The Curse of All Curses

September 19, 2018
                                                           The Curse of All Curses

              The St. Louis Browns were around from 1902 to 1953 and never won a World Series.  No one regards this as a curse, however, because there is an alternative explanation which takes precedence.  The alternative explanation is ordinary incompetence. The Browns never won a World Series because they had very few teams which were capable of competing for a World Championship.   The Browns in their 52-year-history had only 18 teams which won as many as 70 games, only 12 teams which had winning records, and had only two teams—in 1922 and 1944—which won as many as 84 games. 

              Let us take the Boston Red Sox from 1919 to 2003.  As we know, the Red Sox did not win any World Championships in those years, but. . .how many World Series SHOULD they have won, based on the strength of their teams?  Which teams have had the longest non-winning droughts, based not just on the number of years, but also and especially on the strength of their teams?  Which teams have the longest current streaks of not winning what they should?

              The thesis of this article is that each team has some probability of winning the World Championship based on the quality of the team, even though in many cases that probability is "zero".   At a certain level this is obvious and should find easy acceptance.  If I were to say, for example, that it was unlikely that the 1987 Minnesota Twins would win the World Series, based on their 85-77 won-lost record, you probably wouldn’t argue with me.  The Twins during the regular season allowed 20 more runs than they scored (786 to 806).  It is unlikely that you will finish eight games over .500 (85-77) if you are outscored by twenty runs; it happened, but it is not the most likely outcome.  It is unlikely that you’ll win the division if you go 85-77, let alone the World Series; it happened, but it’s unlikely.  Similarly, the 1906 Cubs, who finished 116-36, had a fairly high probability of winning the World Series.  It didn’t happen, but it could have happened. This is not really an arguable proposition. 

              Let’s take it a small step beyond that:  the 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers.  The 1942 Dodgers did not win the National League pennant, and, of course, if you don’t win the pennant you can’t win the World Series.   The Dodgers happened to be pitted against a St. Louis Cardinal team which won 106 games, but there was nothing inevitable about that.  They could just as easily have been matched up against the 1941 Cardinals, who won only 97 games, or the 1942 American League champion New York Yankees, who won 103 games.  They could have won the pennant with 104 wins, and, if they had, they could have won the series. 

              But let us go on now to a more difficult case:  the 1932 Philadelphia Phillies.  The 1932 Phillies scored 844 runs, leading the National League—the 1961 Yankees scored 19 fewer runs in nine more games—but the Phillies allowed 796 runs, and thus finished only two games over .500 at 78-76.   Obviously it is very unlikely that a team of that quality could win the World Series, but "very unlikely" is not "impossible".   They won only 78 games, but, given their runs scored and runs allowed, they had an expectation of winning 81.5.  It was as likely that they would win 85 games or more as it was that they would win 78 or less.  It is not unreasonable to argue that they could have won 88 games, perhaps, and it is not impossible, if they had finished 88-66, that they could have stumbled into a league in which 88-66 was good enough to win, and it is not impossible, if they had won the league with a record of 88-66, that they might have won the World Series. 

              So I assigned every team in history a percentage chance to win the World Series; I’ll explain later in general terms how this was done.  Those percentage chances were 59.5% for the 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36), 43.0% for the 1942 Dodgers, .5% for the 1932 Phillies (one in 200), and .1%  for the 1987 Twins (one in a thousand.)  These are estimates; they are not precise calculations.  I don’t know how you would precisely calculate these things; I don’t think anyone does.   I figured out a way to estimate them, which is:

1)      State the strength of the team based 50/50 on their won-lost record and their runs/runs allowed ratio,

2)      Square that number; I’ll explain why in a moment,

3)      Total up the strength for all of the teams in their decade,

4)      Divide that into the number of World Champions in the decade,

5)      The result is the probability that this is a World Championship team.

6)       

You square the first strength number because, as teams move away from .500, it becomes more likely that they will win the World Series in a more than straight-line relationship.  If you compare an 82-80 team (two games over .500) to a 91-71 team (twenty games over .500), the 91-71 team has more than a 10X greater chance to win the World Series; it is more like a hundred times greater.   A straight-line relationship assumes that an 87-75 team has one-third as good a chance to win the World Series as a 99-63 team does, which is not true.   Squaring the strength indicator creates a more realistic ratio. 

