in the LCS.

    The A's of those years weren't just called a dynasty because they won 3 WS in a row, they also won 5 consecutive division titles which as a very big deal at the time. And really the only reason the team was broken up was because of the impending free agency.

    The '72-74 A's teams got some great breaks and some bad managerial moves by Yogi Berra and realistically the Reds, Mets and Dodgers could have easily won those two WS.

    The A's won all their games by one run in '72. The Reds had a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth in game 5 and Tony Perez leads of with a single and gets picked off. They had the lead going to the bottom of the 9th with one and no one and the bullpen couldn't hold it.

    The Reds were down 1-3 in the bottom of the 8th the Reds have 2nd and third and no outs and they only score One run.

    The Mets gave up no earned runs in Game One of the '73 series with Millan and Mays both making errors.

    Game three, Jerry Grote gives up a passed ball in the top of the 11th and Millan makes two errors.

    For some reason Yogi Berra decides to pitch Seaver on short rest in game 6 instead of holding him for a possible game 7 on full rest.

    In Game Six, Staub strikes-out in the bottom of the 8th down 2-1 with the tying run on third base with less than two out. Cleon Jones hits a fly ball. Don Hahn makes an error in the top of the ninth allowed R. Jackson to get to third on a single.

    Matlack gives up an unbelievable double to the pitcher Ken Holtzman in game 7 then he lost focus and gave up a HR to Bert Campaneris who hit all of 4 HR in the '73 season and then the wheels just fell off.

    The '74 series was just weird because the Dodgers were the much better team and that series was more about the Dodgers playing like crap than the A's playing well. I think the A's won 3 of their games by only one run. The A's hit something like .191 in that series.

    Cey had a horrible game one. Made a run scoring error in the top of the 8th., grounded into a DP in the bottom of the second and hit a fly ball out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. A's eventually win 3-2.

    In game 3, Joe Ferguson made a crucial error in the bottom of the second that would have ended the inning and instead lead to two runs scoring. A's eventually win 3-2.

    In game 5 Bill Bucker hit a single with no outs down by a run in the top of 8th. The single gets by Billy North and Buckner goes to second base for some reason he tried to go to third base and R. Jackson backing up North threw Buckner out at third. I'm always surprised that play is never brought when discussing bone head plays in WS play.

    To me those '72-74 A's teams were good teams not great teams that had a lot of great breaks go their way. They could have easily lost all 3 of those WS.

  47. John Q Says:

    @43 John A,

    My point on post 39 wasn't about teams with 93 or less wins not deserving to win. My point was that the extra round of playoffs has made it so that it's not that important to build a team that wins 100 plus games in season anymore. There comes a point were winning all those regular season games becomes superfluous and kind of pointless if you don't win the WS. There was much more incentive to win 100+ games in the '69-93 LCS era because it was much more difficult to even make the playoffs than it is in today's wild card era.

  48. John Q Says:

    @43 John A,

    I don't really follow your point about pre division teams because there were some great teams in their own right on that list.

    The '65 Dodgers won 97 games
    The '63 Dodgers won 99 games
    The '62 Yankees won 96 games
    The '54 Giants won 97 games
    The '53 Yankees won 99 games
    The '46 Cards won 98 games
    The '43 Yankees won 98 games
    The '31 Cards won 101 games
    The '13 A's won 96 games

    Remember too that the pre 1961 teams played in a 154 game schedule.

  49. birtelcom Says:

    In further defense of the Cardinals of 2011, if you look at combined regular season and post-season performance (that's 180 games worth of evidence for the Cardinals), the Cards had the second-best Pythagorean expectation in the 16-team NL, behind only the Phillies. The Cardinals and the Phils played head to head 14 different times combined over the regular and post season and the Cards won 9 and lost 5.

  50. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    I think we can let go of Buckner's gaffe in 1974.
    Seriously. I was goalie in intramural field hockey at a liberal arts college 20 years ago and I pulled a Buckner (86) in overtime... and I still cringe at the memory. That poor SOB.

