By In Stuff

A Postseason Record

Over the last couple of years, I have found myself sympathizing with Ford Frick, the old commissioner of baseball. Frick is generally remembered as the guy who tried to slap an asterisk — a “distinctive mark” was his official term — on Roger Maris’ 61-home run season of 1961.

It seems a shame to me that his baseball life has largely been reduced to that one decision because Frick did so much more. He played a big role in the building of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His “10 Commandments of Umpires” is a classic. Perhaps most of all, he is an unsung hero — maybe even THE unsung hero — in the Jackie Robinson story. It was Frick, as National League President, who bravely and decisively shut down a suspected St. Louis Cardinals boycott of a Dodgers game in 1947 with these celebrated words:

“I don’t care if half the league strikes. Those who do will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended, and I don’t care if it wrecks the league for 10 years. This is the United States of America, and one citizen has as much right to play as another. “

Some — like “Boys of Summer” author Roger Kahn — have suspected that it was actually the great editor Stanley Woodward who wrote the bold words. But those words had their power because Frick stood behind them, and the boycott was crushed before it ever began. You could argue this was the most courageous and right-thinking statement ever made by a baseball leader. Frick was also a baseball radio pioneer, perhaps the first to review baseball games on the radio. This is why the Hall of Fame award given to broadcasters is named for him.

But it’s the asterisk that haunts his name about as much as it haunts Maris’. The story is well known. In 1961, the American League expanded by two teams and added eight games to the schedule, to make it the 162-game season we know today. That year, Roger Maris, who had never hit even 40 homers in a season and never would again, threatened to break Babe Ruth’s legendary mark of 60 home runs in a season. Frick was a close friend of Ruth’s, the Babe’s biographer, and this was clearly a personal thing for him. In the middle of the season he called a press conference to announce that for the record to be “official,” Maris (or Mantle, who was also threatening the mark at the time) had to break or tie the record in the 154 games that Ruth had back in 1927.

Almost immediately, newspaper columnists mocked and savaged the announcement. For one thing, the commissioner of baseball really had no authority of record books. Heck in 1961, there really wasn’t any such thing AS an official record book. But he was the commissioner, and his words carried heft, and so Roger Maris — a quiet man who generally wanted to play baseball and be left alone — suddenly had the extra pressure of trying to break the record in 154 games. We all know that the intensity of the moment weighed on Maris, he famously lost his hair during the chase, and though he hit his 61st home run on the last game of the season, his record was often afterward referred to as the “162-game record.” Ruth’s remained the “154-game record.” Friends and family say Maris carried this indignity inside for the rest of his life.

In retrospect, it does seem like an insensitive decision — supporters often point out that Maris, even with the eight extra games, got only seven more plate appearances than Ruth did in 1927* — but I’d like to stand up for Frick for a moment. You have to remember: This was the very first year of expansion and the expanded season. And suddenly, not one but TWO men are seriously threatening Babe Ruth’s home run record.

*Maris also got 50 more at-bats because Ruth walked a lot more.

Frick could not have known that this was a one-year fluke, that nobody would hit more than 52 home runs in a season for the next 35 years. He could not have known that the Maris-Mantle home run chase was a one-time event, a perfect storm of ballpark and expansion and the friendly competition of teammates. I’m sure he worried that with those extra eight games and watered down competition, people might his 60-plus home runs ALL THE TIME. It’s funny because in 1998, baseball and the media — myself included — did the exact opposite, we tried to paint 1998 as a one-time event, the summer of the home run. Only the summer bled into the next year and the next and the next, until the home run became a non-event and the home run hitters found themselves forced to defend themselves in front of Congress.

But even beyond all that … I think Frick was, at heart, right. I’m not saying he did the right thing. He should not have held that press conference, and he should not have made that silly pronouncement which diminished in many eyes the great accomplishment of Roger Maris. No, I’m saying that when you get right down to it, eight extra games DOES change the equation, right? Hitting 61 home run in 162 games is simply NOT as impressive as hitting 60 home runs in 154 games. It just isn’t.

