Saturday, January 24, 2009

Team home runs versus World Series championships

So you've been there. Arguments with other baseball fans (probably Yankees or Red Sox fans) that you think you're right, and you settle on a bet, and you're pretty sure you're going to be wrong.

That was me just the other night. The discussion was whether or not the home run was as valuable as John Kruk and that screaming baseball would have you believe. Sure, there's the One Swing of the Bat effect and the pressure on the pitcher, but I just didn't think it had an effect on post-season success. So that was the bet, and for some reason, I posited that you would find the ML leader in home runs would win the World Series less than 20% of the time. The bet was on the table, and I just needed some internet access.

So I looked it up. The following are the instances in which the ML leader in home runs actually won the World Series...

1903 - Boston Americans
1905 - New York Giants
1927 - New York Yankees
1928 - New York Yankees
1936 - New York Yankees
1937 - New York Yankees
1938 - New York Yankees
1939 - New York Yankees
1941 - New York Yankees
1943 - New York Yankees
1944 - St. Louis Cardinals
1954 - New York Giants (tied with Brooklyn)
1955 - Brooklyn Dodgers
1957 - Milwaukee Braves
1961 - New York Yankees
1968 - Detroit Tigers
1976 - Cincinnati Reds
1983 - Baltimore Orioles
1984 - Detroit Tigers

That's it. 19 teams. 104 World Series (106 years, minus 1904 and 1994). What does that come to? 18%. Bet won.

Now looking at this, are you surprised that it's been since 1984 that there has been demonstrable post-season success for home run-hitting teams?