World Series Superstitions: Don't Shave Your Beard, Don't Change Your Mayor?


Eddie Roth calculates stuff like this for fun. - ST. LOUIS CITY
  • St. Louis City
  • Eddie Roth calculates stuff like this for fun.

Hardcore baseball fans nerd out over math: batting averages, win shares, strike out to walk ratios.

Eddie Roth, the City of St. Louis' director of operations, is one such chic geek. As the St. Louis Cardinals advanced in the playoffs, he researched how their record compares to Mayor Francis Slay's terms in office.

"I was just sort of curious, and one thing led to another," Roth says. "It doesn't help you, and it doesn't hurt you."

Turns out Slay is one of only two mayors in baseball history to see his Major League Baseball team play in the Fall Classic in each of his four terms, according to Roth's research. Check out his unofficial report, Post Season Slay, below:

Out of superstition, baseball hall of famer Ralph Kiner consciously avoided stepping on the foul lines when walking on or off the field. Kiner's logic? "It didn't hurt or help me," he said. "I just didn't want to take any chances."

It is in that spirit that I relate the following information about Cardinal baseball:

The St. Louis Cardinals had a record of 7-9 when Mayor Francis G. Slay took office on April 17, 2001. The Cardinals finished the season 24 games over .500, winning the National League Central Division with a record of 93-69. Over the next 12 seasons, the Redbirds racked up winning seasons every year but one (in 2007 they were 78-84), averaging 90.5 wins and earning a place in post-season play 9 out of 13 years.

That, of course (before tonight), included three National League Pennants and two World Series wins.

With the Cardinal's clinch against the Dodgers, Mayor Slay became only the second mayor in Major League Baseball history to have his hometown team make a World Series appearance in each of 4 mayoral terms.

Not many cities have had teams make multiple appearances in the fall classic. Just 17 teams have appeared 4 or more times and, of these, six needed 2 or more cities to accomplish the task (Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles, Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia/Oakland Athletics, Brooklyn/LA Dodgers, New York/San Francisco Giants)

Even fewer big league cities with winning teams have had 4-term mayors. The first Chicago Mayor Daley served into his sixth term and his son served six full terms. Each had one White Sox World Series appearance. Tom Menino also is a five-term man, and he had some winning Red Sox teams. But not enough who won enough. Coleman Young served 5 terms as Detroit's mayor (1974-94). But he had only one winning Tiger team. Maynard Jackson served three terms as Atlanta's mayor, but mostly before the Braves were good.

New York City has had no four-term mayors. Philly and Cincy have not had any three-term mayors. Neither has Baltimore or San Francisco, at least since those cities acquired big league terms.

New York City Mayors Fiorello LaGuardia (1934-45) and Robert Wagner (1954-65) had hometown teams make World Series appearances in each of three terms. (Messrs. Koch and Bloomberg didn't do it, Giuliani served just 2 terms). Chicago Mayor Edward Joseph Kelley also had pennant winners in each of three terms (1933-47).

And, of course, before Friday evening, so had St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (2001- present), as the Cardinals appeared in the 2004, 2006 and 2011 World Series.

Now as the Cardinals advance to play the Red Sox or Tigers in the 109th World Series, Mayor Slay joins Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles (1973-93) as one of only two mayors whose hometown team won the pennant in each of 4 terms.

Would a fifth term for Mayor Slay affect the Cardinals' winning ways? Of course not. That's silly superstition. It wouldn't help or hurt the team.

The only question is whether Redbird Nation wants to take any chances.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at