The more nettlesome problem is presented by point (4) above: divide that number into the number of World Championships in the decade.  Several problems there.  Why do we normalize to the decade, to begin with?

Because if you don’t, you get aberrant results based mostly on the decreasing standard deviation of wins over time.  A list of the 25 strongest teams includes only a couple of teams from the last 50 years.   Accepting that those earlier teams were "stronger" creates an exaggerated expectation of each one’s chance to win the World Series, unless we adjust that out of existence by measuring the strength within the decade. 

Many other things happen over time, as well, which effect the operation of the formulas. . .the switch from the 154- to the 162-game season, the addition of more teams to the league (1961-1962 and several times since then), the switch into divisions (1969) and the addition of layers of playoff games, etc.   The decreasing standard deviation of wins over time is the biggest practical problem, but the others are issues as well.

My study is an examination of expected vs. actual World Championships, so it considers all seasons since 1903, the first World Series.   In the years 1903 to 1909 there are 112 teams, but only six World Series champions because there was no World Series in 1904.  What to do about that?

For 1904—and 1994, when the World Series was also cancelled—I considered the teams from that seasons to have had a chance to win the World Series, even though there was no World Series that season.  Why?   Because at the time those teams played, they had a expectation that they WOULD have a chance to win the World Series.  The World Series was not played in 1904 because John McGraw didn’t want to play it and in 1994 because of the strike, but people did not know that as the games were being played.  What happened to the 1904 Red Sox (95-59) could just as plausibly have happened to the 1906 White Sox (93-58).  It’s just like the 1942 Dodgers, who ran into a super-team in their own league; it’s an outcome that could not have been anticipated.   It happened to them, but it didn’t HAVE to happen to them.   So I counted those teams, from 1904 and 1994, as having had a chance to win the World Series which was denied to them by a twist of fate. 

Also, for obvious reasons, I made a rule that no team’s chance of winning the World Series could be less than zero or greater than one.   As it turned out, no team was so strong that their chance of winning the World Series was estimated at greater than one, anyway.   We are getting to our first result here, not the result we are pursuing, but an interim result that we can’t just throw away without comment.  

By my method, the team with the best chance ever to win the World Series was:  the 1927 Yankees.   The ’27 Yankees have a .89 expectation of winning the World Series.   Second on the list is the 1939 Yankees (.76), and third is the 1969 Baltimore Orioles (.64).  These are the fifteen teams with the highest probability of a World Championship:

 

Year

Tm

G

W

L

W-L%

Exp Cham

WS

1927

New York Yankees

155

110

44

.714

.893

1

1939

New York Yankees

152

106

45

.702

.758

1

1969

Baltimore Orioles

162

109

53

.673

.640

0

1954

Cleveland Indians

156

111

43

.721

.627

0

1998

New York Yankees

162

114

48

.704

.626

1

2001

Seattle Mariners

162

116

46

.716

.612

0

1906

Chicago Cubs

155

116

36

.763

.595

0

1929

Philadelphia Athletics

151

104

46

.693

.594

1

1912

Boston Red Sox

154

105

47

.691

.564

1

1953

Brooklyn Dodgers

155

105

49

.682

.552

0

1942

St. Louis Cardinals

156

106

48

.688

.549

1

1944

St. Louis Cardinals

157

105

49

.682

.543

1

1986

New York Mets

162

108

54

.667

.541

1

1961

New York Yankees

163

109

53

.673

.534

1

1912

New York Giants

154

103

48

.682

.528

0

 

These fifteen teams have a total expectation of 9.16 World Championships by my method.  They actually won nine World Championships.  The highest expectations for teams that did not win are for the 1969 Orioles, the 1954 Indians, the 2001 Mariners, the 1906 Cubs and the 1953 Dodgers.  All of those are memorable teams.  The 1969 Orioles were upset by the Miracle Mets.  The 1953 Dodgers were the team written about by Roger Kahn in The Boys of Summer.  The 1906 Cubs had Tinker, Evers and Chance although the poem was not written until later.  They were very heavily favored at the time to beat their crosstown rivals, who were known as the Hitless Wonders. 

But this is not really what we are studying.  If we were studying THAT I would have used a different method.  I am studying teams over time.  Let’s move on to decades. . . specifically three questions:

1)       Which teams had the highest expectation for World Series Wins in a decade?

2)      Which teams had really good decades in the World Series? And

3)      Which teams had really tough World Series results (in a decade)?

