The Los Angeles Dodgers ended a 32-year wait for the World Series title on Tuesday night by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6, finally claiming the Commissioner’s Trophy after failing twice at the last hurdle in the last three seasons.
Just two weeks after the Los Angeles Lakers ended their 10-year wait for the NBA title, the Dodgers’ triumph in the fall classic is the first time since 1988 that the Lakers and Dodgers can both call themselves world champions in the same year.
Away from the sports arena, the Dodgers’ World Series victory could be seen as a positive omen for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average for the California presidential election, leads President Donald Trump by 26 points ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
By Tuesday night came the Dodgers’ final triumph in the 1988 World Series, a year in which a former vice president also won the last White House race, when incumbent Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush won both Electoral College and the popular vote to defeat Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis.
Bush senior carried 40 states, secured 426 votes and won 53.4 percent of the popular vote. Significantly, he was also the last Republican to lead California, which voted for the Democratic candidate in each of the seven presidential elections held over the next 32 years.
Less than a month before Bush’s victory in his first term, the Dodgers had won their second World Series title in seven years after defeating the highly favored Oakland Athletics in five games, making them the only MLB to win more than one World Series in the 1980s.
The Dodgers won the National League West by seven games against the Cincinnati Reds before defeating the New York Mets in seven games in the National League Championship Series – until the 1994 expansion, the off-season before the World Series consisted of one round per league. Meanwhile, the Athletics won 104 games towards the American League West title before defeating the Boston Red Sox in the Championship Series.
Game 1 of the World Series set the tone and ensured that the series would be lost to baseball folklore with a goal from Kirk Gibson, the Dodgers’ Dodgers outfielder, even though he could barely walk.
Gibson had injured both legs during the National League Championship Series, injuring his left hamstring when stealing second base in game 5 and his right knee when sliding into second base in game 7.
Gibson was unable to start game 1, but with a 4-3 deficit at the end of the ninth day of play and two away games, he came to blows when Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda rolled the last dice.
Gibson faced Dennis Eckersley, who led the American League that year with 45 saves and hadn’t picked up a home run in over two months, and took a few shots to score the full points. Eventually, however, he got the spot he was looking for and smashed it for a walk-off-homer when the Dodgers won Game 1 at home.
The Dodgers won Game 2 in Los Angeles before the series moved to Oakland, with the A’s halving the gap, only the Dodgers won Game 4 and Game 5 on the road.
Four years later Bush ran for president again, but lost to Bill Clinton, becoming only the third incumbent since World War II to be beaten at the polls, along with Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
The Toronto Blue Jays celebrated their first appearance in the World Series with a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves, who had lost in seven games to the Minnesota Twins twelve months earlier.
The two teams shared the first two games in Atlanta before the Blue Jays won Game 3 and Game 4 in Toronto and took a 3-1 lead. The Braves kept the series alive with a dominant win in game 5 before returning to Atlanta when the Blue Jays won 6 after 11 innings.
In 2000, Al Gore followed in the footsteps of Bush Sr., who tried to become president after serving as VP.
Ironically, however, the Democratic candidate lost to Bush’s son in one of the narrowest elections in U.S. history, which required a recount and led to a month-long lawsuit that was decided 5-4 in favor of George W. Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A few weeks before the election, the New York Yankees won their third consecutive title after defeating the New York Mets in five games in the first Classic case, which the two Big Apple teams have contested for 44 years.
It took the Yankees 12 innings to win the series opener at home in one run before winning Game 2 with the same advantage. The Mets halved the gap when the series moved from the Bronx to Queens, but the Yankees won on the way to the title Game 4 and Game on the road.
While the Dodgers’ triumph on Tuesday night is a good omen for Biden, Trump can take comfort in the fact that the Lakers won the NBA title two weeks ago.
Of the 17 titles won by the Lakers, five came in the years of the presidential election, each time a Republican candidate was elected.