Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Curse of Lou Brock?

For years, we were forced to listen to angst-ridden BoSox fans moan about the 'Curse Of The Bambino'. You know the drill: 5 world series victories with Ruth, 86-year drought without him, and the team he went to won 26 in the interim. So when the Red Sox swept my Cardinals 2 years ago there was a catharsis of emotion poured out from all over New England - and beyond. And a proliferation around this sleepy West Coast town of Red Sox hats, shirts, shorts, bumper stickers, license plate holders, sex toys, beer bongs, whatever could hold a logo. Effin bandwagoners.

But it did create some speculation on why the Redbirds had not won a World Series since the Darrell Porter-led team in 1982. Some popular opinion has lain this drought at the feet (or in the coke straw) of Keith Hernandez. Nay, nay, moosebreath. This curse goes all the way back to 1968.

For the record, Lou Brock was my favorite Cardinal as a kid (recently replaced by So Taguchi. It's not just a name, it's a chant! It's a question! It's a game winning HR!). However, getting thrown out at the plate during Game 5 of the 1968 World Series is a defining moment in the history of the Cardinals. Statistics to back this up:

Cardinals post-season results up to 1968:
World Series Champions (8): 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967
National League Champs (3): 1928, 1930, 1943

Cardinals post-season results since 1968:
World Series Champions (1): 1982
National League Champs (4): 1968, 1985, 1987, 2004

An interesting fact is that, in terms of overall World Series won/loss record, going into game 5 of the 1968 World Series the franchise was only 34-33. It's pretty amazing, then, that they had won 8 of the 11 World Series they appeared in. They remain the only team in the NL that has won more World Series than they have lost against the vaunted Yankees (3 of 5), and have played them more than once (so stuff it Marlins and D'Backs fans).

But since that play, the Redbirds are only 10-18 in World Series Play, and have lost 4 of their last 5 appearances.

Luckily there is a cure: to reverse the 'curse' you must defeat those who have tortured you the most. Boston turned this trick by beating the Yanks in the 04 ALCS, then the Cardinals in the World Series (they were 0-2 against STL, losing in 1946 and 1964). The Cardinals must reverse this trend by beating Detroit in a World Series.

There's no time like the present.

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