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Rockies continue trend of first-timers

Rox continue trend of first-timers

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Colorado reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history this year continued a recent trend of teams making their first appearance in the Fall Classic.

The Rockies are the fourth franchise in the last seven years to make their World Series debut, following the Astros two years ago, the Angels in 2002 and the Diamondbacks in 2001.

"Every team when they start out in Spring Training hopes to get this far," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "These guys have worked extremely hard and now they're the first team [in franchise history] to get there, so it's a credit to them and all the work they put in."

The novelty of managing the first team in franchise history to reach the World Series isn't something Hurdle has spent a lot of time thinking about since his team won seven straight to clinch the Fall Classic berth.

"When it's all said and done, maybe you look back on it and reflect on it," Hurdle said. "Right now we're just enjoying the moment and getting ready for [the World Series]."

The Rockies reached the World Series by sweeping the Phillies in the National League Division Series, three games to none, and the D-backs in the NL Championship Series, 4-0. Like other recent first-timers, the Rockies surprised a lot of people by getting this far.

"Not many people gave us a chance to make the playoffs or get this far," reliever Brian Fuentes said. "But we know what was out there for us if we kept playing well and didn't let up. It [reaching the World Series] is a credit to everybody in this organization."

The Rockies are a Wild Card team, just as two of the other first-timers in this decade -- the Astros and Angels -- were, though it may be nothing more than coincidence.

What is not is the fact that more and more teams are reaching the World Series. Since the D-backs and Yankees met in the 2001 Fall Classic, this will be the sixth consecutive year the World Series will have two different teams than the previous October.

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The addition of the Wild Card and eight playoff berths beginning in 1995 has created more chances for baseball's 30 teams to reach the World Series, and clearly more teams have taken advantage.

The four first-timers in the last seven years is double the number of World Series debuts during the preceding 15 years ('97 Marlins, '92 Blue Jays). There were two first-time World Series teams in the 1980s and one in the '60s.

First-timers have been showing up more frequently, but with each new arrival, the list of teams which haven't played in a World Series continues to shrink.

Now that Colorado has made it, only four teams still haven't made a World Series appearance: Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas and Washington.

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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