World Series

World Series
MLB Postseason
Division series
American League
National League
Championship series
American League
National League
World Series

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. Because the World Series is played in October, it is sometimes called the Fall Classic.[1]

The New York Yankees of the American League have played in 40 World Series and won 27, and the Oakland/Philadelphia Athletics have played in 14 and won 9. In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have played in 18 and won 11, while the San Francisco/New York Giants and Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers have both appeared in 18 and won 6.


Precursors to the modern World Series (1857–1902)

The original World Series

Until the formation of the American Association in 1882 as a second major league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (1871–75) and then the National League (founded 1876) represented the top level of organized baseball in the United States. All championships went to whoever had the best record at the end of the season, without a postseason series being played. Starting in 1884 and going through 1890, the National League and the American Association faced each other in a series of games at the end of the season to determine an overall champion. These matchups were disorganized in comparison to the modern Series: games played ranged from as few as three in 1884 to a high of 15 in 1887 (Detroit beat St. Louis 10 games to 5), and both the 1885 and 1890 Series ended in ties, each team having won three games with one tie game.[2]

The series were promoted and referred to as "The Championship of the United States",[3][4] "World's Championship Series", or "World's Series" for short.

The 19th-century competitions are, however, not officially recognized as part of World Series history by Major League Baseball, as the organization considers 19th-century baseball to be a prologue to the modern baseball era.[5] Until about 1960, some sources treated the 19th-century Series on an equal basis with the post-19th-century series.[6] After about 1930, however, many authorities list the start of the World Series in 1903 and discuss the earlier contests separately.[7] (For example, the 1929 World Almanac and Book of Facts lists "Baseball's World Championships 1884–1928" in a single table,[8] but the 1943 edition lists "Baseball World Championships–1903-1942".[9])

1892–1900: "The Monopoly Years"

Following the collapse of the American Association after the 1891 season, four of its clubs were admitted to the National League, which was again the only major league. The league championship was awarded in 1892 by a playoff between half-season champions. This scheme was abandoned after one season.[10] Beginning in 1893 — and continuing until divisional play was introduced in 1969 — the pennant was awarded to the first-place club in the standings at the end of the season. For four seasons, 1894–97, the league champions played the runners-up in the post season championship series called the Temple Cup.[11][12] A second attempt at this format was the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series, which was played only once, in 1900.[13]

In 1901, the American League was formed as a second major league. No championship series were played in 1901 or 1902 as the National and American Leagues fought each other for business supremacy.

Modern World Series (1903–present)

Crowd outside Huntington Avenue Grounds before a game during the 1903 World Series

First attempt

After two years of bitter competition and player raiding (in 1902, the AL and NL champions even went so far as to challenge each other to a tournament in football after the end of the baseball season), the National and American Leagues made peace and, as part of the accord, several pairs of teams squared off for interleague exhibition games after the 1903 season. These series were arranged by the participating clubs, as the 1880s World's Series matches had been. One of them matched the two pennant winners, Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL and the Boston Americans (later known as the Red Sox) of the AL; that one is known as the 1903 World Series. It had been arranged well in advance by the two owners, as both teams were league leaders by large margins.[14] Boston upset Pittsburgh by 5 games to 3, winning with pitching depth behind Cy Young and Bill Dinneen and with the support of the band of Royal Rooters. The Series brought much civic pride to Boston and proved the new American League could beat the Nationals.

Simon Winchester argues the World Series was named for the New York World newspaper,[15][16] but this view is disputed.[17]

Boycott of 1904

The 1904 Series, if it had been held, would have been between the AL's Boston Americans (Boston Red Sox) and the NL's New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants). At that point there was no governing body for the World Series nor any requirement that a Series be played. Thus the Giants' owner, John T. Brush, refused to allow his team to participate in such an event, citing the "inferiority" of the upstart American League. John McGraw, the Giants' manager, even went so far as to say that his Giants were already "world champions" since they were the champions of the "only real major league". At the time of the announcement, their new cross-town rivals, the New York Highlanders (now the NY Yankees), were leading the AL, and the prospect of facing the Highlanders did not please Giants management. Boston won on the last day of the season, and the leagues had previously agreed to hold a World's Championship Series in 1904, but it was not binding, and Brush stuck to his original decision. In addition to political reasons, Brush also factually cited the lack of rules under which money would be split, where games would be played, and how they would be operated and staffed.

During the winter of 1904–05, however, feeling the sting of press criticism, Brush had a change of heart and proposed what came to be known as the "Brush Rules," under which the series were played subsequently. One rule was that player shares would come from a portion of the gate receipts for the first four games only. This was to discourage teams from "fixing" early games in order to prolong the series and make more money. Receipts for later games would be split among the two clubs and the National Commission, the governing body for the sport, which was able to cover much of its annual operating expense from World Series revenue. Most importantly, the now-official and compulsory World's Series matches were operated strictly by the National Commission itself, not by the participating clubs.

With the new rules in place and the National Commission in control, McGraw's Giants decided to show up for the 1905 Series, and beat the Philadelphia A's four games to one. The Series was held in every subsequent season for 89 years.

The list of post-season rules evolved over time. In 1925, Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets convinced others to adopt as a permanent rule the 2–3–2 pattern used in 1924. Prior to 1924, the pattern had been to alternate by game or to make another arrangement convenient to both clubs.

