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Where Does the ’11 World Series Rank For You?



By Mike Silva ~ October 29th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Ranking all-time World Series is an impossible task. How do I rank the ’75 Series between the Reds and Red Sox when I wasn’t born yet? How do you go back in time and read box scores from the early 20th century and make an assertion about the drama?

All I can do is provide perspective from my 25 years of watching baseball as a young fan, adult, and now freelance member of the media. In no particular order, the five World Series’ that stand out to me are:

Atlanta vs. Minnesota in 1991

Yankees vs. Arizona in 2001

Mets vs. Red Sox in 1986

Yankees vs. Braves in 1996

San Francisco vs. Anaheim in 2002

You could give honorable mention to the ’87 Series between St. Louis and Minnesota, as well as the ’97 Series that ended in the Marlins defeating the Indians on an Edgar Renterias walk-off single.

If I had to say which one was the “best,” it very well could be a toss-up between the ’91 Series and ’01. You can’t beat the drama of back-to-back two out home runs like the Yankees did in 2001. You might never get a better Game 7 than Jack Morris‘ 10-inning shutout 1-0 victory.

With that said, 2011 Game 6 might be right up there with all-time World Series games. It had the see-saw action and elements of ’86 Game 6. Imagine as a Mets fan if you had to experience two bottom of the tenth inning type scenarios. That is exactly what the Cardinals faced being down to their final strike in the bottom of the ninth and bottom of the tenth. Just like the Mets in ’86, could you imagine the Cards losing Game 7 after what they went through in Game 6? I couldn’t, and it turned out to be the case.

I don’t think the 2011 Series ranks up with the five I just mentioned, but it certainly deserves honorable mention.

Again, what team you root for probably plays a part in all this.

***

The Hardball Times ranked the best postseason series every by using a numeric formula. I guess this makes sense as we try to measure everything in the world today. I personally take a more holistic approach with these types of rankings, but everyone has their own method.

The author, Chris Jaffe (who wrote a great book about baseball managers and appeared on my radio program), has put together a formula that you can read about at the bottom of his piece.

His top five postseason series are:

5. 1995 ALDS: Yankees vs. Seattle

4. 2001 World Series: Yankees vs. Arizona

3. 1975 World Series: Boston vs. Cincinnati

2. 1991 World Series: Minnesota and Atlanta

1. 1999 NLCS: Mets vs. Atlanta

Yes, the Mets and Braves ’99 NLCS was the best postseason series in the history of baseball using Jaffe’s formula. Personally, if I had to rank my all-time favorite postseason series (not World Series like above), I would probably rank Mets/Houston in ’86 over the ’99 NLCS, but its damn close.

I think if we had a Game 7 the following night it might have changed my mind.

With that said, I was at Game 3 at Shea (1-0 Braves win behind Tom Glavine), and might never have a better experience watching baseball than Game 5 two nights later. The games were all close and the rivalry with Atlanta was at its peak with John Rocker’s constant trash talk.

The ’99 postseason ended in disappointment for the Mets, but it was a wild ride from the last weekend of the season against the Pirates all the way up to the Game 6 defeat against Atlanta.

If there were a series that came closest to the drama of ’86 I might give it to the 2004 Red Sox win over the Yankees in the ALCS. There wasn’t much drama with the outcome of Game 7, but chasing history all the way up to the final out probably made it seem closer than it actually was in reality.

By the way, the ’86 NLCS was number 6 on the list. The ’86 World Series didn’t make it, and I could understand why since it was based more on one game, than drama throughout.

I have to say, this is a  very tough debate as there are great moments in all the series that Jaffe mentions. Makes for fun debate, but even more fun conversation when you share baseball memories.

***

I complain about the home-field advantage and the All Star Game all the time, but does how the World Series ended make you think it’s time to scrap the “this one counts” nonsense from the Mid-Summer Classic?

