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That Oh-So-Brief 20-Team Era (1962-1968)

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  • That Oh-So-Brief 20-Team Era (1962-1968)

    Does anyone else look at this brief era with a nostalgia in some ways even greater than the much-longer 16-team era?

    For this reason: more great pennant races in a short period than any part of the 16-team era.

    1962: NL Dodgers-Giants tie and go to a 2-of-3 playoff won by Giants.

    1964: AL: Yankees finish one game ahead of the White Sox and two ahead of the Twins. NL Phillies blow a 6.5 game lead in the late going. There's a chance for a 3-way playoff on the final day (though the Cards win outright over the Reds and Phils). The fourth-place Giants are only eliminated on the next-to-last day.

    1965: NL Dodgers win by two games over Giants.

    1966: NL Dodgers win 3-way race over Giants and Pirates (1.5 and 3 games back).

    1967: AL Three teams still in contention on the final day. Red Sox edge Tigers and Twins by one game. White Sox in contention until final days as well (finish 3 back).

    Not just great finishes, but 3 and 4-team down-to-the-wire finishes, which hardly ever happened in the 16-team era (1908 NL is the only one that comes to mind.)

    I think this is no accident. It's just harder to run away from nine other teams than from seven.

    Which is why not only in MLB but in other sports, it pains me to see four and five-team mini-divisions. Damn tough to have a good race with that few teams, not that anybody has to finish in first place any more because there are always playoff spots for also-rans.

    Ten teams all in one division? It was great. And now, it's considered unthinkable.


  • #2
    Originally posted by Brus View Post
    Ten teams all in one division? It was great. And now, it's considered unthinkable.
    I think some of the 6 team divisions can relate, to a degree. Especially when they know there are some 4 team divisions.


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