  51. Stu B Says:

    You need queries to count which team won the most titles in a given period?

    @50: Sorry, but collegiate intramural field hockey with maybe 2 people watching is not the same as doing it in the World Series.

  52. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    Yeah, that's my point.

  53. Whiz Says:

    @43, more food for thought. Looking at how the team with the better record has done in the World Series:

    From 1903 to 1968 (World Series only) the team with the better regular-season record (of the two teams in the World Series) won 36 and lost 27 World Series.

    From 1969 to 1993 (two-round playoffs) the team with the better record was 12-13.

    From 1995 to 2011 (three-round playoffs) the team with the better record was 7-10 (which makes a total of 19-23 when there is at least round before the World Series).

    There seems to be a trend (with limited statistics) that the more rounds of playoffs you have, the more likely it is that the team with the worse regular season record (of the two in the World Series) will win.

  54. DavidRF Says:

    I don't mind when a surprise team wins the World Series. Upsets are what makes sports fun.

    What is disappointing in this tournament-style format is when a team that dominates the regular season doesn't finish at least second. The 1906 Cubs and 1954 Indians have World Series losses to help us remember them. On the other hand, the 2001 Mariners seem to be forgotten because they were eliminated too early. That's unfortunate in my opinion.

  55. Mike Felber Says:

    This post is tailor made for an inquiry I recently made on another site. I would lov eto know folks opinions on these matters. Speaking to how likely the WS is in selecting the best team. Sure, the whole season best indicates superiority-within a league. But differences in league quality & even scheduling within a league adds ambiguity about who is "best".

    1) Given the whole season sample size & average differences in league quality, factoring in the random variations in play in short PS series, & also considering how team quality is distorted by being able to have your best pitchers go often & avoid your worse ones, that on average if we just took whichever team had the most wins in MLB, do THEY more often represent the true best team, instead of the actual World Series winner?

    2) That the best way to determine who is best would be to have one league over as many games as you can play in a season. Failing that, maximizes inter-league games if possible. For the PS, since we have a limited # of games possible, so minimize the # of rounds, & take the champion of each league, & given the breaks necessary between series, there should be time for at least a 21 game series.

    3) Now this is what I do not know-WHICH would be a better arbiter of who is the best team under neutral whole season conditions: again just taking who won the most games in MLB, or who won a 21 game 1 rounder? Would that be enough games to reduce chance adequately while the contests effectively rate relative league quality (also consider that the pitching choices & frequency could still be to a degree unbalanced), more often determine than over 162 games with no PS who is the *true* better team?

    Of course due to great limitation sin fan interest & revenue this will never happen. But whaddya done thunk: would a single 21 game series between the leagues TEND to select the best team better than the best record in MLB does?

  56. Mike Felber Says:

    Meaning 1st team to 11 wins takes the championship.

  57. David Says:

    #36 Sorry, 2000 was the last year of the 20th century. The 1st century AD would be years 1-100, the 2nd century 101-200, etc.
    So the 20th century was 1901-2000.

  58. Andrew Says:

    Still remember the '85 Cards meltdown...and I thought at the time "that's what you get for beating the Mets out". That was Doc's 24-4, 1.53 season-and I think Gooden would have outdueled Sabes in Game 7.

    At the time, I thought the '86 title was the start of something REALLY big...not realizing that that would be the ONLY one, mainly due to (came out years later, but to no great surprise) the Mets penchant for partying.

  59. Whiz Says:

    @55 Hi Mike, that's an interesting question.

    I don't have an answer, but yet another factor is that teams change throughout the season due to injuries and trades. So the team with the best record might not be the best team at the end of the season. Of course the Cardinals this year are an example of a team that was likely better in the post season (in the abstract sense, not just in results) than their record indicated.

