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Broom Dodgers
2006-07-24 09:38
by Mike Carminati

The Dodgers lost to the Cardinals 6-1 yesterday to complete a season sweep in their seven-game, inter-division season series. The Dodgers have been outscored 35-8 in the series.

It was just the second time in the Dodgers franchise history that the team was swept in a season series (not including interleague play). The only other time that the Dodgers were swept by a National League rival in a season series was in the strike-shortened 1994 when the Braves took six straight games from LA (with 7 games canceled by the strike).

Of course, season sweeps went the way of the dodo after the National League settled on eight teams for the 1900 season. In the nineteenth century, there were 119 sweeps, 88 of which came in the tumble down godfather to the National League, the National Association (1871-75). From 1900 to 1969, there were no season sweeps in either leagues.

After the Cleveland Spiders were swept by both Cincinnati and Brooklyn in their 14-game season series in 1899, the next season sweep did not come until the advent of divisional play, seventy years later. Given that the old eight-team leagues prescribed 22-game season series, a sweep was near to impossible. But when baseball went to four divisions in 1969, teams started playing 18 games with the teams in their division and just 12 against the teams of the other division, reviving the season sweep.

The first in the new round of season sweeps came in 1970 when the O's took all twelve games they played against the second-year Royals. The next sweep didn't come until 1978 (when the O's took 11 games from the A's). Of the 46 season sweeps since 1970—say that three times fast—10 came in the two severely strike-shortened years (1981 & 1994), and 32 have come since each went to three divisions (ignoring the 1994 strike year). Last year there were three season sweeps, all six-game series: the Astros 6-0 vs. the Phils (for the second straight year), the Twins vs. the D-Rays, and the Phils vs. the Padres. There were seven in 2004 and five in 2003, all of which consisted of six- or seven-game series.

The last season series of ten or more games that was swept by one team was in 1999, when the Rangers took all twelve of their games against the Twins. The last time a team swept a division rival in a season series was when the Braves took all 13 games from the Rockies in 1993, their inaugural year (That was also when the schedule-makers decided to have teams play more games with teams outside their division than within their division). That was the only season sweep by division rivals in a full season since the advent of divisional play.

Overall the Braves lead all major-league franchises in season series sweeps with six (three since 1993 and three before 1893). The Royals lead in most times being swept in a season series (also 6). Here are the all-time standings in season sweeps for all active franchises:

FranchiseLast Time SweeperTimes SweeperLast Time SweepeeTimes Sweepee
Arizona Diamondbacks2002120041
Atlanta Braves20036None0
Baltimore Orioles2004520042
Boston Red Sox19811None0
Chicago Cubs18852None0
Chicago White Sox19811None0
Cincinnati Reds1998520022
Cleveland Indians1996419941
Colorado RockiesNone020032
Detroit TigersNone020043
Florida MarlinsNone019983
Houston Astros20053None0
Kansas City Royals1988220046
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim2004119942
Los Angeles Dodgers2004220062
Milwaukee Brewers1998120042
Minnesota Twins2005220034
New York MetsNone020021
New York Yankees2003519901
Oakland Athletics2004219953
Philadelphia Phillies2005220054
Pittsburgh PiratesNone020042
San Diego PadresNone020053
San Francisco Giants2002420031
Seattle MarinersNone0None0
St. Louis Cardinals2006318973
Tampa Bay Devil RaysNone020052
Texas Rangers19991None0
Toronto Blue Jays2002119811
Washington Nationals2004420011

The most games win in a season-series sweep were 16 when the Cubs (then Chicago White Stockings) over the now-defunct Buffalo Bisons in 1885. Here are the most in a season-series sweep:

SweeperActive?SweepeeActive?YrTot GTot W
Chicago CubsYBuffalo BisonsN1885160
Cincinnati RedsYCleveland SpidersN1899140
Los Angeles DodgersYCleveland SpidersN1899140
Atlanta BravesYPhiladelphia PhilliesY1883140
Atlanta BravesYColorado RockiesY1993130
San Francisco GiantsYLouisville ColonelsN1894130
Atlanta BravesYBaltimore OriolesN1892130
Texas RangersYMinnesota TwinsY1999120
Cleveland IndiansYDetroit TigersY1996120
Washington NationalsYSan Diego PadresY1994120
Oakland AthleticsYNew York YankeesY1990120
Kansas City RoyalsYBaltimore OriolesY1988120
Baltimore OriolesYKansas City RoyalsY1970120
San Francisco GiantsYSt. Louis CardinalsY1897120
Baltimore OriolesNPhiladelphia PhilliesY1896120
Cincinnati RedsYSt. Louis CardinalsY1896120

However, the most wins in a season series is 21, last done by the Cubs against the Reds in 1945. Note that the highest win totals all came in the glory days of eight-team leagues:

Team1Team2YrTot WTot L
New York YankeesSt. Louis Browns1927211
Pittsburgh PiratesCincinnati Reds1937211
Chicago CubsBoston Doves1909211
Chicago CubsCincinnati Reds1945211
New York GiantsBoston Beaneaters1904202
Philadelphia AthleticsSt. Louis Browns1911202
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals1908202
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals1907202
Pittsburgh PiratesBoston Doves1909201
Pittsburgh PiratesBoston Braves1935202
St. Louis CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies1928202
St. Louis CardinalsCincinnati Reds1931202
Brooklyn DodgersPittsburgh Pirates1953202
Boston PilgrimsWashington Senators1904202
Cleveland IndiansBoston Red Sox1954202

