The Commish & I were complaining about the MLB schedule and we wondered about the significance of 154 & 162. Pretty simple, really.
Before 1961, 154 was 22 games against each of the seven league opponents (11 home, 11 away).
154 = (11+11) * 7
In 1961 the AL went to ten teams. To keep the symmetry, 18 games were scheduled against each of the nine league opponents, for a total of 162 games.
162 = (9+9) * 9
They could have gone to a 153-game schedule with 17 games against each opponent, but the number of home & away games would have been unequal.
The NL didn’t go to ten teams until 1962, so in 1961 the NL & AL played 154- & 162-game schedules, respecitively.
In 1969, with the addition of two teams to each league, the 162-game schedule was preserved by scheduling 18 games with each of the five division opponents and 12 games with each team in the other division. Again, the number of home & away games was equal.
162 = (9+9) * 5 + (6+6) * 6
When the AL expanded in 1977, the symmetry was broken, when the number of games within the division became an odd number (forcing unequal numbers of home & away games) and the number of games against the other division was ten for some teams and 11 for others. All symmetry was lost when the NL expanded again in 1993.
I didn’t bother to figure out what the situation is today. I’ll wait until Selig dies and the Brewers get sent back to AL where they belong.
Trivia questions: Which MLB team changed it’s home town three times without moving? Which MLB team’s name contained a decimal point?