Simulating Every World Series: Can We Re-Write History? (1903, 1905-1920)

We all love the aura and legend that surrounds the Major League Baseball World Series. It seems as if the World Series brings out the best in the players and keeps the fans on the edge of their seats. But what if the World Series had played out differently? What if we had a chance to go back and replay every World Series? Well, that’s what we’re going to do right here. Using whatifsports.com, we are going to use SimMatchup to simulate every World Series to see if we can re-write history.

In this article, we’re going from 1903 then from 1905-1920. Let’s get started.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The World Series was played under a Best-of-Nine format in 1903 and from 1919-1921 and there was no World Series in 1904 or 1994.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: I will be using the same starting pitcher for each team throughout the duration of the Series. The pitcher that I use will be the pitcher who recorded the lowest ERA that year on the staff.

1903 World Series: Boston Americans (Cy Young) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (Sam Leever)

Real Life Winner: Boston 5-3

Sim Winner: Boston 5-3

Well, nothing changed here. Jimmy Collins’ Americans only made the World Series once in their short history under the Americans brand, and they still win their title. They later become the Red Sox.

1905 World Series: New York Giants (Christy Mathewson) vs Philadelphia Athletics (Rube Waddell)

Real Winner: New York 4-1

Sim Winner: New York 4-3

Christy Mathewson started three games in the 1905 World Series and absolutely dominated. He dominates for four games this time, holding the Athletics to just three runs over four games, including a shutout of the A’s in Game Six to force the seventh. Still no new World Series champion yet, but we still have 100+ more to go.

1906 World Series: Chicago White Sox (Doc White) vs. Chicago Cubs (Mordecai Brown)

Real Winner: Chicago White Sox 4-2

Sim Winner: White Sox 4-3

Get the “(insert team here) blew a 3-1 lead” jokes ready. Well, a slight modification is required. The Cubs blew a 3-0 series lead.

1907 World Series: Chicago Cubs (Jack Pfiester) vs. Detroit Tigers (Ed Killian)

Real Winner: Cubs 4-0-1

Sim Winner: Cubs 4-1

The simulation engine doesn’t allow for ties, so that’s the only change here. I guess not having to face Mordecai Brown didn’t affect anything for the Tigers in this one. In all fairness though, they did outscore the Cubs 11-8, and 8 of those runs came in one game.

1908 World Series: Chicago Cubs (Mordecai Brown) vs. Detroit Tigers (Ed Summers)

Real Winner: Cubs 4-1

Sim Winner: Cubs 4-1

You know, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell the Tigers would bow out the Cubs for the second consecutive year, but hey, it happened. The Cubs lost game one then swept the series. This one may have to last them 108 years.

1909 World Series: Pittsburgh Pirates (Howie Camnitz) vs Detroit Tigers (Ed Killian)

Real Winner: Pittsburgh 4-3

Sim Winner: Tigers 4-3

For the first time in this simulation, we have ourselves a new World Series Champion. The Tigers fell down 3-1 and didn’t let it get to them. Ty Cobb, who is one of the greatest hitters of all time, has his ring with this. This also raises a bunch of questions about how the Tigers would’ve done business had they been able to pull this one out.

1910 World Series: Philadelphia Athletics (Jack Coombs) vs Chicago Cubs (King Cole)

Real Winner: Philadelphia 4-1

Sim Winner: Cubs 4-0

Well, there’s no 108 year wait for the Cubbies this time around. It was a lopsided series in all honesty. King Cole pitched two complete game shutouts and the Cubs didn’t commit one error. They also hit the only home run of the series. Gotta love the deadball era.

1911 World Series: Philadelphia Athletics (Eddie Plank) vs. New York Giants (Christy Mathewson)

Real Winner: Athletics 4-2

Sim Winner: Giants 4-3

Imagine the ramifications this would have had had the Giants forced a game seven and won (they won 17-6 in our game seven, for what it’s worth). Connie Mack is one of the greatest managers and pure baseball minds in history, but now he’s gone to three World Series and a total of zero. Mathewson kills the A’s again, although not as dominant as he was in the 1905 series.