The 61-homer season balances out to a homer ever 2.66 games.

The 60-homer season balances out to a homer ever 2.56 games.

You would have expected Ruth to hit two or three more homers given the extra games. And, of course, he could have hit many more than that. He did hit six homers in his last eight games of 1927.

I think of Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards in a season. That’s an amazing feat — so amazing it has held for 27 seasons. But let’s be honest: in 1973 O.J. Simpson ran for 2,003 yards in FOURTEEN GAMES. There is zero doubt — absolutely zero doubt — that given two more games, Simpson would have crushed Dickerson’s record, probably by 200 yards or more.* I’m not saying that Simpson’s record should stand. Time moves on. A season is a season. I’m saying it’s reasonable to say that Simpson’s season should not just be wiped from the record books because the NFL decided to expand its season by two games.

*Dickerson got 72 more carries in his record-setting season than O.J. Simpson did in 1973. Simpson averaged an extraordinary six-yards a carry that year. If he could have maintained that yards-per-carry average for 72 more carries, O.J. Simpson would have run for a mind-boggling 2,435 yards.

All of this, believe it or not, leads to a point. It’s something that was suggested by brilliant reader W. Franklin who puts into words what I’ve been feeling lately about baseball: I wish everybody would stop talking about “postseason numbers,” like those mean anything at all. This hit home the other day when several people reported that Chris Carpenter had passed Bob Gibson in the Cardinals record book for “postseason wins.”

Are you kidding me? Bob Gibson didn’t ever pitch in a “postseason.” Not once. Bob Gibson pitched in the WORLD SERIES, which is not the same thing. He won seven WORLD SERIES games, which is a Cardinals record, it’s a National League record, it might not ever get broken, and it definitely won’t get broken by Chris Carpenter, who has been a very good pitcher but has won exactly TWO World Series games.

Andy Pettitte has the most “postseason” wins with 19. That’s great. But to say he passed Whitey Ford on the all-time list is a joke. Whitey Ford, like Gibson, never pitched in a “postseason.” He pitched in the WORLD SERIES, and he won 10 games, which is twice as many as Andy Pettitte won.

Fox, the other day, was showing a list of the most “postseason” hits by a catcher. The answer is Jorge Posada with 97, and behind him is Yogi Berra with 60 (not far behind, with 46, is Yadier Molina, which is why the list was being shown). To Fox’s credit, both Tim McCarver and Joe Buck made reference to the fact that Yogi Berra’s 60 hits were all in the World Series (only 21 of Posada’s were).

But it seems to me that to even show a list like that is a statistical abomination. If you insist on showing “postseason numbers,” then backdate those only to 1995, when the “postseason” became a three series marathon.* Then, Derek Jeter’s 191 postseason hits can get its due credit (it’s 63 more than second-place Bernie Williams), and Manny Ramirez’s 29 postseason home runs (seven more than Bernie Williams) can be celebrated for what it’s worth.

*You could argue that the baseball “postseason” began in 1969, with the additions of the American League and National League Championship Series, but I think it was the addition of the third series that really changed the whole dynamic.

But keep the World Series records out of it. Yogi Berra doesn’t just have the most hits for any catcher in World Series history, he has the most hits for any player ever in the World Series with 71 (for 11 of those hits, he wasn’t playing catcher). Mickey Mantle’s 18 World Series home runs is three more than Ruth* and 14 more than postseason leader Manny Ramirez.

*Though, again, you can mention the asterisk: Mantle played in 24 more World Series games than Ruth.

