It’s been 66 years since the National League has seen a three-time National League champion.
The year was 1944 when the mighty St. Louis Cardinals won their third straight pennant after finishing first in the NL with 105 wins.
Looking to rebound from their loss the previous year to the New York Yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals won their fifth title in the “Streetcar Series,” against their crosstown rivals the St. Louis Browns. Three consecutive NL pennants hasn’t happened since.
Of course, in 1944 the format was much different. The MLB changed to the NLCS in 1967. But that makes it even more shocking of a statistic when you say that since 1969, when the championship series was implemented, no one in the NL has been able to pull off the elusive three-peat.
The Reds came close in 1976 and the Dodgers came close in the subsequent years of 1977 and 1978. The Atlanta Braves came extremely close, winning four out of five pennants consecutively-not including 1994’s lockout season-splitting two and two in ’91 and ’92, then again in ’95 and ’96.
This year, a similar event has a chance of coming to fruition. The Philadelphia Phillies have a chance to be the first NL team in over 60 years to win three consecutive pennants. This season has showed Philadelphia why it’s been such a difficult feat to pull off.
Plagued by injuries, the Phillies came into this month on a steady mission: continue their quest to tie up loose ends from 2009’s loss to the New York Yankees and make history as the first team to win three pennants in the championship series format.
Unlike the St. Louis Cardinals of 1944, however, this road was not easy for the Phils. Change of batting order, new acquisitions, battling injuries, and fighting against hitting slumps, the Phillies still find themselves in the same place the Cardinals were around this time 1944-first place in the NL. Granted, the Cardinals had a 14 game lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates; it is, nonetheless, first place.
With their pursuers, the Atlanta Braves, only a game behind them, the Phillies have a long road ahead of them. Anxiously, we await the six games left against that resilient bunch, to find out if our Phightins can make this happen.
While the Phillies do show many similarities with that historical team of 1944, if the Phillies are able to pull off history, they will have done it their way-Phightin’,