New York Yankees
With a record 26 World Series Championships, the Yankees hold more Championships than any other team in the history of professional sports. One of the eight charter teams of the American League, they were founded in Baltimore as the Baltimore Orioles from 1901-1903 when they moved to New York as the Highlanders, but became known as the Yankees by 1913. The Yankees had little success in its early years until 1920, when a historic trade for pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees for a large sum of money by Red Sox owner Harry Frazee. Ruth's success, as well as the Yankees, was almost instantaneous. In that 1920 season, Ruth hit a record 54 homeruns, which was more than any other team's total in baseball besides the Philadelphia Phillies. He would go on to increase that record to 60 in a single season and obliterate the career homerun record of 138 held by Roger Connor by ending his career with 714 homeruns. Ruth wasn't the only historic player to put on the pinstripes. Lou Gehrig played alongside Ruth on "Murderer's Row." He played in 2130 consecutive games, a record at the time, leading to his nickname of the Iron Horse. Another Yankee who made consecutive streaks famous was Joe Dimaggio when he recorded a hit in a record 56 consecutive games in 1941. However, the Yankees have been long known for the long ball. In 1961, Yankee team mates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris competed against one another to break Ruth's single season home run record. After being sidelined with a hip injury, Mantle ended the season with 54 homeruns while team mate Maris belted homerun number 61 on October 1, 1961. In 1977, Reggie Jackson made history when he hit three homeruns on three consecutive pitches in the deciding Game 6 of the World Series, becoming just the second player in history to do so. The first player to do this was Babe Ruth, who accomplished the feat twice. One player who puts consecutive games and homeruns together is Don Mattingly who hit a homerun in a record 8 consecutive games in 1987. Mattingly also hit a record six grand slams in that 1987 season. The Yankees also have had several memorable pitchers throughout its history, including 11 no-hitters. Of those 11 no-hitters, three of them were perfect games including the only perfect game thrown in the World Series when Don Larsen threw one in Game 5 of the 1965 World Series.
The Yankees will play at Yankee Stadium. With a current seating capacity of 57,543 and dimensions of 318ft to Left, 408ft to Center, and 314ft to Right, Yankee Stadium opened its doors on April 18, 1923. It has since become one of the most famous venues in America. The stadium was host to many historic baseball events such as Don Larsen's perfect game, Babe Ruth's 60th homerun, Roger Maris' 61st homerun, Reggie Jackson's three homeruns in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series and Mickey Mantle's 500th career homerun. Yankee Stadium has been host 100 World Series games, more than any other stadium, and has hosted three All Star Games. Yankee Stadium also hosted famous boxing matches such as the famous rematch between African American Joe Louis and German Max Schmeling on June 22, 1938 when Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round to defend his title. Hosting several college football games, Yankee Stadium hosted the game between Notre Dame and Army in 1928 when famous Notre Dame Coach, Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech. Lou Gehrig also gave his "luckiest man on the face of the earth," farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 after being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Yankee Stadium also hosted the "Greatest Game Ever Played" between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts football teams on December 28, 1958. Also nicknamed "The Cathedral," Yankee Stadium has had Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II celebrate mass at the ballpark.
Providing the radio broadcasting for the Yankees will be Graham McNamee and Jerry Coleman. McNamee is considered one of the first color commentators in sports. Throughout his career he called plays for several World Series, Rose Bowls and championship boxing matches. He also broadcasted the arrival of Charles Lindbergh in New York City after his transatlantic flight to Paris, France in 1927. Coleman became just the third announcer to win the Ford C Frick Award and to have also played in the MLB. As a player Coleman won four World Series with the Yankees before an injury forced him to retire early. He then began broadcasting for several baseball teams, most notably the Yankees and Padres. As a Yankees broadcaster, Coleman called former teammate, Mickey Mantle's, 500th homerun of his career.
Boston Red Sox
Winning six World Series Championships, the Red Sox won the first modern World Series ever played in 1903. In the inaugural season of the American League the Red Sox finished second place behind pitcher Cy Young, who won the pitching Triple Crown that year. Cy Young finished his career with a record 511 wins, 192 of them in his eight seasons with the Red Sox. After winning the first World Series in 1903, the Red Sox went on to win another World Series in 1912 behind Tris Speaker and three more behind pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth. The Red Sox decided in 1917 that Ruth may be more valuable as an everyday hitter than as a pitcher and by 1919 Ruth hit a record 29 homeruns in a single season, a record he would double by the end of his career. The Red Sox have fielded a record three Triple Crown Award winners, a record shared with the St. Louis Cardinals, including the most recent Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. The other two Triple Crown Awards were won by Ted Williams in 1947 and 1942. Considered one of the best hitters in baseball history, Ted Williams was the last player to hit over.400 in a single season when he batted .406 in 1941. In 2004, the Red Sox came back to win the ALCS after being down 0-3 against rival Yankees, making them the first team in MLB history to come back from a 0-3 deficit. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series that year for the first time in 86 years, thus breaking the legendary "Curse of the Bambino."
