Saturday, October 24, 2015


Since blogs work backwards, we'll be our usual prickly selves and reverse the reverse order, thus beginning (perversely) at the beginning.

As noted in the previous post (which is behind you, not in front of you...) World Series geography--the categories of regional identity for the two teams facing off in the Fall Classic--has expanded as baseball itself has grown.

Back in the day (pre-1953, to be exact), baseball had nine teams in the East and seven in the Midwest, and thus there were only three possible categories:

--East-East (EE)
--Midwest-Midwest (MM)
--East-Midwest (EM)

That changed, as we also noted previously, when the Dodgers and Giants moved west, giving us three new categories:

--East-West (EW)
--Midwest-West (MW)
--West-West (WW)

The Dodgers managed to inaugurate one of these new categories before the first expansion era hit, in 1959, with their playoff win over the Braves (then in their Milwaukee way-station between Boston and Atlanta) depriving us of another "all-Midwest" World Series.

The chart at left gives you a visual fix on the narrow geographical bandwidth of baseball's post-season, which was also quaintly "narrow" in the sense that the World Series, in those days, was--as it is increasingly hard to fathom--the only post-season baseball at all.

The "golden age" of East-East World Series is clearly to be found in the early history of the post-season, from 1903-24, when those matchups accounted for 52% of the World Series. The other two categories (remember, the only other two possible categories at the time...) split the remaiming World Series evenly.

There was a "last hurrah" for the "EE" category right after WWII, when eight of ten World Series from 1947-56 featured teams from the East (in fact, all but one of these teams being from New York).

But clearly the 1925-60 period was dominated by East-Midwest (EW) matchups, with "Midwest-Midwest" fading to a distant third. And the overall story for the pre-expanion period is that the two major categories (EE and EW) each accounted for the same percentage of World Series matchups (40%).

Of course, that will all change in the expansion era. But, since blogs work backwards, you already know that...