 

I would ask (4) which teams had the lowest expectations for World Series Wins in a decade, but the answer is "Several, with zero."  If a franchise goes through the decade without a .500 team—which several franchises have done—they get a goose egg. 

1)      Which teams had the highest expectation for World Series Wins in a decade?

There are six franchise/decades in which a team has had an expectation of at least two World Championships.  Four of those are the Yankees of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.   The Yankees had an expectation of 2.7 World Championships in the 1920s, 3.5 in the 1930s (the record), 2.2 in the 1940s, and 2.9 in the 1950s.  The other two teams with super-decades were the New York Giants of the 1910-19 era (2.0 expected championships) and the Cardinals of the 1940s (2.6). 

 

2)      Which teams had really good decades in the World Series?

The five best decades any franchise has had in regard to World Series wins vs. expectation are:            

1.       The Yankees of the 1950s, six actual championships against an expectation of 2.9;

2.       The San Francisco Giants of this decade, 2010 to 2017, three actual world championships against an expectation of 0.2;

3.       The Red Sox of the Babe Ruth era, 1910 to 1919, four World Championships against an expectation of 1.3;

4.       The A’s of the 1970s, three World Championships against an expectation of 0.8; and

5.       The Yankees of the 1940s, four World Championships against an expectation of 2.2. 

 

 

3)      Which teams had really tough World Series results (in a decade)?

The six teams which have radically UNDER-achieved in a decade are:

1.        The New York Giants from 1910 to 1919, no World Series championships against an expectation of 2.02.

2.       The Cleveland Indians of the 1950s, no championships against an expectation of 1.6.

3.       The Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940s, no World Series championships against an expectation of 1.55.

4.       The Boston Red Sox of the 1940s, no World Championships against an expectation of 1.21,

5.       The Dodgers of the 1970s, no World Championships against an expectation of 1.06, and

6.       The Cubs of 1910 to 1919, no World Championships against an expectation of 1.05. 

 

The Giants and Cubs of the 1910 to 1919 era. …that decade was completely dominated by American League teams.  The Cubs and Giants were able to win a lot of games in the National League in the regular season but would get crushed by the American League team in October.  The Indians of the 1950s were perpetual runners-up to the Yankees and got swept in the World Series the only time they were able to get there, although they had a great team.  The Dodgers of the 1970s had to fight the Big Red Machine, and then lost a World Series to the A’s and two to the Yankees. 

 

Reminding you now that what we are trying to get to is the Gaps between championships.   This is not the express bus; this is the local.  Our next stop is franchise totals.   Over the course of history, eighteen franchises have won about as many World Championships as we would expect them to have won, based on the quality of their teams.   Those eighteen are:

 

Franchise

Expected

Actual

NY-SF Giants

8.69

8

Phi-KC-Oak A's

7.38

9

Bkn-LA Dodgers

7.20

6

Boston Red Sox

6.51

8

Pittsburgh Pirates

5.07

5

Detroit Tigers

4.99

4

Bos-Mil-Atl Braves

4.59

3

Cincinnati Reds

4.51

5

Chicago White Sox

4.23

3

Washington-Minn

3.33

3

Philadelphia Phillies

2.43

2

New York Mets

2.09

2

Toronto Blue Jays

1.44

2

Houston Astros

1.42

1

Angels

1.40

1

Diamondbacks

0.71

1

Tampa Bay Rays

0.42

0

San Diego Padres

0.40

0

Colorado Rockies

0.16

0

 

Seven franchises have won fewer championships than you would expect, and those seven are:

 

Franchise

Expected

Actual

Chicago Cubs

5.94

3

Cleveland Indians

5.44

2

Bos-Mil-Atl Braves

      4.59           

3

StL-Baltimore

4.51

3

Montreal-Washington

1.13

0

Seattle Mariners

1.05

0

Milwaukee Brewers

0.93

0

Washington-Tex

0.87

0

 

Cleveland is, at the moment, the Most-Shorted-Team, having won two World Championships—1920 and 1948—with teams which should have accumulated five or six. 

And four teams have won more World Championships than you would expect, based on the quality of their teams over the years:

Franchise

Expected

Actual

New York Yankees

17.89

27

St. Louis Cardinals

7.18

11

Kansas City Royals

0.99

2

Florida Marlins

0.10

2

 

If you add up the "expected" and the "actual", it’s 113 of each. 