The Red Sox will play at the historic Fenway Park. With a current capacity of 35,692 and field dimensions of 310ft to Left, 389ft to Center, and 302ft to Right, Fenway opened its doors on April 20, 1912. Fenway is one of the oldest baseball stadiums and is famous for its "Green Monster" in left field. The Green Monster is the nickname given to the 37.167ft tall fence in left field. This wall has proven to be beneficial to right handed hitters. The right field foul line is known as "Pesky's Pole." This foul pole marks the shortest outfield distance in the Major Leagues at just 302ft. Although the wall sharply curves away from the pole in right field, the bullpen known as "Williamsburg" was put in to right field to shorten the wall and benefit left handed hitters such as Ted Williams. Out in right field is the "Lone Red Chair" symbolizing the longest homerun ever hit at Fenway Park by Red Sox legend Ted Williams. The seat is measured at 502ft from home plate.
Providing the radio broadcasting for the Red Sox will be Ted Husing and Tom Manning. Husing was among the first to lay the groundwork for structure and pace in sports broadcasting. He broadcasted several major sports events such as seven World Series, four Olympic Games, college football, boxing, horse races, and the Indianapolis 500. Manning was the first voice of the Cleveland Indians starting in 1928. He also broadcasted the World Series from 1929 to 1938 as well as the first eight All Star Games in the history of the MLB, starting in 1933. Manning was also selected to broadcast the inaugural Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY in 1939 in which he concluded with the words, "Give your boy a ball and a bat with which to play and your worries will be over that he might go a stray."
Although the Athletics team has since moved to Oakland, the committee decided to select Philadelphia to be their home city due to marketing and the team's history in Philadelphia. The Athletics played in Philadelphia from 1901 to 1954 and had much success in the city of brotherly love, including five of the franchise's nine World Series Championships. Another one of the charter franchises of the American League, the Athletics owner and manager, Connie Mack, played a major role in the formation of the American League. Mack was able to lure National League players to jump leagues and play for his Athletics ball club. Among the players that jumped was Nap Lajoie, who went on to win the Triple Crown Award in 1901. The Philadelphia Athletics are considered one of Major League Baseball's first dynasties after winning six AL Pennants and three World Series between 1902 and 1914 behind their $100,000 infield and pitchers Eddie Plank, Chief Bender and Rube Waddell. The team would have another stretch of success, beating out the Yankees' Murderer's Row to win three AL Pennants and two World Series between 1929 and 1931. In each of those three seasons, the A's won over 100 games. The Athletics relocated to Kansas City in 1955 before settling in Oakland in 1968. Since moving to Oakland, the Athletics won another four World Series Championships, including three consecutive Championships from 1972-1974 behind slugger Reggie Jackson and pitchers Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue. Throughout its history the Athletics had several historic players including stolen base king Rickey Henderson, slugger Mark McGwire, and Dennis Eckersley who was the first player to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career. The Athletics also implemented the "Moneyball" idea, which led to the Athletics winning an American League record 20 consecutive games from August 13 to September 4, 2002 which propelled them to win the AL West with a record of 103-59.
The Athletics will be playing at Citizen's Bank Park. With a capacity of 43,308 and dimensions of 329ft to Left, 401ft to Center, and 330ft to Right, Citizen's Bank Park opened on April 3, 2004. On June 14, 2004 Jim Thome hit his 400th career homerun in Citizen's Bank Park. Behind Centerfield is Ashburn Alley which commemorates the Phillies history with flags from Phillies championships. In 2004 and 2005, Citizens Bank Park installed Daktronics video and message display in the park. One of the largest incandescent displays in Major League Baseball was installed in left field that was used as a scoreboard and for giving statistics. There are also out-of-town field-level displays installed in the park that measure approximately 10 feet high by 25 feet wide.
Providing the radio broadcasting for the Athletics will be Harry Kalas and Bob Prince. Kalas is the voice of the Phillies and has called six no-hitters and three World Series. He was in the booth on April 18, 1987 when Mike Schmidt became the 13th member of the 500 homerun club. He also called Joe Carter's famous walk-off homerun to end the 1993 World Series and Chase Utley's grand slam in his first major league start. Bob Prince was a long time broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his time with the Pirates he broadcasted three World Series and the 1965 All Star Game. He was also the broadcaster for the first year of ABC's Monday Night Baseball.