1919: The fix

Gambling and game-fixing had been a problem in professional baseball from the beginning; star pitcher Jim Devlin was banned for life in 1877, when the National League was just two years old. Baseball's gambling problems came to a head in 1919, when 8 players of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series.

The Sox had won the Series in 1917 and were heavy favorites to beat the Cincinnati Reds in 1919, but first baseman Chick Gandil had other plans. Gandil, in collaboration with gambler Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, approached his teammates and got six of them to agree to throw the Series: starting pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams, shortstop Swede Risberg, left fielder Shoeless Joe Jackson, center fielder Happy Felsch, and utility infielder Fred McMullin. Third baseman Buck Weaver knew of the fix but declined to participate. The Sox, who were promised $100,000 for cooperating, proceeded to lose the Series in eight games, pitching poorly, hitting poorly and making many errors. Though he took the money, Jackson insisted to his death that he played to the best of his ability in the series (he was the best hitter in the series, but had markedly worse numbers in the games the White Sox lost).

During the Series, writer and humorist Ring Lardner had facetiously called the event the "World's Serious". The Series turned out to indeed have serious consequences for the sport. After rumors circulated for nearly a year, the players were suspended in September 1920.

The "Black Sox" were acquitted in a criminal conspiracy trial. However, baseball in the meantime had established the office of Commissioner in an effort to protect the game's integrity, and the first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, banned all of the players involved, including Weaver, for life. The White Sox would not win a World Series again until 2005.

The events of the 1919 Series, segueing into the "live ball" era, marked a point in time of change of the fortunes of a number of teams. The two most prolific World Series winners to date, the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, did not win their first championship until the 1920s; and three of the teams that were highly successful prior to 1920 (the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs) went the rest of the 20th century without another World Series win. The Red Sox and White Sox finally won again in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The Cubs are still waiting for their next trophy, and have not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1945, the longest drought of any MLB club.

New York Yankees dynasty (1920–1964)

The New York Yankees purchased Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox after the 1919 season, appeared in their first World Series two years later in 1921, and became frequent participants thereafter. Over a period of 45 years from 1920 to 1964, the Yankees played in 29 World Series championships, winning 20. The team's dynasty reached its apex between 1947 and 1964, when the Yankees reached the World Series 15 times in eighteen years (missing only 1948, 1954, and 1959), winning ten. From 1949 to 1953, the Yankees won the World Series five years in a row; from 1936–1939 the Yankees won four World Series Championships in a row. There are only two other occasions when a team has won at least three consecutive World Series: 1972 to 1974 by the Oakland Athletics, and 1998 to 2000 by the New York Yankees.

During this period, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers took their long-time rivalry to the west coast, moving in 1958 to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, and thus bringing Major League Baseball west of St. Louis. The Dodgers were the first of the two clubs to contest a World Series on the west coast, defeating the Chicago White Sox in 1959. The Giants followed suit in 1962, losing to the Yankees.

1947-1964: New York City teams dominate World Series play

In an 18-year span from 1947 to 1964 - missing only 1948 and 1959 - the World Series was played in New York City, featuring at least one of the three teams located in New York at the time. The Dodgers and Giants would move to California after the 1957 season, leaving the Yankees as the lone team in the city until the Mets were enfranchised in 1962. In the years 1947, 1949, 1951-1953, and 1955-1956, the two teams playing in the World Series were all from New York, with the Yankees playing against either the Dodgers or Giants. 1954 was the only year during this timespan in which one of the two National League teams from New York faced an American League team other than the Yankees, when the Giants swept the Cleveland Indians.

1969: League Championship Series

Prior to 1969, the National League and the American League each crowned its champion (the "pennant winner") based on the best win-loss record at the end of the regular season.

A structured playoff series began in 1969, when both the National and American Leagues were reorganized into two divisions each, East and West. The two division winners within each league played each other in a best-of-five League Championship Series to determine who would advance to the World Series. In 1985, the format changed to best-of-seven.

The National League Championship Series (NLCS) and American League Championship Series (ALCS), since the expansion to best-of-seven, are always played in a 2–3–2 format: Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 are played in the stadium of the team that has home-field advantage, and Games 3, 4 and 5 are played in the stadium of the team that does not.

1971: World Series at night

MLB night games started being held in 1935 by the Cincinnati Reds, but the World Series remained a strictly daytime event for years thereafter. In the final game of the 1949 World Series, a Series game was finished under lights for the first time. The first scheduled night World Series game was Game 4 of the 1971 World Series at Three Rivers Stadium.[18] Afterwards more and more Series games were scheduled at night, when television audiences were larger. Game 6 of the 1987 World Series was the last World Series game played in the daytime.[19]

1972–1978: Three of a kind

During this seven year period, only three teams won the World Series: the Oakland Athletics from 1972–1974, Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976, and New York Yankees in 1977 and 1978. This is the only time in World Series history in which three different teams have won consecutive series in succession.

