Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series

In a big eff-you to the East Coast elite, the baseball gods are giving us an all-Midwestern World Series. Well, all-Midwestern except for the players. But still.

This year's Tigers-Cardinals series is the third time the teams have met in the World Series. Both previous matchups went to seven games. In 1934, St. Louis prevailed, having won a close NL pennant race on the strength of Dizzy Dean's 30 wins. Having finished below .500 the previous year, the Tigers surprised the AL by winning the pennant.

The series went back and forth and when the Tigers won Game 5 in St. Louis to take a three games to two lead, victory appeared imminent. The series returned to Detroit, but the fourth win never came. St. Louis won Game 6 with a hard fought 4-3 win, then coasted to an 11-0 victory in Game 7.
In 1968, the two teams were far and away the best in the majors, with the Tigers winning the AL by 12 games and the Cards winning the NL by 9. 1968 is famous in baseball history as the year of the pitcher: the Tigers' Denny McLain won 31 games and the Cards' Bob Gibson posted a 1.12 ERA in winning 22. The series was thus a series of duels between great pitchers:
The much anticipated pitching showdown between McLain and Bob Gibson was one-sided. Gibson won both matchups easily, and St. Louis's 10-1 triumph in Game 4 put the Cardinals one win away from the title. [Mickey] Lolich [Detroit's second pitcher] came through with a win in the fifth game and Detroit's bats came alive with a 10 run third in Game 6 to setup a one game showdown. This time it was Lolich who took the hill against Gibson. He outdueled Gibson 4-1 to win his third start of the series and deliver the World Championship to the Motor City.
I remember watching the 1984 series, in which the Tigers beat San Diego, so I'm rooting for Detroit this year. Go Tigers!