  60. Whiz Says:

    @55 again,

    I did a quick calculation on the effectiveness of various series lengths at determining the best team. If a team has a 60% chance of winning one game, then the probability of that team winning the series is (for a best-of-x series):

    3 64.8%
    5 68.3%
    7 71.0%
    9 73.3%
    11 75.3%
    13 77.1%
    15 78.7%
    17 80.1%
    19 81.4%
    21 82.6%

    This assumes the same probability in each game, and doesn't allow for different strengths of starting pitchers, home field advantage, etc., but it does give an idea of how the series length affects the probability of determining the best team. Even a best-of-21 series isn't a sure thing for teams somewhat evenly matched.

    The corresponding numbers for a team that is 70% likely to win one game is:

    3 78.4%
    5 83.7%
    7 87.4%
    9 90.1%
    11 92.2%
    13 93.8%
    15 95.0%
    17 96.0%
    19 96.7%
    21 97.4%

    Here a best-of-21 series is very effective at finding the best team. Finally, varying the probability of a team winning one game, here are the probabilities of winning a best-of-21 series:

    50% 50% (naturally)
    52% 57.4%
    54% 64.5%
    56% 71.2%
    58% 77.2%
    60% 82.6%
    65% 92.3%
    70% 97.4%
    75% 99.4%
    80% 99.9%

    It goes up rapidly between 50 and 60%, then plateaus slowly after that. A dominant team is very likely to win a best-of-21 series.

  61. Whiz Says:

    In case people are curious, here are probabilities of a team winning a best-of-7 series if they have probability x of winning one game:

    50% 50%
    52% 54.4%
    54% 58.7%
    56% 62.9%
    58% 67.1%
    60% 71.0%
    65% 80.0%
    70% 87.4%
    75% 92.9%
    80% 96.7%

    And for a best-of-5 series:

    50% 50%
    52% 53.7%
    54% 57.5%
    56% 61.1%
    58% 64.7%
    60% 68.3%
    65% 76.5%
    70% 83.7%
    75% 89.6%
    80% 94.2%

    It's interesting (to me, anyway) that the best-of-5 and best-of-7 aren't all that different.

  62. DaveZ Says:

    I remember vividly where I was when:
    1) Reagan was shot (8th grade typing class...announced over school intercom)
    2) USA beat Russia in 80 Olympics (watching with my dad and 2 older brothers)
    3) Challenger explosion (walking down the hallway at work on Vandenberg AFB, CA, co-worker passed me an said it had exploded)
    4)9/11 (in my office at Sheppard AFB, TX, heard it on the radio)
    5)Oklahoma City bombing (walking into the post office at Incirlik Air Base Turkey and saw it on TV)

  63. w.k.kortas Says:

    If nothing else, I can take solace in the fact that the Pirates will be tied for the most World Championships post-Armageddon.

  64. Richard Chester Says:


    The same rule applies to decades., i.e. the first year of a decade is the year ending in 1. So technically Ted Williams, who played from 1939-1960, is not a 4-decade player.

  65. Mike Felber Says:

    Dang! You have earned your name Whiz. I would be interested in how you got your figures.

    It is not necessarily bad that the PS is effected by injuries & trades. but if it is longer relative to the season it both increases probability of selecting the best team, while allowing a sort of extended "stretch" performance that weights more endurance than random factors.

    I think it would be unusual for a 2 team playoff to be very different in quality, so much different from 60% odds of winning a game is probably above what we could expect in terms of quality differential most years. Whiz, the difference is a bit less than i would have expected.

    BUT: to truly compare the degree of difference in each system for selecting the eventual best team, we need to factor in the OTHER playoff rounds, since they often deselect the best team, right?

    So Whiz, if you are willing, perhaps you can do so for our current 3 round system, & if possible, the old pennant/WS system. Are you game?

    Pardon the pun, & thank you for your efforts.

  66. Mike Felber Says:

    Though extra games would help, what I am getting at is that not having any or extra rounds of playoffs is likely the biggest factor in "correctly" crowning the best team as World Champions.

  67. Whiz Says:

    Mike, I don't have time right now, but will put it on my list 🙂 (BTW, I'm Kerry W. from the DC website; Whiz is my bbref tag.)

