Arizona ASU baseball

The Cats and Devils collided in the Pac-10 for more than three decades.
Photo by David Wallace/The Arizona Republic

The Pac-12 is 234 years and 362 days younger than the United States.

Sounds like the perfect time to break down the Pac-10’s baseball history!

After digesting football, basketball, and more football it’s time for your data dessert.

This is where we’re reminded that college baseball is a non-revenue sport. Dating back to the 1920s the conference was split into North and South divisions to save on travel costs. This structure continued when the Arizona schools were added, with the four Pacific Northwest schools in the North division and the “6-Pac” in the South.

Here are those standings from 1979 through 1998:

Pac-10 baseball 1979-1998

When Oregon cut its baseball program following the 1981 season the remaining three North teams rounded up some neighborhood friends and continued to call it Pac-10 baseball. As a result WSU winning 61% of its conference games isn’t nearly as impressive as Stanford winning 61% of its conference games.

(For those following along with the Pac-10 media guide, good news! Oregon State’s three missing losses from 1994 have been found. I will now turn my attention to larger pursuits.)

In 1999 the Pac-10 threw fiscal caution to the wind and formed a single, majestic collegiate baseball league. A decade later Oregon got the hardball itch and made the Pac-10 an actual 10. To add a little symmetry, the Ducks played in the first three years and the last three years of the Pac-10.

After the merge the composite standings look like this:

Pac-10 baseball since 1999

Add them together and you get 33 years’ worth of baseball:

Pac-10 baseball composite standings

(Silly me, I left the conference championship data out of the original post. Here it is now.)

For the first 16 years of the Pac-10 the winner of each division received a share of the conference championship. In each of the final 13 years after the merge a single champion was crowned, except in 2000 when three teams tied for first. In the four years in between, 1995-1998, the two division winners met in a championship series with the winner earning the outright Pac-10 title. Add it all up and it looks like this:

Pac-10 baseball championship

Wazzu really misses the Pac-10 North.

Since the merge ASU leads the way with the Pat Murphy-fueled four-peat from 2007-’10 and a share of the 2000 title. Stanford won three outright championships and a share of that 2000 title as well.

Throw in USC’s back-to-back crowns in ’01 and ’02, and UCLA winning the third share in 2000 plus the final Pac-10 title this year, and the entire Pac-10 North (minus Oregon State) misses the Pac-10 North.

(And now back to your regularly scheduled post.)

Just five wins separate Stanford and Arizona State atop the standings. It’s no surprise those two lead the way when it comes to trips to Omaha:

CWS Appearances, 1979-2011

That representation has resulted in hoisting a number of trophies:

Pac-10 baseball national champs

Four different members of the Pac-10 with multiple titles. That’s getting it done right there.

As an added bonus, since South Carolina just went back-to-back to join this club, here is the complete list of schools with more than one college baseball national championship:

College World Series multiple championships

(A Texas fan once tried to tell me the Longhorns were “the Yankees of college” because they’ve been to the College World Series more than anyone. I told him the Yankees aren’t famous for losing the World Series. That makes Texas the Brooklyn Dodgers of college.)

Unlike the last time the conference expanded, the new guys aren’t bringing any baseball tradition. Utah has been to the College World Series once (in 1951) and Colorado never made it before discontinuing their program in 1980 (get the itch, Buffs!).

For the time being the Pac-12 will have 11 teams. ¡Viva Paco Once!

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Scott Terrell would never split his love for baseball into divisions. Unify on Twitter and Facebook.