This year’s World Series will feature the team with the most regular season wins (Houston-106) against the team that barely made the playoffs as the 6th and final seed in the National League bracket (Philadelphia) with 87 wins.
The Astros’ 106 wins and Phillies’ victories 87 is the second largest difference in regular season wins (19) for World Series opponents. The largest was in 1906 when the two teams from Chicago faced off in a Windy City World Series. The 116-win Cubs took on the 93-win White Sox for that ’06 title (more on that series in a minute).
Looking at the World Series history since 1901, there has been a total of 32 World Series where the regular season win discrepancy between the two opponents was 10 victories or more (this year’s matchup will be the 33rd with a 10-win difference).
The last time this happened was in 2019 when the 107-win Houston Astros faced the 93-win Washington Nationals. What makes that series even more interesting is that the 93-win Nationals won that series. It was the third time in baseball history that a team with 14 or more fewer regular season wins than its World Series foe won the World Series; it happened in 1954 when the 97-win New York Giants defeated the 111-win Cleveland Indians, and in the 1906 series when the 93-White Sox surprised the 116-win Cubs.
Of the 32 times in World Series history when the win-difference was 10 or more victories for the Fall Classic opponents, the team with the fewer regular season wins won the World Series that year 12 times (37.5% of the World Series). Since 2000, it has happened three times: in 2019 with the Nationals over the Astros, in 2006 when the 83-win Cardinals beat the 95-win Tigers, and in 2003 when the 91-win Marlins beat the 101-win Yankees.
Up until 1969, there was only the American League and National League. There were no divisions, so only the two teams that won the A.L. and N.L. faced off in the World Series. In the 15 World Series from 1901 to 1968, there were 15 times when one World Series team won 10 or more regular season games than their opponent. The team with 10 or more fewer wins won the World Series only three of those 15 times (20%).
From 1969 to 2021, more teams qualified for the post-season with additional divisions within each league and Wild Card opportunities. During that time (1969-2021) there were 17 times when the World Series featured a team that had 10 or fewer regular season wins than their World Series opponent. Of those 17 times, the team with 10+ fewer wins won the title nine times (53%).
What will happen this year when the second-largest win difference for World Series opponents is played out with the Astros and Phillies? The Astros enter the series undefeated in this year’s postseason, while it appears the Phils are playing with house money as they have beaten three National League teams that were seeded higher than them when the playoffs started.
If history has anything to say about this seemingly “mismatched” series, you never know what can happen. The Astros have already been on the wrong side of a mismatch World Series, and it happened just three years ago. If the Phillies need any more history on their side, all they must do is look at what happened in the 1906 World Series and the trend that has developed going back to 1969.
It should make for an interesting end to the 2022 baseball season.
One of baseball’s greatest relief pitchers, Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, passed away on October 13 at the age of 69. He played for the Cubs, Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves in his 12-year major league career. In his first professional season in 1972, he injured his arm. At spring training in 1973 he was taught how to throw a split-finger fastball and it energized his career.
Sutter was a six-time All-Star and won a Cy Young Award in 1979 with the Cubs. He ended his career with 300 saves.
- Sutter was born in Lancaster, PA. He is one of 1,488 MLB players born in Pennsylvania, and one of 678 pitchers born in that state. Sutter is also one of 19 players born in Lancaster; one of his teammates with the St. Louis Cardinals was second baseman Tom Herr, another Lancaster, PA-born MLB player. The two of them won a World Series together with the Cards in 1982.
- Drafted by the Washington Senators in the 21st round of the 1970 draft, Sutter never played a game in the Senators organization. He in September 1971, signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs and played his first professional game as a member of the Gulf Coast Cubs in 1972 at age 19.
- He made his MLB debut on May 9, 1976, with the Cubs pitching one inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. His first career strikeout was Dan Driessen.
- Sutter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. He is one of seven relievers in the Hall with at least 300 saves. He collected his 300th save in the last game of his career on September 9, 1988. He was then pitching for the Atlanta Braves.
- Bruce was a six-time National League All-Star, making the team five straight years from 1977-81. He won or saved the All-Star game for the N.L. in four consecutive years (1978-81).
- Sutter had 22 saves in the minors. He did start two games in his minor league career. In his MLB career, all 661 games that he pitched were in relief. He is one of 47 relievers to pitch in 600 or more career games, all in relief.
- He led the National League in saves five times. He did it twice as a member of the Cubs and three times with the Cardinals.
- Sutter accumulated 133 career saves with the Cubs and 127 with the Cardinals. He is second on the Cubs all-time career saves list behind Lee Smith. He ranks fourth on the Cardinals all-time career list. Jason Isringhausen ranks #1 in that category for the Cards.
- Sutter had a career batting average of .088. He had six RBIs, no extra base hits, but did steal a base in a game.
- He had the most saves in his career against the Mets with 38. He gave up 77 home runs; the player who hit the most HRs off Sutter was a former Cub, Ryne Sandberg. The two, however, never played together with the Cubs. Sutter’s last year with the Cubs was 1980; Sandberg’s first year with the Cubs was in 1982.
