Ham City Kev’s Top Ten All-Time MLB League Championship Series

I’m a baseball fanatic, so please excuse another non-nostalgia posting and indulge me on the eve of the 2009 NLCS.

Since 1969, the Championship Series for the American League and National League have played Second Bananas to the World Series. While this is necessary and understandable, I often feel it unfair that even though there have been many great LCS’s, so few retain their shine in popular history. This year marks the 79th and 80th installments of the League Championship Series, so you know they can’t all be mediocre or boring. There is classic baseball buried in there, I promise.

Now, as a child of 1980 I fully admit to appreciating some of the following baseball from boxscores and hearsay only. I understand that sometimes there’s more drama than the numbers show and vice versa. It’s certainly not the best system to come up with a top ten, but shit, being born in 1980 isn’t my fault–and it’s not like MLB Network is putting together a Prime 9 to properly honor these Series. I may not be fully qualified to put together a list like this, but the way I see it, it’s me or nobody. Might as well listen to me, right?

So, without further ado, I present my Top 10 All-Time MLB League Championship Series. Click to links to read about the awesomeness of these series in greater detail on Wikipedia, otherwise enjoy my cliff notes.

Honorable mentions: 1984 NLCS – Padres def Cubs 3-2; 2008 ALCS – Rays def Red Sox 4-3.

10. 1986 ALCS – Red Sox def Angels 4-3

Infamous Red Sox from-the-dead miracle comeback (well, the first one anyways). After the Sox blow Game 4 to trail the Series 3-1, the Angels historically blow Game 5 and never recover. Angels closer Donnie Moore, tormented by fans over the Game 5 loss, kills himself 3 years later.

9. 1972 NLCS – Reds def Pirates 3-2

The best of the 4 NLCS’s played between the 2 best National League teams in the 1970′s. Roberto Clemente, in his penultimate game in the Major Leagues, was the only thing stopping Ross Grimsley from pitching a no-hitter in Game 4. The Reds win it in the bottom of the 9th in the deciding Game 5 off a solo home run from Bench to tie, and a run-scoring wild pitch to win it.

8. 1991 NLCS – Braves def Pirates 4-3

Everyone remembers the drama behind Francisco Cabrera’s game-winner for the Braves in 1992, but nobody remembers the insane pitching clinic of this series. 4 shutouts, 3 of which have a final score of 1-0. The Braves pitching staff, led by an untouchable Steve Avery, holds the Pirates scoreless in the final 22 innings of the series, lowering their collective series E.R.A. to 1.57–and they still lost 3 games!

7. 2004 NLCS – Cards def Astros 4-3

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