1976: The Designated Hitter comes to the World Series

The National and American Leagues operated under essentially identical rules until 1973, when the American League adopted the designated hitter rule, allowing its teams to use another hitter to bat in place of the (usually) weak-hitting pitcher. The National League did not adopt the DH rule. This presented a problem for the World Series, whose two contestants would now be playing their regular-season games under different rules. From 1973 to 1975, the World Series did not include a DH. Starting in 1976, the World Series allowed for the use of a DH in even-numbered years only. Finally, in 1986, baseball adopted the current rule in which the DH is used for World Series games played in the AL champion's park but not the NL champion's. Thus, the DH rule's use or non-use can help the team that has home-field advantage.

1989: Earthquake

When the 1989 World Series began, it was notable chiefly for being the first ever World Series matchup between the two San Francisco Bay Area teams, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. Oakland won the first two games at home, and the two teams crossed the bridge to San Francisco to play Game 3 on Tuesday, October 17. ABC's broadcast of Game 3 began at 5 p.m. local time, approximately 30 minutes before the first pitch was scheduled. At 5:04, while broadcasters Al Michaels and Tim McCarver were narrating highlights and the teams were warming up, the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred (magnitude 6.9 with an epicenter ten miles (16 km) northeast of Santa Cruz, CA). The earthquake caused substantial property and economic damage in the Bay Area and killed 62 people. Television viewers saw the video signal deteriorate and heard Michaels say "I'll tell you what, we're having an earth--" before the feed from Candlestick Park was lost. Fans filing into the stadium saw Candlestick sway visibly during the quake. Television coverage later resumed, using backup generators, with Michaels becoming a news reporter on the unfolding disaster. Approximately 30 minutes after the earthquake, Commissioner Fay Vincent ordered the game to be postponed. Fans, workers, and the teams evacuated a blacked out (although still sunlit) Candlestick. Game 3 was finally played on October 27, and Oakland won that day and the next to complete a four-game sweep.

1992–1993 The World Series goes North

World Series games were contested outside of the United States for the first time in 1992, with the Toronto Blue Jays defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games. The World Series returned to Canada in 1993, with the Blue Jays victorious again, this time against the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. No other Series has featured a team from outside of the United States. Toronto is the only expansion team to win successive World Series titles. The 1993 World Series was also notable for being only the second championship concluded by a home run and the first concluded by a come-from-behind homer, after Joe Carter's three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning sealed an 8–6 Toronto win in Game 6. The first Series to end with a homer was the 1960 World Series, when Bill Mazeroski hit a ninth-inning solo shot in Game 7 to win the championship for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1994: League Division Series

In 1994, each league was restructured into three divisions, with the three division winners and the newly introduced wild card winner advancing to a best-of-five playoff round (the "division series"), the National League Division Series (NLDS) and American League Division Series (ALDS). The team with the best league record is matched against the wild card team, unless they are in the same division, in which case, the team with the second-best record plays against the wild card winner. The remaining two division winners are pitted against each other. The winners of the series in the first round advance to the best-of-seven NLCS and ALCS. Due to a players' strike, however, the NLDS and ALDS were not played until 1995. Beginning in 1998, home field advantage was given to the team with the better regular season record, with the exception that the Wild Card team cannot get home-field advantage.

1994–95 strike

After the boycott of 1904, the World Series was played every year until 1994 despite World War I, the global influenza pandemic of 1918–19, the Great Depression of the 1930s, America's involvement in World War II, and even an earthquake in the host cities of the 1989 World Series. A breakdown in collective bargaining led to a strike in August 1994 and the eventual cancellation of the rest of the season, including the playoffs.

As the labor talks began, baseball franchise owners demanded a salary cap in order to limit payrolls, the elimination of salary arbitration, and the right to retain free agent players by matching a competitor's best offer. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) refused to agree to limit payrolls, noting that the responsibility for high payrolls lay with those owners who were voluntarily offering contracts. One difficulty in reaching a settlement was the absence of a commissioner. When Fay Vincent was forced to resign in 1992, owners did not replace him, electing instead to make Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig acting commissioner. Thus the commissioner, responsible for ensuring the integrity and protecting the welfare of the game, was an interested party rather than a neutral arbiter, and baseball headed into the 1994 work stoppage without an independent commissioner for the first time since the office was founded in 1920.

The previous collective bargaining agreement expired on December 31, 1993, and baseball began the 1994 season without a new agreement. Owners and players negotiated as the season progressed, but owners refused to give up the idea of a salary cap and players refused to accept one. On August 12, 1994, the players went on strike. After a month passed with no progress in the labor talks, Selig canceled the rest of the 1994 season and the postseason on September 14. The World Series was not played for the first time in 90 years. The Montreal Expos were the best team in baseball at the time of the stoppage, with a record of 74–40. (Since their founding in 1969, the Expos, now the Washington Nationals, have never played in a World Series.)

The labor dispute lasted into the spring of 1995, with owners beginning spring training with replacement players. However, the MLBPA returned to work on April 2, 1995 after a federal judge, future U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, ruled that the owners had engaged in unfair labor practices. The season started on April 25 and the 1995 World Series was played as scheduled, with Atlanta beating Cleveland four games to two.

