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The Worst of Series? Pt. 2
2008-10-07 21:33
by Mike Carminati

As Cliff requested, here are the worst ten postseason series based on combined team record per playoff era.

First, before the advent of the League Championship Series, i.e., pre-1969. You'll note that aside from a couple of clunkers, these are pretty good teams. That's what happens when you only let two teams into the postseason:

YrRoundWinnerWLLoserWLSeries WSeries LTotWTotLPCT
1926WSSt. Louis Cardinals8965New York Yankees916343180128.584
1959WSLos Angeles Dodgers8868Chicago White Sox946042182128.587
1964WSSt. Louis Cardinals9369New York Yankees996343192132.593
1966WSBaltimore Orioles9763Los Angeles Dodgers956740192130.596
1958WSNew York Yankees9262Milwaukee Braves926243184124.597
1967WSSt. Louis Cardinals10160Boston Red Sox927043193130.598
1916WSBoston Red Sox9163Brooklyn Robins946041185123.601
1924WSWashington Senators9262New York Giants936043185122.603
1945WSDetroit Tigers8865Chicago Cubs985643186121.606
1922WSNew York Giants9361New York Yankees946040187121.607
1962WSNew York Yankees9666San Francisco Giants1036243199128.609

Next the middle era, 1969 to 1993 when there were four playoffs teams, two per league, and two rounds (LCS and World Series) of playoffs (except for the strike shortened 1981 season when we had basically the current system of eight teams albeit decided by split season). You'll note a dropoff around here:

YrRoundWinnerWLLoserWLSeries WSeries LTotWTotLPCT
1973WSOakland Athletics9468New York Mets827943176147.545
1987WSMinnesota Twins8577St. Louis Cardinals956743180144.556
1974ALCSOakland Athletics9072Baltimore Orioles917131181143.559
1982NLCSSt. Louis Cardinals9270Atlanta Braves897330181143.559
1983NLCSPhiladelphia Phillies9072Los Angeles Dodgers917131181143.559
1973NLCSNew York Mets8279Cincinnati Reds996332181142.560
1981WSLos Angeles Dodgers6347New York Yankees59484212295.562
1981NLCSLos Angeles Dodgers6347Montreal Expos60483212395.564
1987ALCSMinnesota Twins8577Detroit Tigers986441183141.565
1980NLCSPhiladelphia Phillies9171Houston Astros937032184141.566
1981ALCSNew York Yankees5948Oakland Athletics64453012393.569

So how did the average series change over time? Here are the average per playoff era and round:

YrsRound TypeAvg PCTFirst YrLast Yr
1994 - PresentDS.58419952008
1994 - PresentLCS.58919952008
1994 - PresentWS.59519952007

The quality of World Series teams has dropped dramatically as the number of playoff teams has expanded. This is may be due to lower caliber teams —based on regular season records— slipping farther into the postseason. There are, of course, other factors such as improved competitive balance (due to free agency, the draft, etc.) and a lower threshold to reach the playoffs in the first place—why invest to win 100 games when 90 will get you to the postseason?

Still, better teams tend to go further into the postseason though the combined winning percentage difference between each round is getting smaller.

Now, let's look at the average per era. You'll note that the difference between the last two eras is less than one would expect:

YrsAvg PCTFirst YrLast Yr
1994 - Present.58719952008

Finally, here are the averages per playoff round. Again expanding to 8 teams has not tended to weaken the field substantially, That was accomplished when they opened Pandora's box by adding divisional play in 1969:

Round TypeAvg PCTFirst YrLast Yr

I never expected that the arguments against the wild card and an additional round of playoffs would boil down to a matter of preference, but Selig be damned, it has not been the bane that I anticipated.

Now the best-of-five playoff series, that's another story…

As for Cliff's other question, it's odd to see Larry Bowa in a Dodgers uniform, but probably equally odd to see Davey Lopes in a Phillies uni. How about Zimmer as a Ray?

2008-10-08 07:56:51
1.   Cliff Corcoran
I forgot about Lopes! Zimmer, nah, not so much.

Good stuff, Mike. Thanks.

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