Can A Team Be “Destined to Win the World Series?”

I just finished watching MLB Network’s broadcast of the famous Game 7 of the 1960 Yankees-Pirates World Series. What fun it was, despite the fact that the Yankees lost on Bill Mazeroski’s homer and Mickey Mantle was said to shed tears in the clubhouse after the game.
The Mick cried because he thought the Yankees were the better team and should have won. Maybe so, but the Pirates were the ones that got it done and were hailed as a “team of destiny.”
Which got me wondering….are some teams destined to win, no matter how much offensive power or quality pitching they do or don’t have? Nobody predicted the Giants would win it all this year, for example, and yet they did. Were they a “team of destiny,” like the ’60 Pirates? I was a New York kid in 1960 and one of my sisters, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, was dating a Pittsburgh boy. Needless to say, he was ecstatic when his Pirates won and all I heard from him was Maz this and Maz that. We know what happened to the Pirates in recent years and it isn’t pretty. But back then, they had a magical season. As we move through this winter and continue to debate trades and free agent signings and which team looks the best on paper, it occurred to me that we don’t know anything about the 2011 season. We really don’t. Lurking out there among all the teams in all the divisions is a team of destiny – a team that will overcome injuries, stage thrilling comebacks, beat the odds. Which team will it be? 
Who knows. That’s why we watch the games.


  1. thegoodofthegame

    I think that’s part of the magic of baseball and why a lot of us fell in love with the game in the first place. It seems like every once in a while, a team comes along that no one expects and it just feels like there’s something bigger driving them along. A lot of teams like the Giants this year, and the Rockies of ’07 got hot at the right times, but I wouldn’t say they were “teams of destiny.” The only team I’d probably give that designation to in recent memory is the 2004 Red Sox. 86-year-old curse, a city thirsting for a champion, 3-0 series comeback, a blue-collar team of misfits. It just seemed like it was meant to be and there was nothing anyone – not even a great Yankee team – could do about it.


  2. antonella

    Amen Jane, Amen!
    A lot can happen in 162 games. The Giants were beat [on paper] all throughout the playoffs, yet they are the 2010 champs.

    Being that everyone has gotten their offseason predictions COMPLETELY wrong.. I’m just going to assume that this Phillies vs BoSox WS will probably not happen in 2011. LOL.

    I know ONE thing though.. I CAN’T WAAAAAAIT UNTIL SPRING TRAINING! I sat & watched a game from the Dominican Winter League tonite with my Dad [he’s upset that they’re not showing any Venezuelan Winter games this year.. probably due to all the rain going in there] but anyways.. It’s not the same.. I knew some guys by name.. others not so much.. I kept hoping I’d see Robbie but I’m sure the Yankees didn’t let him play lol.

    Pitchers & Catchers on Feb14 – What a great Valentine’s Day! I can’t wait.

  3. blithescribe

    But, but, it’s going to be the Red Sox vs. the Phillies. Clearly. All of the reporters are saying so ;)…yeah, and those are the same reporters who anointed the Mariners as the Golden Child last year, which isn’t saying the Mariners didn’t look good paper going into 2010, just that looking good in December is a fine thing. But looking good in late September on into October is everything. Suffice to say, I like your post.
    You know, I wonder how many of these teams of destiny were described as such in June and July. Team of destiny seems like fancy reporter speak for Dude! I didn’t see that one coming to me.

  4. abby1306

    That’s why Baseball is not predictable. LOL. And I think that is why we love it so much. Surprises on every corner. Teams that are looking good on paper don’t necessarily win anything. It all depends on injuries, attitude and consistancy. 😉
    And like all of you, I can’t wait for the season to start. Until then, let’s see what kind of moves Cashman will make. I just hope Andy decides to come back for another year. =)
    – Nadine


    what if mark prior wins 18 games? what if a healthy brett gardner plays all year like he did the first half of last year? what if our rookie catcher is a rookie of the year? what is aj gets his act together and lives up to the potential of his “stuff”? what if phil hughes and cc win 20? what is dj isn’t getting old but had an off year and is amazing again? what is arod’s hip stays healthy? these are the thoughts i am using to keep me warm in these bitter cold days. it’s either fantasyland or i’ll have to take up your suggestion and move to california.

  6. Jane Heller

    Getting hot late in the season definitely helps a team’s chances, Scott. And I’d have to agree about the ’04 Red Sox being unstoppable. It just seems like “teams of destiny” do everything right in spite of the odds, get the umps’ calls in their favor, have utility guys who become heroes. Magical.

    Funny you mention predictions, Antonella. I love it when everybody predicts that the Yankees will win it all and I’m bummed when they’re not on everybody’s list. But when I step back and think about it rationally, I realize it doesn’t make any difference what they predict. I guess that was part of my point in the post. And yes, I can’t wait for spring training either and it’s not that far away! Sorry you didn’t catch a glimpse of Robbie in the Dominican games. Maybe he was too busy having a lesson with K Long.

