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Look Who Isn’t Going to be in the World Series

October 21, 2019

Hugh Atkins

The 2019 World Series is all set. Tomorrow evening the Houston Astros will host the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the 115th Fall Classic. The Astros won the World Series in 2017, and this is the first trip to the Series in the history of the Washington Nationals. This Series is also notable for who will not be in it.

The New York Yankees have been in 40 World Series and have won it 27 times. They became a regular fixture in the Series beginning in 1921, Babe Ruth’s second season in the Bronx; the Yankees won their first Series in 1923. Since the Yankees have been in 35% of all the World Series ever played, I suppose it is significant anytime they aren’t in it. To provide further perspective, yesterday morning the headline for an article by Scott Boeck of USA Today read, “The Yankees go decade without a World Series trip for the first time in 100 years.” That is significant. Unfortunately, it’s inaccurate.

This is a good place to point out that, as my friend Dr. Alvin Rose used to say, since there was no Year 0, the first decade was years 1-10. It logically follows that all subsequent decades began in years ending with 1 and run through years ending in 0. Therefore, the current decade began in 2011 and runs through December 31 of next year. Since the Yankees actually have one more shot at keeping their streak intact, Boeck obviously is writing under the incorrect assumption that the current decade began in 2010.

Meriam-Webster defines a decade as “a period of 10 years.” From the article, it is obvious Boeck was not referencing that definition, but even if he were, he still would be incorrect.

From their first appearance in the World Series in 1921 through 1964, the Yankees never went more than three consecutive seasons without returning. They then experienced a 12-year drought before making it back in 1976, so while they were absent from the Series for over a decade, they still met Boeck’s parameters for being there in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Yankees won the World Series in 1977 and 1978 and lost the 1981 Series. They then went 14 seasons before returning to and winning the World Series in 1996. They were in the Series seven times in 14 seasons between 1996 and their last appearance in 2009 when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies.

© T.C.G.

The Yankees just completed a period of 10 years without appearing in the World Series, but they have not quite gone the entire decade of the 2010s without being in the Fall Classic.

Speaking of not appearing in the World Series, Bryce Harper will not be there unless he buys a ticket. Agent Scott Boras whined all winter and well into the season about how bad it was for baseball that teams weren’t lining up to pay Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, and Craig Kimbrel the ridiculous amounts of money they were demanding over the insane amount of years they expected.

The Phillies signed Harper and finished in fourth place; the San Diego Padres signed Machado and finished in last place. Kimbrel signed late and was an absolute disaster for the Chicago Cubs who finished in third place. Keuchel also signed late and went a modest 8-8 for the Atlanta Braves who won the National League East.

Maybe Harper and Keuchel can hang out together and watch their former teams play in the World Series and figure out how in the world those teams managed to make it there without them.

(All statistics are from Baseball Reference.)

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