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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Angels First To 60 Wins, Also Headed To The World Series?

Robert Kuwada at the Register notes that the Angels are the first team to 60 wins, and that over the last four years, the team first to 60 also made it to the World Series ("Boston in 2007, Detroit in 2006, the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and St. Louis in 2004"). Of course, the four years before that, none of them did: the Braves twice (2003 and 2002), the 116-win Seattle Mariners, and the White Sox in 2000. Not an especially good predictor.

The last time the Angels were first to 60 wins was in 1989, on July 25, 1989 following a 4-0 shutout of Oakland behind Chuck Finley and Greg Minton, beating Dave Stewart, who pitched a complete game loss at home. The Angels played just under .500 ball the rest of the way, going 31-33, while Oakland, facing relatively easy competition, went 40-22.

Since the advent of division play in 1969, the first team to get to 60 wins has ended up in the World Series about half the time, 22 of 42 years:

+------+------------+--------+---------+----+
| y    | game_date  | record | team_id | ws |
+------+------------+--------+---------+----+
| 1969 | 1969-07-10 | 60-25  | BAL     | L  | 
| 1970 | 1970-07-10 | 60-26  | CIN     | L  | 
| 1971 | 1971-07-17 | 60-31  | PIT     | W  | 
| 1972 | 1972-07-31 | 60-35  | PIT     |    | 
| 1973 | 1973-07-16 | 60-34  | LAN     |    | 
| 1974 | 1974-07-09 | 60-27  | LAN     | L  | 
| 1975 | 1975-07-12 | 60-29  | CIN     | W  | 
| 1976 | 1976-07-21 | 60-28  | PHI     |    | 
| 1977 | 1977-07-24 | 60-36  | LAN     | L  | 
| 1978 | 1978-07-16 | 60-28  | BOS     |    | 
| 1979 | 1979-07-19 | 60-32  | BAL     | L  | 
| 1980 | 1980-07-23 | 60-33  | NYA     |    | 
| 1981 | 1981-09-23 | 60-38  | CIN     |    | 
| 1982 | 1982-07-28 | 60-37  | ATL     |    | 
| 1983 | 1983-07-23 | 60-37  | ATL     |    | 
| 1984 | 1984-07-15 | 60-28  | DET     | W  | 
| 1985 | 1985-07-26 | 60-37  | TOR     |    | 
| 1986 | 1986-07-17 | 60-25  | NYN     | W  | 
| 1987 | 1987-07-22 | 60-32  | SLN     | L  | 
| 1988 | 1988-07-23 | 60-38  | OAK     | L  | 
| 1989 | 1989-07-25 | 60-38  | CAL     |    | 
| 1989 | 1989-07-25 | 60-40  | SFN     | L  | 
| 1990 | 1990-07-23 | 60-35  | OAK     | L  | 
| 1991 | 1991-07-27 | 60-34  | PIT     |    | 
| 1992 | 1992-07-26 | 60-38  | MIN     |    | 
| 1993 | 1993-07-15 | 60-30  | SFN     |    | 
| 1994 | 1994-07-24 | 60-37  | MON     |    | 
| 1994 | 1994-07-24 | 60-36  | NYA     |    | 
| 1995 | 1995-08-02 | 60-27  | CLE     | L  | 
| 1996 | 1996-07-18 | 60-34  | ATL     | L  | 
| 1997 | 1997-07-16 | 60-34  | ATL     |    | 
| 1998 | 1998-07-04 | 60-20  | NYA     | W  | 
| 1999 | 1999-07-25 | 60-41  | ATL     | L  | 
| 1999 | 1999-07-25 | 60-37  | NYA     | W  | 
| 2000 | 2000-07-19 | 60-34  | CHA     |    | 
| 2001 | 2001-07-02 | 60-21  | SEA     |    | 
| 2002 | 2002-07-17 | 60-35  | ATL     |    | 
| 2003 | 2003-07-11 | 60-31  | ATL     |    | 
| 2004 | 2004-07-21 | 60-34  | SLN     | L  | 
| 2005 | 2005-07-16 | 60-29  | CHA     | W  | 
| 2006 | 2006-07-13 | 60-29  | DET     | L  | 
| 2007 | 2007-07-23 | 60-39  | BOS     | W  | 
+------+------------+--------+---------+----+
Only eight of those teams won the World Series.

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Comments:
It's interesting to note that there are only two instances, over the 40-year period of your table, of the first-to-60 team having a worse record than the 2008 Angels (60-39) - the Braves in 1999 and the Giants in 1989.

Oh yes, the Red Sox were 60-39 last year, and we know what happened to them.
 
The Angels got to 60 on Sunday, when their record was 60-38, but your larger point stands.
 

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