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1981 MLB season, What if...?


wdm1219inpenna

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I know the 1981 MLB season was played in two halves. I also know that each of the then 4 divisions had different 1st place finishers in each division. My question is, what would baseball have done had one team finished in first for both halves? Say if the Yankees won the first half and the 2nd half too?

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According to Wikipedia, if you won both halves you played a wild card team. The WC was originally supposed to be the non-playoff team with the best overall record, but that was revised to be just for the 2nd half. KC made it with a sub .500 overall record, while CIN and STL didn't make it despite the 2 best overall records.

WTF. I guess the owners needed the extra revenue generated by an extra playoff round due to the lost games. Either that or they just felt that there was too much momentum lost and it wasn't really one continuous season anymore. I have to think it's the former though, but it's crappy to have teams who were already guaranteed spots when the season resumed and had nothing to play for throughout the entire second half.

Interesting that teams don't recognize these "half championships" with their flags or pennants. At least I haven't seen any.

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According to Wikipedia, if you won both halves you played a wild card team. The WC was originally supposed to be the non-playoff team with the best overall record, but that was revised to be just for the 2nd half. KC made it with a sub .500 overall record, while CIN and STL didn't make it despite the 2 best overall records.

WTF. I guess the owners needed the extra revenue generated by an extra playoff round due to the lost games. Either that or they just felt that there was too much momentum lost and it wasn't really one continuous season anymore. I have to think it's the former though, but it's crappy to have teams who were already guaranteed spots when the season resumed and had nothing to play for throughout the entire second half.

Interesting that teams don't recognize these "half championships" with their flags or pennants. At least I haven't seen any.

Miller Park pennants

Think the Brewers are the only one with one though. The Astros don't appear to mention it.

img_03691.jpg?w=555

Another angle. '81 clearly missing.

Pennants Outside of Minute Maid

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Fun fact about that year: The Reds had the best record in baseball and didn't participate in the postseason because they didn't finish in 1st in either half.

I get a lot of beef from Reds fans living in LA saying our 1981 title doesn't count, and should have an asterisk next to the record books.

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Fun fact about that year: The Reds had the best record in baseball and didn't participate in the postseason because they didn't finish in 1st in either half.

I get a lot of beef from Reds fans living in LA saying our 1981 title doesn't count, and should have an asterisk next to the record books.

It was a dumb move to make the '81 season two halves any way you cut it. The Dodgers, Yankees and Phillies all clearly tanked it for the second half.

To me the Expos won the NL East, the Dodgers won the NL West, the Yankees the AL East and the A's the AL West. Those are the only division titles that should count.

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Fun fact about that year: The Reds had the best record in baseball and didn't participate in the postseason because they didn't finish in 1st in either half.

I get a lot of beef from Reds fans living in LA saying our 1981 title doesn't count, and should have an asterisk next to the record books.

I wouldn't go that far. 1981 was just a weird year for baseball.

This brings up something I've thought for a while, we've come to hold mostly negative connotations when we hear the word "asterisk", but an asterisk doesn't have to equate to a black mark or mean that something was an undeserved accomplishment. It really just means that you need to reference another part of the record book. Maybe something like this: Los Angeles Dodgers 1981*

*it was a weird year for baseball

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I saw a Brewers banner Sunday night in NLCS game one and only saw the words "Division Series". I thought the Brewers were better than the Mets (putting up a banner to say NLDS winner is silly Mets) as far as putting up silly banners, but then saw 1981 and remembered the split-schedule weirdness, so I let them off the hook.

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The one thing I remember about the 1981 season is something to painful for me to discuss: The Expos were defeated in the 5th and deciding game in the NLCS at home against the Dodgers. >:( Imagine the Expos would have played the Yankees in the World Series that year.

I hated the Dodgers then. 30 years later, I still hate them.

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The one thing I remember about the 1981 season is something to painful for me to discuss: The Expos were defeated in the 5th and deciding game in the NLCS at home against the Dodgers. >:( Imagine the Expos would have played the Yankees in the World Series that year.

I hated the Dodgers then. 30 years later, I still hate them.

And I was very surprised, and disappointed, that this game was not one of the top 20 games in the past 50 seasons as voted on by the experts at MLB Network. "Blue Monday" as it was called. At least the Expos did beat the defending World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies in the first "Division" Series.

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