Oh Boy…A Look At The History Of Being Down 0-3 In The MLB Playoffs

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Well, Cubs fans were hoping that it wouldn’t come to this. Just a couple of days ago, I ran down the history of teams that had come back from an 0-2 deficit in a best-of-seven series, but things have gotten worse for the North Siders. Following Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the New York Mets in Game 3 of the NLCS, Chicago finds themselves in a three-game hole and one loss from elimination.

In the long and storied history of Major League Baseball, 33 teams have been in the position that the Cubs are now in, and 32 of them have gone on to lose the series. The only team to overcome such a monumental deficit is the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who famously defeated their archrivals, the New York Yankees, in a classic seven-game ALCS eleven years ago. Here’s the entire list and the final results.

  • 1907 World Series: Chicago Cubs def. Detroit Tigers (4-0-1)
  • 1910 World Series: Philadelphia A’s def. Chicago Cubs (4-1)
  • 1914 World Series: Boston Braves def. Philadelphia A’s (4-0)
  • 1922 World Series: New York Giants def. New York Yankees (4-0-1)
  • 1927 World Series: New York Yankees def. Pittsburgh Pirates (4-0)
  • 1928 World Series: New York Yankees def. St. Louis Cardinals (4-0)
  • 1932 World Series: New York Yankees def. Chicago Cubs (4-0)
  • 1937 World Series: New York Yankees def. New York Giants (4-1)
  • 1938 World Series: New York Yankees def. Chicago Cubs (4-0)
  • 1939 World Series: New York Yankees def. Cincinnati Reds (4-0)
  • 1950 World Series: New York Yankees def. Philadelphia Phillies (4-0)
  • 1954 World Series: New York Giants def. Cleveland Indians (4-0)
  • 1963 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers def. New York Yankees (4-0)
  • 1966 World Series: Baltimore Orioles def. Los Angeles Dodgers (4-0)
  • 1976 World Series: Cincinnati Reds def. New York Yankees (4-0)
  • 1988 ALCS: Oakland A’s def. Boston Red Sox (4-0)
  • 1989 World Series: Oakland A’s def. San Francisco Giants (4-0)
  • 1990 ALCS: Oakland A’s def. Boston Red Sox (4-0)
  • 1990 World Series: Cincinnati Reds def. Oakland A’s (4-0)
  • 1995 NLCS: Atlanta Braves def. Cincinnati Reds (4-0)
  • 1998 NLCS: San Diego Padres def. Atlanta Braves (4-2)
  • 1998 World Series: New York Yankees def. San Diego Padres (4-0)
  • 1999 NLCS: Atlanta Braves def. New York Mets (4-2)
  • 1999 World Series: New York Yankees def. Atlanta Braves (4-0)
  • *2004 ALCS: Boston Red Sox def. New York Yankees (4-3)
  • 2004 World Series: Boston Red Sox def. St. Louis Cardinals (4-0)
  • 2005 World Series: Chicago White Sox def. Houston Astros (4-0)
  • 2006 ALCS: Detroit Tigers def. Oakland A’s (4-0)
  • 2007 NLCS: Colorado Rockies def. Arizona Diamondbacks (4-0)
  • 2007 World Series: Boston Red Sox def. Colorado Rockies (4-0)
  • 2012 ALCS: Detroit Tigers def. New York Yankees (4-0)
  • 2012 World Series: San Francisco Giants def. Detroit Tigers (4-0)
  • 2014 ALCS: Kansas City Royals def. Baltimore Orioles (4-0)

Obviously, that asterisk before the 2004 ALCS signifies that the Red Sox were down 0-3. Every other team on that list went on to win their respective series, and they all won pretty handily to boot. If you’ll notice, not including those strange World Series from a century ago where games could end in ties, only 5 of 33 teams even made it to a fifth game, those being the 1910 Chicago Cubs (YAY!), the 1937 New York Giants, the 1998 Atlanta Braves, the 1999 New York Mets, and the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

Of those five, only three made it to Game 6. The ’98 Braves, the ’99 Mets, and the ’04 Red Sox really made it a series, but only those 2004 World Champion Red Sox made it to a seventh game, which they of course won and went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals. The other 28 just slammed the door.

Will the Mets just slam the door, or can the Cubs pull off the unthinkable and NEARLY impossible? Can Kyle Schwarber channel David Ortiz? Can a team run by Theo Epstein win four straight LCS games against a team from New York? History is against Chicago right now, but come on, this is the Cubs. I think we all know anything can happen.