Now, the truth is that all these career numbers — postseason, World Series, whatever — involve circumstance and chance. The greatest postseason hitter ever might be Carlos Beltran. His 1.300 OPS in the postseason is better than Ruth or Gehrig or Mantle. In 22 postseason games, he hit 11 home runs and stole eight bases without getting caught. But Beltran has never played in a World Series game. So we don’t know. Lou Brock played in three World Series and was a force in all three — if he had played in 14 World Series like Yogi Berra, he might be viewed as the greatest big moment hitter in the history of baseball. Or he might not. There’s no way to know. Bret Saberhagen started two World Series games, completed them both, threw a shutout in one and allowed a single run in the other. If he had gotten the 22 World Series starts that Whitey Ford got, who knows what his record might have been.

But those are what ifs and they are fun to talk about but not much else. The point is that the proliferation of these postseason records is watering down baseball history. I remember years ago, my friend Chuck Culpepper was covering the Great Alaska Shootout, and he was telling me a story that had something to do with whether or not a player was selected to the Second Team All-Great Alaska Shootout. He was telling me this quite easily, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, but I suddenly stopped him and said: “Wait a minute, there’s a SECOND TEAM All-Great Alaska Shootout?”

That’s how I feel about postseason numbers. Look: They have been playing the World Series for more than 100 years. They have been playing a “postseason” for less than 20. If people want to count those postseason numbers and compare them and marvel that John Smoltz has 199 postseason strikeouts, most ever, hey, that’s fine, have at it. But it might be good to break out the box of asterisks* first.

*Whitey Ford has the World Series record with 94. Smoltz is ninth on that list with 52.

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40 Responses to A Postseason Record

  1. grandpaboy says:

    I don’t know if it came up yet, but I was curious why 61* wasn’t included on the list of Best Baseball Movies. I wouldn’t rank it ahead of Bull Durham or A League of Their Own, but it was excellent.

  2. Bryan says:

    I was thinking this last night, and how the inverse is true of World Series numbers—they are, now, harder to accumulate than they were for the old Yankees squads.

  3. tarhoosier says:

    If one is looking at WS records then no one can, or will ever beat the members of the 49-64 Yankees. Berra, Mantle, Ford. 14 of 16 years. Never again (thank goodness).

  4. Peter says:

    Re: Beltran — you left out “and struck out looking on three pitches with the bases loaded down two runs at home in the bottom of the ninth of game seven of the NLCS in 2006.” Pretty sure Gehrig, Ruth, and Mantle never did anything similar.

    Disgruntled Mets Fan

  5. feitcanwrite says:

    Circle me, SHIFT + 8

  6. brhalbleib says:


    Well, Babe Ruth did get thrown out trying to steal second to end Game 7 of the WS (and end he series itself), when his team was down by one run. That seems kind of similar. Actually worse.

  7. TFranc says:

    And if you want to get really technical, you would have to * the World Series records for the best-of-9 series’ to separate them from the best-of-7’s, though I can’t imagine how that would make any observable impact. Good post, though.

  8. daveyhead says:

    “I don’t care if half the league strikes. Those who do will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended, and I don’t care if it wrecks the league for 10 years. This is the United States of America, and one citizen has as much right to play as another. “

    Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a politician, of ANY stripe, speak so courageously these days?

  9. ralphdibny says:

    Well, baseball has always been different from other sports, in that you could plausibly compare players from different eras. Or at least we like to pretend that you can. As you have pointed out, no one can compare tennis stars across eras–the game is just too different. Perhaps it is finally time to admit that baseball has changed too.

    All this talk of “postseason statistics” is just another way for baseball writers to pretend that the sport can still be compared across eras. And I believe that the ridicule of Frick’s asterisk served the same purpose–sportswriters instinctively recoiled at the thought that different eras couldn’t be compared. After all, it would take away one of the major things that they do.

  10. mckingford says:

    I endorse Joe’s sentiment here – one can’t really compare “postseason” records with WS ones.


    To be fair to the modern player, there are quite a few who would have much higher WS numbers if playing by the old rules (ie. best record in each respective league wins the pennant and goes right to the WS). How many years did the Yankees* have the best record in the AL during the Williams/Posada/Jeter/Petitte era but fail to make the WS because of the expanded playoffs? Think how much more WS production they would have put up.

