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Recalling the September collapses

Sep 2, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT


This season has been relatively light on playoff race drama so far. The American League has a bit of intrigue with the winner of the West and the wild card teams remaining an open question. The National League has had its presumed playoff participants set for some time with some shuffling in the Central as to who wins the division and who gets the wild card remaining open. All in all, however, pretty boring as far as these things go.

But let us not assume anything. For as this story in today’s Hartford Courant makes clear, September can be pretty darn wild in the era of three divisions and multiple wild cards.

The 2011 Red Sox and Braves. The 2007 and 2008 Mets. The Rockies surge of 2007 and the Twins surge of 2006.  All kinds of fun unless you happen to have been a fan of one of those collapsing teams. And the stuff of hopes if you’re a fan of, say, the Nationals or the Yankees or even possibly the Royals.

Here’s hoping we have some of that kind of insanity over this last month of the season.

  1. Jack Marshall - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Perhaps out of kindness, the Courant stopped in 1995. The Red Sox had major September collapses in 1974 and 1978, though they retained some honor in ’78 by winning their last 8 games to make up a 3 game deficit and force the Bucky Dent game.

    And you just have to mention the ’64 Phillies and the ’69 Cubs.

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  2. hojo20 - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    About an hour ago on Youtube I watched the ending of the Tigers clinching the AL East in 1987.. Big collapse by Toronto…..I miss the days when division races weren’t watered down.

  3. Jason Lukehart - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Five teams fighting for the two AL Wild Cards, a 3-way race in the NL Central, and the AL West still totally up for grabs, that doesn’t seem boring to me.

  4. NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    The contending teams (and the nearly-contending teams) are tired in September, and banged up. Managers don’t want to rest the regulars for inferior minor-leaguers who could make critical mistakes. Meanwhile the out-of-it teams are bringing up youngsters who are hot (or they wouldn’t be called up) and eager to show what they can do. Even though they make mistakes, they have energy and health. Ergo, September collapses.

    • NatsLady - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      Speaking of tired, what the heck is wrong with Adam Wainwright? Four earned in two innings? So far.

    • Glenn - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      There’s also regression to the mean.

  5. mybrunoblog - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    The 1964 Phillies, 69 Cubs, 78 Red Sox, 95 Angels, 2007 Mets, 2011 Red Sox, Braves. There’s probably a few I mised but those are the teams I think of when I think collapse.

  6. dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Nothing says collapse like the “78 redsuks, that will always forever be the biggest that’s ever happened (14 1/2 game lead) and it couldn’t have happened to a better team. Case closed

    • drewzducks - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Thanks for reminding us. If there was an article on October collapses it would only consist of one team, the 2004 NY Backacnees. Greatest choke job in sports history. Case closed.

      • Old Gator - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Our resident artificial stupidity is big on closing cases – only to re-open them the next day, and the next, and the next – in exactly the same words. In addition to his manifest stupidity, he also seems to have forgotten to take his Dexedrine spansules – although, of course, his immaturity might account for that independent of any questions about memory.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        sorry its not even close, I know redsuk fans would like it to be the same but anyone with an IQ over 72 can see the difference between a short 7 game series and a 2 month slow choke like the redsuks did that season. It will never be equaled, end of story

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        As awesome as the 2004 ALCS collapse by the Yankees was, I don’t think you can compare it to a prolonged, weeks- (or months-) long choke by a team during the regular season.

        That takes a significant amount of effort.

        And when it comes down to it, the Sox hold record to several of the biggest regular season choke jobs in baseball history.

        You’ve gotta be honest about that, even as a Sox fan.

      • drewzducks - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        So Harry is admitting that he can’t “see the difference between a short 7 game series and a 2 month slow choke”. Thanks for the clarification. If your premise is based in fact, as you proclaim, then why in the 100 + year history of postseason play has only ONE baseball team choked up a 3-0 series lead ?

      • drewzducks - Sep 2, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        Aces, I certainly agree with the Sox penchant for post All Star game swoons over the nearly 40 years I’ve been watching them. As great as the 1978 collapse was I still believe that the Phillies collapse of 1964 was the greatest. A 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games remaining and they preceded to lose 10 in a row, finishing 1 game behind the Cardinals. The 1978 collapse is obvious but the 2011 season was more of a Wild Card choke job as their largest division lead was 3 games in late July. The 1972 version was a late season job as they had a 1 1/2 game lead with 4 to play and proceeded to lose 3 in a row, finishing 1/2 game behind the Tigers, despite playing one less game than them. Needless to say there are quite a few regular season collapses to choose from, as well as the 2007 Willie Randolph led Mets and the 2011 Braves.

        When it comes to postseason collapses there is only one to choose from, and we all know who that is.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        Well im shocked as hell that even aces can see what im talking about cause this clown cant see very much but maybe you can help your little buddy drewz understand. My guess is he wasn’t even alive when the “78 big time choke job took place which isn’t surprising or for most of the aholes on this board

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        someone check gator’s pulse, I don’t think he is alive anymore. trust me on this

    • Jack Marshall - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      It was the only collapse on the list that ended with a gutsy drive and winning streak to tie after everyone had given them up for dead. And check your facts: the Yankees were 14.5 back, but the Sox lead in the division was never more than 8 games.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        either way they lost the division to a team that was 14 1/2 back in late july and that is a fact. Some folks may not like that but that’s the painful honest truth

      • drewzducks - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        A slight correction JM. They led 2nd place Milwaukee by 10 on July 9 and NY’s greatest deficit at the end of a days play was 14 on the 19th. So I guess we could say that Harry was being intellectually dishonest, but in his case that is impossible.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        yea big difference between 14 and 14 1/2, either way it ranks #1 and has for 35 years now. How do you like me now? How you like me so far? the truth hurts

    • theskinsman - Sep 2, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      The biggest choke in the history of team sports is the 2004 Yankees ALCS. THAT is the biggest collapse ever,and that organization and team deserved every bit of it.Especially the front running,bandwagon buffoon harry.

  7. clydeserra - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    how about last years rangers? You know, the year with the real penalty for the wild card teams.

    Alos, yeah, some collapse for the 2006 tigers, where’d they end up ? oh yeah, the world series.

  8. johnnysoda - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    You can also throw in the 2009 Tigers. They were up by 7 games on September 6, and led by 3 with 4 games to go, and yet got bounced in the AL Central playoff.

    Let’s not forget about last year’s Rangers either. 4 game lead in the AL West with 6 to go, but couldn’t hold on.

    • rodtorfelson - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      The 2009 Tigers didn’t collapse, the Twins played nearly .800 ball down the stretch..

      In Sept/Oct, the Tigers finished 17-16, not awful by any means. The Twins were 21-10 over the same time frame, but they just plain played insanely well over the final two weeks. They went 11-3 to end the season, catching the Tigers.

  9. historiophiliac - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Here’s hoping that the O’s at least continue in their role as spoilers! ABBOY!

  10. jackrabbit56 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    To this day, whenever I see Carlos Beltran get a game-winning hit (or spoil or not spoil a no-hitter), my first thought is “oh, sure, NOW he takes the bat off his shoulder”….

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    all I know is if you look up choke in Webster’s you see the redsuks and I can bring up so many times this has happened its not even funny but then again we all can lie to each other and pretend the 350lbs gator isn’t in the room I guess. And if you want to see a picture of Champions, well we know what we will see in Webster’s and yes there is a reason why they keep count folks. Case Closed, im right again as usual

  12. bh192012 - Sep 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    An interseting list of “Top Collapses”

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