Thorn: World Series centennial review: 1914

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on October 7, 2014:

In today’s climate of parity, fans are familiar with worst-to-first (and reverse) scenarios, most recently with the Boston Red Sox, last in their division in 2012, champs in 2013 and last again this year. In 1991 both World Series opponents rocketed from the cellar in the previous season to penthouse the next. But baseball has never seen a steeper climb than that supplied by Boston’s Miracle Braves in 1914, culminating in a sweep of the powerhouse Philadelphia Athletics.

Return with me now to that distant time. The Boston National League club had been one of the dominant teams of baseball’s early years, winning eight flags before the turn of the century. But after coming in second in 1899, the club dropped out of pennant contention for 14 years, finishing as far back as 66.5 games (in 1906) and losing as many as 108 (in 1909).

The new American League entry, the Red Sox, became the great attraction in Beantown, winning the inaugural Fall Classic in 1903. In 1912 they defeated the New York Giants in an epic eight-game contest that culminated in an extra-inning finale in which Smoky Joe Wood topped Christy Mathewson. That Boston victory interrupted a great run by the Philadelphia A’s, world champions in 1910, 1911, and 1913 and—after sailing to the AL flag past second-place Boston—the overwhelming favorite to win it all again in 1914.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: October 7, 2014. Last Updated: October 7, 2014.