1912 World Series: Boston Red Sox (Smoky Joe Wood) vs New York Giants (Jeff Tesreau)

Real Winner: Boston 4-3-1

Sim Winner: Giants 4-3

So the Giants now have a dynasty in the works as they become the second team to win back-to-back Championships. Pitching took a huge backseat to the offense in this one. In the first six games, only one game ended where neither team score seven or more runs (Game One, 1-0 Giants win). Game Seven ended 17-14 in 10 innings.

1913 World Series: Philadelphia Athletics (Bob Shawkey) vs New York Giants (Christy Mathewson)

Real Winner: Philadelphia 4-1

Sim Winner: Philadelphia 4-0

Well, what I said about that dynasty, you can scratch that. The A’s get some revenge for what happened in 1905 and Connie Mack gets a ring so his legacy isn’t as diminished as it would’ve been had these outcomes actually happened.

1914 World Series: Boston Braves (Bill James) vs. Philadelphia Athletics (Chief Bender)

Real Winner: Braves 4-0

Sim Winner: Braves 4-1

The Braves only had one slip up and that was Game Three, a 17-3 loss. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. Nothing much to say about this one.

1915 World Series: Boston Red Sox (Smokey Joe Wood) vs Philadelphia Phillies (Pete Alexander)

Real Winner: Red Sox 4-1

Sim Winner: Phillies 4-3

Fun fact about this sim: the winning team didn’t give up a run in the game they won until Game Seven. So there were six shutouts combined. Game Seven was an extra inning game. Craziness.

1916 World Series: Boston Red Sox (Babe Ruth) vs Brooklyn Robins (Rube Marquard)

Real Winner: Red S0x 4-1

Sim Winner: Robins 4-3

Babe Ruth the pitcher gets off to a rocky start here. He gave up 12 runs in the first three and held the Robins to six in the next four but it wasn’t enough. Two shutouts from the Robins helped them take this one.

Spoiler: This is the second to last time the Sox are in the World Series during the time frame covered in this article. Instead of three championships, two under the Red Sox name, they have the lone title won by the Americans in 1903. They have the 1918 World Series left in this piece.

1917 World Series: Chicago White Sox (Eddie Ciotte) vs New York Giants (Pol Perritt)

Real Winner: White Sox 4-2

Sim Winner: Giants 4-1

Two years before the White Sox turned Black in real life, they won the World Series with probably one of the most dominating staffs in history. The only pitcher to post an ERA higher than 2.00 was Lefty Williams (2.97). They seemingly had a dynasty brewing. It would be interesting to see how everything would play out had they lost this series.

1918 World Series: Boston Red Sox (Joe Bush) vs Chicago Cubs (Hippo Vaughn)

Real Winner: Red Sox 4-2

Sim Winner: Cubs 4-2

So the Red Sox have had bad luck in this sim. Not only that, but we prolonged their World Series drought from 98 years to….forever. Well, unless you count the Americans’ title. Then it becomes 101 years. However, we did kill the 108 year drought for the Cubs. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, there are still a lot of World Series simulations left.

1919 World Series: Cincinnati Reds (Dutch Ruether) vs Chicago White Sox (Eddie Ciotte)

Real Winner: Reds 5-3

Sim Winner: White Sox 5-1

Well, there was no fix here. Cincinnati won Game Two but that was all they mustered. Since there’s no fix, the Sox would have all of their stars intact and they would’ve been a force in the American League. Oh, what could’ve been.

1920 World Series: Cleveland Indians (Duster Mails)  vs. Brooklyn Robins (Burleigh Grimes)

Real Winner: Indians 5-2

Sim Winner: Robins 5-1

The Robins became the Dodgers in 1930, and but the Robins have contributed two championship titles to the team’s history. They dwindle the Indians’ title count down to one as Burleigh Grimes adds to his Hall of Fame career.

Well, that’s it for this one. It’s been fun simulating all of these games and reflecting on Baseball history. Hopefully you had as much fun reading as I did writing.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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