2003: All-Star Game used to determine home-field advantage

Prior to 2003, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated from year to year between the NL and AL. After the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game ended in a tie, MLB decided to award home-field advantage in the World Series to the winner of the All-Star Game. (It is unclear who would receive home-field advantage if the All-Star Game ends in a tie or if the All-Star Game is rained out.) Originally implemented as a two-year trial from 2003 to 2004, the practice has been extended indefinitely. The American League won every All-Star Game since this change until 2010 and thus has enjoyed home-field advantage from 2002, when it also had home-field advantage based on the alternating schedule, through 2009.

As of the conclusion of the 2010 World Series, the AL and NL had each won the World Series four times since the All-Star Game was used to determine home-field advantage, though no Series from 2003-2010 had gone the full seven games. 2011 was the first World Series of the All-Star Game home-field advantage era to go the full seven games.

Modern World Series appearances by franchise

World Series record by team or franchise, 1903–2011

Teams † Series
New York Yankees (AL)
[prev. Highlanders]
27 40 2009 2009
St. Louis Cardinals (NL) 11 18 2011 2011
Oakland Athletics (AL)
[prev. Philadelphia / Kansas City]
9 14 1989 1990
Boston Red Sox (AL)
[prev. Americans]
7 11 2007 2007
San Francisco Giants (NL)
[prev. New York]
6 18 2010 2010
Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
[prev. Brooklyn]
6 18 1988 1988
Cincinnati Reds (NL)
[prev. Redlegs, Red Stockings]
5 9 1990 1990
Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) 5 7 1979 1979
Detroit Tigers (AL) 4 10 1984 2006
Atlanta Braves (NL)
[prev. Boston / Milwaukee]
3 9 1995 1999
Baltimore Orioles (AL)
[prev. St. Louis Browns]
3 7 1983 1983
Minnesota Twins (AL)
[prev. 1st Washington Senators]
3 6 1991 1991
Chicago White Sox (AL) 3 5 2005 2005
Chicago Cubs (NL) 2 10 1908 1945
Philadelphia Phillies (NL) 2 7 2008 2009
Cleveland Indians (AL) 2 5 1948 1997
New York Mets (NL, 1962) * 2 4 1986 2000
Miami Marlins (NL, 1993)*
[prev. Florida]
2 2 2003 2003
Toronto Blue Jays (AL, 1977) * 2 2 1993 1993
Kansas City Royals (AL, 1969) * 1 2 1985 1985
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (AL, 1960) *
[prev. Los Angeles / California / Anaheim Angels]
1 1 2002 2002
Arizona Diamondbacks (NL, 1998) * 1 1 2001 2001
San Diego Padres (NL, 1969) * 0 2 1998
Texas Rangers (AL, 1960) *
[prev. 2nd Washington Senators]
0 2 2011
Tampa Bay Rays (AL, 1998) * 0 1 2008
Colorado Rockies (NL, 1993) * 0 1 2007
Houston Astros (NL, 1962) *
[prev. Colt 45's]
0 1 2005
Milwaukee Brewers (AL 1969; NL 1998) *
[prev. Seattle Pilots, AL]
0 1 1982
Seattle Mariners (AL, 1977) * 0 0
Washington Nationals (NL, 1969) *
[prev. Montreal Expos]
0 0
Key to table
AL = American League
NL = National League
* Joined the AL or NL after 1960
† Totals include a team's record
with another nickname or in a previous city
[bracketed in small type below its current name].
For further details, see individual team articles or Major League franchises.
See also: List of World Series champions
World Series Graph


American League (AL) teams have won 62 of 107 World Series completed so far (62–44 or 58.5%–41.5%). The New York Yankees have won 27, accounting for about 25% of all the series played and about 44% of the 62 wins by American League teams. The St. Louis Cardinals have won 11 World Series, or about 10% of all victories and just under 25% of the 45 National League victories.

When the first modern World Series was played in 1903, eight teams constituted the American League (founded 1901) and another eight constituted the National League (founded 1876). All sixteen of the 1903 teams have won at least two Series.

No new team joined either league until 1961; fourteen "expansion teams" have joined since then. Twelve of the fourteen have played in a World Series and 19 of the 48 Series contested during 1961–2010 have featured an expansion team, always paired with one of the sixteen 1903 teams. The expansion teams have won 9 of the 19 Series (47%) in which they have played.

The Braves are the only team to have both won and lost a World Series in 3 different home cities (Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta). The Athletics have had 3 different home cities (Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Oakland), but have appeared in the World Series (both winning and losing) while based in only 2 of them (Philadelphia and Oakland). Three other teams have both won and lost the Fall Classic in 2 different home cities: The Dodgers (Brooklyn and Los Angeles), the Giants (New York and San Francisco), and the Twins (the Twin Cities and Washington, DC, as the first Senators). The Orioles are the only other team to have played in the World Series in 2 different home cities (Baltimore and St. Louis, as the Browns), but all 3 of their titles (and 3 of their 4 losses) have come while based in Baltimore.

