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Monday, October 29, 2012
New York Tribune, October 29, 1912: Word comes from San Francisco that the mother of Fred Snodgrass denies that she fainted when the news came that her son had dropped a fly in that fatal tenth inning of the deciding games [sic] of the world’s championship series.
Snodgrass and the Giants would get a shot at redemption in the 1913 World Series, though that didn’t go much better than it had the previous two years.

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1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:16 AM (#4287131)Hopefully Brochu won't run this team into the ground, forcing it to be moved to a different date.
C: Mandy Romero
1B: Karim Garcia
2B: Solly Hofman
3B: Ralph Winegarner
SS: 1970s Yankees/Orioles Frank Baker
LF: Darrell Brown
CF: Will Venable
RF: Jesse Barfield
SP: Mark Baldwin
SP: Jim Bibby
SP: R.A. Dickey
SP: Happy Finneran
SP: Earl Yingling
RP: Pete Richert
Owner: Claude Brochu
Would Ken Macha be one?
MVP  Madison Bumgarner
MVTiger  Doug Fister
MVHitter  Pablo Sandoval, coming in behind six separate pitchers
MVTigerHitter  Austin Jackson, the only one with a positive score
LVP  Prince Fielder
LVGiant  Angel Pagan
LVPitcher  Justin Verlander
LVGiantPitcher  George Kontos and Matt Cain had scores of 0; no Giant pitcher had a negative score, which is pretty impressive.
Top 7 hitters:
Marco Scutaro .192
Raul Ibanez .172
Pablo Sandoval .098
David Freese .076
Brandon Crawford .076
Daniel Descalso .068
Miguel Cabrera .065
It should be noted here that the preWorld Series totals posted in a previous post were incorrect in some cases, thanks to a data entry screwup on my part for the TigersA's ALDS; I had somehow managed to copy in only the positive WPA events for each hitter, which obviously throws off the results.
Bottom 7 hitters:
Adam Jones .084
Angel Pagan .092
Jhonny Peralta .097
Robinson Cano .105
Alex Rodriguez .113
Nick Swisher .115
Prince Fielder .144
So is this enough to anoint Prince as the Next Great Choker?
Top 7 pitchers:
Ryan Vogelsong .159
Doug Fister .149
CC Sabathia .144
Darren O'Day .132
Sergio Romo .115
Justin Verlander .097
Anibal Sanchez .096
If you include hitting, Sabathia passes Fister and Sanchez passes Verlander. Of course, those guys didn't actually have to hit.
Bottom 7 pitchers:
Sean Doolittle .046
Mat Latos .051
Lance Lynn .075
David Phelps .088
Chris Carpenter .108
Drew Storen .177
Jose Valverde .191
That 7thworst score, if you invert it, would rank 19th among positive scores for this postseason.
Overall, pitchers combined for +1.081 championships added this postseason, which is a whole bunch.
1996 +1.528
2001 +1.458
1995 +1.338
2000 +1.168
2010 +1.099
2012 +1.081
2003 +.967
2006 +.817
1997 +.740
2007 +.625
2005 +.614
1998 +.589
2008 +.547
1999 +.336
2004 +.063
2009 .255
2002 .305
2011 .846
So this year was very pitchingheavy, which won't come as a huge shock. But it wasn't historically pitchingheavy, whereas last year's playoffs were historically hittingheavy.
6. WS Game 4  Giants 4, Tigers 3 (10). The Giants win the Series!
5. ALDS1 Game 3  Yankees 3, Orioles 2 (12). IBANEZ!
4. NLDS1 Game 1  Nationals 3, Cardinals 2. This one seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. The Cards took an early 21 lead, and the Nats kept rallying  they left one runner on in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings, then left the bases loaded in the sixth. The Cards loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, but the Nats escaped on a force at home and a double play. In the eighth, Washington put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Mitchell Boggs worked that down to second and third with two away before Tyler Moore singled in two against Scrabble. St. Louis got the tying run to second in the eighth before going down. Close game throughout, with the trailing team mounting a lot of rallies.
