A Brief Review of Recent World Series

The last time I truly felt this apathetic about a World Series was the 2000 Subway Series. Usually team loyalty transfers over in cases like this, yet there is no lesser evil. The Phillies stole a world title from the Rays grasp with an assist from Mother Nature. The Yankees are the Yankees and they signed ol’ Nature to a contract especially for the post-season it seems. So maybe it comes as a relief when I state that everyone knows about the Phillies and Yankees to the point of ad nauseam and rather than previewing those two teams explicitly I wanted to look at the last 10 World Series and circle some interesting – if completely irrelevant – factoids to watch for in this Fall Classic.

Before leaping into the numbers, some notes on the data set.

As previously noted, this only includes World Series from the year 1999 until 2008. I went through the old game logs and noted the margin of victory and the total runs scored. With that data in tow, we can produce – hopefully – entertaining notes. For those in need of a refresher on what teams were involved, they are as follows:

1999: New York Yankees defeat Atlanta Braves
2000: New York Yankees defeat New York Mets
2001: Arizona Diamondbacks defeat New York Yankees
2002: Anaheim Angels defeat San Francisco Giants
2003: Florida Marlins defeat New York Yankees
2004: Boston Red Sox defeat St. Louis Cardinals
2005: Chicago White Sox defeat Houston Astros
2006: St. Louis Cardinals defeat Detroit Tigers
2007: Boston Red Sox defeat Colorado Rockies
2008: Philadelphia Phillies defeat Tampa Bay Rays

First up is the length of each series. No matter the results of games one-through-three, we will have a game four. The real fun – or lack thereof lately – is when games five, six, and sometimes seven are needed to decide a champion. Four series have ended in clean sweeps (1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007); three more have only gone five games; one has endured six games; and the memorable 2001 and 2002 series went all seven.

The average margin of victory is about three runs throughout, with the highest concentration of run differential coming in game ones. Not sure if there’s any significance there, but game ones also generate the highest run per game average as well. That seems a bit odd considering of the 15 games to have 10 or more total runs scored, only three came in game ones; games two and three also appeared on that last three times and game two features the 2002 series in which 21 total runs were scored.

Surprisingly, those 21 runs combined for a one-run game which is more than what most of the blowouts can attest to. In 2001 the Diamondbacks and Yankees combined for 17 runs, but the undercard D-Backs held a 13 run lead at the end of the game – which marks the highest margin of victory in the set. 2002 (game five) and 2007 (game one) tied for second with 12 run disparities. Oddly enough, those are the only three series to feature a margin of victory over 10 runs, and three of the six to see a margin of victory exceed more than five runs.

Of the 51 World Series games, 22 have been decided by a single run and 37 by three runs or fewer. Not all fit under the standard definition of a save situation – i.e. some were come-from-behind or extra inning walkoff victories – which lessens the significance that the two closers could play in the decision.

I’ll echo Dave’s statements from earlier when I say seven closely contested games would be pretty fantastic and the Pedro Martinez fan that lies beneath would enjoy seeing him pitch one more time like it’s 1999.

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19 Responses to “A Brief Review of Recent World Series”

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  1. BIP says:

    Since 1997, the AL is 38-23 in World Series games. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

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  2. Pete says:


    this is the best world series of the decade and the only series that could help give baseball a boost

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  3. BS says:

    “The Phillies stole a world title from the Rays grasp with an assist from Mother Nature.”

    What is that even supposed to mean? Sloppy man, sloppy.

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    • Nathan says:

      “The Phillies stole a world title from the Rays grasp with an assist from Mother Nature.”

      Whats that about? Along with everything that everyone said above me, I’d just like to reiterate that the Phillies won the series in 5 games. That’s not a fluke. C’mon, R.J. You’re better than that.

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      • Sandy Kazmir says:

        I thought the umpiring was borderline Little League. Phillies still went out and achieved, but it did seem biased. I have nightmares of that Moyer game.

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  4. TheUnrepentantGunner says:


    I mean, stole? Really??? 4-1 is a steal? its not like they won 4-3 winning each game by 1 run while losing their 3 games by 5+ runs.

    and cole was pitching pretty well when that rain happened in game 5, so its not exactly like mother nature was helping the phillies there either…

    sorry that scrappy mcscrappy underdog teams didnt make it.

    for the rest of us, we can hear mccarver gush over actually talented hitters rather than david eckstein and nick punto.

