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The World Series, also known as the October Classic and the Fall Classic, is the championship series of Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada, the culmination of the sport's postseason each October. It is played between the pennant winner of the American League and the pennant winner of the National League. The Series winner is determined through a best-of-seven playoff (except in 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921 when the winner was determined through a best-of-nine playoff). From the early 1900s all the way to 1966, the team was not awarded a trophy. However, they were awarded pocketwatches and then rings. The first team to be awarded the World Series Trophy, was in 1967 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball has employed various championship formulas since the 1850s. The modern World Series has been an annual event since 1903, with the exceptions of 1904 and 1994. The former being cancelled by John T. Brush (the owner of the New York Giants at the time) and the latter being cancelled to a strike that lasted until early 1995. The World Series is also sometimes referred to by the nickname "October Classic."
The New York Yankees have the most World Series titles from an American League team, with 27 championships through the 2009 season. The St. Louis Cardinals have the most World Series titles from a National League team, with 11 championships, through the 2011 season. Seven teams, all established since 1961, have never won a World Series title: the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Of those seven teams, only five have appeared in the Series: Milwaukee, San Diego, Texas, Tampa Bay and Colorado.
The first two games of the series are played in the home ballpark of the team awarded home-field advantage; the next three are in the other team's ballpark, and the final two, if necessary, are back in the first team's ballpark. That has been the pattern since 1924, with the exception of World War II, when travel restrictions were in place. Until 2003, the team given the home-field advantage was switched every year between the American League and the National League. Starting with the 2003 World Series, the league that wins the mid-season All-Star Game has been awarded home-field advantage.
Since 1986, the designated hitter rule has been applied based on the rules normally in effect at the home ballpark. In an American League ballpark, both teams use a designated hitter to hit for the pitcher. In a National League ballpark, both team's pitchers must hit. From 1975 through 1985, the designated hitter was used for all games in even-numbered years, and was not used in any games in odd-numbered years. The designated hitter was not used at all prior to the 1975 Series, although the DH rule had been adopted by the AL in 1973.
A portion of the gate receipts from the World Series — and, from 1969 onward, the other rounds of postseason play preceding it — is used to fund a Players' Pool, from which descending shares are distributed to the World Series winner, the World Series loser, all the other teams qualifying for the playoffs which did not reach the World Series, and certain other teams which did not qualify for the playoffs, the criteria for the latter changing at various times. Prior to 1969, teams finishing in the first division, or top half of the leagues' standings, received such shares; today, only the teams finishing in second place in their division but not earning a wild card receive them, because there are more divisions with each having fewer teams. The shares for the actual participants are limited to the gate receipts of the minimum number of games necessary to play the series. That rule has been in place from the beginning, to keep the games "honest".
The "World" appellation has stuck despite the fact that only teams in the two major leagues, which happen to cover only the United States and Canada, actually participate. At the time the term was first used, baseball at the major league level was only played in the United States. While some would contend that there is no reason to believe that the World Series winner is a significantly better team than any club team outside Major League Baseball, no challenges have been made by other leagues. Moreover, virtually all of the best international players — from the Pacific Rim, Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere — play on Major League rosters, with the notable exception of Cuban nationals.
The World Series winners have occasionally played winter exhibition series against the best players of other leagues around the world, such as Japan. Sometimes the Japanese have gained the upper hand in those series; but since they are only exhibitions, their results cannot be regarded as conclusive. Attempts to pit the North American champions against champions in the Japanese or Latin American leagues in a truly meaningful way have, so far, not succeeded.
A persistent myth is that the "World" in "World Series" came about because the New York World newspaper sponsored it. Baseball researcher Doug Pappas refutes that claim, demonstrating a linear progression from the phrase "World's Championship Series" (used to describe the 1903 series as well as some of the 19th-century postseason series) to "World's Series" (a term first used in the 1880s and which persisted for decades) to "World Series". Furthermore, investigation of the New York World for the relevant years revealed no evidence of the supposed sponsorship. (For details, see Mr. Pappas' web page on the subject.)