Team patterns in the World Series

This information is up to date through the 2011 World Series:

Streaks and droughts

  1. Since their first championship in 1923, the New York Yankees have won two or more World Series titles in every decade except the 1980s, when they won none. Additionally, they have won at least one American League pennant in every decade since the 1920s. The Yankees are the only team in either League to win more than three series in a row, winning in four consecutive seasons from 1936 to 1939, and five consecutive seasons from 1949 to 1953.
  2. The New York Giants' four World Series appearances from 1921 to 1924 are the most consecutive appearances for any National League franchise.
  3. The 19071908 Cubs, 19211922 Giants and 19751976 Reds are the only National League teams to win back-to-back World Series.
  4. The 1907–1909 Detroit Tigers and the 1911–1913 New York Giants are the only teams to lose three consecutive World Series.
  5. The Chicago Cubs hold the record for the longest World Series drought (still active through 2011), with their last title coming in 1908 (103 years). In fact, they also hold the longest drought without a World Series appearance, not having won the NL pennant since 1945. Even had they won the 1945 World Series, they would still hold the longest active World Series championship drought, the second longest being since 1948 by the Cleveland Indians.
  6. Twenty-two of the 28 teams to play in the World Series have won it at least once. The only exceptions are: Houston Astros (formerly Colt .45s, enfranchised in 1962), Milwaukee Brewers (formerly Seattle Pilots, 1969), San Diego Padres (1969), Colorado Rockies (1993), Tampa Bay Rays (formerly Devil Rays, 1998), and Texas Rangers (formerly Washington Senators, 1961). Each of these teams has lost only one World Series, except for the Padres and Rangers, who have both lost 2 series.
  7. As of 2011, only two teams have not won a pennant: the Washington Nationals (formerly Montreal Expos, established in 1969), and Seattle Mariners (established in 1977). Both teams have participated in post-season play and competed in the League Championship Series.
  8. As of 2011, the Red Sox hold the record for most World Series titles before their first World Series loss, winning the championship in their first five appearances—1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, and 1918—before losing in the next series they played, in 1946. The only other teams who have more than one Series victory before their first Series loss are the Toronto Blue Jays (in 1992 and 1993) and the Florida Marlins (in 1997 and 2003), both of whom have never lost a World Series.
  9. As of 2011, the Reds and Pirates are tied at 3 for the longest active streak of World Series titles (not necessarily in consecutive years) since the last time they lost a series. After losing the 1927 series to the Yankees, the Pirates have emerged victorious in the next 3 series in which they played (1960, 1971, and 1979). The Reds last series loss prior to their current active streak of 3 titles (1975, 1976, and 1990) was in 1972. The Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Twins are the American League leaders in this category with 2 consecutive titles since their last series loss.
  10. As of 2011, the Yankees have won the most consecutive World Series titles (not necessarily in consecutive years) between World Series losses, at 8. After losing the 1926 World Series to the Cardinals, the Yankees proceeded to win their next 8 appearances in the series (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1941) before losing in 1942 to the Cardinals again. After this loss, the Yankees went on to win their next 7 Series appearances (1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953) before their next Series loss in 1955 to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Cardinals are the National League leader in this category, with 4 consecutive titles (1944, 1946, 1964, and 1967) between series losses in 1943 and 1968.
  11. As of 2011, the Cubs and Dodgers are tied at 7 apiece for most consecutive losses in the series (not necessarily in consecutive years) between World Series victories. The Dodgers lost their first 7 appearances in the Fall Classics (1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953) before winning their first title in 1955. The Cubs' situation is the opposite, as their losing streak has occurred since winning their last title (in 1908), with losses occurring in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945. With this "streak" active, should the Cubs lose in their next World Series appearance, they will overtake the Dodgers in this category. The Cleveland Indians are the American League "leader" in this category, with 3 consecutive World Series losses (1954, 1995, and 1997) since their last crown in 1948.