With the Yankees being so far ahead of expectation, it is a fair question whether my system is perhaps undervaluing the Yankees’ expected championships. 

That could be; it’s just estimates.  I’m confident that the system does not undervalue the best teams; I demonstrated that earlier, I think.  The Yankees didn’t over-achieve in World Series play in the 20s or 30s or the early 40s, but went crazy in the post-war era.  I think there are two things happening there.  

First, I think the Yankees, to some extent, did have the Whammy on their World Series opponents in that era.   The Yankees beat the Dodgers in ’49, the Phillies in ’50, the Giants in ’51, the Dodgers in ’52.  After a while the other teams started to feel that they couldn’t beat the Yankees, and so they couldn’t. 

Second, I think the Yankees in the Casey Stengel era were almost certainly better teams than their won-lost records reveal.  Stengel would give Whitey Ford 29 or 30 starts a year while the top pitchers on other teams were getting 38.   Also, he had really good players who he refused to make into true regulars.  Both Moose Skowron and Elston Howard made the All Star team several times before they became regulars.  Gene Woodling was a tremendous hitter who could have contended for the batting championship, and he wasn’t just hitting singles—but Stengel would only give him 400 at bats a year. 

My point is that the Yankees, I believe, won 96 or 98 games several times in the 1950s when they could have won 105, if they had any reason to push themselves to do it.  Their won-lost record understates the strength of the team, and thus our system, based on the won-lost record, underestimates their chance of winning the World Series. 

The Cardinals, Royals and Marlins have also won more World Series than you would expect, based on the strength of the teams. 

 

OK, now we get to our target question, which is Gaps.   Expected championships won in a series of years during which the franchise won no World Championships.  These are the ten largest gaps in the World Series record, based on the strength of the teams:

10.  Baltimore Orioles, 1971 to 1982.  

              It’s not a long gap, but the Orioles make the list based on the strength of their teams.  The Orioles won the World Series in 1966, beating the Dodgers with Koufax and Drysdale, and in 1970, beating the Big Red Machine.  But then they lost the World Series in ’71 despite 101 wins in the regular season, won 97 games in ’73, 91 in ’74, 90 in ’75, 97 in ’77, 90 in ’78, 102 in ’79, 100 in 1980, and 94 in ’82.  The other years in there—1972, 1976 and 1981—they were always over .500.   They had an expectation of 1.54 World Series championships in there, but did not win one, although it doesn’t seem that notable because it’s just not that long from 1970 to 1983. 

 

9.  The Atlanta Braves, 1996 to the present.   Expected 2.0 World Championships. 

8.  New York-San Francisco Giants, 1955 to 2009.   Expected 2.15 World Championships.  Never won one in the 1960s with Mays, Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal and Gaylord Perry.   After a World Series loss in ’62 they had a long string of second-place finishes, then lost the NLCS in ’71 and ’87, lost the World Series in ’89, then had a long series of post-season losses in the Barry Bonds era. 

 

7. Washington Senators-Minnesota Twins, 1925 to 1986.  Expected 2.27 World Championships.  The Senators won the World Series in 1924, then lost it in 1925.  They had good teams until 1933, lost the World Series in 1933.  At that time the other teams started building farm systems.   The Senators and the Cubs continued to try to operate the way they had always operated, buying players from independent minor league operators, not foreseeing that, with the other teams organizing farm systems, the independent operators would be put out of business.   They got badly behind the curve and had 25 years of bad teams.  By the late 1950s they had caught up and their farms system was booming, producing outstanding players almost every year.   They moved to Minnesota and were in the World Series in ’65, in the playoffs in ’69 and ’70, but didn’t break through with a winner until 1987. 

 

6.  New York Giants, 1906 to 1920.  Expected 2.49 World Championships.   John McGraw’s team.  I had not realized they would be on the list; I am sure you didn’t, either.   They’re like the Orioles of the 1970s, a team that has a gap because they were just extremely good in the regular season, winning 96 games in 1906, 98 in 1908, 92 in 1909, 91 in 1910, 99 in 1911, 103 in 1912, 101 in 1913, 98 in 1917, and finished more than ten games over .500 literally all of the other seasons.   They were in the World Series several times in this era, but never won it.

