SI Vault
Edited by Andrew Crichton
October 14, 1974
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October 14, 1974


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Annapolis has been the leader, as well it might be after the lickings it has suffered in the past two weeks (52-0, 37-0). Under present rules, academy graduates have to remain five years in their service before they may pursue careers outside the military. It is proposed now that academy athletes talented enough to go into professional sports be permitted to spread their service over a longer period of time, giving, for example, six months of each of the first 10 years to the pros and six months to the military. George Welsh, the Navy football coach, thinks a change along these lines would enable the academies to recruit those special athletes who can turn an ordinary team into an extraordinary one. The teams, he thinks, could play Ohio State even on any given Saturday and the players would live to serve their country.


You do not need a crystal ball to know which team is going to win the World Series. The American League team will because it does not have the home-team advantage. In 15 of the last 19 Series the team playing only three games at home—the third, fourth and fifth—won. The Oakland A's, by eking out their win last October on their own turf in the seventh game against the Mets, were one of the few exceptions to the rule.

Noting this odd fact, statistician Robert Northington of the University of Delaware hypothesized that the team with three home games manages to split the opening games on the road, returns home for games 3, 4 and 5 and, buoyed psychologically, wins two of three. With a 3-to-2 advantage, it goes back on the road with enough pressure on the opponent to offset any home-park advantage. A check of the records bore out his theories. In the last 19 Series the home-team record for games 1 and 2 was 20-18. The home teams in games 3, 4 and 5 were 37-18, and in 6 and 7 they were 12-15.

Worthington had his bet down long before he had any idea who would play in this Series. American League, in six or seven.

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