It's been two weeks since the World Series ended, so now I can put (most of) my emotions aside, and reflect on it logically, which is something I could NOT do after game three. Yes, I wrote a piece on that game right after it ended and posted it at around 12:45 the next morning. It was the obstruction call game, where Allen Craig tripped over Will Middlebrooks...in retrospect, it was the right call, but it was still bullshit. A World series game had never ended like that. Game four ended with Kolton Wong getting picked off by Koji Uehara, something else that had never happened before. These games followed the first two at Fenway, which both had costly errors in them. Game five was a pitcher's duel between Lester and Wainwright, and game six had the Red Sox winning it all at Fenway for the first time since (say it with me), 1918.
Lost in all the beards and weird calls was the fact that this was the tenth year in a row that an original 16 franchise won the World Series. Starting in 2004, it's been Red Sox, White Sox, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, Giants, Cardinals, Giants and Red Sox. (baseball nerd note: I use the word "franchise", because technically, the Yankees began life as the original Baltimore Orioles in 1901, then became the Highlanders, and later in the 1900's, the Yankees...The Giants, of course were in New York until 1957...). I don't really have an explanation for this. To makes things even stranger, the previous three seasons, (2001-2003) were won by expansion teams: Diamondbacks, Angels and Marlins.
The expansion era started in 1961, when the American league decided to add two new teams; the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators. This was actually a different Senators team from the one that moved to Minnesota and became the Twins earlier in the year. The "2nd" Senators only lasted eleven years and then became the Texas Rangers. The next year, the National league expanded by adding the New York Mets and the Houston Colt '45s, who eventually became the Astros, once they moved into the Astrodome in 1965.
Baseball expanded again in 1969, with the AL adding the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots, who lasted one year and then became the Milwaukee Brewers. (not to be confused with the 1901 Brewers who lasted one year and became the St. Louis Browns, who eventually became the Baltimore Orioles in the mid '50s...not to be confused with the aforementioned 1901 Orioles who became the Yankees...I know, I know...) The N.L. also adding two teams; The San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
In 1977, the A.L. added the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. The 1980's was the first decade since expansion not to expand...I know , I know...in 1993, The N.L. gave us both the Colorado Rockies, (taking it's name from a now defunct NHL franchise;.they became the New Jersey Devils) and the Florida-soon to become Miami-Marlins. Finally, in 1998, the N.L. added the Arizona Diamondbacks, who became the fastest expansion team to win it all in 2001, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who lost the "Devil" part of their name in 2008,on their way to their first pennant.
So, in conclusion, there have been fourteen expansion teams since 1961...the most successful? Hard to say. I could look up total wins, but I don't know what that would really tell us. I know that only three of the teams (Mets, Blue Jays and Marlins) have won two World Series. I also know that only two teams (Mariners and Expos/Nationals) have never won a pennant. Times change, though...it was only a few years back that the Rangers were the only team to never make it to a LCS. Of course, that was before 2010, where they won the first of back to back pennants. They could/should have won it all in '11, but that's another blog altogether...they'll get there...just have to be patient...just ask the Cubs, an old guard team if there ever was...