    However, I think it's clear that the best team will not triumph nearly as much with more rounds. For example, if a team had 60% probability to beat all the other playoff teams (assuming they were all equal), the probability of making it to and winning the World Series is only 68.3%*71.0%*71.0% = 34.4% (that's winning a best-of-5 and two best-of-7 series).

    BTW, the formula is fairly easy, basically a truncated binomial expansion. If p is the probability of winning one game (expressed as a fraction from 0 to 1), then the probability of winning a best-of-7 series is

    Prob = p^7 + 7*p^6*(1-p) + 7*6/2*p^5*(1-p)^2 + 7*6*5/2/3*p^4*(1-p)^3

    For a best-of-5 it's

    Prob = p^5 + 5*p^4*(1-p) + 5*4/2*p^3*(1-p)^2

  68. DaveZ Says:

    @67... It IS a fairly easy truncated binomial expansion! Duh!

  69. zuke Says:

    re: series length just had a good story on the origin of the 7-game series. essentially, it was picked almost at random 100+ years ago and has pretty much stuck. a good quick read:

    one takeaway: "To determine the better team with 95 percent statistical accuracy, according to John J. Kinney's A Probability and Statistics Companion, would require a 257-game series."

  70. Mike Felber Says:

    Kerry! People miss you there. maybe just say hello on the latest active thread Though just after the World Series, most of those posting have taken a hiatus. Where did you go? I have recently argued that the name calling & denigration drove folks away, & cited examples like John Q here. Brautigan said he has sometimes taken breaks due to that. I hope you were not a casualty of this (though not directly attacked).

    257 games to get to 95%, really? Perhaps they are trying to iron out as "random" the effect of injuries, I would not find that necessary. At least not counting this, I would have thought that a 162 game season hit 95%!

    Though it is clear the NFL season cannot do much to get above 80%.

  71. John Q Says:

    @70 Mike,

    The first big problem with the DC website was when Adam and Mike Pags stopped being actively involved in it. Adam kept at least some sort of order and monitored the overall content/discourse. The site actually had problems even before that, because Adam had taken a smaller role before he actively left.

    After Adam left, the level of discourse started to become more and more un-civil month after month. Every article turned into a petty arguments that usually devolved into name calling and bizarre obscure tangents. Basically the site turned into a kind of junior high school locker room with petty name calling and cliques and just a complete lack of civility.

    Then I remember you basically had to post a remark or answer a question like you were writing a legal brief or honest mistakes and typos would be refuted for hours.

    Then I remember there were always lots of problems with the site crashing all the time. Sometimes I would write a post and it seemed like 3 times out of ten there would be some glitch that would lose all my information. I would hit the "submit comment" button and good luck if appeared on the thread. Then I think the entire Archives were lost at one point?

    Then I remember the site was taken off the BR reference page so we never had any new people checking in.

    Then there were less articles written every month and less people commenting on articles.

    I stopped posting comments and writing articles about 2 years ago because the whole thing became aggravating and kind of pointless.

  72. John Q Says:

    Going on what Kerry (Whiz) posted, basically an unintended consequence of having an extra round of playoffs is that weaker teams will win the WS or win the Pennant or even make the playoffs. I think another consequence is that it's weakened the value of the regular season.

    I think there's only been 3 WS winners that have had the best record in baseball since the Wild card was first used in 1995. The '98 Yanks, '07 Red Sox and the '09 Yanks are the only teams in the last 17 seasons with the best record who have won the WS. The top two teams in BB have only met once (1995) in the WS in the Wild Card era.

    Then you have odd things like the 83 win 2006 Cardinals who had the 13th best record in baseball and actually had a Worse record than 5 teams that didn't make the playoffs.

    The 2000 Yankees had the 11th best record in BB and then in a weird twist, the Indians had 3 more wins than the Yanks and they didn't even get into the playoffs.

    The 2003 WS champion Marlins had the 7th best record in BB.

