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A Little History Lesson

Last year, when the Red Sox made their miracle comeback, I wrote a little bit about the history of teams that went down 3-0 in a postseason series:

Twenty-five times in baseball history, teams had gone down 0-3 in a playoff series.

And twenty-five times, they had lost the series, and twenty-five times, the trailing team had won no more than two games.

Until last night, when the Red Sox broke that streak. That's not just twenty-five occurrences, it's nearly 100 years of institutional memory, and for baseball, being steeped in tradition the way it is, this is a moment of sea change.

The entire story of such series is this: in baseball postseason history, there have been 144 seven (or more) game series (including this year). As noted above, there have now been 26 times a team has gone down three games to none.

On only five such occasions has a team that lost the first three games of such a series even won ONE game:

1910 World Series (A's won first 3, Cubs won 1, A's won game 5)

1937 World Series (Yankees won first 3, Giants won 1, Yankees won game 5)

1998 NLCS (Padres won first 3, Braves won 2, Padres won game 6)

1999 NLCS (Braves won first 3, Mets won 2, Braves won game 6)

2004 ALCS (Yankees won first 3, Red Sox won 4 straight)

Five times.

As you no doubt know by now, the White Sox beat the Astros 7-5 in 14 innings last night, going up three games to none.

I did make it to the 10th inning, but after that had to go to sleep for work. If it had been the Cubs in that game? Oh, you bet I'd have stayed up.

The Astros aren't going to become the second team to win a series after being down 3-0; and further, I don't think they'll be the sixth to avoid a sweep.

The White Sox seem charmed. I mean, Geoff Blum? He had had one at-bat in the last three weeks before last night.

Oh, well. Enough of this. The season likely ends tonight, and then we can get on with the business of discussing how to put together a 2006 Cub team that can do what the 2005 White Sox have done.