The Astros were the talk of MLB after posting a 42-16 record through June 5. Then, as soon as Houston lost some steam, the Dodgers rolled off the best 50-game stretch that baseball has had in more than a century.Both Houston (101-61) and Los Angeles (104-58) spent a portion of
The Astros were the talk of MLB after posting a 42-16 record through June 5. Then, as soon as Houston lost some steam, the Dodgers rolled off the best 50-game stretch that baseball has had in more than a century.
Both Houston (101-61) and Los Angeles (104-58) spent a portion of the season carrying the title of "baseball's best team," so it seems only fitting that the clubs are the teams in the 113th World Series presented by YouTube TV. Each team bulldozed its way to more than 100 victories for the first time in decades. And while it would seem natural that 100-plus-win clubs would regularly play for the title, postseason parity has written the script differently.
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In fact, the 2017 World Series will mark only the eighth time in which both league champions finished with triple-digit win totals during the regular season -- and the first time in almost 50 years. While other World Series matchups have featured higher combined win totals between the competing clubs, a Fall Classic with two 100-plus win teams has become a sort of October delicacy.
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Before the Astros and Dodgers take the field for Game 1 on Tuesday, here's a look back at the previous seven World Series to feature two teams with at least 100 victories:
1970: Orioles (108-54) def. Reds (102-60), 4-1
The 1970 World Series featured plenty of history -- from the last Series to be exclusively played in the afternoons to the first appearance by both an African-American umpire (Emmett Ashford) and artificial turf at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. The Orioles and Reds won their divisions by a combined 29 1/2 games and swept their respective League Championship Series, but it was Baltimore's stellar pitching that prevailed over Cincinnati's first version of "The Big Red Machine." Series MVP Brooks Robinson put on a defensive display for the ages at third base, prompting Reds manager Sparky Anderson to remark, "I'm beginning to see Brooks in my sleep. If I dropped a paper plate, he'd pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first."
1969: Mets (100-62) def. Orioles (109-53), 4-1
In just eight seasons, the Mets went from being one of the worst clubs in baseball history, losing 120 games in their expansion 1962 season, to winning a National League pennant -- anticipated by almost no one -- in '69. Meanwhile, the Orioles rolled to 109 wins -- the most by any team in the Divisional Era until the '98 Yankees won 114 -- with a well-balanced mix of hitting and pitching. But as good as that Baltimore club was, it couldn't suppress the divine fate of the "Miracle Mets," who captured the hearts of many in New York for good thanks to a serious World Series upset.
1942: Cardinals (106-48) def. Yankees (103-51), 4-1
The 1942 Cardinals' 106 victories remain a franchise record, but the Yankees were a perfect 8-for-8 in winning their World Series appearances dating back to '26. Red Ruffing nearly no-hit the Cardinals in the Yanks' 7-4 win in Game 1, but St. Louis roared back with four straight victories -- including three straight at Yankee Stadium to close the series -- to capture its fourth Fall Classic title.
1941: Yankees (101-53) def. Dodgers (100-54), 4-1
The first of many World Series meetings between these interborough rivals matched a burgeoning dynasty in the Yankees against "'Dem Bums" from Brooklyn, who were fresh off winning their first pennant since 1920. Dodgers first baseman Dolph Camilli won the NL MVP Award after leading the league in home runs (34) and RBIs (120) in '41, but Brooklyn also boasted three other future Hall of Famers in its lineup in Billy Herman, Joe Medwick and Pee Wee Reese. New York was loaded with its own superstars in Joe DiMaggio in the year of his 56-game hit streak, Bill Dickey, Earle Combs, Lefty Gomez and Joe Gordon.
In the end, the 1941 Subway Series is remembered most for its heartbreak, after Dodgers catcher Mickey Owen dropped a third strike and allowed Tommy Henrich to reach first base with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 4. Owen's gaffe opened the floodgates for a four-run Yankees rally, and the Yanks never looked back.
1931: Cardinals (101-53) def. A's (107-45), 4-3
In a rematch of the 1930 World Series, which the Philadelphia A's won in six games, the Cardinals flipped the script by defeating the A's in seven. The A's had won a combined 313 games over the previous three-year period with legendary manager Connie Mack at the helm. In Mack's ninth and final World Series, Hall of Fame slugger Jimmie Foxx hit .348 (8-for-23) with a home run. But he was outdone by the Cardinals' Pepper Martin, who went 12-for-24 with four doubles and a homer to lead St. Louis to a championship. It was 41 years before the franchise got back to the World Series, when the A's won three straight titles in Oakland from 1972-74.
1912: Red Sox (105-47) def. Giants (103-48), 4-3-1
Before the Red Sox endured a famed 86-year World Series title drought from 1918-2004, Boston was one of the most successful franchises in baseball, winning five Series championships from 1903-18. In '12, the Red Sox were up against John McGraw's New York Giants, who were led by one of the greatest pitchers of all-time in Christy Mathewson. The Sox had just moved into their new ballpark that season, Fenway Park, and in a thrilling eight-game series (there was a tie in Game 2), Boston prevailed. Mathewson posted a 0.94 ERA in three starts, but Boston's Hugh Bedient was even better, posting a 0.50 ERA in four appearances (two starts), including a complete-game victory against Mathewson in Game 5.
1910: A's (102-48) def. Cubs (104-50), 4-1
The Cubs were a powerhouse, appearing in their fourth World Series in a five-year span in 1910. Chicago had also won 104 or more games in four of those five seasons. But the A's, led by Mack, captured their first World Series title after losing in their only other appearance five years earlier against the Giants. The A's outscored the Cubs, 35-15, in the five-game series. Right-handers Jack Coombs and Chief Bender were the only pitchers Mack used in the series, with Coombs starting three games (3-0, 3.33 ERA) and Bender the other two (1-1, 1.93). Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker and Danny Murphy each hit better than .400 for the series for the A's.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.