Four means different in Fall Classic

We are only one month into a new baseball season. Hope spring eternal for all baseball fans in the spring. The hope is still alive that this will be the year their team makes it to the Fall Classic.

One thing to be aware of as the season unfolds is the number four means that something unusual will happen by the time of the Fall Classic. Traditionally baseball seasons with the year ending in four as in 2014 means the unexpected will become the norm.

A case in point is the only two times the World Series has not been played in the last 113 years occurred with a year ending in four as in 1904 and 1994. In 1904, John McGraw, the manager of the National League champion New York Giants refused the play the American League champion Boston Red Sox. McGraw never wanted to recognize the new American League that began play a few years earlier in 1901.

The other non-World Series year in 1994 took place when the players union held a strike starting in August. The labor troubles were especially disappointing for fans in Montreal. The Expos were the top club in the National League that year and would’ve been the team to beat  to make it to their first fall classic. It was a dream that never did take place.

Other seasons ending in a four saw the have- not teams in baseball have banner years. In 1914, the Boston Braves won their only world title while calling Boston their hometown. The same thing took place in 1924 when the Washington Senators won their only world championship in their long existence in the American League.

If you jump ahead to 1944 you will find the St. Louis Browns winning their only American League crown ever that fall. The Browns lost the fall classic to their cross-town rival, St. Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds are the only team that has really cherished the year four winning world titles three times in the year of four in 1934, 1944 and 1964.

The 1954 season saw one of the low-light teams Cleveland produce the best record ever in baseball, winning only their third American League pennant in franchise history.

The 1984 campaign saw two long suffering teams make the spotlight in the World Series, San Diego and Detroit. For the Padres it was their first appearance ever in the fall classic.

For the Tigers it marked their first World Series in 16 years. The Tigers won the series and have not won since then.

The 2004 season also had a special twist to it. It was the year of the miracle comeback by the Boston Red Sox. Down three games to none against their hated foes, the New York Yankees, the Red Sox came all the way back to win the American League Championship series. In keeping with the theme of the year four with the unusual, the Red Sox won the World Series, their first in 86 years.

If the pattern of the unusual continues in this year of four look for a different type team to make some real headlines come this fall.