In deference to any controversy, more and more the term "World Series Championship" is being used, the subtlety being that it is merely a title and not a political statement.
Baseball tournaments between international teams do occur, notably at the world championships and at the Olympic Games. The United States sends a team of minor league players to the Summer Olympics, as it takes place during the regular Major League season. At the 2004 Summer Olympics the United States was not represented at all, since its team of minor league players did not survive the qualifying rounds. The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) has lobbied MLB to suspend play during the Summer Olympics, so that MLB players could compete for their respective national teams, and has agreed to shorten the Olympic tournament if MLB agrees to freeing its players. According to the IBAF chairman, such a move would do more for popularizing baseball around the world than any amount of money spent by the MLB for its current worldwide marketing.
Recently, Major League Baseball officially revealed its plans for the World Baseball Classic, to be held in March 2006. It will be the first international baseball competition to feature Major League players. In light of the International Olympic Committee recently voting baseball out of the Summer Games as a medal sport, this competition hopes to prove to the IOC that baseball is truly an international game. Many major leaguers have expressed interest in playing in such a competition, including Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles (Dominican Republic), Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins (United States), Carlos Lee of the Milwaukee Brewers (Panama), and Andruw Jones of the Atlanta Braves (from the Dutch island of Curaçao). The tournament will be held in sites around North America, Central America, and Asia. Teams will be split into four groups of four and play a round robin schedule, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the next round. Many of the major baseball playing nations have committed to participating (the United States, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, etc.). Commissioner Bud Selig, among others, has high hopes that this tournament could be as big as soccer's World Cup.
The term World Series has since been appropriated by other championships, such as the College World Series, the Little League World Series, the World Series of Golf, the World Series of Poker, the World Series of Birding and the World Series of Martial Arts. World Series Cricket was a short-lived but influential cricket competition.
Precursors to the World Series (1857-1901) Edit
The following are teams that played an earlier version of the "World's Championship Series" or otherwise claimed the national championship "Pennant".
National Association of Baseball Players (Amateur -> Professional)
- 1857 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1858 New York Mutuals
- 1859 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1860 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1861 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1862 Brooklyn Eckfords
- 1863 Brooklyn Eckfords
- 1864 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1865 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1866 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1867 Morrisania Unions
- 1868 New York Mutuals
- 1869 Brooklyn Atlantics
- 1870 Chicago White Stockings
- 1871 Philadelphia Athletics
- 1872 Boston Red Stockings
- 1873 Boston Red Stockings
- 1874 Boston Red Stockings
- 1875 Boston Red Stockings
- 1876 Chicago White Stockings
- 1877 Boston Red Caps
- 1878 Boston Red Caps
- 1879 Providence Grays
- 1880 Chicago White Stockings
- 1881 Chicago White Stockings
National League vs. American Association
- 1882 Chicago White Stockings NL, Cincinnati Reds AA - 2 game Series, each club wins 1
- 1883 Boston Beaneaters NL, Philadelphia AA - Philadelphia cancels scheduled Series after losing "City Series" to Phillies.
