There is no doubt that the Giants clamped down on the Tigers during the World Series, producing one of the more lopsided Fall Classics in modern memory. Pablo Sandoval single-handedly demolished the Giants in Game 1, the Tigers were held scoreless in the middle games, and Giants starters posted an ERA of 1.42 in 25 1/3 innings.
But as great as the Giants played, and bad as it was for the Tigers, it could have been even worse. These are most lopsided World Series in history:
5) 1928 (Gehrig and Ruth sweep Cardinals)
OK, maybe that’s a little misleading, as the Yankees got great pitching from Waite Hoyt, George Pipgras, and Tom Zachary, but this series really did belong to the original Bronx Bombers. Yes, Pablo Sandoval crushed the Tigers, hitting .500/.529/1.125, but he was really the only guy the Detroit had to worry about. The Cardinals had to contend with Gehrig (.545/.706/1.727, 4 HR) and Ruth (.625/.647/1.375, 3 HR), who combined to score or drive in 20 of their team’s 27 runs.
The rest of the club went 21 for 107 (.196). St. Louis was held to just 10 runs in four games, despite a lineup that contained future Hall of Famers Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, Frankie Frisch, and Rabbit Maranville. Then again, Bottomley and Hafey both came in the era that Frisch was packing the Hall with his former teammates, so take that with an appropriately sized grain of salt.
4) 1966 (Orioles sweep Dodgers)
Sure, the Tigers were punchless, averaging just 1.5 runs per game and hitting .159/.243/.246, but they’ve got nothing on the Dodgers. Los Angeles scored two runs in the first game off of Dave McNally, but after the 3rd inning of Game 1, the Dodgers never scored again.
The O’s got shutouts from Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker, and McNally to sweep the whole thing while scoring just 13 runs of their own. The Dodgers were a roughly league average offensive team, although that was masked by their ballpark. But during the Series they only hit .142/.226/.192, and got just four extra base hits. Even given the extreme offensive environments of Dodger Stadium and the mid-1960s, that’s humiliating.
3) 1910 (A’s defeat Cubs, 4 games to 1)
Would it have been better to win last night? Already down 3-0, there was essentially no chance for the Tigers to come back, and any win only delayed the inevitable. I’m not sure if I would want to rip that bandaid off slower while knowing the club’s fate was sealed. In 1910, the A’s had outscored the Cubs 25-9 through the first three contests, when Chicago managed to eek one out on a Jimmy Sheckard 10th inning walkoff single off of Chief Bender (who, yes, was pitching his 10th inning).
But it didn’t matter, as the A’s came roaring back in Game 5 to score another seven runs. In an era where teams scored 3.83 runs per game, the A’s hung 35 on the Cubs in five games and outscored the Cubs by an average of four runs. Four Athletics (Frank Baker, Eddie Collins, Harry Davis, and Danny Murphy) topped 1.000 OPS for the series. Also, the A’s only used two pitchers, Bender and Colby Jack Coombs, leaving Hall of Famer and 300 game winner Eddie Plank in the bullpen because they didn’t need him.
2) 1932 (Yankees sweep Cubs)
In the Tigers’ defense, they actually did a pretty good job of run prevention in this Series, as only Game 1 really got out of hand. The Yankees were so much better than the Cubs that by Game 3 they were allegedly calling their own shots. Ok, that’s probably more myth than fact, as most folks tend to believe the Babe was only shouting at the Cubs bench that he still had one strike. But whether Ruth predicted his own bomb or not, the homer had almost no bearing on the series itself, as the Yankees thoroughly dominated the Cubs.
The Yankees scored more runs (37) in this matchup than any other team in a 4 or 5 game series, averaging 9.25 runs per contest. In Game 3, people often forget that Ruth had homered in his first at bat with two on off of Charlie Root (who would give up two homers to both Ruth and Gehrig that day). In the 5th, Ruth came up with a man on and hit his second ball out to center field. In the very next at bat, Gehrig homered as well. It must not have been Root’s day. Not that they had any good ones. The staff finished with a series ERA of 9.26 and walked 23 batters in 34 innings, which is pretty amazing considering that the Cubs had the best run prevention in the National League that year.
1) 1989 (A’s sweep Giants)
And finally, at least the Series was over quickly, while the pain of Giants fans was drawn out in 1989. The A’s were the powerhouse of the late ’80s and early ’90s, making three straight World Series, and they outclassed the Giants from the outset. Dave Stewart shut out the Giants in Game 1, and they took the second game behind Mike Moore, 5-1. Then, just before the start of Game 3, a 6.9 magnitutde earthquake struck the Bay Area, killing 63 people, injuring almost 4,000, and collapsing bridges and buildings across the cities. And down 2-0, the Series was delayed for 10 days while repairs were made to Candlestick Park.
The A’s kept rolling after the Series resumed. Stewart came back (thanks to the long rest) in Game 3 and shut down the Giants again, and Oakland jumped out to a huge lead in Game 4, and didn’t look back. They never trailed, outscored the Giants by 18 runs (4.5 per game), and won every game by three runs or more. And considering the era and ballparks they were playing in, the eight runs per game they scored is particularly impressive.
So see? It’s not so bad. At least you got to the World Series, and didn’t lose 96 games like my Twins.