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Game 4: Useless Info ...

ST. LOUIS -- It's OK to climb out of your fallout shelters. The World Series is over. And you can celebrate with one final Game 4 edition of our Useless Information Department:

  • It's only when you think about who else has won a championship since 1918 that you truly begin to comprehend how long it has been since the Red Sox won one.

    According to ESPN research gurus, 78 different franchises won a championship in the four major pro sports in between Red Sox titles. That list includes a few that aren't quite as storied as the Red Sox:

    BASEBALL: Marlins, Diamondbacks, Senators, Royals, Angels and Indians.

    FOOTBALL: Frankford Yellow Jackets, Providence Steam Rollers, Akron Pros and Canton Bulldogs.

    BASKETBALL: Rochester Royals, St. Louis Hawks, Minneapolis Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics.

    HOCKEY: Montreal Maroons, Victoria Cougars, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars.

    Most titles since the Red Sox last won one: Yankees 26, Canadiens 23, Celtics 16, Lakers 14, Packers 12, Maple Leafs 12.

    Original baseball teams that still haven't won one: Cubs (1908) and White Sox (1917).

  • The Red Sox closed out this postseason without having to worry about working on their come-from-behind act for the final 59 innings. And according to the invaluable postseason Web site, whowins.com, no team has ever played that many consecutive innings in best-of-seven postseason series without trailing.

    The previous record was 56 ½, by the 1989-90 Oakland Athletics. Before that, the record had been 52, by the 1949-50 Yankees. Most in one postseason before this: 53, by the '89 A's.

  • It isn't every year you see a team with 105 wins get swept in the World Series. In fact, it has only been one year in history before this.

    The 1954 Indians won 111 games during the regular season -- and zero in their World Series meeting with the Giants. But the Cardinals now have become the winningest NL team ever to get swept.

    Next on the most-wins-to-get-swept list: the 1963 Yankees (104), the 1999 Braves (103) and Tony La Russa's 1990 A's (103).

  • The only other team with a winning percentage as high as the Cardinals (.648) to get swept was Connie Mack's 1914 Philadelphia A's (99-53, .651). They got swept by the fabled "Miracle" Braves.

  • This sweep has given La Russa his own special place in sweep history, though not necessarily one he ever dreamed of occupying.

    Loyal reader David Hallstrom reports that La Russa has become: 1) the only manager in history to have been swept twice in a World Series, 2) the only manager to have been swept in the Series in each league and 3) the only manager to get swept while managing two different teams.

    La Russa was already one of two managers who has won a sweep (1989) and lost a sweep (1990). The Dodgers' Walter Alston was the other.

  • Amazingly, of the 18 teams in World Series history to get swept, the Cardinals were the seventh to have that happen after compiling the best record of any team in baseball that year. Besides all the teams we've already mentioned, the 1922 Yankees (94-60) got swept by the Giants.

  • Hallstrom also reports that the Cardinals are now the third franchise in World Series history to be swept in two different Series. The others are the Yankees (1963 and 1976) and the Cubs (1932 and 1938). The Cardinals' first sweep came against the Yankees in 1928. So at least it would have taken them longer than anyone else.

  • In case you hadn't noticed, the Red Sox never seem to get to the World Series and find one of those 91-win teams waiting for them. Instead, as loyal reader Jeff Kissel reports, they always get stuck playing the best team in baseball.

    But not just the best team that particular year. The Cardinals' 105 wins were the most for a National League team since (ta-da) the 1986 Mets (108). And the '86 Mets were the NL's winningest team since (who else?) the 1975 Reds (108).

    No NL teams have won more games than those three teams in the last half-century -- and the Red Sox played every one of them in the World Series.

    Or, to put it another way, counting that 1967 Cardinals team the Red Sox faced: In their last four World Series appearances, they have played the NL teams with the best 162-game records of the '60s, '70s, '80s and '00s.

  • Larry Walker laid down a bunt in the first inning Wednesday. Which was kind of notable, since he hadn't dropped a sacrifice in a regular-season game since May 4, 1991. Among players who were in the big leagues back then, only five others have gone sac-free in all that time: Fred McGriff, Frank Thomas, Juan Gonzalez, Gary Sheffield and Tim Salmon.

  • Poor Scott Rolen. He started his postseason by going 0 for 14. Then he finished 0 for his last 15, dating back to his final at-bat of the NLCS. So that's two streaks of 0 for 14 or worse in the postseason
    -- exactly as many streaks that long as he had in the entire regular season.

  • If you had trouble remembering the last Red Sox leadoff hitter to bop a leadoff homer before Johnny Damon did it Wednesday, we'll let you slide. The last time it happened came in the second World Series game ever played. Patsy Dougherty did the honors in Game 2 in 1903.

  • Last player to hit a leadoff homer in a Series clincher: Rickey Henderson, also on the road, in 1989

  • Before Wednesday, the Red Sox had lost six potential World Series clinching games in a row, which seems practically impossible. But you could look it up. They lost Games 6 and 7 in 1946, Game 7 in 1967, Game 7 in 1975 and Games 6 and 7 in 1986.

    According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other franchise to lose six games in a row with a chance to close out the World Series is the Braves (three in 1958, two in 1971 and one in 1995).

  • How tough was it for the Cardinals not to score in Game 3 (thanks to Jeff Suppan's baserunning gaffe), with second and third and nobody out in the second inning? The Elias Bureau went through the Cardinals' season and found they were in that spot 21 times during the regular season -- and scored in 19 of them.

    Red Sox pitchers, meanwhile, found themselves in that situation 32 times during the regular season -- and got out of it unscathed exactly once. Pedro Martinez did the honors, June 2 against the Angels.

  • Loyal reader Chris Taylor points out that in our Game 3 note listing the 1999 Braves as the only team to win six straight games in one postseason and not win a World Series, we forgot somebody -- the 2004 Yankees (who won Games 2-4 against the Twins and Games 1-3 against the Red Sox, but forgot to win again).

  • Finally, a moment of silence, please. This could be the last World Series for the beloved "cookie-cutter stadiums" built in the late '60s and early '70s, then scheduled for detonation in the post-Camden Yards retro-ballpark boom.

    The Cardinals' new ballpark is scheduled to open in 2006. So unless they get back to the Series, here are the cookie-cutter World Series we have known and loved:

    Busch Stadium 5 (1967-82-85-87-2004)
    Veterans Stadium 3 (1980-83-93)
    Three Rivers Stadium 2 (1971-79)
    Riverfront Stadium 5 (1970-72-75-76-90)
    Fulton County Stadium 4 (1991-92-95-96)

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.