3. ALDS2 Game 2  Tigers 5, A's 4. Another one that flew somewhat under the radar, despite being absolutely NUTS. It was 11 going into the seventh. The A's took the lead on a Cliff Pennington RBI single. Detroit put two on with two outs in the bottom of the inning; Miguel Cabrera flied to center, where Coco Crisp dropped the ball, allowing both runners to score. In the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes singled, stole second, stole third, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch; Josh Reddick then homered to give Oakland the lead. But the Tigers came back again on two singles, a sac bunt, and a wild pitch (how often do you see two gametying wild pitches in the same inning?) After Oakland left runners at the corners in the top of the ninth, the Tigers loaded the bases, then won on a Don Kelly sac fly. For those counting at home, that's four lead changes in the last three innings. Not just one of the best games of the year, but one of the best 9inning playoff games ever played.
2. ALDS1 Game 4  Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (13). 19 at bats with runners in scoring position through the first 12 innings, and zero hits.
1. ALCS Game 1  Tigers 6, Yankees 4 (12). IBANEZ! 2: Electric Boogaloo.
It was relatively dull; if you add up the scores for each game, it's the secondworst of the Wild Card era, beating only 2007. It's also fairly close to '04 and '99. In fact, by simple total score, it's the fifthworst ever, also beating 1963, '66, and '89. And it wouldn't do any better in the alternative method I've toyed around with, which weights the excitement of each game by its championship leverage, because the best game (yesterday's) was also the lowestleverage.
That being said, I enjoyed both yesterday's game and the Series as a whole. But that largely came from things that my system either wouldn't care for (2hit shutout) or wouldn't pick up (Sandoval's 3 homers, the double that hit third base, Tim McCarver confusing Barry Bonds and Barry Manilow).
1924 WS
1980 NLCS
1995 ALDS2 (YankeesMariners)
1975 WS
1912 WS
1991 WS
1997 WS
2011 WS
1952 WS
2003 ALCS
All series that went the distance and were notably exciting; it's a reasonable list. The issue that using pure game leverage runs into is that it places (I think) an undue amount of weight on the series lasting its full length, because Game 7 gets twice as much weight as any other. Because of that, the best sweep ever (2005 WS) ends up in a virtual tie with the worst 7game series ever (this year's NLCS).
If you adjust for that just a little, say by taking the square root of game leverage (which still gives Game 7 1.4 times as much weight as anything else), the top list doesn't change much:
1924 WS
1975 WS
1995 ALDS2
1912 WS
1980 NLCS
1991 WS
2011 WS
1952 WS
1997 WS
1925 WS
But some of the lowerdown results jump around a bit. Excellent 6game series like the '97 ALCS and '99 NLCS move up a lot (from 33rd to 14th and 61st to 22nd, respectively); the '99 NLCS is especially helped because it started out 30, and therefore its middle games (including the Grand Slam Single game, one of the best playoff games ever) were weighted very weakly. Also moving way up is the '04 ALCS, which went 7, but had two absolutely classic games in lowleverage situations (30 and 31).
Moving down, you mostly have 5game series; adding extra weight to less important games is going to do the most damage to series that have fewer games overall. The biggest drop is the '02 NLDS between the Braves and Giants, which went 5 games and had a goodnotgreat Game 5 that was preceded by four blowouts. The other big drops ('77 and '82 ALCSs, '72 NLCS, '01 MarinersIndians LDS) were largely variations on the same theme, 5gamers that peaked in Game 5 without the rest of the series matching their quality. The biggest tumbles from 7game series are similar  1940 WS, 1960 WS, and 1992 NLCS, all featuring excellent decisive games with relatively tepid predecessors. (Not that the '60 WS does too badly either way; it's #21 in the first method, #42 in the second.)
All this, I guess, leads up to a question: How important would the Dugout say that it is for a classic series to go to a seventh game?
Offhand, I'd say a sixgame Series can be almost as good, especially if the sequence is LLWWWW for the eventual champions, and the last four are close games. The 1996 World Series was like that, and to some extent 1981, though Game Six there was a blowout. Both Series were tense and memorable. The two World Series that the Jays won didn't fit the LLWWWW pattern, but they were tense sixgame series, too.
