^ The Cardinals and the Giants are making history, as the last two World Series champions have never met in an LCS. It hasn't happened in October, period, since the 1958 World Series matched the Yankees and Braves. Prior to that, it was the Yankees and Cardinals in the 1943 World Series meeting having won the previous two championships and that was the only other occasion!
^ This is also the first ever LCS in which the last three World Series winners are represented (Yankees in '09, Giants in '10 and Cardinals in '11). This does not include teams like the 1975 As and 2001 Yankees, who won the previous three World Series on their own.
^ The odds are in Mike Matheny's favor. He is the only manager in this year's LCS without World Series experience. Shockingly, the last eight managers in this situation advanced to the World Series (and four of those eight brought home the big trophy at the end of October). Dick Howser's Royals were the last team to fail under these circumstances in 1984 -- and the late, great Howser helmed a world championship squad in Kansas City the following year.
NOTES: This column was initially posted when Washington was up 6-0 in Game 5 of the NLDS and had many notes about implications of the Nationals being in the LCS. Here is the copy that was written in anticipation of the Nationals advancing:
^ This ALCS/NLCS combo marks an all-time first. Do you know what it is? Highly unlikely, so we’ll tell you: this is the first time that all four managers have already won the World Series: Davey Johnson (1986), Jim Leyland (1997), Joe Girardi (2009) and Bruce Bochy (2010). There were three times that three of the four managers had won the World Series and the one without a crown captured his first in that year: Girardi in 2009, Bob Brenly in 2001 and Alvin Dark in 1974. There were four more times that every manager in the ALCS and NLCS would EVENTUALLY go on to win a world championship: 1992, 1991, 1985 and 1972.
^ If the Nationals win the World Series: they are the first team to knock out the defending champions in the playoffs and take their crown since the 2009 Yankees.
^ The Nationals have not appeared in the NLCS since moving from Montreal in 2005 (the previous franchise in Washington, the Senators, played in the American League – the first incarnation of DC became the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and the second became the Texas Rangers in 1972). The only appearance for the Expos in the NLCS was also against a California team, the Dodgers, in 1981 (of course, as any tortured Expos fan can tell you, Montreal was the best team in baseball in 1994, but lost their chance at October due to the strike and then saw their incredibly talented young team scattered like the four winds due to shaky ownership finances).
^ Washington and San Francisco famously waged fierce battles for NFC supremacy in the 1980s when the legendary Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs were roaming the sidelines. Also, if you consider the San Francisco fanbase as an appreciable part of the Golden State following (as most people would), we can throw the 1975 NBA Finals in the mix, when the Warriors swept the Bullets.