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In October 2014, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals "faced off" in the baseball World Series. They were both wild cards in their respective leagues, meaning that this will be a match between two bottom seeds (after the wild card round).

A few years ago, I pointed out this almost (but didn't) happen in football, but would have happened if the New York Jets had beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers for the AFC crown, and gone on to face the Green Bay Packers.

Is this the first time that this has happened in the World Series during the wildcard era? Has this happened before in any other sport such as football that also has wildcards?

  • The Royals weren't the bottom seed in the AL - Oakland was. – pacoverflow Oct 20 '14 at 15:07
  • Good question, but you may want to limit "any other sport", to a couple ... otherwise we may end up with another question with no single answer. – Nick Oct 20 '14 at 15:07
  • @pacoverflow is right - the Wild card game was in Kansas City. – Nick Oct 20 '14 at 15:09
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    Well back when the world series was the pennant winner of NL vs pennant winner of AL... You had the "bottom seeds" (only seeds) facing each other every year. – Coach-D Oct 20 '14 at 16:30
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    @Coach-D: Changed question to discuss wildcard era. – Tom Au Oct 20 '14 at 17:12
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In 2002, when the Angels defeated the Giants in the World Series, both teams were wildcards (and as there was only one wildcard, the bottom seed by default, though they were not the lowest win totals as Minnesota had 5 fewer wins than Anaheim, as Central Division champions). That is the only example in Baseball, though there really have only been two decades of history where it would be meaningful to say the two lowest seeds faced each other; prior to the wildcard, you only had one team from each division (so 4 total teams) in the playoffs, and with divisional play it's hard to say who would be seeded what in a larger playoff.

The NHL and NBA have longer histories of large seeded playoffs. In the NHL, never have two 8 seeds faced each other, but in 2012 the Kings (8) beat the Devils (6) for the first 8 seed win in NHL history and the largest sum of seeds in the Finals history.

In the NBA, 8 seeds nearly never beat 1 seeds; the 1998-1999 New York Knicks remain the only 8 seeds to reach the finals, losing to the Spurs (Duncan and Robinson's first championship). The lowest seed to win a championship was the Rockets in 1994-95 (6 seed), but they beat the top seeded Magic that year. No other team higher than 4th has ever won a NBA Finals.

In the NFL, there have never been a particularly low combination. Although 6 seeds have been successful, for example in 2005 PIT (6 seed) defeated SEA (1 seed), they've never had to face similarly low seeded teams; the lowest I see is 6 seed vs 2 seed (Packers/Steelers), which isn't exactly a low seeded combo either.

  • Perhaps nitpicking, but 98-99 wasn't the only championship for Robinson and Duncan. David Robinson's last season was '02-'03, when the Spurs (including Tim Duncan) won their 2nd championship. – GreenMatt Aug 2 '17 at 20:39
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    @GreenMatt Good point, though The Admiral was definitely declining then, he was a significant contributor even - can't believe I missed that! Updated. – Joe Aug 2 '17 at 21:06

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