A History of the World Series

The Yankees have won the most World Series

For many, it is the pinnacle of sporting achievement. Baseball is known as America’s pastime but the longer the season goes on; the more serious things get for the teams, players, and especially the fans. Everything comes to a head during October when the “Fall Classic” determines the best team in baseball.

 The best sports betting sites California has to offer will already be getting excited about this year’s edition of baseball’s most important game. But, as we enjoy the playoffs deciding which teams actually will face off against each other, we thought we would take a look at the history of the event itself.

 Although football is regarded as a more popular sport in the US, and hockey is definitely the main game for Canada, there is something about the World Series that evokes another era and has fans getting all nostalgic about the greats that have gone before.


Why the “World Series”?


There are a number of theories about why the biggest event in baseball is called “the World Series” when only teams from the US and Canada compete to get there. For a while it was thought that the original series was sponsored by the New York World Telegram newspaper – and was therefore referred to as the “World Series”.

 But the real reason actually comes back to a good old-fashioned American sense of grandiose. In 1903, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates – the best team in the National League – challenged the Boston Americans – the best in the American League – to a “World Championship Series” to decide the ultimate champion. Over the years, fans have shortened that to just the “World Series”.


Battle of the Champions


That first World Series in 1903 was won by the American League champs, the Boston Americans by five games to three. The best-of-nine format has only been used on three other occasions but the Fall Classic has been played every year since, apart from on two occasions.

 The very next year the World Series didn’t go ahead as the New York Giants declined the invitation to play the Boston Americans. It is conceivable that the series could have finished then, after just one year of play. But the Giants decided they did want to play the year after and beat the Philadelphia Athletics. The only other time a World Series wasn’t played was in 1994 when a players’ strike brought the season to a premature end.

 For every other year – even during the recent COVID pandemic – the champions of the National League and the American League have met to play a best-of-seven series to crown the best team in baseball.


Best World Series Teams


Many of the teams in Major League Baseball have moved cities over the years, while others have come into the league as an expansion team. But all but one has at least made it to the World Series. The unlucky team that has never ever won a pennant is the Seattle Mariners. Five teams have made it to the World Series but never won. One of them is the Milwaukee Brewers, who were originally the Seattle Pilots. It must be really tough being a baseball fan in Seattle!

 At the other end of the spectrum, the most successful team in the history of baseball is, by a very long way, the New York Yankees. Established the year that the World Series was first played, the Yankees took until 1921 to win their first but then won another 13 before the start of WW2. In all, the Yankees have won the World Series an incredible 27 times and finished on the losing side another 13 more. They haven’t tasted success since 2009 though.

 Unsurprisingly the Yankees are half of the top two most common World Series opponents. They have played the Los Angeles Dodgers 11 times (winning eight) and the San Francisco Giants seven times (winning five and losing twice). American League champions have been more successful over the years, leading the National League champs by 67 to 51.


Famous World Series Moments


For an event that has been running for well over 100 years, there have been more than a few very memorable moments. One of the darkest moments in the sport of baseball was in 1919 when the Chicago White Sox lost the World Series in eight games to the Cincinnati Reds.

 The White Sox had been big favorites to win the title but eight of the White Sox team had taken money to throw the series. Each of those eight was promised $100,000 to purposely lose, with another player aware of the fix but refusing to participate.

 Night games had been a thing in Major League Baseball since the mid-1930s, but a World Series game had never been played under lights until 1949 when a game lasted so long that the ballpark in question had no choice but to turn the lights on to combat the darkness.

 The first World Series game scheduled to be played at night wasn’t until 1971. After that most games were scheduled later as it meant that more people could watch the World Series on TV. In fact, the last time a World Series game was played outdoors entirely in daylight was in 1984.

 The 1989 World Series was the only time that Bay Area rivals the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics met in the Fall Classic. But it will be remembered more for being interrupted by one of the biggest earthquakes to hit California in modern times. Game three of the series was postponed just before the start and wasn’t played until ten days later. The A’s eventually won the series.


World Series Magic


As much as sports change and modernize, there is something welcomingly familiar about the World Series. Even 120 years on, it still has the power to enchant generations of baseball and sports lovers.



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