Given the number of series that have gone a full seven and been classics it is hard for a less than 7 game series to crack any kind of meaningful list. Without spending any real time thinking about it the best sub7 game World Series of my lifetime that come to mind are 2003 (6 games), 2000 (5 games) and 2005 (4 games). The recentness of these series probably is causing me to forget a series in the 70s or 80s but looking at that list I don't see any series that would crack ahead of any list of series with more games.
What's the worst 7 game WS of recent memory? My recollection is that 1997 was a bit of a snoozer until Game Seven.
Game leverage agrees; basically, the leverage is going to be at its highest when there are as many splits as you can have for a series of a given length. So, for a 5gamer, leverage will be maximized when the first two games are a split; for a 6gamer, when the first two are split and so are the second two, and for a 7gamer, when the first three pairs are all splits.
The best 6game World Series according to both methods have been 1992, 1980, 1935, 1993, and 2003. After that, the methods diverge pretty sharply in their selections. The worst, according to both lists, was 1930.
As a basis for comparison, when the leverage is weighted fully, 1960 ranks 21st and 1980 ranks 40th; when it's given partial weight, those rankings switch almost exactly, to 42nd and 20th. So, which would you prefer  a 7gamer that has an excellent final act, but only one particularly decent game leading up to it, and two emphatically dull blowouts (including a Game 3 that's the secondworst playoff game ever), or a 6gamer with three legitimately terrific outings and only one that's not especially competitive?
5: 2000, 1941, 1933
4: 2005 (by a HUGE margin), then a virtual tie between 1950 and 1914
Bestof7 LCSs
4: 1995 NLCS (there are only 6 4game sweeps to choose from)
5: 1996 ALCS (MAIER!), 1987 ALCS, 1991 ALCS
6: 1997 ALCS, and then it depends on the weighting. But the next four are 1986 NL, 1999 NL, 1993 NL, and 2009 AL, in some order.
Bestof5 (old LCSs, LDSs)
3: 1995 AL (CLEBOS), 1969 AL, 2009 AL (MINNYY)
4: The methods diverge immediately; the lessweighted one picks 1995 NL (ATLCOL) as the best, while the fullyweighted one puts it outside the top 5. But both have 2003 NL (FLASFG), 2009 NL (PHICOL), and 2004 AL (NYYMIN) in the top 4.
In a best of seven, the worst World Series to go the distance was 1987. It's tied for the worst bestofseven postseason series, period  tied with the 2012 NLCS.
Agreed.
In a best of seven, the worst World Series to go the distance was 1987. It's tied for the worst bestofseven postseason series, period  tied with the 2012 NLCS.
I have this year's NLCS as the worst on its own, and by a fairly healthy margin. 1965 grades out as the worst 7game WS by one method, and 1968 by the other  actually, 1967 is right in that group as well. That's an odd run of unspectacular 7game series in a very short period of time. Anyway, '87 isn't a classic, exactly, but it does have its three best games in 5, 6, and 7, and all of those were at least pretty good. It's below the median 7gamer, but still among the top 50 playoff series ever.
Of course, even by the method that's somewhat less friendly to them, all 7gamers outside of this year's NLCS are above the median score for postseason series.
I'm surprised this isn't the other way around. Each series had 4 onerun or extrainning games, but game 6 in 1986 has to be one of the best playoff games ever.
Game 6 is topnotch (although I probably have it ranked slightly lower than most people would; it's in 28th by my system, mostly because not much happened in regulation. Still, that's 98th percentile, which is pretty respectable...) It's better than any game of the '97 ALCS  but if you do a combined ranking of the games in the two series, the '97 entry has games 25 on the list (Games 3, 4, 6, and 2, respectively). I'm especially fond of Games 3 and 6 for Mike Mussina's remarkable pitching performances: a combined total of 15 innings, 4 hits, 4 walks, 1 run, and 25 strikeouts  and two nodecisions, because the Orioles scored nary a run while he was on the mound, and lost both games after he left.
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