Top Nine Top MLB Teams by Presidential Era
By Lou DiPietro
We hate to disappoint, but we have no witty intro for The Niner this week. Quite simply, in the weeks leading up to Election 2012, we here at Niner HQ thought it would be fun to see who the most successful Major League Baseball teams were during certain Presidential tenures.
While our results were mostly in line with gut reaction, we were pleasantly surprised to remember that in our surveyed period, several key changes in baseball -- including the implementation of a 162-game schedule (1961), the split into divisional play (1969), the debut of the designated hitter (1973), and three expansions (1969, 1977, and 1993) all happened in years following Presidential elections.
And so, now that both the 2012 MLB season and elections have passed, we present our list of which "local nines" did best under the last nine elected Commanders-in-Chief…and as a note, we combined the Nixon/Ford era into one span because Ford replaced Nixon mid-season in 1974 and simply finished his term, never serving an elected term of his own.
JOHN F. KENNEDY (1961-63 seasons)
Without even looking, we figured the answer here was the Yankees…and with 309 wins, three AL pennants, and two World Series titles, it is in fact the Bombers who were the kings of baseball Camelot from 1961-63, perhaps much to the chagrin of the Boston-born JFK.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON (1964-68)
Despite not making the playoffs in any of the five years of the LBJ era, the San Francisco Giants led all of MLB with 457 regular-season victories from 1964-68. In second place with 454 were the St. Louis Cardinals -- who only won three NL pennants and two Fall Classics in that span.
RICHARD NIXON & GERALD FORD (1969-76)
In the Nixon/Ford era, it was The Big Red Machine that led the way, as Cincinnati won a league-high 772 games (along with four NL pennants and two World Series titles) from 1969-76. The Oakland A's, who won three of the other six Fall Classics, were third with 740 wins.
JIMMY CARTER (1977-80)
The Bronx may have been "burning" in the late-1970s, but it was the Yankees who ruled MLB in the Carter era, as the Bombers parlayed their chaos into 392 wins, two AL pennants, and a pair of World Series titles.
RONALD REAGAN (1981-88)
The Motor City was the place to be for baseball in the 1980s, as the Detroit Tigers led MLB with 696 wins during the Reagan era. Fun fact: The Yankees, who reached the playoffs just once in that span, had more wins (677) than three-time World Series participant St. Louis (665).
GEORGE BUSH (1989-92)
They may be on 20 losing seasons and counting, but before that, the Pittsburgh Pirates were the kings of the first Bush era. From 1989-92, Pittsburgh's 363 wins and three NL East titles have them atop MLB, just ahead of Toronto -- who had 362 wins and three AL East crowns to go with the 1992 World Series.
BILL CLINTON (1993-2000)
The 1990s seemed like the Braves' decade, and with 763 wins, it's indeed Atlanta who was the top regular season team in all of MLB. The Yankees were second with 724, but their four World Series wins -- two of which came at Atlanta's expense -- is more than everyone else combined.
GEORGE W. BUSH (2001-08)
The 2000s belonged to the Yankees, as it was the Bronx Bombers and their 775 wins (or 97 per season average) that topped MLB in the second Bush era. Right behind were their bitter rivals, the Red Sox, who won 740 games (second best in the league) and their first two World Series since 1918.
BARACK OBAMA (2009-12)
San Francisco (two NL pennants, two World Series wins) and Texas (two AL pennants) may have the most hardware, but for the fourth time on this countdown its the Yankees who top the list, as their 390 wins are the most in MLB under Obama. We're The Niner, and we approve this message.