 

5. Chicago White Sox, 1918 to 2004.  Expected 2.91 World Championships.   After a 19% chance of a championship in 1919 and 18% in 1920—we know what happened to those chances—but after that they didn’t have a good shot at a title until 1954 (24%), then 18% in 1955, 12% in 1959, 16% in 1963, 21% in 1964, and 12% in 1965.   After the Al Lopez years there was another dry period until Tony LaRussa led them to 99 wins in 1983 (26%).   Finally broke through in 2005. 

              The White Sox were 94-60 in 1954 and 94-60 in 1959.  The 1959 team lost the World Series to a cobbled-together Dodger Hot Mess, but I see the 1954 team as being stronger because their run ratio was much better.  The 1954 White Sox outscored their opponents by 190 runs, 711 to 521, whereas the 1959 Go-Go Sox outscored their opponents by only 99 runs, 745 to 646.   Of course, the 1954 team finished third behind the Indians and the Yankees, but that wasn’t inevitable; that was just something that happened.   The 1954 team was actually a better team. 

4. Brooklyn Dodgers, all of their history up until 1955.   Expected 3.26 World Championships, just couldn’t beat the Yankees until Podres finally did. 

3.  Cleveland Indians, 1949 to the present.   The longest active gap.  Expected 3.41 World Championships.   I estimate their chance at a World Championship at .17 in 1950, .19 in 1952, .16 in 1953, .63 in 1954, then nothing significant until 1995, then .40 in 1995, .21 in 1996, .15 in 1999, and .34 in 2017.   But it just hasn’t happened for them. 

2.  Boston Red Sox, 1919 to 2003.   Expected 3.59 World Championships.   Best teams in there were 1938 (12%), 1942 (20%), 1946 (38%), 1948 (24%), 1949 (30%), 1950 (29%), 1967 (10%), 1975 (10%), 1977 (17%), 1978 (17%), 1979 (10%), 1986 (14%), 1988 (10%), 1998 (10%), 2002 (14%) and 2003 (12%).

1.  Chicago Cubs, 1909 to 2015.  Expected 4.2 World Championships.  Won 104 games in 1909 and 1910, giving them a 31% chance the first year, 44% the second year.  After that they had a 10% chance or better in 1911, 1912, 1918, 1928, 1929 (35%), 1935 (34%), 1937, and 1945 (29%).   Refusing to install lights or build a farm system, the Cubs fell into a deep hole, and didn’t have a good chance to win again until 1969 (11%), then had 10% chance or better in 1984 and 2008.  Finally broke the curse in 2016, 108 years.   

 

              Thanks for reading.   Tomorrow I will have a "Bonus Article" which is a continuation of the same research, the same data set and a lot of the same method, going in a different direction.   This is the real research, though; this article examines a question that I have never studied before, and to the best of my knowledge no one has studied before.   The article tomorrow just takes another look at an issue that hundreds of people have written about.  

 
 

COMMENTS (12 Comments, most recent shown first)

ExposMarty
I always enjoy reading you, Bill! Curses are always part of the baseball conversation but nobody had ever tackled that question before.

We seem to be in a Curse-busting era with the top two being over with. Not only that, but both the Red Sox and Cubs have become powerhouses now. It is as if the beginning of the 21st century is an echo to the previous one. Baseball is sort of going back to the old order.

In similar fashion, today's Yankees are not as bad as the pre-Ruthian Highlanders/Yankees, but one World Series in 18 years is quite a drought for this franchise.

While more people seemed to be cheering for the Cubs in 2016, partly based on the fact that their Curse was a longer one, I wonder if the Indians will be most neutral fans' favorite team this year. They were quite underwhelming during the season, but they still have a good enough team to win it all.

On to the next Curse-busting project, then!
10:34 PM Sep 29th
 
FrankD
Interesting.... especially on Stengel's Yankees. I wonder if a study can be done to show if Stengel's methodology of using team's best pitchers against best competition and then pitching team's 'weaker' pitchers against the worst competition leads to both fewer total wins but more championships.
10:47 AM Sep 24th
 
OldBackstop
Good thoughts throughout, Guy.
11:29 AM Sep 21st
 
KaiserD2
A few comments.

There is, I think, another reason that the Yankees overachieved in the World Series, certainly from the late 1920s through 1949 or so. The American League was simply far superior to the National League in those years. My data shows it had far more outstanding players, measured against the league average--and this even though the league average in the AL was higher. So the best team in the AL had a much better chance of winning the World Series than the best team in the NL.

