The playoffs are here (okay, they’ve been here for a few days, but I haven’t had a chance to write anything about it) and everyone is trying to figure out who’s going to meet in the World Series. Will the Red Sox make it for the third time this decade? Will the Yankees come through on their MLB-best 103 wins and make it to their 40th Fall Classic? And who will they face? Will it be a World Series rematch, or one that we’ve never seen before?
With eight teams in the playoffs – four from each league, of course – there are 16 possible World Series matchups on the horizon: Boston vs. Los Angeles, Boston vs. St. Louis, Boston vs. Philadelphia, Boston vs. Colorado, and so on. Of these 16 matchups, eight of them would be rematches of some sort. Some of these potential rematches may be pretty easy to name – the two most recent ones come to mind pretty quickly (Boston over Colorado in 2007 and Boston over St. Louis in 2004) – but I thought it’d still be fun to do a quick run-down of them all.
Here they are, by matchup, starting with the most recent:
Boston Red Sox/Colorado Rockies
Years Met: 2007
Record: Boston 1, Colorado 0
Notes: The most recent matchup, this potential rematch would clearly be the most fresh in everyone’s minds. The Rockies aren’t exactly known for their huge fanbase, though, so it may not have the same cachet as some of the others. Both teams are Wild Cards this year.
Boston Red Sox/St. Louis Cardinals
Years Met: 2004, 1967, 1946
Record: St. Louis 2, Boston 1
Notes: The 2004 Series was a big one to Red Sox fans everywhere – obviously. But, it seems that, for many, the Series itself was more of an afterthought after Boston’s historic comeback more than anything else. You’ve got to wonder if anyone would even think of this as a rematch, especially since the Cardinals went on to win the Series back in 2006. The Cards were the foes in Ted Williams’ only World Series appearance, and also played the spoiler in Yaz’s Triple Crown year.
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Minnesota Twins/St. Louis Cardinals
Years Met: 1987
Record: Minnesota 1, St. Louis 0
Notes: The first World Series in the Metrodome was played between these two clubs, with the Twins winning all four games in Minnesota. Many might find it fitting, then, for the Metrodome to host one more Fall Classic between the two clubs in its final year. Thanks to the All-Star Game victory, the Twins would be able to make good use of their homefield advantage one last time.
New York Yankees/Los Angeles Dodgers
Years Met: 1981, 1978, 1977, 1963, 1956, 1955, 1953, 1952, 1949, 1947, 1941
Record: New York 8, Los Angeles 3
Notes: By far the two clubs with the most World Series history between them on this list (if you allow me to go back to the Brooklyn Dodgers days), the Dodgers and Yankees have met eleven times in the World Series. And though the Yankees have won eight of those meetings, it is the Dodgers who won the last meeting between them. It was in 1981, and it was the third meeting between the two clubs in five years. The Yankees have won 4 World Series since, and the Dodgers one, but I don’t think any other potential matchup would bring out the history more than this.
Minnesota Twins/Los Angeles Dodgers
Years Met: 1965
Record: Los Angeles 1, Minnesota 0
Notes: Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax lost Games 1 and 2 of the Series in Minnesota to Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat in this seven-game Classic. The Dodgers came back to takes Games 3 through 5 at home, before dropping Game 6 back in Minnesota. Koufax pitched his third game of the Series in Game 7 and three-hit the Twins, as the Dodgers won the game 2-0. This isn’t exactly fresh on people’s minds, but I don’t think anyone would be opposed to seeing another performance like that one.
New York Yankees/St. Louis Cardinals
Years Met: 1964, 1943, 1942, 1928, 1926
Record: St. Louis 3, New York 2
Notes: Considering the frequency of World Series pairings between these two clubs in the 1920s and 1940s, it almost seems strange that it’s been 45 years since they last met. It should be noted that, of the teams the Yankees have met more than once in the World Series, the Cardinals are the only team that the Yankees have a losing record against. You can bet that, if this rematch does take place, you’ll hear that fact about 350 times.
New York Yankees/Philadelphia Phillies
Years Met: 1950
Record: New York 1, Philadelphia 0
Notes: The Phillies don’t make it to the World Series much, historically, so it’s kind of surprising that, of their four World Series defeats, two of those opponents are still alive this year for the potential rematch. This 1950 Series was an easy sweep for the Yankees, as the Phils only scored five runs across the four games. It was also the second of five straight World Series victories for the Yanks.
Boston Red Sox/Philadelphia Phillies
Years Met: 1915
Record: Boston 1, Philadelphia 0
Notes: The oldest of our potential rematches, it almost seems ancient. The 1915 Series was already the Boston’s third World Series victory, and would signal the start of three titles in four years (culminating with the 1918 Series win). Pete Alexander would earn Philly’s only win of the Series, and the Red Sox victories would be dished out between Rube Foster, Dutch Leonard, and Ernie Shore. The offensive star of the Series was Duffy Lewis, though Harry Hooper had a pretty strong case too. A young Babe Ruth would get only one at-bat for the Sox. It may be hard to call this one a true “rematch” since it’s nearly 100 years old, but you can’t deny the history.
There you have it, all eight potential rematches among this year’s playoff teams. Some are obviously more intriguing than others, for various reasons, but they should all make for an interesting World Series if it were to come to pass. Now all there is to do is play the games…
(BTW, I made some playoff predictions in a comment thread over at Walkoff Walk. I wouldn’t put any money down on them or anything, especially considering how terrible I am at making predictions, but I thought it’d be nice to have something official somewhere. In short, I predicted St. Louis over New York, which means it’ll probably be Minnesota over Colorado or something…)