In 1906, the Chicago White Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to two in the baseball World Series. It was the first time teams from the same city played against each other to determine the champion of Major League Baseball.
It will also forever be the last time two baseball teams from Chicago will be in the same World Series. That is a promise based on almost 70 years of evidence from the Wrigleyville area.
On Wednesday, both the Baltimore Orioles of the American League and the Washington Nationals of the National League earned playoff spots. Their stadiums sit 35 miles apart. This is the matchup I am rooting for in the 2014 World Series.
I enjoy when two teams from the same geographical area play against each other in the World Series. I know TV networks don’t like it, because it centers its broadcast numbers on one region, but it is far more interesting for me to see a series that can be described based on the single transportation path required to get to both stadiums, as in The Subway Series of 2000 (between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets) or the I-70 Series of 1985 (between the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985).
Although it has not happened since 2000, it has happened a lot in baseball history, thanks mainly to the existence of three dominant teams in New York. Between 1921 and 1955, two teams from New York played against each other 12 times. The Yankees and Giants played six times before the Giants moved to San Francisco (with the Yankees winning four times) and the Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers played against each other in the World Series six times before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles (with the Yankees winning five times).
(Quick aside to those who dislike the Yankees: If you are looking for something to cheer about this post-season, you can cheer that the Yankees are not going to be in it).
In between all of those New York matchups, the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns played against each other in the 1944 World Series with the Cardinals winning four games to two.
For my purposes, I count St. Louis-Kansas City as a regional World Series but not, say, Anaheim-San Francisco from 2002. Don’t ask me why.
This year, I guess I could also root for a Los Angeles Angels-Los Angeles Dodgers pairing, as it appears they are both getting in. The possibility also exists for a repeat of the 1989 series between the Oakland As and the San Francisco Giants, although both teams are currently fighting for wild card spots in their respective leagues.
But I like the idea of a Nationals-Orioles matchup because neither of those teams has even been in the World Series since 1983 (the Orioles). The Nationals have not yet made it in their 11 years of existence since moving from Montreal.
Despite their storied baseball history and 12 World Series titles between them, the teams representing the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (Athletics or Phillies) have never played against each other. The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros have not done so. There are two teams in Florida, including the Marlins, who have miraculously won two World Series titles in the past 17 years, but they and the Tampa Bay Rays have not played each other. Montreal and Toronto would have counted but that didn’t happen, either.
And, although it seems unnecessary to mention this, the White Sox and Cubs have not played against each other in a World Series since 1906, and are not likely to ever do so again.
As a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, and the father of two boys who have decided to root for opposing teams, I cannot imagine how awesome and awful a Cubs-White Sox World Series would be. It is not something I will ever have to live through.
So I will root for that Baltimore-Washington combo and live vicariously through the thrills of Orioles and Nationals fans as they call each other names and make fun of the other team.
I know that is how it would happen in Chicago.