The most wins head-to-head all-time were 1219 (through 2005) by the Giants against the Phillies:

Franchise1Franchise2Tot WTot L
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia Phillies1219888
Chicago CubsAtlanta Braves11991000
San Francisco GiantsAtlanta Braves11981048
Chicago CubsPhiladelphia Phillies11951064
St. Louis CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies1183921
San Francisco GiantsCincinnati Reds1179969
New York YankeesBaltimore Orioles1177810
Pittsburgh PiratesChicago Cubs11741102
Pittsburgh PiratesPhiladelphia Phillies11731024
Pittsburgh PiratesSt. Louis Cardinals11631087
Atlanta BravesPhiladelphia Phillies11571039
Los Angeles DodgersAtlanta Braves1143991
San Francisco GiantsLos Angeles Dodgers11311098
Los Angeles DodgersCincinnati Reds11291120
St. Louis CardinalsCincinnati Reds11251044
Los Angeles DodgersPhiladelphia Phillies1121879
Cincinnati RedsLos Angeles Dodgers11201129
Chicago CubsSt. Louis Cardinals11151059
Cincinnati RedsAtlanta Braves11131035
San Francisco GiantsPittsburgh Pirates1105956
Chicago CubsPittsburgh Pirates11021174
San Francisco GiantsChicago Cubs11021033

As for the 27-run run differential in the Cards-Dodgers season series, it's nothing compared to the all-time high, 117 runs:

Chicago White StockingsYPhiladelphia QuakersY188414219174117
St. Louis BrownsYCleveland BluesN188718121598117
Boston RedsNWashington StatesmenN189118217661115
Brooklyn BridegroomsYLouisville ColonelsN188919118571114
New York GiantsYBuffalo BisonsN188515115038112
Philadelphia PhilliesYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189017219583112
Chicago White StockingsYKansas City CowboysN188617117463111
New York YankeesYPhiladelphia AthleticsY193918417968111
Philadelphia QuakersYIndianapolis HoosiersN188717118275107
Boston Red SoxYPhiladelphia AthleticsY195019319084106
Brooklyn BridegroomsYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189018219791106
Cincinnati RedsYCleveland SpidersN189914014035105
New York GiantsYBoston BeaneatersY190519314540105
Baltimore OriolesNCleveland BluesN188717316358105
Detroit TigersYSt. Louis BrownsY193517518278104
Boston BeaneatersYPhiladelphia QuakersY188314016967102
Boston Red SoxYSt. Louis BrownsY1950193216115101
Chicago ColtsYPittsburgh AlleghenysY189017318181100
Pittsburgh PiratesYNew York GiantsY190116416565100

The average margin of victory in the Cards-Dodgers series was almost four runs (3.86 runs). The most lopsided margin of victory in a season series was 25 runs:

Team1Active?Team2Active?YrWLRRAAvg MoV
Middletown MansfieldsNBrooklyn EckfordsN1872206212 25.0
Boston Red StockingsNWashington NationalsN187210273 24.0
Baltimore CanariesNBaltimore MarylandsN18734010116 21.3
Boston Red StockingsNFort Wayne KekiongasN187120519 21.0
Washington Blue LegsNBaltimore MarylandsN1873205110 20.5
New York MutualsNWashington OlympicsN187210255 20.0
Cleveland Forest CitysNBrooklyn EckfordsN187210245 19.0
Philadelphia AthleticsNFort Wayne KekiongasN1871204610 18.0
Baltimore CanariesNWashington OlympicsN187220385 16.5
Troy HaymakersNWashington OlympicsN187210182 16.0
Baltimore CanariesNWashington NationalsN187230537 15.3
Philadelphia AthleticsNWashington NationalsN1875509317 15.2

Of course, these are all nineteenth-century teams. Since 1900, the most lopsided margin of victory in a season series was 5.6 runs when the 114-win Yankees took ten games from the lowly Royals:

Team1Team2YrWLRRAAvg MoV
New York YankeesKansas City Royals19981007822 5.60
Oakland AthleticsSeattle Mariners1981615415 5.57
Baltimore OriolesKansas City Royals2002705516 5.57
New York YankeesMinnesota Twins2003704913 5.14
Oakland AthleticsTampa Bay Devil Rays2000726721 5.11
New York YankeesPhiladelphia Athletics193918417968 5.05
Pittsburgh PiratesNew York Giants190116416565 5.00
Oakland AthleticsKansas City Royals2005424112 4.83
Atlanta BravesHouston Astros2005514213 4.83
Boston Red SoxPhiladelphia Athletics195019319084 4.82
Chicago White SoxSeattle Mariners1994917830 4.80
New York GiantsBoston Beaneaters190519314540 4.77
Detroit TigersSt. Louis Browns193517518278 4.73
Arizona DiamondbacksCincinnati Reds2002604214 4.67
Florida MarlinsSan Diego Padres2003514820 4.67
Houston AstrosLos Angeles Dodgers2003424618 4.67
Boston Red SoxSt. Louis Browns1950193216115 4.59
Houston AstrosPhiladelphia Phillies1999615826 4.57
Oakland AthleticsMinnesota Twins1994526331 4.57
Los Angeles DodgersSan Diego Padres197416212947 4.56
New York YankeesKansas City Royals2001604619 4.50
Seattle MarinersTexas Rangers1994919146 4.50

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