Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lose One Game and Why Bother?

Here's a random factoid regarding one of the two teams remaining in contention for the American League Pennant.  Prior to 1969, there were no divisions in Major League Baseball, only the American and National Leagues, so the post-season consisted only of the World Series.  It was only with the invention of the East and West divisions in each league that the League Championship Series (ALCS/NLCS) came into existence.  It was only in 1995 (first completed season with three divisions and a wildcard) that the Division Series came into existence.

Over that time, the Detroit Tigers have reached the playoffs six times including this season.  In the three times since 1995 (2006, 11, 12), they have won their division series, meaning they have played in the ALCS, or played for a Pennant in each of those appearances.  Twice, the Tigers would win the American League Pennant, losing three times, and the sixth has obviously yet to be completed.  In the years they won (1984 and 2006), the Tigers swept their opponent in the ALCS.  Maybe by pure coincidence, the Tigers are only a game away from winning their third AL Pennant since playoff expansion began, and are on the verge of sweeping yet again as they are up 3-0 over the New York Yankees.

The Tigers are the only team to sweep an ALCS (having done it twice) since 1990 when the Oakland Athletics completed the feat.  Also, the last team to sweep the ALCS and go on to win the World Series that year was the 1984 Detroit Tigers, although the ALCS was only a best-of-five at the time.  Note that the Atlanta Braves swept the NLCS in 1995 en route to their own World Series victory.

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