What Home Field Advantage?
Al "Bud" Selig, the erstwhile Commissioner of Baseball, has seen to it that the league that wins the all-star game gets the home field advantage in the World Series.
Most "experts" and also the real experts—the fans—subscribe to the belief that the home team has an advantage. They subscribe to that belief because it is true, but as with all "truths," there are exceptions.
No Home Field Advantage Four Consecutive Times
1. The Brooklyn Dodgers won the 1955 World Series in seven games over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
2. The Yankees won the 1956 World Series in seven games over the Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
3. The Milwaukee Braves won the 1957 World Series in seven games over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
4. The Yankees won the 1958 World Series in seven games over the Braves at County Stadium.
It marked the only time that four consecutive World Series went seven games, the only time that one team, the Yankees, played four consecutive World Series that went seven games, and the only time that the visiting team won the seventh game four consecutive times.
The 1955 and 1956 World Series Were Almost Mirror Images
In 1955, the Yankees won the first two games at home, lost the next three on the road, won the sixth game at home, but lost the seventh game at home.
The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers became the first team to lose the first two games of a World Series and come back to win.
In 1956, Brooklyn won the first two games at home, lost the next three on the road, won the sixth game at home, and then lost the final game at home.
The 1956 New York Yankees became the second team to lose the first two games of a World Series and come back to win.
First the Yankees, and Then the Braves
The Milwaukee Braves finally broke the stranglehold that the Brooklyn Dodgers (1952, 1953, 1955, 1956) and New York Giants (1951, 1954) had on the pennant.
Led by Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Henry Aaron, and Eddie Mathews, the Braves won the 1957 pennant.
Of course, the Yankees were the Braves' opponents. The teams split the first two games at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees won the third game at Milwaukee's County Stadium, but lost the next two.
When the teams returned to the Bronx, the Yankees won the sixth game, but the Yankees lost the seventh game at home.
The next year the World Series opened in Milwaukee and the Braves won the first two games.
Back at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees won the third game, but the Braves won the next day to take a 3-1 series lead.
The first time a team had won the World Series after trailing three games to one was in 1925, when the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Senators, winning the fifth on the road and the final two games at home.
The 1958 Braves lost the fifth game at Yankee Stadium, won the sixth game at County Stadium, but lost the seventh game at home.
The Pressure of the Series
There is nothing more exciting than the seventh game of the World Series. Pressure builds up more and more as each game is played.
The sixth game is almost as pressure-packed as the seventh because the team that is ahead can end it, while the team that is behind must pull out all stops to win.
Playing the seventh game at home means that the fans are friendly, the players can follow the same routines they followed during the season, and the surroundings are familiar.
A more important advantage is that the home team bats last.
In a tie game, if the visitors don't score in their half of the ninth inning, they must get six outs, while the home team needs only three outs to either maintain the tie or win the game.
Sometimes, as occurred from 1955-58, the home field is not a great enough advantage.