If the Rangers had home field, which they would have if it was based on record, the Cardinals would have lost Game 6 on a Josh Hamilton walk-off home run. Of course, it changes the entire dynamic of the series and we may never see a Game 6, but you get my point.

You can’t have an All Star Game in July have a say in the venue for Games 6 and 7, and worse yet, which team has 4 of 7 games in their building during the Fall Classic.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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19 Responses to Where Does the ’11 World Series Rank For You?

  1. Stu B

    “If the Rangers had home field, which they would have if it was based on record, the Cardinals would have lost Game 6 on a Josh Hamilton walk-off home run.”

    There’s no way of knowing that. If the Rangers had home field, it’s likely that the whole thing would have played out differently.

  2. MYT

    I hate “what if” articles like this, you dont know how a game will end based on home field advantage. The Rangers had their chances to win game 6 and whise field it is had nothing to do with their lack of execution.

  3. Brien Jackson

    Of all the World Series I’ve seen, this one feels like it ranks below 2001 and 1996, and maybe a touch above 2002. 2001 is pretty tough to beat, between the walk offs, the 7th game, and the backdrop of 9/11. And my subjective opinion about this one is probably colored by my antipathy for both teams.

    As for home field, since they weren’t doing it based on record before the change, it doesn’t matter. On an alternating basis this would have been an N.L. year anyway, so the ASG made no practical difference in that respect.

  4. 86mets

    The 2011 WS, for me, wasn’t a MLB World Series. Starting pitchers who couldn’t pitch into the 5th inning, relievers who can’t throw strikes, fielders who can’t catch routine flyballs. It was a travesty IMO because of all the mental and physical errors on both sides. To call this Major League Baseball is just nonsense. 50 ML players making of millions of dollars because of their “skills” shouldn’t put on such an embarassing display that would make the Bad News Bears proud. Both sides deserve equal blame for shoddy baseball that gives the game a black eye. The people who payed hard earned money to see quality baseball did not get their moneies worth out of the 2011 “World Series”.

  5. Chuck Johnson

    I’m with “86Mets” on this one.

    Yes, there was drama, but drama created by sloppy play and arguably the worst pitched World Series ever.

    The Rangers are a far superior team, yet lost because they set a WS record in walks allowed and couldn’t pitch and couldn’t run the bases.

    Like the old cliche’, “offense wins pennants, pitching and defense wins championships.”

    But at least the Rangers GOT to the World Series.

    Which means, in about six weeks, Alex Rodriguez’ contract will no longer be the worst free agent deal ever.

  6. Stu B

    “The Rangers are a far superior team, yet lost because they set a WS record in walks allowed and couldn’t pitch and couldn’t run the bases.”

    All of which means that they weren’t such a far superior team.

    How do you figure the status of A-Rod’s contract will change in the next 6 weeks?

  7. tnt1528

    91 series is the best ive ever seen but game 6 is one of the best baseball games i have ever seen in my life.had everything except a unbelievable catch(unless i missed something)…anyone else think feliz should have closed it out again after blowing it in 9th?i sure did.dont care what francesa says,he thinks everyone is shot after a bad game.i also bet washington will get fired for this loss

  8. Mike Silva

    I would go the second inning with Feliz no doubt. He did blow the game, but he is their best pitcher.

    The Cards were a team of destiny. Think about where they were after blowing the 4-run ninth inning lead against the Mets to today – amazing turnaround.

  9. Stu B

    Mike, what date was that Mets game?

  10. Mike Silva

    Sept 22nd the Mets scored 6 in the ninth to beat the Cards 8-6, Five weeks later they are champs!

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN201109220.shtml

  11. tnt1528

    forgot to say chavez should have stood in game for defense after pinch hitting..he catches that ball,cruz looked like abreu for that play..glad francesa says you dont replace the stars for defense in 9th..larussa didnt get that memo

  12. tnt1528

    also forgot to ask, did any cardinal mention nyjer morgan?i would be pissed if they didnt and i dont like th ecards

  13. Stu B

    What does Nyjer Morgan have to do with it? Some play in the LCS? It would be old news and irrelevant now.

