Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Clinching the Old Fashioned American (League) Way

There was a time when pennants weren't decided in a best-of-7 game series.  Or best-of-5, either.  Teams used to win their league's pennant in a winner-take-all best of 162 game series known as "having the best record in your league".*  Of course, this is also when there were only 20 teams in baseball.  With the advent of divisional play in baseball, the game forever changed with the expansion of the playoffs to include 4 teams (and eventually to today's number of 10 teams).

*until divisional play, the AL had seen only one playoff series in 1948.

There was also a time when the New York Yankees seemed to be the only team to win the American League pennant.  From 1949 to 1964, the New York Yankees were AL Champions all but twice ( '54 Indians, '59 ChiSox).  Much like the Iron Curtain, this too did pass.  When it did, with the Twins representing the American League in 1965, we saw a different team win the pennant each year from 1965 until the creation of divisions in 1969.

What we also have is a bit of a serendipitous collection of the final outs (or seconds after) of the final 4 American League pennants before divisional play in 1965, '66, '67 and '68.  More about each after the jump.