Once down 3 games to 1 in the World Series . . .by Chris Jaffe
November 02, 2009
The Phillies are down three games to one in the World Series right now. What does the past tell us about their future?
Well, they are the 44th team to lose three of the first four games. Of the previous 43 teams, 41 played in a best-of-seven series. (The others were Boston in 1903, who won the next four games to take the Series, and the 1919 Reds, who won over the Black Sox).
Of the 41 teams who dropped three of the first four:
They went 18-23 in Game 5.
In Game 6, the remaining 18 teams went 8-10.
In Game 7, the remaining squads went 5-3. So, about one-eighth of the teams in this situation win it all. If you're curious, the last seven teams to lose three of the first four couldn't make the comeback. Philly phans, if it makes you feel better, you can say MLB is due for another comeback.
The teams that came back were the 1925 Pirates, 1958 Yankees, 1968 Tigers, 1979 Pirates and 1985 Royals. For what it's worth, two of those Series had bizarre ends (1925 had horrid field conditions, and 1985 had the infamous Don Denkinger call and Cardinals meltdown).
For what it's worth, the teams down three games to one who took it to Game Seven only to lose were the 1912 Giants, 1967 Red Sox and 1972 Reds. (Actually, there was a Game 8 in 1912, but I'm pretending Game Two's tie didn't happen for purpose of this).
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.