Bill doesn't make clear that the Yankees lost their edge in the World Series beginning in 1955 when they won only 2 out of 4, after winning 5 out of 5. Then in 1960-64 they won only 2 of 5. By the second half of the 1950s the NL had become stronger largely thanks to integration. In 1947-53, I would say the Yankees were quite lucky to beat a better Dodger team in 1952-3.

Bill's original list of teams most likely to win the World Series (in one particular year) is basically a list of the best teams ever by W-L although for some reason the 1909 Pirates didn't make it.

The outcome of the World Series has become much closer to random in the era of three rounds of playoffs. Pete Palmer found that the team with the best season record only wins about 20% of the time now.

David K


7:55 AM Sep 20th
 
Manushfan
Always thought about that 1995 Indians team, came up short. Awesome regular season. Strange these guys between 94-01 didn't break thru somewheres along the line.

I also noticed the 79 Red Sox get listed-a team no one remembers, but they were really good, til a swoon in late August/early Sept, they were on track to win about say 95-97 games, weren't going to catch the O's but they were in the running. Lots of missed opps there in that decade. The 72 and 74 teams were okay but woulda been flattened by the A's, at least that 74 team I think.

No I didn't think of the White Sox in the 50-60's either. They were really good.
6:08 PM Sep 19th
 
Steven Goldleaf
Another way of looking at the Yankees' success was that not only did they win fewer games in the regular season by resting Ford, Howard, Skowron, Woodling more than other teams might have, but when the Series started, Ford, Howard, Skowron, Woodling were better rested to win the Series.
5:48 PM Sep 19th
 
Guy123
Fully incorporating the impact of playoff rounds should greatly reduce the expected championships for great teams, while increasing the probability for merely good teams. Before 1969, low-90s win teams had almost no chance of winning a WS, while in the modern game this is quite common. Quickly eyeballing the list, in the playoff era we've seen 21 WS winners in 49 seasons (43%) who won fewer than 95 games. In the pre-playoff era, there were only 4 champions over 66 seasons (6%) who won fewer than 95 games (or fewer than 90 in 154 games -- an equivalent win%).

Bill's adjustment for the decreasing standard deviation of wins will address some of this, but won't account for the enormous impact of playoffs. The 1998 Yankees may have had a 63% chance of winning the WS once they got there, but they first had to beat the Rangers and the Indians. The 1986 Mets were stronger than the Sox, but they first had to beat a strong Astros team -- we can't give them a 54% chance of being champs. And so on.
5:20 PM Sep 19th
 
MarisFan61
(toss my hat on that too -- actually seems undeniable)
12:39 PM Sep 19th
 
jwilt
I agree with Guy123. With the three-tiered playoff system in place in 2001 the Mariners had roughly a 25% chance at winning the World Series the day the regular season ended. If they had a 60% chance at winning each of the three postseason series that's .6^3 = 21.6%.

They'd have to be an .800 team against the other playoff teams to be over 50/50 at making it through those three rounds.​
12:37 PM Sep 19th
 
3for3
I believe 538 did something similar with ELO as the guide for expected championships. Doesn’t look at runs/runs allowed, but does factor in teams that improve during the season.
12:07 PM Sep 19th
 
MarisFan61
(Note about abbreviations: "WC" has somewhat of an accepted meaning already and it's Wild Card. :-)
I think ad hoc abbrevs probably cause more keystrokes to be wasted in their clarification than they save by being abbrevs, especially when they overlap with some adjacent thing, as this inadvertently does.)

Interesting that the Cubs and Red Sox do come in 1-2. No surprise, except that I think such lore rarely turns out like that when looked at objectively.

Looking forward to seeing what the "going in a different direction" might be.
I wouldn't have thought there was a different direction. :-)
I guess it'll be figuring the expectations from a different angle.

Interesting also about including 1904 and 1994, and I see the rationale, but I suspect that most people will think, "That's not what I mean when I think of this." (Me included.)
12:05 PM Sep 19th
 
Guy123
Very interesting analysis. One question about the expected championships calculation: is the model different depending on playoff structure of the period (pre-1969, 1969-1993, 1994-present)? It seems to me the addition of playoffs greatly reduces the championship probability for strong teams. So, for example, it seems unlikely that Seattle in 2001 had a 61% WC chance, even if you give it a 100% chance of making the post-season.
10:28 AM Sep 19th
 
 
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