October 28, 2008

More Meaningless Presidential-Baseball Voodoo

So...the other night, I beat George Will with a baseball bat, and was rewarded for it. Yes, I have problems, but for once, that doesn’t matter, because this diary isn’t about me. Really. See, BooMan caught Craig Shirley handicapping the World Series, but I'd thought of this last night, too (and like an idiot, let HTML gremlins get in the way of posting it). While watching Tampa Bay get washed away in Philadelphia, it occurred to me that getting nerdy about politics and baseball would be a fun way to waste time and continue to put off finishing my novel. Hell, I’ve already fused my juvenile U2 fixation with election-year politics, for good or ill, so I might as well hit the trifecta, right?

Okay then. Now, I’m not the biggest baseball geek, or much of a statistician, so this will be some strictly minor-league shit, but here we go. The modern World Series “officially” began in 1903, but was boycotted by the Giants in 1904, so 1908’s when my data begins. It shows that 25 World Series have been played in Presidential Election years, not counting this year Here's the hard data.

National League winners: 8 for 25
American League winners: 17 for 25

Republican winners: 13 for 25
Democratic winners: 12 for 25

American League wins coinciding with Republican wins: 10 for 25
American League wins coinciding with Democratic wins: 7 for 25

National League wins coinciding with Republican wins: 3 for 25
National League wins coinciding with Democratic wins: 5 for 25

Random Observations
Both institutions love decadent dynasties, but American League and Republican wins coincide the most...sort of. FDR split his 4 wins right down the middle, Reagan also split his wins in one NL and one AL year (due to Reagan Democrats?), and Clinton won in two AL years (definitely by triangulation).

The hated Yankees win no matter which party wins the White House, but Boston goes 2-1 for the Democrats (does Beantown love Woodrow Wilson or what?). The tag-team of Eisenhower (an all-Yankee Prez) and Nixon is solid American League. Poppy Bush won with the Dodgers in an NL year, and the Rangers-owning W. is fittingly all AL with wins by the epitome of East Coast snobbery, the Yankees and Red Sox.

The unlikely Cleveland Indians won for Harding, who then died in office, but they also won when Truman squeaked by Tom Dewey. The dirty, hairy Athletics won when Nixon got re-elected, and the clean-cut Big Red Machine took the series for Cincy when Jimmy Carter won in '76. Pittsburgh slipped past the Yankees the same year that JFK edged Nixon. Oh, and the Cubs had better pray for a Republican win next time, or for a candidate named Taft.

One more thing about the Yankees: they seem to enjoy second terms. The Bronx has won in round 2 for FDR, Ike, and Clinton. Tellingly, the Red Sox have now become the Yankees, and so won for W. Bush's second term in 2004. The NL Cardinals like winning in electoral-blowout years: 1944 for FDR and 1964 for LBJ. 1992 was slightly bizarre, as Bill Clinton won for being the first non-black Black President, and Cito Gaston’s genuine blackness made him the first World Series-winning black manager when he led the Blue Jays to victory, the first of two Canadian series wins in a row.

So what does it all mean for this year? Well, let’s see: a win for Philly and Obama would be a nice bookend to the 1980 Philly/Reagan mix. As for McCain, well, what with the deflation of the Cubs, Dodgers, and Boston, I’ve had enough October surprises this post-season, so let’s just go with Barry and the Phillies in ‘08. Why else? Because the American League is a satanic abomination, that’s why. Death to the designated hitter. Long live small ball.

Cross-posted (with ugly-ass data table): dkos


  1. I should have known that Chewbacca was a lefty!

  2. Yeah, he throws a nasty fur ball.


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