    (* I can hardly believe I’m advocating for Yankees here…)

  11. TJMac says:

    Re daveyhead — Frick (or Woodward)’s words are more easily labeled courageous now, when in looking back, the consensus of public opinion sees the cause of MLB integration as an undebatable good.

    When politicians speak strongly now, it’s more often seen as inflammatory rhetoric, because it’s harder to have that type of consensus on a present-day social issue.

  12. Phil says:

    Joe, to your point, I wish they’d show postseason records in the first two rounds and only World Series records during the Fall Classic. But yeah, even if they show World Series records they need to be placed in context. Otherwise you’d think Dusty Rhodes was the greatest player ever.

    Kudos to Joe & Tim for explaining the historic relevance. Oh God I complemented Tim McCarver…I’m going to throw up.

  13. Michael says:

    Phil, you will get over it … I know what you mean. More seriously, the comparisons ARE ridiculous. Think of the great run the Atlanta Braves had, going to the post-season so often. But they won only that one World Series. Then think of the Brooklyn Dodgers going to the World Series in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, and losing the pennant by a heartbeat in 1950 and 1951. Which team really had the greater run?

  14. @Peter – I’ll grant that Beltran’s strikeout hurt, a LOT. He also hit .296/.387.667 in that NLCS, including three home runs. If the rest of the team played as well as he did, that series may never have gone to a game 7.

    In addition to Ruth’s infamous caught stealing (as mentioned by brhalbleib above), he was absolutely terrible in the 1922 Series. He hit .118 and slugged .176 – yes, Babe Ruth slugged .176. Crazy things can happen in five games. He was also held to just one hit in his three trips to the WS with Boston (as a pitcher, granted). Oddly enough, the hit was a triple.

    As for the other guys you mentioned? Mickey Mantle was terrible in three World Series in a row (1961-63, though only played in two of the games in the 1961 Series) and Lou Gehrig was only so-so in the 1938 Series (though to be fair that was his last full season). I’ll give Gehrig a mulligan thanks to his namesake disease, but Ruth and Mantle definitely had their moments as postseason chokers.

  15. hobie.kropp says:

    Joe, I have to disagree with you about the wild card changing the dynamic more than the LCS. From ’69-’93, 28 out of the 50 teams with the best record in each league played in the Series, while 11 out of 34 have done so since ’95; so with the addition of each round, the percentage of “pennant winners” actually making it to the WS has declined from 100% to about half to about a third. The situation where a lesser team, like the 82 win ’73 Mets, could represent their league rather than a demonstrably better team, like the 99 win Reds of the same year, has been around for a long time. I agree with you that the introduction of more playoff teams would be a mistake, but I think your argument against it is more of an argument against the wild card, or even league championship series, in general.

  16. Adam says:

    @mckingford No need to defend the Yankees.  Without the playoffs the Jeter Yankees would have been to the WS 5.5 times (I’m giving them a half for 2002 where they tied with the As for best record).  They’ve actually been to 7, so they’ve been beneficiaries of the playoff system.

    Year w/ Yankees Best Record or WS Appearance
    2009 Best Record- Yankees AL WS Team- Yankees
    2004 Best Record- Yankees AL WS Team- Red Sox
    2003 Best Record- Yankees AL WS Team- Yankees
    2002 Best Record- Tie (Yankees, As) AL WS Team- Angels
    2001 Best Record- Seattle AL WS Team- Yankees
    2000 Best Record- White Sox AL WS Team- Yankees
    1999 Best Record- Yankees AL WS Team- Yankees
    1998 Best Record- Yankees AL WS Team- Yankees
    1997 Best Record- Orioles AL WS Team- Indians
    1996 Best Record- Indians AL WS Team- Yankees

    WS Under Old Rules- 5.5
    WS Under New Rules- 7

  17. Frank says:

    hobie – Among fellow baseball fans, I now refer to the post-season as the “tournament.” It has taken on the character of my kids’ old Little League seasons where all the teams got in, and the regular season was just used for seeding. [I am almost shy of putting this in print, lest I give Bud Selig any more ideas.]

