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TFD: What might have been in the mid-1980s World Series under the current home-field system

Posted by: Michael Rand under Twins fans Updated: July 11, 2012 - 5:18 PM

Plenty of people still debate the merits of determining home field advantage for the World Series based on the winner of the All-Star Game, but this much is not in doubt: It is a fact, a given now since 2003. It is the standard, and like it or not, it is the system in place.

But have you ever wondered how history might be altered if this system had been in place prior to 2003? No? Well, shame on you because it’s kind of fascinating to think about. Remember, before that season home field advantage simply alternated yearly between the American League and National League. Looking only at outcomes — and homing in on a very specific stretch in the mid-1980s — we can tell you that if All-Star winners had determined home field advantage three decades ago, history would be changed dramatically. Consider this three-year span, which featured a trio of memorable World Series moments that might not have happened:

1985: Kansas City vs. St. Louis
The National League won the All-Star Game 6-1 that season (played in the Metrodome, if you don’t remember). But it was the American League’s turn to host the World Series. So the Royals, trailing 3-2 in the series against the Cardinals, headed back home for Games 6 and 7. Kansas City trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth before Don Denkinger’s infamous blown call at first base, which led to a two-run rally, a victory, and eventually a Game 7 blowout win for KC. With home field reversed, that doesn’t happen.

1986: Boston vs. N.Y. Mets
The AL won the All-Star Game, but it was the NL’s turn for home field. Again, the team with that edge (the Mets) came back home trailing the series 3-2, and again they needed a massive rally after the Red Sox went up 5-3 in the 10th inning of Game 6. What followed, of course, was a furious three-run rally — helped by Bill Buckner’s legendary error on Mookie Wilson’s ground ball — and the Mets went on to win the series. Again, that doesn’t happen if the home field is reversed.

1987: Twins vs. St. Louis
One that hits close to home. The NL won the All-Star Game, but your beloved Twins, with 85 victories in the regular season, had the right to home field advantage in the World Series. Both the Twins and Cardinals would use home field to the fullest advantage, with each winning all their home games. But it was the Twins who prevailed in the end at the Dome with the extra home game. Maybe the Cardinals would have won instead if current All-Star rules were in play?

 

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