Once upon a time boys and girls there were no wild cards, no division series, no ALCS or NLCS. There was only the World Series. You see children, there were only eight teams in each league and the winner of each league went directly to the World Series. Hard to believe, but it is true, you can Google it. The American League expanded to ten teams in 1961, the National League the following year, but post season remained the same.
Just as baseball fans knew back then that Ty Cobb was the hit leader with 4,192, the home run leader was Babe Ruth with 714, and Cy Young the wins leader with 511, fans also knew that Yogi Berra was the World Series career hit leader with 71, Mickey Mantle was the World Series career leader in home runs with 18, and Whitey Ford the leader in wins with 10.
Of course records are broken. Pete Rose is now the hit leader, Aaron or Bonds-asterisk pending-is the home run champ, but have World Series records been broken?
Watching the current post season play over the years it is clear that 1969 will soon be the year that ushered in the modern era of baseball. Anything before that will be like the 1800’s, just a faint blip on the baseball radar. It was 1969 that saw another expansion and the beginning of divisional play, something that irritated baseball purists by the way. What fogies they are, right.
The point is that now play by play announcers, columnists, and other baseball pundits refer to post season records. I don’t know who has the record for post season home runs, but I do know that you are bound to hear when the name comes up, that the announcer then says,” Mickey Mantle, of course, had 10 World Series home runs,” adding in a voice almost apologetic that there was no divisional play or league championship series back then.
Through 1968 World Series records were littered with New York Yankees because they were in the Series far more than any other team. And not much has changed, the Yankee names are still there, along with all the record holders pre 1969. Reggie Jackson broke through with his 10 World Series homers with the A’s and Yankees, tying him for fifth with Lou Gehrig. Even in the modern post season era, you can’t keep the Yankees out of the record book. Mariano Rivera has a few records, including 11 World Series saves.
Now post season records are littered with post 1969 names, while the World Series record holders sit on a shelf in a corner of the baseball library collecting dust.
For those who want to explore-did you know Joe DiMaggio hit into the most double plays in the World Series with seven-here is link to hitting records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws1.shtml. And here is one for pitching records. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rb_ws4.shtml