  14. Chuck Johnson

    “How do you figure the status of A-Rod’s contract will change in the next 6 weeks?”

    Because the Yanks are going to give Sabathia seven years and $27 million per.

  15. DanS

    I am 37, and I agree that, pound for pound, the ’91 and ’01 World Series are the best in my lifetime. But the ’91 series was still considerably better, in my opinion. The Yanks-Diamondbacks had three great games, three mediocre ones, and one absolute rout. Now, the fourth and fifth games were really extraordinary, and when one considers the historical context–9/11 less than two months old, a great but aging Yankee team climbing back up every time they were left for dead–I think ’01 has few parallels when it comes to the drama of it all. And the seventh game was riveting and, in the end, shocking: no one thought the D-Backs were scoring two off Rivera in the bottom of the 9th. But just from a baseball perspective alone, ’91 can’t be beat–every single one of the games, as I recall–each one–was a nail-biter, and games 6 and 7 were the best of all.

    Thursday night’s Game 6 was certainly one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. I can’t remember a game that was so crappy for most of it turning into such a classic. Which was the more improbable comeback–the Mets in ’86 or this year’s Cards team? It’s an interesting debate. On the one hand, the fact they came back from a two-run deficit TWICE–and TWICE were down to their last strike–is a check in the column of the Cards. But having watched both games, I can’t help but feel the Mets’ comeback was even more stunning.

    Here’s why. The Mets were dead. It wasn’t just that they were two runs down–they were two runs down with two quick outs, no on one base, and no track record in the game (and, really, in the series, games 3 and 4 excepted) of racking up hits and runs with ease. The Cards, on the other hand, got two runners on in the 9th before recording their second out–and two in the 10th before recording a single out. The whole feel of the innings was different. It would have been more like if the Mets had come back from 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th against the Cards in ’06: amazing, and yet not the kind of sudden reversal of fortune that ’86 was.

  16. Ken Bland

    I think experience as a baseball fan has something to do with how you rate World Series. A young kid watching this year’s Series might well be hard pressed to judge something better for a long time. Seeing something for a first time, as in within a strike of clinching twice in 1 clinching game might have a lasting impact.

    I mention it from that perspective because the first WS I ever saw, albeit just the 7th game was the classic between the Pirates and Yankees in 1960. Competitive balance lacking in that series…the Yanks won 3 blowouts, the Bucs 4 close games) might do it for some, and it’s a fair criteria, but I find historic impact maybe even more compelling.

    With that in mind, I don’t necessarily agree with Chris Jaffe’s top 5 postseason series. Competitively, the Phillies and Astros 1980 best of 5 set is tough to rule out. I believe it was 4 games went extra innings, and in Game 5, the Phils trailed 5-2 to start the 8th against Nolan Ryan, who was something like 115-2 when leading going into the 8th. It was 7-7 heading into the 10th. Series that had a lasting impact on my mind included the Red Sox ’04 comeback. Even with blowouts within, considering that match as a whole, the 2 diverse trends of Yanks in the first 3, Boston the last 4 made that a great series.

    I suppose most people look at it as close games are the top priority.
    I’m more memorable plays or themes earning points.

  17. tnt1528

    stu b, nyjer was the idiot who opened his mouth and told to cardinals to have fun watching us in the playoffs and called albert pujols alberta.the schmuck opened his mouth and cant find a hole big enough to bury his head in..sort of like a-roid starting that fight with red sox in 04 when they were a dead team.they both woke up sleeping monsters

  18. Stu B

    @tnt: That definitely sounds like old news from which the Cardinals have moved on by now. They wouldn’t waste their time or breath on a jerkwad like Morgan.

  19. tnt1528

    oh your right, he is a jerk but i would never let him forget the words he said.specially since he was home watching th eseries

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