To the editors:
The management of the Chicago Cubs cheated itself and the fans of Chicago out of a division title in 1969 (and perhaps even a second one in 1970) by insisting that the Cubs be in the National League East when divisional play began.
I am a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). While I don't have the credentials that Art Kupferman has, your column of August 7 [Hot Type] inspired me to write.
Mr. Kupferman wasn't interested in which division the Cubs played in, but the question is one worth studying. Had the team been in the N.L. West from the start, the history of the league in the last 23 years would have been quite different.
I recently computed the final standings and won-lost records of all National League teams for 1969-91, had the Chicago Cubs and Saint Louis Cardinals been in the West Division, and the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds been in the East.
The Cubs would have won at least three and possibly four division titles in that time. Other discoveries in my study include:
In only four of the 23 years studied would both teams finishing with the best divisional records have won under the alternative alignment.
Besides the Cubs, the Astros, Dodgers, Expos, Mets, and Cardinals would have won more division titles.
Five season-ending ties for division titles (including one involving the 1970 Cubs) could have occurred.
If you are interested in a copy of my study or in learning more about it, write me at Near West Gazette, 1660 W. Ogden, Chicago 60612.
William S. Bike