Way back when, interleague play in baseball meant the World Series. Nothing more, nothing less. But now that teams from the American League and National League play each other every season, the concept has lost some of its luster.
Many of the match ups are lame. For example, did this past weekend’s interleague games with the Milwaukee Brewers have any significant meaning? After all, the Brewers weren’t even a National League team until a few years ago when baseball did some realigning and expanding. Playing the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies just doesn’t do it for me either.
But this week’s interleague play really hits home for those who understand the game’s history. The Chicago Cubs will be in town June 23-25 for a three game series against the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers-Cubs rivalry dates back over 100 years to 1907. The two teams met up in the World Series that year for the first time. In fact, the Tigers and Cubs have played against each other in the World Series in 1907, 1908, 1935, and 1945.
The Cubs won the first two championships against Ty Cobb and the boys in back-to-back World Series that were played at Detroit’s Bennett Park. The Tigers won the next two times. The 1935 championship took place at Navin Field and was the Tigers’ first World Championship. The 1945 series was played at Briggs Stadium and allowed Detroit to even the score with their Chicago rivals. For 64 years now, the series has remained tied.
I suppose such match ups, even though they are few and far between, make interleague play tolerable.