The Orioles name was used by the Yankees organization when they were in Baltimore from 1901-1902. During that time the Orioles organization was a charter franchise for the American League known as the Milwaukee Brewers and changed to the St. Louis Browns in 1902 until moving to Baltimore in 1954. The team has had all of their success since moving to Baltimore, save the 1944 AL Pennant while they were in St. Louis. With young talent being brought up in the Orioles organization in the late 50s such as Milt Pappas, Brooks Robinson, and Boog Powell the Orioles became contenders. In 1965 the Orioles traded Milt Pappas to the Reds for slugger Frank Robinson. In 1966, Robinson won the Triple Crown Award and also became the only player to win an MVP award in both leagues. After winning their first AL Pennant, the Orioles swept the heavy favorites, Los Angeles Dodgers. The Orioles won 109 games in 1969 before losing to the "Miracle" Mets in the World Series, but came back in 1970 to win 108 games and defeat Cincinnati's Big Red Machine for their second World Series. The Orioles would be back in the hunt for the World Series in 1983 when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies for their third World Series Championship thanks to MVP Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken would go on to break Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak of 2130 on September 6, 1995. Ripken would end his streak on September 20, 1998 at 2,632 games.
The Orioles will play at Camden Yards. With a capacity of 48,290 and dimensions of 333ft to Left, 400ft to Center, and 318ft to Right, Camden Yards opened on April 6, 1992. It has been host to several memorable moments in baseball history including a game on September 6, 1995 when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record of 2130 consecutive games played. Exactly one year later on September 6, 1996 Eddie Murray became just the 15th player to hit his 500th career homerun. On April 4, 2001 Hideo Nomo pitched the first and only no-hitter in Camden Yards history.
Providing the radio broadcasting for the Orioles will be Jim Simpson and Ernie Harwell. Simpson was a well known sportscaster for several different sports. He broadcasted Orioles games in 1988 when the Orioles started the season 0-14, becoming the first team to do so. Simpson also called the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967 and the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final. Harwell called plays for 55 years, 42 with the Detroit Tigers. He is the only announcer to be traded for a player when Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey traded Cliff Dapper to the Atlanta Crackers for Harwell in 1948. He called two All Star Games and three World Series throughout his career.
In the Divisional Series the television broadcasting team for the Orioles v. Yankees series will be Mel Allen on the play-by-play, Al Michaels as the color commentator, and Tony Kubek on the field. Allen was the lead announcer for both the Giants and Yankees for several years until he exclusively called Yankees games after World War II. Throughout his career he called 22 World Series, including 18 in a row from 1946 to 1963, and 24 All Star Games. He was the first announcer to have called games in seven different decades from 1938 to 1990. Al Michaels the only sportscaster to have called play-by-play for the Olympic Games and all four Major sports championships, which are the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, and the NBA Finals. He was the broadcaster on February 22, 1980 for the famous "Miracle on Ice" game between the United States and USSR at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. He also called the 1989 World Series when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck in San Francisco, interrupting the game. Tony Kubek played in six World Series and four All Star Games as a shortstop on the Yankees and later broadcasted twelve World Series and 10 All Star Games. He was the announcer alongside Bob Costas for the "Sandberg Game" between the Cubs and the Cardinals on June 23, 1984 when Ryne Sandberg hit a game tying homerun in the 9th inning off star closer Bruce Sutter and another game tying homerun in the 10th inning, also against Bruce Sutter.
The television broadcasting team for the Athletics v. Red Sox series will be Curt Gowdy on the play-by-play, Tim McCarver as the color commentator, and Lesley Visser on the field. Gowdy was long known as the voice of the Red Sox. He also called games for the NFL, college football, and college basketball. Throughout his career he broadcasted 13 World Series, 16 All Star Games, nine Super Bowls, eight Olympic Games, and 24 NCAA Final Fours. Gowdy was also the broadcaster in 1974 when Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th career homerun. Tim McCarver has broadcasted a record 15 World Series and has broadcasted every League Championship Series since 1984. He has broadcasted games on all four major U.S. networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. Lesley Visser is the only sportscaster to work network broadcasts for the Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series, Triple Crown horse race, Monday Night Football, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Figure Skating Championship and the U.S. Open. She was the first female to cover the World Series in 1990 and the first women to report from the sidelines of the Super Bowl in 1995.
The television broadcasting crew representing the team with the higher seed will broadcast the American League Championship Series.