Almanac Baseball – Atlanta Braves win the World Series: one of the lowest ranked teams to win it all



So, the lowly performed Atlanta Braves win the World Series in 6 games in an absolute boilover! What I find quite unbelievable is that the Braves had the 12th worst record across all MLB teams during the full 162 game season. As a Blue Jays tragic who missed out on the play-off by one game from being in the wild card game with a better record, how does that compute?


I have long found the traditions of baseball good to uphold, specially the uniforms and the colour schemes, but the system of rewarding mediocrity I find quite hard to comprehend. Why? Because the Braves won in the poorest performing division in the National League East. You had two teams in the Dodgers and the Giants both with plus 100-game winning seasons in the National League West and they battled it out in a division series!!! In fact, the LA Dodgers had to win a wild card game over the Cardinals (who won more than 20 games less than the Dodgers) just to get into the NL division series. Yet the Braves only won 88 games in their division – go figure !!!


Baseball is a game of momentum – the Braves had a series of hot bats, fantastic pitching (especially their relievers) and incredible fielding. They beat a hot Houston Astros side hell-bent on redemption after the sign stealing scandal of 2019. The post-season is a season within itself. Here the key to success is to protect your bull pen, allow starters to go into at least the 5th inning, and pinch run or hit at crucial times. Jorge Soler (who was acquired in the last hours of the trade deadline back in July), the star hitter today and star of the series, hit a massive 445 ft 3-run bomb over the railway tracks at the back of Minute Maid Park in Houston – he literally hit the Houston pitching out of the park! It was  a monster hit and the game 6 defining moment.


There is even talk of getting rid of the pitcher having to bat and having a designated hitter in all MLB games – again this has been a long-held National League tradition.  There is the theory that the designated hitter (or DH) came into the American League so that the cashed-up mighty Yankees could employ one extra hot hitter to get onto the diamond and bring runners over the plate rather that have an almost automatic out every time it was the pitcher’s turn to bat in the order.


I must confess that, as a rusted-on Toronto Blue Jays fan, I am so happy that the Red Sox knocked out the Yankees in the wild card game, the Sox knocked out the Rays (they had the best record in baseball by the way), and the Boston Red Sox were smashed out of the park by the Houston Astros so the spacemen could reach the Fall classic only to lose to the tribe from Atlanta. I would have hated to see one of the 3 of the American League East teams win it. And yet there is my point – that the American League East division is so strong that 4 teams had better or equal regular season records that were more successful than  the eventful competition winners.


I would invite comment on the conundrums I have highlighted. Go Jays!


We’ll do our best to publish two books in the lead-up to Christmas 2021. The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020  and the 2021 edition to celebrate the Dees’ magnificent premiership season(title is up for discussion at the moment!). These books will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers and Demons season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from these two Covid winters. Enquiries HERE


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About Richard Marlow

a humble middle-years teacher in a “middle of the road” private school in Brisbane having being a pastor, a youth worker, a school chaplain, a bank johnnie – 3 different banks, worked in Jails, driven a cab and been in bands amongst other things.


  1. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for this, Richard – an enjoyable read based upon detailed knowledge! The intricacies of MLB (especially in relation to the complexities of the season and playoffs, as well as the statistical stuff) must be so hard for the occasional viewer to get their head around.

  2. Tony Taylor says

    But, but Hutchy wants a Wildcard round in the AFL.

  3. Terrific stuff Richard. I love baseball. The history and traditions. The drama and uncertainty. What you have highlighted is the game of chance in every event. Outsiders get up and sure things get rolled often enough to enhance the theatre (and enrich the bookies).
    European soccer rewards season long excellence with league titles. Outsiders like Leicester in 2016 are 1 in 100 year events.
    Bulldogs 2016; Sydney 2012; Hawthorn 2008 were hardly the best team of the season; but if you get a hot run of form and the luck of the draw anything is possible.
    Sport should mimic life in its unpredictability.

  4. Thanks for that Richard. As many Almanacas should know, I am a big baseball fan and often enjoy watching MLB whenever I get the chance. I follow quite a few of the teams but confess having a soft spot for Boston.Seeing the Braves come through this year was most enjoyable for me, especially since they haven’t tasted the successes like teams such as “those Dam Yankies”. Watching 3 big hits soar out of the park for homers was a real treat. Loved that one from CAPTAIN MARVEL JUNIOR (Freddie Freeman) For those that don’t know, Elvis Presley loved Junior and owned quite a collection of his comic books. It has been said Elvis’ curl was a direct copy of the one Captain Marvel Junior wore. The other interesting thing is will the politically correct mob force Atlanta to change their logo, Braves, like Cleveland will become Guardians next season.

  5. Richard Marlow says

    Thanks for the comments so far – would love to hear from all those baseball fans out there.
    Fisho I agree that the Braves are a franchise that should have deserved more success – interesting to see if they change their name – Braves seems such a positive term but I am not sure about the Tomahawk chop – interestingly the Florida Seminoles have the chop and use the name of a first nations tribe.
    I hope AFL doesn’t have a wild card round
    Peter B – yes the Doggies had a magic 2016 – due to a great 4 match run but surely sport should reward consistency – then the mighty Tiges wouldn’t have lost the 2018 Prelim due to a certain Yank having the game of his life
    Kevin thanks for the kind words

  6. Wayne Ball says

    Worst Play-offs ever in MLB history. For starters, Manfred’s failure to appropriately punish the Trashtro’s for the 2019 scandal meant they were able to make play-offs yet again. A disgrace, thy should have been fined to the point that they had to sell off that team and start again. All players implicated should have had 12 month bans.

    As you point out, the divisional breakup of guaranteed play-offs for one team per division makes a mockery of the clubs who have had a better record over the monstrous 162 game regular season.

    MLB has serious work to do. First they have to get rid of the likes of Joe West and Angel Hernandez from the umpiring crews. Then they need to improve the speed of the game, there is no reason for 9 completed innings to take longer than 3 hours. Finally, go back to the play-offs structure of 2020 which rewarded the seasons best performing teams a playoff position.

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