The World Series matchup we've never seen

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

The four clubs in the league championship series account for more than 40 percent of all World Series appearances. But they haven't all played each other in the Fall Classic -- yet.

Tuesday, Grant Brisbee wrote this article about the counterpoint between the four teams that are in the league championship series -- old-line clubs with tons of history -- and those who lost, who, for the most part, are teams that haven't had much postseason luck, at least not in the last couple of decades.

That got me thinking about World Series matchups, and since one team -- the Tigers -- is now on the cusp of a Series berth for the first time since 2006, I thought I'd take a look at the potential combinations for the Series that begins a week from today.

The 2012 World Series will be the 108th since the American and National Leagues first agreed to meet in a postseason series in 1903 (it's 110 seasons, leaving out 1904 and 1994, when there was no World Series). That means there have been 214 appearances in World Series, prior to this year.

The four teams involved in this year's championship series have accounted for 86 of those 214, more than 40 percent; among all teams, only the Dodgers (18 appearances), Athletics (14) and Red Sox (11) have had as many or more than the Yankees, Giants, Cardinals and Tigers.

The World Series matchups for the teams in this year's LCS break down as follows:

Yankees (40): Dodgers (11), Giants (7), Cardinals (5), Braves (4), Reds (3), Pirates (2), Cubs (2), Phillies (2), Padres (1), Mets (1), Diamondbacks (1), Marlins (1)

Cardinals (18): Yankees (5), Tigers (3), Red Sox (3), Athletics (3), Browns (1), Brewers (1), Royals (1), Twins (1), Rangers (1)

Giants (18): Yankees (7), Athletics (4), Senators (2), Red Sox (1), Indians (1), White Sox (1), Angels (1), Rangers (1)

Tigers (10): Cubs (4), Cardinals (3), Pirates (1), Reds (1), Padres (1)

Yankees playing the Giants or Cardinals? Old hat; they've met a combined 12 times in October. Cardinals vs. Yankees or Tigers? Boring; there have been eight World Series featuring those clubs playing each other.

One matchup stands alone, having never occurred among these four teams: Giants vs. Tigers. Those clubs have played four times since interleague play began, in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2011; the Giants have won seven of the 12 games played. Other than that, since the Tigers have had spring training camps in Florida continuously since 1946 and the Giants have trained in Arizona since 1952, the teams haven't met in pre-season exhibition games in 61 years.

It seems pre-ordained. Four teams with among the most World Series history of all major-league clubs, yet one matchup we've never seen. Sorry, Yankees and Cardinals fans; I'm rooting for a Tigers/Giants World Series, something new amidst all this tradition.

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