    The 2001 D-Backs had the 6th best record in BB.

    The 1997 A.L. champion Indians had the 9th best record in BB.

    The 2005 N.L. Champion Astros had the 8th best record in BB.

    The 2002 N.L. Champion Giants had the 7th best record in BB.

    The 2007 N.L. Champoin Rockies had the 6th best record in BB.

    The 2008 Dodgers had the 15th best record in BB and made playoffs while 7 teams had better records and didn't make the playoffs. The Mets won 5 more games and didn't make the playoffs.

    The 2005 Padres had the 14th best record in BB and made the playoffs while 6 teams had better records and didn't make the playoffs. The Padres won 82 games made the playoffs yet the Indians won 93 games and didn't make the playoffs. The Phillies won 88 games and didn't make the playoffs.

    The 2007 Cubs had the 12th best record in BB and made the playoffs. 4 teams had a better record and didn't make the playoffs.

  73. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes John, ideally I would have that single round of 21 games, AND find a way to reward teams that won each division, maybe a wild card. But it would have been better if only 2 teams played for the World Championships Maybe the others play also, but for some other honor or reward. It seems strange, but then the team selected would likely to be the very best.

    The archives disapeared & there were all those problems. Chuck rationalizes it like those displaced were not tough enough, & does credit you with learning a lot more about SM since then. Though he thought you did not then, & would not admit wrong. I have called a some folks there on the sitels bullying, juvenile mentality-he still takes shots sometimes at someone long gone. Shaun was stubborn about some things that did not make sense, & eventually became mean at the end to, but it was like a schoolyard psychodrama

    Recently a # said said they would stop all the cursing if it brought more folks in. I made clear that was secondary to the hostility directed. Some understand that it is chicken & egg-we have less content, but that is not the only reason for less traffic, some caused by the brittle machismo. But folks like Chuck often have made a noticeable effort to be civil when I mention it, to their credit.

    When the bizarre tangents were fun & not personal attacks I did not mind them, & was guilty of my own occasionally! That is the upside of the loopiness there. truth is I have sen a couple get more faux-tough to conform to the tone there-you recall Hoss-who otherwise were quite intelligent & interesting (well, he was reactive also early on).

  74. Whiz Says:

    I've been busy, although I do sometimes look at what's going on. I still need to post the winner of the DC Challenge there. It was a bit of a miracle, too, just like this year's World Series -- Chuck tied for first! (I know Chuck reads bbref, too, so congratulations!)

    Regarding the 257-game series, there must have been some assumption about how closely matched the teams are (I haven't read the article John linked). I calculate that it would take 257 games to make sure that a team with about a 55% chance of winning one game would win the series 95% of the time. Maybe that was the criterion.

  75. Whiz Says:

    Hah, I just read the article and it DID assume a 55% chance of winning one game.

    That's the beautiful thing about math -- if you make the same assumptions and do the calculation correctly, everybody gets the same answer.

  76. John Q Says:

    @73 Mike,

    Well it's not like it was all bad, there were plenty of times when those bizarre tangents would actually be kind of hilarious in the directions they took. There were also plenty of excellent discussions/debates that went on all the time. For Example, I remember for about 4-5 months there were some really good questions debated (Best right handed hitter, Best player not to win a MVP, best pitcher not to win Cy Young etc.).

    That site really needed a moderator or at least someone who was in charge of the ship and act like a arbiter. Chuck became the de-facto moderator because he was online all the time, he was the oldest, he had the most experience, and he was the most domineering etc. Chuck is really best suited to be a commentator and present a scout's viewpoint about the nuts & bolts of playing baseball.

    I never doubted Chuck's knowledge about actually playing baseball or that his knowledge about hitting, fielding, base-running, and pitching was superior than my knowledge on the subject. For example he could spot dozens of little nuances about the topic of hitting; hands-arms-feet positions.