- Sutter twice lost 10 or more games in a season. In 1978 he was 8-10 with the Cubs; in 1983 he was 9-10 with the Cardinals. He is one of 21 relief pitchers (80% or more of their games pitched as a reliever) to lose 10 or more games in multiple seasons. Former reliever Mike Marshall tops this list losing 10 or more games as a reliever in five seasons.
- Bruce Sutter pitched in one post-season, 1982. The Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS and then beat the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games to win the ‘82 World Series. Sutter pitched in six post-season games that season collecting two wins and three saves.
For Brewers shortstop Willy Adames and right fielder Hunter Renfroe, missing the post-season was not the only disappointment in their 2022 campaign; both players fell short of a hitting milestone… one that would/could have been met with one swing of the bat.
Let’s start with Adames. He became the eighth Brewers player in team history to fall one swing short of reaching 100 RBI for the season. He finished with 98 RBIs. For the record, Adames reached 90 RBI on September 17 (with a three-RBI game) and in the 16 games he played after that, he had only six RBI with one HR and a .243 average. He also struck out 23 times in those 16 contests.
Here’s a look at the eight players who had 96-99 RBI in a season for the Brewers:
99-Cecil Cooper, 1985
98-Willy Adames, 2022
98-Jeromy Burnitz, 2000
98-Greg Vaughn, 1991
97-Ryan Braun, 2007
97-Ted Simmons, 1982
97-Greg Vaughn, 1993
97-Christian Yelich, 2019
As you see above, Cooper was the only Brewer to fall one RBI short of a 100-RBI season. He did, however, have four seasons in his career with 100 or more RBI. There have been six players who have fallen short of 100 RBI in a season twice in a career. The six: Jay Bruce, Sean Casey, Kirby Puckett, Lee May, Bibb Falk and Ty Cobb. All of the six except Sean Casey did have a 100-RBI season in their career.
Now to Renfroe. He became the sixth Brewers player in team history to fall one swing short of 30 home runs for the season with 29. He started the month of August with 19 home runs and then hit four in August and six in September/October. He hit his 29th on October 3 but did not get an at-bat in the team’s final 2022 game the following day.
Here are the six Brewers players who ended a season with 29 HRs:
Two other MLB players ended the 2022 season with 29 homers… CJ Cron (Colorado) and Jose Ramirez (Cleveland).
Since 1919, there have been 176 times (done by 151 players) when a player ended the year one home run short of the 30-HR milestone. The first to end a season with 29 home runs in a season was “The Bambino,” Babe Ruth. Two players, Joey Votto and Reggie Jackson, each had three seasons with 29 home runs, most in MLB history.
On September 20 at Yankee Stadium, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) hit his 60th home run of the year becoming the sixth player in MLB history to hit 60 home runs in a season. Judge ended the year with 62 long balls, setting the new single-season American League home run record.
Judge joined Barry Bonds, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth and Sammy Sosa as the six players to have 60 or more HRs in a season. That number has been reached nine times; Sosa did it three times, while McGwire did it twice
Here are 12 stats you may not know about Judge joining this elite group and his career in baseball.
- Judge was 30 when he reached 60 homers. Bonds was the oldest to reach that milestone at 36; the youngest was Maris who was 26 when he hit 61 in 1961.
- Of the six players (nine times) to hit 60 home runs, none ended the season with 200 or more hits. The most hits of the 600-HR Club were 198 by Sosa in 1998. McGwire had the fewest… he had only 145 hits in 1999 when he hit 65 HRs.
- Judge did not have a triple this season. He joins Sosa in 1998 and McGwire in 1998 as players with no triples in their 60-HR season.
- Aaron had 131 RBI this season, a career high. That’s the fewest in a season for the players who hit 60 home runs in a season. He did have 16 stolen bases this season. That’s second-most of the 60-HR Club… Sosa had 18 in 1998.
- Judge’s previous high in home runs in the majors was 52 in 2017 when he won the American League Rookie of the Year and finished second in the league MVP voting.
- The most home runs Judge hit in a season in the minors was 20 when he split time between Double-AA and Triple-AAA in 2015.
- Judge attended college at Fresno State for three years. He hit a total of 18 home runs at the school in 169 games.
- Of his 62 homers this season, Judge hit 22 in Innings 1-3, 17 in Innings 4-6, 22 in Innings 7-9, and one in extra innings.
- He hit nine homers against Baltimore in 2022, most of any team this season.
- Of his 62 dingers, he hit 30 at home and 32 on the road.
- Forty-nine of his 62 HRs came in a Yankees win; 13 in a Yankees loss.
- Prior to the start of the 2022 post-season, Judge had played in 10 different playoff series hitting 11 post-season HRs in 35 playoff games. He had at least one home run in seven of the 10 post-season series.
Here’s a quick look at the win-loss record of the Brewers this season based on the number of runs they scored each game:
0 runs: 0-11
1 run: 3-12
2 runs: 5-17
3 runs: 6-11
4 runs: 11-8
5 runs: 22-7
6 runs: 12-3
7+ runs: 27-7
When the Brewers scored four runs or less, they were 25-59 (.298). When they scored five or more runs in a game, they were 61-17 (.782). Difference: .482.
When the Brewers scored three runs or less, they were 14-51 (.215). When they scored four or more runs in a game, they 72-25 (.742). Difference: .527.