    I think it was Joe who recently posted the relative records of the various teams who made it to the WS since 1995. If I recall correctly, since the wildcard era began, there has not been a WS match up of the two teams with the best records in each league.

  18. Joe, it isn’t fair at all: Ruth didn’t have to face the deeper pool of pitchers because blacks couldn’t play against him, among other differences. So you just can’t compare based only on the number of games.

  19. bigsteveno says:

    Wait, Joe is claiming that Tim McCarver said something of value during the broadcast the other night? THAT’S a post-season first, and I believe it’s a record that will never be broken.

  20. I think the point is that none of these records, post-season or World Series, really mean anything apart from their interest as trivia. There is no way to analyze their meaning in context with the possible exception of a few players, perhaps Mariano Rivera as the best example, who have accumulated a lot of innings (given his role). For starting pitchers or hitters, the sample simply is too small or has too much noise or both.

    The broadcasts seem to be separating two kinds of data, curiosities and analysis, but in reality, pretty much everything they say is more a curiosity than meaningful. For example, they made a point that Craig is the first player to drive in the go-ahead run as a pinch hitter twice in the same World Series. That’s kind of fun to know but essentially meaningless.

    On the other hand, they also will quote batter on pitcher stats as if 16 PAs means something, and although occasionally there may be some significance to that stat (Braun on Dotel seemed suggestive), they are about as significant as the Craig factoid.

    It has long been a bugaboo for progressive analysts that TV broadcasts have adopted the idea that esoteric stats are worthwhile and have then used primarily junk stats without context to clutter their commentary.

  21. Marshall says:

    I think of the same for NFL records in general. How do you fairly compare men who had 12 game seasons versus 16 (even leaving out time-line issues). At least almost nobody in basketball talks about post-season records.

  22. joobie says:

    the craziest nfl asterisk for me would be that reggie white had 21 sacks in the strike shortened 1987 season.

  23. Chris M says:

    @Joobie: crazier than that Jerry Rice caught 22 touchdowns in that same 12-game season? Think about how incredible of a season Randy Moss had in 2007, and then think that it took him a full 4 extra games to come up with 1 more TD than Rice had in ’87. That’s ridiculous.

  24. hobie.kropp says:

    Frank, I think your description of the mlb postseason as “the tournament” rings true, but I think focusing on the addition of more teams and another round in ’94-’95, rather than on instituting a tournament in the first place thirty-five years prior, misses the point. Sure, since the wild card only Braves-Indians in ’95 and Yankees-Braves in ’99 have the two best teams met in the WS, but this failed to happen 16 out of 25 years in the two division per league era, as well. In addition, in 15 out of 25 years from ’69 to ’95, there was at least one non-playoff team with a better record than one of the division winners. Rather than blaming the wild card for letting mediocre teams in, we should blame the divisional system itself; I’d venture a guess that most sub-90 win playoff teams have been winners of weak divisions (like the ’73 Mets, ’05 Padres, or ’06 Cardinals), not wild cards.

  25. The biggest reason it is harder to make the world series now isn’t the playoff format, it’s that there are so many more teams in the league. Agreed you can’t compare postseason numbers, but as others have said, it is equally ridiculous to compare world series numbers

  26. NMark W says:

    Comparing NFL stats from different eras and different length of seasons has always bothered me. Once again, it’s the current media that is most at fault – making a huge deal out of a season record or career records in today’s game and ignoring the long history of the league.

    I’m glad to read the nice things said about Ford Frick. I was just a young 9 yr old boy in 1961 but I recall many in the media at that time making Frick out to be an old fool who was simply looking out for his friend, Babe Ruth. I thought at the time his announcement seemed fair. Having an additional 8 games to best a season record set in a 154 game season was quite an advantage. If Maris and Mantle resented the decision by Frick it was no doubt because some hometown NYC sportswriters wanted to dearly cover the new HR king and damn the length of any season.