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    • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

      i should also add that i watch with the sound off, but if you are forced to watch mccarver its better this way. this also obv. applies with joe morgan etc etc…

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  5. Epic Fail says:

    What a worthless article. What are we supposed to have learned from any of that? And how exactly did the Phils “steal” a title from the Rays? Because it rightfully belonged to Tampa, I suppose? What a joke.

    Oh, and right — the defending champs vs. the best team in baseball? What a boring series! Are you on crack, R.J.?

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    • Mikel says:

      He probably means that the Rays were a better team throughout the regular season than the Phillies, and that they were just lucky to have won the WS against them.

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      • Epic Fail says:

        The Rays were a “better team”? The Phils were “just lucky”? That’s why they play the games, dude… when one team actually wins, you no longer get to say the other team is “better.”

        Plus, his original comment is even stupider than that — he said the Phillies stole it *with an assist from Mother Nature.* In other words, because of the rain-delayed Game 5. When the Rays were already down 3-1. Fail.

        Whatever. The “steal” comment aside, this is still one of the dumber articles I’ve ever read on this site. What was all that data about WS games supposed to prove? “Some games are blowouts, some are close, some are somewhere in between. Where’s my Pulitzer??”

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      • Nestor Chylak says:

        Ok… I agree this article was bad, but this comment:

        “That’s why they play the games, dude… when one team actually wins, you no longer get to say the other team is “better.””

        is just flat-out wrong, dude. Winning a 7-game series against a team does not mean the winner is a “better” team. It’s a small sample. Is this really not something you’re familiar with? If you tell me the 2006 Cardinals were a “better” team than the 2006 Tigers, then you simply don’t know anything about baseball. They play the games because someone needs to be crowned a champion, and because having a head-to-head series to decide that is much more exciting than giving it to the team with the best record.

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      • Epic Fail says:

        OK Nestor, granted — of course I am familiar with the significance (or lack thereof) of small sample sizes. But it DOES matter who wins the games. It matters to get into the postseason, and then it matters twice as much.

        I will, in fact, maintain that the 2006 Cardinals were “better” than the 2006 Tigers *in the World Series*. That week, they were better.

        There’s no other way to decide which team was better. You could say the Tigers were more talented, won more games, scored more runs, etc. But no one’s giving a diamond-encrusted ring to the team with the best pythagorean W-L.

        Whining about how some team just “lucked out” and won ignores the fact that a lot of a baseball is luck. Because of that, we’ll never *really* know whether any team is better than any other, because there are *always* mitigating factors. When it comes down to it, you have to win the games.

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  6. Jim says:

    7 of the last 10 winners of the WS had worse records than the team they defeated yet the only team that gets labeled as not really deserving the WS title or having used Mother Nature to “steal” the title are the Phils. Wonder why….

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  7. walkoffblast says:

    I doubt the author meant that “stole” comment to be taken seriously so you guys might want to chill out.

    That last/list typoish thing at the end of paragraph 4 makes for a confusing read there.

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  8. John says:

    Why would someone be apathetic about this WS? It’s epic! I’m at a loss.

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  9. Paul Zummo says:

    Judging by the comments here, I could be a millionaire in about six weeks if I gave these guys some coal.

    Seriously, lighten up about the “stole” comment. I think it was meant to be a joke.

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  10. You Suck says:



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  11. Nobb says:

    Wow, just Wow, what a bunch of dog crap. Do you guys have a peer review process? This was one of the worst articles I’ve ever read on this site. I’d wade through one of Carson’s terribly longwinded articles 10 times before reading another post by this RJ knucklehead.

    Is this a lame attempt to say something sensational to try to get a bunch of people talking about the site/post? (ala the doopey talking heads on ESPN)? If so congrats; way to take a site based on actual analysis and observation and to reduce it to personal biases and silly ways to subjectively explain a result you didn’t like.
    I got it, lets blame it on the friggen weather…you should be a FOX announcer, lets hear some of your other theories when you are sitting with McCarver.

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