    Chuck saying that "I" couldn't admit I was wrong is kind of hilarious when he was the poster child for not conceding on any topic/argument. Also Chuck would give brazen predictions or statements and then disappear when those statements were found to be false or when predictions wouldn't even remotely come true. Then he would give glib and oblique comments that did nothing except cause more of a break down in discourse.

    Another major problem of that site was that articles were never able to breathe. From the first comments, people would entrench themselves into various orthodoxies and then the comments would turn into a kind of high school locker room forum.

    As far as "not being tough enough", I'm 45 years old and that kind of comment comes off as juvenile. I mean it's only baseball, it's not a life and death subject. The threads and posts would get far too aggravating and mean spirited, and vulgar and I found myself exerting far too much energy and time on subjects that were really quite trivial.

    I'm not without fault because I would join in on the fray and really didn't like the way I was expressing myself.

    One criticism Chuck had of me that was 100% correct is that I would become hyper-critical or that I would feel the need to "correct" everyones articles and comments. I think this was something I was doing subconsciously because of the time I spent as a history teacher reading essays and correcting tests.

    Another self criticism I have of myself is that I would become very pedantic with my comments as if I was some sort of omniscient baseball oracle.

  77. John Q Says:

    @73 Mike,

    The way baseball is structured now is kind of wacky arbitrary and kind of schizophrenic. On the one hand they want to create extra levels of playoffs like the NBA but on the other hand they want to hold onto arbitrary divisions and the integrity of the 162 game schedule.

    How can you even justify a best of 5 LDS after playing 162 games? That would be like making the olympic gold for the marathon a 1 mile run.

    Baseball has teams in 4,5,and 6 team divisions?? Baseball has one league with 14 teams and another with 16?? A team in the A.L. west has a 1/4 chance of winning it's division and a 1/14 chance of winning the wild card. A team in the N.L. Central has a 1/6 chance of winning their division and a 1/16 of winning the wild card. How does that make any sense?

    There's only been 3 seasons since 1995 where the teams with the best 8 records in MLB made the playoffs ('96, '02, '04).

    Then you have seasons like '06 where 5 teams had better records than the Cardinals yet didn't even make the playoffs. How can you justify a system where a team with the 13th best record in the sport makes an 8 team playoff in a 162 game schedule and wins the Championship??

    How can you justify the '05 Padres, '07 Cubs, '08 Dodgers, and '09 Twins making the playoffs?

    Where's the logic in not giving the Wild Card home field advantage under any circumstances in the LDS & LCS yet giving the Wild Card team home field advantage in the World Series???

    There's only 4 seasons in the last 17 seasons where the WS consisted of at least 2 teams from the top 4 records in MLB: '95, '96, '99, '04.

    I think what this has done is weaken the interest and value of the WS. The World Series does about a 15 Share now in the tv ratings. There are regular season football games that have better ratting than that. When I was a kid in the 70's, the WS used to do 50 shares!! There are other mitigating factors but I think a big part of the poor rating/lack of interest is lack of great teams meeting in a final championship.

  78. Todd Says:

    I agree with John Q regarding the expanded playoffs.

    Although I am old school and liked the pre-1969 set up the best, as the best teams were rewarded with a trip to the World Series, I recognize that system is not coming back. Too many fans are emotionally wrapped up in "exciting" divisional and wildcard races (witness all the excitement on these boards over the battles between the 4th and 5th-best teams in each league to make it to the postseason).

    What I would like to see, though, is the elimination of many of those factors that John mentioned that make the current system so arbitrary. The first thing to do would be to eliminate the divisions and have 15 teams in each league. Each team would then play the other 14 teams in their league the same number of times. Interleague play would be eliminated. The idea would be to make each team clear the same hurdles by playing, for example, the Yankees 14 times and the Mariners 14 times, instead of playing the Mariners 18 times and the Yankees 6 times. Things like that.

    Now, this precise proposal will never happen, but something akin to it might. And if it does, I think it would create more interest in the long run by keeping teams like the '06 Cardinals and '05 Padres out of the playoffs while rewarding teams that do well during the regular season but would otherwise be left out.