    I admit I was one of those who thought the Mariners were all set up to win your division, Kristen. Sure proves my point. They were not only NOT a team of destiny – they stunk!

    I guess Andy is the next order of business, Nadine. That’s what I read last night anyway. Now he seems to have changed course, realized how much we need him, gotten the support from his family and decided to pitch. I hope the rumor is true.

    Those are some pretty good what-if’s, Barbara. I love them all. Have you been reading the back-and-forth about AJ’s supposed divorce? First he was or has already gotten one; then his agent said nonsense and that he was thinking about suing ESPN. Always drama around our AJ.

    It’s a great line, Paul, and so true. But we wouldn’t be crazy fans if we didn’t care in spite of the lack of reciprocity.

    Those interviews during and after the game were fantastic, weren’t they, Jeff? I especially loved it all the end when Costas was on stage with the guys and then asked members of the ’60 Pirates team that were in the audience to stand. They were so “Aw shucks” about it and definitely harkened back to a more innocent time in the sport.


    Boyoboyoboy…so they finally broadcast that Game 7 of the ’60 WS…GREAT!…I’ve been dropping hints like H-bombs that that’s the DVD I want from Santa, so maybe maybe it’ll be available soon…?
    That is literally the first WS I watched…can still remember Richardson’s GS in Game #3 and 6 RBI (unmatched until ’09 by Godzilla!)…those other two frustrating low-score losses in Yankee Stadium…the 12-0 pounding they put on the Bucs to even the Series…and then…THAT game (which I didn’t see becuz I had to take a long bus ride home back in the day in Toronto…). I’ve already promised a softball teammate and lifelong Pittsburgh sports fan that I’ll invite him and his Lovely Wife over to watch when I finally get it…
    Meanwhile, back to the present day…yes, it’s interesting to put the golden cleat on the OTHER foot and see how the OTHER team(s) deal(s) with being the Heavy Fave…Thomas Boswell of the Wash Post noted today that the last two OMG-fab pitching staffs were the ’92 Braves and the ’71 O’s…both won pennants (the bad news), but that’s all, folks. And who can predict the Injury Bug? Not the 2010 Sawx…!

  8. Jane Heller

    Now that they’ve broadcast the game, Dave, I bet the DVD will be available soon. Too bad you missed it last night; you could have recorded it for posterity. You’re so right – no one can predict the injury bug. I remember when Cashman fired the fitness coach because so many players were getting hamstring injuries and such. But otherwise, it all seems so random.

  9. phan52

    Jane, there is something magical about a baseball season and nothing is guaranteed. A #5 starter can outpitch an ace on any given day. A backup catcher can hit a three run walkoff homer and be the hero that lasts until the first pitch the next day, when something just as stirring may well occur again.
    But seriously? 2011 is over. Cliff Lee chose pinstripes but they were not of the Yankees variety. Red is the color of the day, and it will be the color of October, 2011 as well. Think about it; Halladay and Lee TWICE in a seven game series. And that’s not even counting Oswalt, who is the answer to every pitching trivia question from 2000 to now, and Hamels who already has been an NLCS and WS MVP. Sorry, but I can’t help being giddy about it.

  10. Jane Heller

    I don’t blame you at all for being giddy about the Phillies’ prospects for 2011, phan52. You have good reason to be, given your rotation now. That said, you made my case in your opening sentences. Nothing is guaranteed. The Phillies were supposed to win it all in 2010, but they didn’t. Lee was supposed to be unstoppable for the Rangers against the Giants, but he wasn’t. So while you should be very excited about the coming season, I wouldn’t celebrate just yet.

  11. kaiserthegreat

    Meh, destiny implies that the you have no power over the outcome, good or bad. I’ve never dug that, there’s no earn-age. The Giants won because they had the best pitching. And as far as offense, I think their lack of patience and “swing at everything” attitude actually worked in their favor against super-pitchers who are used to “smart” hitters.

  12. Jane Heller

    I disagree, kaiser. I think you can have a team of destiny that executes really well. The Giants did have great pitching, but they also had pitchers that pitched well when it counted, which isn’t always the case. I was just watching a segment on Bob Feller, who was a HOF pitcher but didn’t pitch well in the WS.

  13. kaiserthegreat

    Every team that wins the World Series has to execute really well, I’d imagine. Unless there’s some crazy, inexplicable “Angels in the Outfield” antics going on, teams who make it to the end have great players who played great. Seems like “destiny” only applies to teams that aren’t “supposed” to win.Yankees Win:”Yep, they did it again! I predicted in December they’d win their division and have a clear shot at the Series. Yay me for being so smart and awesome.” – MediaGiants Win:”But…but…I predicted they’d come in fourth in the NL West this year, so that doesn’t make any sense. Must have been destiny. Stupid God always screws up my predictions.” – Media.

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