  1. Game 7 has been won by the home team in the last 9 World Series that have gone to seven games (the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals, 1985 Kansas City Royals, 1986 New York Mets, 1987 and 1991 Minnesota Twins, 1997 Florida Marlins, 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2002 Anaheim Angels, and 2011 St. Louis Cardinals). The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates are the last team to win a World Series Game 7 on the road. This trend reverses the previous historical trend in which Game 7 had been most often won by the road team, in 1979, 1975, 1972, 1971, 1968, 1967, 1965, and 1962. During the 1960s and 1970s, the home team had won Game 7 only in 1960, 1964, and 1973. Since 2003, when home field advantage started to be awarded to the team representing the league that won the All-Star game, the first Series that reached Game 7 was in 2011. The greatest comeback in World Series history was in 1968, when the Detroit Tigers came back from a 3–1 game disadvantage to win Game 5 after being behind by 3 runs, before winning games 6 and 7 on the road at St. Louis.
  2. The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers are the last team to win a World Series after losing the first two games on the road (against New York). The recent tendency of a team winning the first two games at home and then winning the Series suggests the theoretical advantage to gaining home-field advantage (and the first two games at home) by winning the All-Star Game.
  3. The Pittsburgh Pirates have won all five of their World Series championships in seven games.
  4. There have been 18 World Series four-game (4–0) sweeps. Nine different teams have swept a World Series at least once, the Yankees having done so most often (8 times). Both the Red Sox and Reds have done it twice. The Braves, Orioles, White Sox, Dodgers, Athletics and Giants have each swept one Series. Six of these teams (all but the Orioles, Red Sox and White Sox) have also been swept 0–4 in at least one World Series. The Red Sox' two World Series sweeps are the most of any team that has never been swept in one. The Reds and Yankees are the only teams to have swept each other (The Yankees swept the Reds in 1939, while the Reds swept the Yankees in 1976).
  5. The Athletics, Cardinals, Cubs, and Yankees are the only teams to be swept in two World Series. The Athletics and Yankees are the only two of these with at least one World Series sweep to their credit, the other two being among eight teams overall that have never swept a World Series, but have been swept in one (the Astros, Indians, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, and Rockies being the others).
  6. The Cubs in 1907 and the Giants in 1922 won 4 games to 0, but each of those Series' included a tied game and are not considered to be true sweeps. In 1907, the first game was the tie and the Cubs won four straight after that. In 1922, Game 2 was the tie.
  7. The Cincinnati Reds are the only National League team which has swept a World Series since 1963, sweeping the series in 1976 and 1990. When added to their Game 7 victory in 1975, this means that the Reds have won their last 9 consecutive games, making this the current longest winning streak in terms of consecutive World Series games won.
  8. Nine World Series have ended with "walkoff" hits, i.e., that game and the Series ended when the home team won with a base hit in the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings.[20] (Also, the 1912 World Series ended in a walkoff sacrifice fly.)[21] The first walkoff Series winner came in the 1924 World Series, when Earl McNeely doubled home Muddy Ruel in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 7 to win a championship for the Washington Senators. The most recent walkoff Series winner was the 2001 World Series, which ended with Luis Gonzalez blooping a single over the head of Derek Jeter to score Jay Bell. Two men have ended a World Series with a walk-off home run: Bill Mazeroski in 1960 and Joe Carter in 1993. Mazeroski's was a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 to win a championship for the Pittsburgh Pirates, while Carter's was a three-run shot in Game 6 that won a championship for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  9. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays are the first teams to have an elimination game (or any game) be suspended because of weather, and not have it cancelled. Game 5 (in Philadelphia) was suspended Monday, October 27, 2008 with a 2–2 score, and resumed in the bottom of the sixth on October 29.
  10. Both of the Minnesota Twins' World Series titles since relocating to the Twin Cities from Washington, DC (where they were the first Washington Senators) were in 7 game series where all games were won by the home team. The Twins accomplished this in 1987, when the Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, then 4 years later in 1991, when the Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves. The Twins victories in both series were in games 1, 2, 6, and 7, while their National League opponents won games 3, 4, and 5. This same scenario also occurred in 2001, when the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees.

Local rivalries

When two teams share the same state or metropolitan area, fans often develop strong loyalties to one and antipathies towards the other, sometimes building on already-existing rivalries between cities or neighborhoods. Before the introduction of interleague play in 1997, the only opportunity for two teams in different leagues to face each other in official competition would have been in a World Series.

Cross-town Series

The first city to host an entire World Series is Chicago in 1906, when the Chicago White Sox beat the Chicago Cubs in six games.

Fourteen "Subway Series" have been played entirely within New York City. Thirteen matched the American League's New York Yankees with either the New York Giants or the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League. The initial instances occurred in 1921 and 1922, when the Giants beat the Yankees in consecutive World Series that were not technically "subway series" since the teams shared the Polo Grounds as their home ballpark. The last Subway Series involving the original New York ballclubs came in 1956, when the Yankees beat the Dodgers. The trio was separated in 1958 when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, and an all-NY Series did not recur until 2000, when the Yankees defeated the New York Mets in five games.

The last World Series played entirely in one ballpark was the 1944 "Streetcar Series" between the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns. The Cardinals won in six games, all held in their shared home, Sportsman's Park.

The 1989 World Series, sometimes called the "Bay Bridge Series" or the "BART Series" (after the connecting transit line), featured the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants, teams that play just across San Francisco Bay from each other. The series is most remembered for the major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay area just before game 3 was scheduled to begin. The quake caused significant damage to both communities and severed the Bay Bridge that connects them, forcing the postponement of the series. Play resumed ten days later, and the A's swept the Giants in four games.

Other neighborhood rivalries

For the other two cities where a cross-town competition, connected by local transit, was once possible — Boston (until 1953 when the Braves moved to Milwaukee) and Philadelphia (until 1955 when the Athletics moved to Kansas City) — an October meeting came closest to occurring in 1948, when the Boston Braves won the National League pennant, and their nearby rivals, the Boston Red Sox, tied for the American League pennant on the last day of the season. However, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Red Sox in a one-game playoff, and then defeated the Braves in the Series.

Before the modern World Series era, an opportunity for an all-Boston contest between league champions was missed. In 1891, the Braves, then the Boston Beaneaters, of the National League declined to play the Boston Reds of the soon-to-dissolve American Association. The only meeting of neighbouring teams in the pre-modern World Series era occurred in 1889, when the National League's champion, the New York Giants, defeated the American Association's champion, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

Other cross-state rivalries

The historic rivalry between Northern and Southern California added to the interest in the Oakland Athletics-Los Angeles Dodgers series in 1974 and 1988 and in the San Francisco Giants' series against the then-Anaheim Angels in 2002. (The two Los Angeles area teams have never competed in a Series, nor has the only team in San Diego, the Padres, ever played a Series against another California team.)

Other than the St. Louis World Series of 1944, the only postseason tournament entirely within Missouri was the I-70 Series in 1985 (named for the interstate highway connecting the two cities) between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, who won at home in the seventh game.