    Another possibility is to give the best team in the league that season a bye as occurs in the first round of the NFL for the top two teams. In other words, I'd like to see some kind of advantage go to the team that proved its worth over a full season.

  79. John Q Says:

    @78 Todd,

    Well you couldn't have two 15 team leagues with no inter-league play because you would essentially have one team in each not playing every day because of the odd number of teams. You would need to have two leagues of 14 teams or two leagues of 16 teams or you could have two leagues of 15 teams with an inter-league match every series.

    To me the whole thing was kind of done on an ad-hoc basis without that much attention to long term problems. What they did is weaken the value of the regular season by adding the additional round of playoffs.

    One of the big problems I see is that baseball is still kind of half in the whole division pennant winning system of 1969-1993 and half in the NBA style of top 8 teams in each conference making the playoffs each year. That baseball has a system where a team can be eligible for an 8 team playoffs like the Padres in 2005 and still have the 15th best record in the sport is ridiculous. That the '06 Cardinals could have a WORSE record than 5 other teams and still make the playoffs and win the World Series is equally ridiculous.

    Baseball is also very odd in that the way the game is played during the regular season and the playoffs is equally ridiculous. #5 pitchers aren't needed in the playoffs and #4 pitchers are barely needed in the playoffs. How exactly does it make any sense that a second place team 6 games back gets home field advantage in the World Series like the Cards did in 2011??

    How does it make any sense that the Rangers are forced to change the way they play by having their primary DH (Michael Young) play 1b in game 6 & 7 because there's no DH used in the NL parks?? Young plays 1B in game 6 and makes two key errors.

    The one good thing these playoffs do is balance somewhat the financial inequities of the big market teams and the smaller market teams. As I've said before you really don't have to build a 100 team anymore. At a certain point those extra wins become superfluous and expensive. A smaller or mid market team should probably shoot for a budget to win 90-92 wins a season because you'll make the playoffs about 85% of the time with 90-93 wins per year. And I think 93 or less win teams have won about 60% of the WS in the since 1996.

    The Phillies were still going to make the playoffs without Cliff Lee. Maybe they'd win 95 games but they'd still make the playoffs. The Phillies only reason to sign Cliff Lee was to pitch in the playoffs which he did and he performed terribly. They still owe Lee $120 million in the next five years while he's between the ages of 33-37. In two years there going to have about $75 million in Halladay, Lee and Howard and all three are going to be around 33 years old.

  80. Richard Chester Says:

    @78, @79

    John Q., Todd:

    For the most part I agree with your ideas. What bothers me is the large number of teams ,14 or 15, in a league. (It should be an even number.) With that many teams a team that gets off to a bad start, for example being last in mid-May, will have one heck of a time getting into the pennant race. Their fans would consider the season to be over. With fewer teams in a league they would have at least have a fighting chance.

    Of course doing so would mean four 8-team leagues with two new teams being created.

  81. John Q Says:

    @80 Richard Chester,

    Yeah part of the problem was the expansion MLB during the 90's because the teams wanted to re-coup the loses they had during collusion. The league was kind of out of balance anyway because of the '77 expansion in the A.L.. I never really understood why they expanded one league and not the other.

    The thing they should have done from the beginning was to have two wild cards with a 1 game play in game so they can strengthen the value of winning a division.. I always thought that they should have a 7 game lds as well.

    Three 5 team divisions with one inter-league game going every series makes sense. Or they can expand to 32 teams and have 8 four team divisions with no wild card.

  82. Matthew Conrwell Says:

    Since 1982, the Cardinals have occupied...

    13% of all NL playoff spots and 17% of all NLCS spots.

    It would be expected that they would run the spectrum of reasonably expected wins (82), reasonably expected losses (96, 04) very unexpected losses (85, 87, 05) and very unexpected wins (06,11).

    When you are always in the running...anything/everything can and will happen over time.

    Consider any championships to be a reward for the organization's constant ability to put out good/above average teams. Not a chance that I will undermine that winning organization one bit.