  27. NMark,

    NO, again, there were many things DISadvantageous to hitters that happened in those years to counter the advantage of those extra games.

  28. NMark W says:

    Will: Like facing two new expansion teams with some very weak pitching staffs was a disadvantage for Maris and Mantle in ’61? How so?

  29. I had that same reaction over the weekend while watching an NFL game. Some announcer mentioned that Belichick-Brady was soon to pass Shula-Marino and move into first place on the NFL’s all-time coach-quarterback win list. I mean seriously the NFL played 14 or fewer regular season games (and admitted far fewer clubs to the postseason) prior to the 1980s (pre-Brady and -Marino). Admittedly, Belichick-Brady would rank really high (if not 1st) on the Coach-QB all-time winning percentage list, but give me that list instead Mr. Counting Stats are King Announcer (with some minimum games qualifier; a similar unnecessary hoopla was made about Colt McCoy’s win total as a starting QB in the collegiate ranks)

    As an aside, my rhetorical question formed from watching the Cowboys-Patriots telecast was “How many times during a broadcast would be seeing the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator if he weren’t Rex Ryan’s twin brother?”.

  30. KHAZAD says:

    Even World Series records are kind of a joke. The leaders will mostly be Yankees from the era when they were in 14 of 16. The records are a matter of circumstance, what team you played for and when, much like the “postseason” record holders are.

    I would much rather hear about great performances in a single year rather than easy to spout off “records”, and they would not have to be exclusively in the World Series. Many of my favorite moments are players excelling in the playoffs themselves. Pujols vs. Beltran in the 2004 NL playoffs for example. The best players on their teams playing at an otherworldly level. Brett putting the Royals on his back in game 3 against Toronto in 1985. Whether Texas wins this year or not, I will always remember what Nelson Cruz did this year.

    The postseason is about moments. It is not about building longevity records.

    P.S. @ the comment above me: I have known who Rob Ryan was longer than I have known who Rex Ryan was. He was getting camera time as the Raider’s defensive coordinator 7 or 8 years ago, with Dan Dierdorf calling him “Grizzly Adams” before Rex was promoted to coordinator.

  31. hobie.kropp says:

    It seems to me that the fundamental reason so many people dislike the wild card and the division series is that the winners “don’t actually” win anything at all–if a team feels a need to hang an “LDS Champions” banner in their stadium, it strikes of desperation unless they’ve just won the Mormon League. Under the 2 division format, every playoff series win still brought something tangible: the pennant. However, the problem of “diminishing” the regular season was still there. Was it really fair that the ’73 Reds, who convincingly demonstrated their superiority over the Mets over 162 games, had to play them for the right to represent the NL? In fact, if actual geography had played any role in determining divisions, the Reds would have won the East, rather than the West, earning a playoff date with the 95 win Dodgers instead of the 82 win Mets. A similar point can be said for the so-called “last pennant race” in ’93—if the Braves had heeded geographical sense and played in the East, their race with the Giants never would have happened. Much of the time wild card teams actually have better records than one (or two) division winners, and are penalized solely for their time zone. The system of having divisions at all is the real villain when it comes to diminishing the regular season, since it lets in mediocre teams (like the ’06 Cardinals, the modern counterparts to the earlier Mets, who quite frankly, no one should have believed in). Joe is right that comparing “postseason” records across the eras doesn’t make sense, but I think he minimizes the extent to which “diminishing the regular season’s importance” is inherent in having playoffs in the first place. Just ask the 116 win Cubs, who lost to the 93 win “hitless wonder” White Sox in the 1906 World Series.

  32. PEFACommish says:

    Joe, I could not agree with you more. I have felt for a long time that Yogi and Mickey and Whitey have been shortchanged for years. Nobody is ever going to break their WS records.

    That said, the Yankees in that era went to the Series 14 out of 16 years from ’49-’64. If they had to win two extra series to reach the series as they do now, although their post season numbers would certainly have been gargantuan, the number of Series they reached would have certainly been less.

