Home truly sweet in World Series
Nine of past 11 teams with home-field edge won Fall Classic
Michael Young is not a big fan of the All-Star Game being used to decide home-field advantage in the World Series.
He feels there are better ways to decide that. But he is the reason why the Detroit Tigers will be at Comerica Park on Saturday rather than in St. Louis. Young's two-out triple in the top of the ninth inning gave the American League a 3-2 victory over the National League in July's All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.
"Obviously, we were playing the game to win it," Young said in winning the Most Valuable Player Award. "Nobody was giving any huge rallying cries to get the home-field advantage, but we were all aware how important the game was."
The Tigers are suddenly convinced the concept is sound.
"Yeah, I'm a huge fan of that now," Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge joked this week as the Tigers worked out at Comerica Park before the Cardinals won the National League Championship Series.
"I don't care about that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's the way it is. I'm a big fan of the All-Star Game because I'm going to get to manage it next year."
He managed once before in 1998 and lost. It didn't matter back then. The current concept was instituted in 2003 and the American League has now won four straight games, going back to Hank Blalock's game-winning home run off Eric Gagne in the 2003 matchup.
That didn't seem to bother the Florida Marlins in October. They still took the New York Yankees in six games, winning Game 6 at Yankee Stadium. On that night, home-field advantage didn't help the Yankees against Josh Beckett.
But the American League has won the last two World Series as both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox rolled to four-game sweeps over the Cardinals and the Houston Astros, respectively.
"We found out painfully last year that home field is an advantage in the World Series," Astros manager Phil Garner said.
In the Wild Card era since 1995, the team with the home-field advantage has won nine of 11 World Series. The 1999 Yankees, who swept the Atlanta Braves, and the Marlins were the only exceptions.
The Yankees had home-field advantage in the 1996 World Series and ended up winning it all. But they did so even though they lost the first two games at home to the Braves. The Yankees came back to win three straight in Atlanta and Game 6 in the Bronx.
The home team has won 35 of 60 games over the past 11 World Series, including all three Game 7's. The extreme was 2001, when the home team won all seven games, allowing the Arizona Diamondbacks to triumph over the Yankees.
The Minnesota Twins won two World Series that way in 1987 and 1991. They won the first two games at the Metrodome against the Cardinals in 1987 and the Braves in 1991, then lost three straight on the road before coming back to win two straight at home.
Home field didn't seem to help the New York Mets in 1986 and the Kansas City Royals in 1985. Both lost the first two games of the Series at home, but still came back to win in seven games.
What they found might be more important is having that Game 7 in your own ballpark. At least it has been that way lately.
The home team has won each of the last eight times the World Series has gone to a seventh and deciding game. The last visiting team to win Game 7 of the World Series was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.
However, this eight-game winning streak by the home team is a complete reversal of what had previously been true.
Between 1945 (the last time the Cubs went to the World Series) and 1979, there were 18 World Series that went to a seventh and deciding game. The visiting team won 14 of those games.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.