Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cardinals versus Cubs: going deep into (postseason) history

It is an oft-repeated nostrum among the announcerdom: these two teams have never met in the postseason, referring to the Cardinals and Cubs.

But if you go deep in history, especially history among the sabermetricians, you will find that the picture is not so clear.

The Chicago White Sox met the St. Louis Browns in a world series in both 1885 and 1886.

It matters not that "Post-season games prior to 1903 were considered exhibitions", as Baseball Reference notes.  In what sense is the current postseason not an exhibition?   The statistics do not count towards a players total. The voting for the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Etc.Is already sealed and delivered before postseason.

The other argument against 1885 and 1886 counting has to do with the continuity of the two teams. But the Cubs team officially says it was established in 1876.  The Cardinals claim the team was established only in 1892.  There was indeed almost complete discontinuity between the Browns teams of 1891 and 1892.  "Ownership" is the chief factor cited in favor of continuity.

But then the 1915 Terriers could be said to be continuous to the 1916 Browns, because the ownership was the same plus the major stars from the Terriers came aboard.

"Oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to announcer-hype".

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