    On another note, I would say even without looking his stats, Lou Gehrig’s numbers in the ’38 Series were incredible. His second half stats in ’38 almost certainly indicate he was already exhibiting symptoms of ALS. Give the guy a break. I wouldn’t consider him choking except in the most literal sense.

  33. berkowit28 says:

    Michael: “Then think of the Brooklyn Dodgers going to the World Series in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953, and losing the pennant by a heartbeat in 1950 and 1951.”

    Not to mention 1955 (won WS) and 1956 (why’d you leave those out?) and, continuing on to LA, 1959 (won), 1963 (won), 1965 (won), and 1966, plus one more tiny heartbeat away in 1962. 1947-66: pretty good record.

  34. Jack says:

    Frank: “If I recall correctly, since the wildcard era began, there has not been a WS match up of the two teams with the best records in each league.”

    Only twice. 1995, the first year the wild card playoffs were played, and 1999.

    But, the NFL has only had one instance (Colts-Saints two years ago) where both No. 1 seeds reached the Super Bowl in the last 17 seasons.

  35. Joe:
    You’re probably too young to remember this, but when the NFL switched from 14 to 16 games in the late 1970s — I think it was 1978 — Pete Rozelle did a preemptive strike. Shortly before the season started, he put out a statement that all records in the 16-game season would count. There would be no notation in the books. So there was never any controversy.
    Also there was no serious challenge to OJ’s record for several seasons.By the time Dickerson came along,we used to a 16-game season.
    Not only was the 1961 baseball season the first time a major league season went 162 games, it was also the last time a season went 154 game. The National League still played a 154-game schedule in 1961.
    Imagine if Dickerson broke OJ’s record in 16 games while one conference was still playing 14 games.
    Unfortunately, Frick’s official efforts to protect Ruth’s legacy didn’t end with the asterisk. He also decided the strike zone needed to be expanded. This set the stage for a golden age of low-scoring well-pitched games, which given the demographics of the time (all those post-War babies in their teens and coming into adulthood)was probably the wrong move.

  36. When was there a second All-Tournament team for the Great Alaska Shootout? As long as I can remember (my parents and I attended every year starting in 1990), there’s been one ten-person all-tournament team.

  37. blovy8 says:

    I think a cursory knowledge of baseball lets you know the postseason is longer now, and there’s no real reason to get pissed off about it. MLB trying to make the most money has dictated this path, and there’s no harm in keeping numbers for everything, since it’s up to any fan to decide what matters. Randomness and twice as many teams were going to make those records hold up longer, like Cy Young’s wins, Connie Mack’s games managed, and Sam Crawford’s triples. You can make the case that something worse than postseason records could have happened to baseball if they didn’t split up into divisions in 1969.

  38. davidinnyc says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    The “postseason” nonsense just drives me up the wall, and for exactly the reasons you state.

    If there is anyone who thinks that Manny Ramirez was a better “postseason” hitter than Mickey Mantle because he hit 29 “postseason” HRs while Mickey hit 18 World Series HRs, they are just full of it.

  39. Keatang says:

    Another learning from all this: because of the 3-season post-season, we have for the first time ever a player who has played the equivalent of a full season’s worth of post-season games. Jeter has played 152 games with 704 PAs. And you know what he is in the post-season? He is Derek Jeter. Reg season: .832 OPS in regular, .834 in post.
    Berra, Brock, Yadier – play them 152 games and they’ll play to their averages.

  40. Broken Yogi says:

    You know, we could just have one league with 32 teams in it, and declare the team with the most wins the best. No series at all. It’s the fairest way to do it, but no fun either. Whereas while having multiple elimination series is a lot more fun, if unfair. We can still remind ourselves that the Phillies were the best team in baseball this year, even though the Cards won the WS. Sometimes you have to decide whether this is a game meant for fun and entertainment, or some deadly serious accounting enterprise. your choice.

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