This is it, the Yankees only World Series appearance in the 1980s and the last until 1996. Perhaps because the Yankees didn't have a dominant team during this period, the 1980s would be the most competitively balanced decade in baseball history. Here is one way to compare the competitiveness of the last 4 decades of baseball, by looking at the number of different teams in each decade to make the playoffs:
1970s - 14/26 different teams (no appearances by the Indians, Brewers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Rangers, Mariners, Braves, Expos, Cardinals, Astros, Cubs, or Padres)
1980s - 21/26 different teams (no appearances by the Indians, Rangers, Mariners, Reds, or Pirates)
1990s - 24/30 different teams (no appearances by the Tigers, Brewers, Royals, Angels, Devil Rays, or Expos)
2000s - 23/30 different teams (no appearances by the Orioles, Blue Jays, Royals, Rangers, Expos/Nationals, Reds, or Pirates)
By this way of looking at the issue, the 1980s are only slightly more balanced than the 1990s...but consider that baseball switched to 3 divisions in the 1990s with the wild card, there were many more opportunities for teams to get into the playoffs in the 1990s. So another way of looking at it, which also shows the '80s were the most competitive decade.
1970s - 14 different teams in 40 possible playoff spots
1980s - 21 different teams in 44 possible playoff spots (4 more because of '81 strike)
1990s - 24 different teams in 56 possible playoff spots
2000s - 23 different teams in 80 possible playoff spots
Why were the 1980s the most competitive? The amateur draft had a full decade by this point to even things out, the expansion teams had plenty of time by this point to get better organized, free agency at this point may have evened things out as there seems to be no concern over big market/small market teams in the 1980s or it could be more sinister like drugs breaking up potential dynamos....it could be a combination of all of these things.
The key thing was there was no dominant team in this decade. There was no team with dominant pitching like the 1990s Braves or a lineup like the Big Red Machine or even a little of both like the late '90s Yankees. It seemed every team had some weakness that wouldn't allow them to dominate for more than a year or two.
|__||FL||102||UT||Dennis Werth (or DO 466) ||NYY|