The culmination of baseball’s postseason brings together two polar opposites when it comes to their backgrounds.
The St. Louis Cardinals have won 10 World Series championships; the Texas Rangers none. The Cardinals basically “own” the St. Louis sports scene. There is no pro basketball franchise, the NFL Rams are winless this season, and hockey’s Blues have never won a Stanley Cup.
The Rangers, on the other hand, have long played in the shadow of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, who have won five Super Bowls. The city has also won basketball and hockey titles – Mavericks 2011 and Stars 1999, respectively – while waiting for the Rangers to break through.
What more should you know before tonight’s (on Fox TV) 8:05 p.m. ET first pitch? A few stats and facts to share with family and friends:
Regular Season performanceTexas: 96-66 (American League West division champions)St. Louis: 90-72 (wild card qualifiers)
How they got to the World SeriesTexas: Defeated Tampa Bay and Detroit. St. Louis: Beat Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Last time in the World SeriesTexas: Last year, when the Rangers lost to San Francisco 4-1 (in the franchise’s first-ever World Series appearance).St. Louis: 2006, when the Cards beat Detroit 4-1
Team Batting AverageTexas: .283St. Louis: .273
Best HittersTexas: Michael Young (.338) and Josh Hamilton (.298)St. Louis: Albert Pujols (.299, plus 37 homers, 99 RBIs) and Yadier Molina (.305)
Best Pitchers Texas: C.J. Wilson (16-7) and Derek Holland (16-5)St. Louis: Kyle Lohse (14-8) and Chris Carpenter (11-9)
Hottest playersTexas: Nelson CruzSt. Louis: David Freese
OwnersTexas: Rangers Baseball Express, an ownership group, is headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenburg and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, baseball’s all-time strikeout king. St. Louis: Businessman William DeWitt Jr. leads a group of investors who purchased the team in 1995 for $150 million from the Busch family.
ManagersTexas: Ron Washington has managed the Rangers for five seasons and has guided the team to higher win totals each of the past four years. St. Louis: Tony La Russa is the only manager besides Sparky Anderson to have led teams in both leagues to World Series championships (he did it with Oakland in 1989).
TriviaTexas: Neither major-league team in Texas, the Rangers nor the Houston Astros, has ever won the World Series, and the Astros (the worst team in baseball this year) have never reached the Fall Classic. St. Louis: The Cardinals lead MLB in immortalizing its great players. Eight are honored with statues outside Busch Stadium.