While the Philadelphia Athletics never played in World Series against either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates, they did engage in a popular semi-annual tradition of preseason City Series exhibition games against the Phillies. During their 13 years in Kansas City (1955-1967), the A's never faced their then-cross state rival, the St. Louis Cardinals in a World Series.

In the only other states that also have or once had teams in both major leagues since 1903, there has never been a World Series between teams in Florida (Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays), Texas (Houston Astros and Texas Rangers) or Ohio (Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians). The last pair came closest to facing each other when the Indians won the 1995 American League pennant in the same year that the Reds lost the NL Championship Series.

While not in the same state, the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals could be considered neighborhood rivals, with their home cities being only 40 miles apart. However, a World Series between these two neighbors has yet to occur, with neither team making it to the post-season since the Nationals move at the start of the 2005 season to Washington, DC from Montreal, where they were the Expos.

The original sixteen teams

At the time the first modern World Series began in 1903, each league had eight clubs, all of which survive today (although sometimes in a different city or with a new nickname), comprising the "original sixteen".

  1. Every original team has won at least two World Series titles. The Philadelphia Phillies (National League) were the last of the original teams to win their first Series, in 1980. They were also the last to win at least two, with their second Series victory in 2008. The Cubs were the first team to win the series twice, in 1907 and 1908. Ironically, they have never won another series since then.
  2. The last original American League team to win its first World Series was the Baltimore Orioles (former St. Louis Browns), winning in 1966.
  3. The Orioles were also the last original team in the majors to make their first World Series appearance, as the St. Louis Browns in 1944. Although they never won another American League pennant while in St. Louis, they have won three World Series in six appearances since moving to Baltimore. The last original National League team to make their modern World Series début were the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926, which they also won. Ironically, as noted above, they have gone on to win more World Series than any other National League club, holding the lead at 11 victories through 2011.
  4. The New York Yankees have defeated all eight original NL teams in a World Series. Conversely, they have lost at least one World Series to every original NL team except the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Boston Red Sox have played at least one Series against every original National League team except the (Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta) Braves, with whom they shared a home city through 1953.
  5. The St. Louis Cardinals are currently the only club of the National League's original eight that holds an overall Series lead over the Yankees, 3 to 2, taking that lead in 1964.[22] The Giants won their first two Series over the Yankees (1921 and 1922), but the Yankees have faced the Giants five times since then and have won all five, taking the overall lead over the Giants in 1937. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Yankees have faced each other twice (1927 and 1960), with the Yankees winning in 1927 and the Pirates winning in 1960, making the two teams .500 against each other.
  6. Since the two leagues expanded beyond eight teams apiece in 1961, only two of the original sixteen teams have not won a World Series against the larger field of competitors: the American League Cleveland Indians, who have not won a Series since 1948 (defeating the Boston Braves), and the National League Chicago Cubs, who last won a Series in 1908 (defeating the Detroit Tigers).

Expansion teams (after 1960)

  1. The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks was the fastest expansion franchise ever to win a pennant (4th season) and a World Series (4th season), after being founded in 1998. Second fastest were the 1997 Florida Marlins, after being founded in 1993 (5th season). The fastest AL expansion franchise to win a pennant was the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 (11th season) and the fastest AL expansion franchise to win a World Series was the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 (16th season).
  2. While the New York Mets (NL) were the first expansion team to win or appear in the World Series (1969), the American League would have to wait until 1980 for its first expansion-team World Series appearance, and until 1985 for its first expansion-team win. Both were by the Kansas City Royals. The AL also had two expansion teams appear in the World Series (the Milwaukee Brewers being the second, in 1982) before the National League's second expansion team to appear—the San Diego Padres in 1984.
  3. No two out of the fourteen post-1960 expansion teams have yet met each other in a World Series, although twelve expansion teams have now contested at least one Series (each time against one of the sixteen teams established by 1903). Expansion teams are 9–10 in the World Series, with three teams (the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins) each winning two. Six expansion teams have appeared in the World Series without ever winning a championship: Texas Rangers (formerly Washington Senators), Houston Astros (formerly Colt .45s), Milwaukee Brewers (formerly Seattle Pilots), San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays (formerly Devil Rays). Two expansion teams have not yet won a league pennant (and therefore also have not appeared in a World Series): the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals (formerly Montreal Expos).
  4. The Toronto Blue Jays (1992 and 1993), Florida Marlins (1997 and 2003), Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) and Los Angeles Angels (2002) have never lost a World Series appearance.
  5. The Mets are the only expansion team with more than 2 World Series appearances (4).

Other notes

  1. The team with the better regular season winning percentage has won the World Series 53 times, or 49.53% (53 of 107) of the time.
  2. The Toronto Blue Jays are the only non-U.S. team ever to win a pennant or a World Series, doing both twice, in 1992 and 1993.
  3. The Chicago Cubs are the only team with a title to have never clinched one at home.

International participation

Despite its name, the World Series remains solely the championship of the major-league baseball teams in the United States and Canada, although MLB, its players, and the media sometimes informally refer to World Series winners as "world champions of baseball."[23]

The United States, Canada and Mexico (Liga Méxicana de Béisbol, established 1925) were the only professional baseball countries until a few decades into the 20th century. The first Japanese professional baseball efforts began in 1920. The current Japanese leagues date from the late 1940s (after World War II). Various Latin American leagues also formed around that time.

