Well, 21 times a team in such a position, including the 1985 Royals, has come back to win it all. Of those 21 teams, 12, again including the ’85 Royals, had home field advantage. In other words, they won the last two games at home (and KC also won the last game in St. Louis – they actually were down 3-1).
And in other words, it ain’t over till it’s over.
One more note: We know the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals have the most World Series titles – the Yanks far ahead – so naturally they are both well represented below with 12 of the 21 comebacks involving either or both teams.
But here is one area where the Cardinals excel over the Yankees. The Cards have come back from down three games to two an amazing five times (to the Yankees two).
In other words, five of the Cardinals 12 championships (41.6 percent) were born of this scenario. That’s one turnaround away from half. Wow.Follow @VinGetz
|1.||1903||Boston Americans*||Pittsburgh Pirates||5-3|
|2.||1921||New York Giants*||New York Yankees||5-3|
|3.||1924||Washington Senators*||New York Giants||4-3|
|4.||1925||Pittsburgh Pirates*||Washington Senators||4-3|
|5.||1926||St. Louis Cardinals||New York Yankees*||4-3|
|6.||1934||St. Louis Cardinals||Detroit Tigers*||4-3|
|7.||1940||Cincinnati Reds*||Detroit Tigers||4-3|
|8.||1946||St. Louis Cardinals*||Boston Red Sox||4-3|
|9.||1952||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers*||4-3|
|10.||1958||New York Yankees||Milwaukee Braves*||4-3|
|11.||1968||Detroit Tigers||St. Louis Cardinals*||4-3|
|12.||1973||Oakland A’s*||New York Mets||4-3|
|13.||1979||Pittsburgh Pirates||Baltimore Orioles*||4-3|
|14.||1982||St. Louis Cardinals*||Milwaukee Brewers||4-3|
|15.||1985||Kansas City Royals*||St. Louis Cardinals||4-3|
|16.||1986||New York Mets*||Boston Red Sox||4-3|
|17.||1987||Minnesota Twins*||St. Louis Cardinals||4-3|
|18.||1991||Minnesota Twins*||Atlanta Braves||4-3|
|19.||2001||Arizona Diamondbacks*||New York Yankees||4-3|
|20.||2002||Anaheim Angels*||San Francisco Giants||4-3|
|21.||2011||St. Louis Cardinals*||Texas Rangers||4-3|
* Home field advantage
Out of 109 completed World Series, about half – 53 – started out with one team going up two games to none over the other.
Of those, only 11 times has the team down 2-0 come back to win the championship. And of those, four – that is only four times (!) – has the team with home field advantage come back to win it all.
Let’s check the percentages on all this. Down 2-0? Then, actually not too bad considering the circumstances – you’ve got a 21 percent chance of winning the World Series.
However, if you lose those first two games at home, things dwindle to a 5.7 percent chance (three of 53). I’m not including 1921, because back then teams alternated playing at home with the home field advantage team getting Game 7.
The upshot is, if the Kansas City Royals (who gained home field advantage thanks to the American League winning the All-Star Game) lose again tonight, things won’t be looking good at all for a title. Then again, they didn’t look good in 1985, either. The Royals happened to be one of those home teams.Follow @VinGetz
|1.||1921||New York Giants*||New York Yankees||5-3|
|2.||1955||Brooklyn Dodgers||New York Yankees||4-3|
|3.||1956||New York Yankees||Brooklyn Dodgers||4-3|
|4.||1958||New York Yankees||Milwaukee Braves||4-3|
|5.||1965||Los Angeles Dodgers||Minnesota Twins||4-3|
|6.||1971||Pittsburgh Pirates||Baltimore Orioles||4-3|
|7.||1978||New York Yankees||Los Angeles Dodgers||4-2|
|8.||1981||Los Angeles Dodgers||New York Yankees||4-2|
|9.||1985||Kansas City Royals*||St. Louis Cardinals||4-3|
|10.||1986||New York Mets*||Boston Red Sox||4-3|
|11.||1996||New York Yankees*||Atlanta Braves||4-2|
* home field advantage
How sweet it was, too. San Antonio exacted (a dominant) revenge on the team – the back-to-back champion Miami Heat – that beat them the year before. San Antonio is the seventh team to capitalize on such an opportunity.
Can you imagine playing a ruthlessly grinding 82-game schedule only to lose the Finals in seven games, sweating out the summer waiting, busting through another long season and (Western Conference) postseason, hoping for another shot at the title, being lucky enough for a rematch and then beating the team that beat you. Awesome.
Here they are: those NBA teams that never lost sight and faith despite the most crushing of defeats the season before.Follow @VinGetz
|1.||LOST||2012-13||Miami Heat||San Antonio Spurs||4-3|
|WON||2013-14||San Antonio Spurs||Miami Heat||4-1||(1)|
|2.||LOST||2010-11||Dallas Mavericks||Miami Heat||4-2|
|WON||2011-12||Miami Heat||Oklahoma City Thunder||4-1|
|3.||LOST||2007-08||Boston Celtics||Los Angeles Lakers||4-2|
|WON||2008-09||Los Angeles Lakers||Orlando Magic||4-1|
|4.||LOST||1987-88||Los Angeles Lakers||Detroit Pistons||4-3|
|WON||1988-89||Detroit Pistons||Los Angeles Lakers||4-0||(2)|
|5.||LOST||1984-85||Los Angeles Lakers||Boston Celtics||4-2|
|WON||1985-86||Boston Celtics||Houston Rockets||4-2|
|6.||LOST||1983-84||Boston Celtics||Los Angeles Lakers||4-3|
|WON||1984-85||Los Angeles Lakers||Boston Celtics||4-2||(3)|
|7.||LOST||1981-82||Los Angeles Lakers||Philadelphia 76ers||4-2|
|WON||1982-83||Philadelphia 76ers||Los Angeles Lakers||4-0||(4)|
|8.||LOST||1977-78||Washington Bullets||Seattle SuperSonics||4-3|
|WON||1978-79||Seattle SuperSonics||Washington Bullets||4-1||(5)|
|9.||LOST||1971-72||Los Angeles Lakers||New York Knicks||4-1|
|WON||1972-73||New York Knicks||Los Angeles Lakers||4-1||(6)|
|10.||LOST||1957-58||St. Louis Hawks||Boston Celtics||4-2|
|WON||1958-59||Boston Celtics||Minneapolis Lakers||4-0|
|11.||LOST||1956-57||Boston Celtics||St. Louis Hawks||4-3|
|WON||1957-58||St. Louis Hawks||Boston Celtics||4-2||(7)|
|12.||LOST||1953-54||Minneapolis Lakers||Syracuse Nationals||4-3|
|WON||1954-55||Syracuse Nationals||Fort Wayne Pistons||4-3|