By the 1990s, baseball was played at a highly-skilled level in many countries. Reaching North America's high-salary major leagues is the goal of many of the best players around the world, which gives a strong international flavor to the Series. Many of the best players from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, and elsewhere now play in the majors. One notable exception is Cuban citizens, because of the political tensions between the USA and Cuba since 1959 (yet a number of Cuba's finest ballplayers have still managed to defect to the United States over the past half-century to play in the American professional leagues). Japanese professional players also have a difficult time coming to the major leagues. They become free agents only after nine years playing service in NPB, although their Japanese teams may at any time "post" them for bids from MLB teams, which commonly happens at the player's request.

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "List of World Series at Baseball Reference". Baseball 
  3. ^ "World Series: A Comprehensive History of the World Series". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved 28 October 2006. 
  4. ^ Abrams, Roger (2003). The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903. Northeastern. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-55553-561-2. 
  5. ^ "World Series Summary". 
  6. ^ for example, Ernest Lanigan's Baseball Cyclopedia from 1922, and Turkin and Thompson's Encyclopedia of Baseball series throughout the 1950s.
  7. ^ The Sporting News Record Book, which began publishing in the 1930s, listed only the modern Series, but also included regular-season achievements for all the 19th century leagues. Also, a paperback from 1961 called World Series Encyclopedia, edited by Don Schiffer, mentioned the 1880s and 1890s Series in the introduction but otherwise left them out of the discussion.
  8. ^ page 776 of the facsimile edition, published by the American Heritage Press and Workman Publishing, 1971, ISBN 0-07-071881-4
  9. ^ page 677. The World Almanac has also long since modified that list's heading to read simply "World Series Results".
  10. ^ Abrams, pages 50–51
  11. ^ Temple Cup at Baseball Library
  12. ^ New York Times, 13 November 1897
  13. ^ Abrams, pages 51
  14. ^ Abrams, pages 52–54
  15. ^ Winchester, Simon (2006) (in Indonesian). Krakatau: ketika dunia meledak 27 Agustus 1883 [Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded August 27, 1883]. Jakarta: PT SERAMBI ILMU SEMESTA. p. 363. ISBN 979-16-0097-X. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  16. ^ Winchester, Simon (2004). Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded August 27, 1883. New York City: Perennial. p. 288. ISBN 0-06-093736-X. 
  17. ^ "World Series origins". 28 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  18. ^ "FIVE GREAT MOMENTS AT THREE RIVERS STADIUM". The Sporting News. 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2011-10-29. "The first night game in World Series history was a thrilling one for Pittsburgh fans." 
  19. ^ Tramel, Berry (April 15, 2009). "World Series: Turn back clock on baseball". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  20. ^ World Series ended with walkoff hits
  21. ^ Game 8 play by play, 1912 World Series
  22. ^ Barra, Allen (October 2006). "The Greatest Series?". American Heritage Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  23. ^ Frank Thomas in the Chicago White Sox victory celebration in 2005 exclaimed "We're world's champions, baby!" At the close of the 2006 Series, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig called the St. Louis Cardinals "champions of the world." Likewise, the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine for November 6, 2006, featured Series MVP David Eckstein and was subtitled "World Champions". Immediately after the final putout of the 2008 World Series, Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas commented that "the Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball!"


  • Ernest Lanigan, Baseball Cyclopedia, 1922, originally published by Baseball Magazine, available as a reprint from McFarland.
  • Turkin, Hy; S.C. Thompson (1951). The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball. A.S. Barnes and Company. 
  • Buchanan, Lamont (1951). The World Series and Highlights of Baseball. E. P. Dutton & Company. 
  • Jordan A. Deutsch, Richard M. Cohen, David Neft, Roland T. Johnson, The Scrapbook History of Baseball, 1975, Bobbs-Merrill Company.
  • Cohen, Richard M.; David Neft, Roland T. Johnson, Jordan A. Deutsch (1976). The World Series. Dial Press. 
  • The New York Times (1980). The Complete Book of Baseball: A Scrapbook History. 
  • Sporting News, Baseball Record Book and Baseball Guide, published annually since ca. 1941.
  • Lansch, Jerry (1991). Glory Fades Away: The Nineteenth Century World Series Rediscovered. Taylor Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-726-1. 
  • 100 Years of the World Series (DVD). Major League Baseball. 2002. 

External links

Further reading

  • Auf Der Mar, Nick.   "World Series Fever Offers No Relief from Agony of Stadium Envy." The [Montreal] Gazette.   30 October 1991   (p. A2).
  • Dickey, Glenn.   The History of the World Series Since 1903. New York: Stein and Day, 1984.
  • Seymour, Harold.   Baseball: The Early Years. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960.   ISBN 0-19-505912-3.
  • Sutherland, Norman.   "Unhappy Start for Yankees." The [Glasgow] Herald.   20 March 1999   (p. 9).
  • Thorn, John et al.   Total Baseball. Kingston, NY: Total Sports Publishing, 2000.   ISBN 1-930844-01-8   (pp. 265-280).
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune.   "Q & A on the News." 29 October 1999   (p. A2).

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