- 1884 Providence Grays NL, Metropolitan [New York] AA - 3 game series, Providence wins all 3, 60-game winner Old Hoss Radbourn pitches every inning
- 1885 Chicago White Stockings NL, St. Louis Browns AA - 6 game Series, ends in dispute
- 1886 St. Louis Browns AA win 4, Chicago White Stockings NL win 2
- 1887 Detroit Wolverines NL win 10, St. Louis Browns AA win 5
- 1888 New York Giants NL win 6, St. Louis Browns AA win 2
- 1889 New York Giants NL win 6, Brooklyn Bridegrooms AA win 3
- 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms NL, Louisville Colonels AA - each win 3, no resolution
- 1891 Boston Beaneaters NL, Boston Reds AA - NL instructs Beaneaters not to play Series as leagues discuss restructuring
- 1892 Boston Beaneaters win 5, Cleveland Spiders win 0 - split-season championship
- 1893 Boston Beaneaters - no Series
- 1894 New York Giants win 4, Baltimore Orioles win 0 - Temple Cup Series
- 1895 Cleveland Spiders win 4, Baltimore Orioles win 1 - Temple Cup Series
- 1896 Baltimore Orioles win 4, Cleveland Spiders win 0 - Temple Cup Series
- 1897 Baltimore Orioles win 4, Boston Beaneaters win 1 - Temple Cup Series
- 1898 Boston Beaneaters - no Series
- 1899 Brooklyn Superbas - no Series
- 1900 Brooklyn Superbas win 4, Pittsburgh Pirates win 1 - Chronicle-Telegraph Cup Series
National League - American League
- 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates (NL), Chicago White Sox (AL) - no Series
- 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (NL), Philadelphia Athletics (AL) - no Series
The modern World Series (1903-present) Edit
The first attempt Edit
After two years of bitter competition and player raiding, 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 regular season. These series were arranged by the individual teams, not by the leagues directly, the same as the 1880s World's Series matches had been. One of these series at the end of 1903 was a meeting between the two pennant winners. It had been arranged well in advance by the owners of the respective teams, as both were league leaders by large margins.
- Pittsburgh wins 3 of the first 4 games, then falters, Boston winning the last 4 in a row, behind the strong pitching of Bill Dinneen (3 wins) and Cy Young (2 wins). Much will be made of the influence of the "Royal Rooters", although Boston only goes 2-2 at home but 3-1 at Pittsburgh.
- The Pirates' benevolent owner Barney Dreyfuss adds his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finish with a larger individual share than does the winning team's.
The boycott of 1904 Edit
The 1904 Series would have been between the AL's Boston Americans and the NL's New York Giants. The Giants' owner, John T. Brush, refused to allow his team to play, citing the "inferiority" of the upstart American League. At the time of the announcement, their new cross-town rivals, the Highlanders, were leading the AL. Boston won on the last day of the season, but Brush stuck to his original decision. Brush also cited the lack of rules under which the games would be played and how the money would be split. During the winter of 1904/05, however, feeling the sting of press criticism, Brush saw the light and proposed what came to be known as the "Brush Rules", under which the series would be played over subsequent years.
One rule was that player shares would come from gate receipts from the first four games only. This was to discourage teams from throwing early games in order to prolong the series and make more money. Receipts for later games were split among the two teams and the National Commission, the governing body for the sport, which was able to cover much of its annual operating expenses from World Series revenue.
Most importantly, the now-official (and compulsory) World's Series match was to be operated strictly by the National Commission itself, not on the whims of individual teams.
The list of post-season rules evolved over time. In 1925, Brooklyn owner Charles Ebbets convinced owners to adopt the current 2-3-2 system of scheduling World Series games (one team would host the first two games, the other team would host the next three, and the first team would host the last two if necessary; the leagues alternated which representative would host the first games), already used in the 1924 Series, as a permanent rule. Prior to 1924, the pattern generally had been to alternate, or to make other arrangements convenient to both clubs.
List of World Series after 1904 Edit
The World Series has been a best-of-seven series except in the years 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921, when it was best-of-nine. Many seven-game Series have gone the distance, but none of the best-of-nine Series went beyond eight games.
1905-1919: The "Dead ball era" Edit
- 1905: New York Giants (NL) defeat Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 4 games to 1.
- Every game is a shutout. Christy Mathewson hurls three of them, over a span of just six days, in one of the most dominant pitching performances in history.
- 1906: Chicago White Sox (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 2.
- Some consider this the greatest World Series upset. The Cubs post the best regular-season record ever while the White Sox were the worst-hitting team in the American League. Eventually, the "Hitless Wonders" get all the hitting they need to shock their crosstown rivals. Oddly, this is the last World Series to feature two franchises that had never previously appeared in the Series.
- 1907: Chicago Cubs (NL) defeat Detroit Tigers (AL), 4 games to 0 (one tie).
- The Cubs come back strong, with pitching dominance over the Tigers and a young Ty Cobb, allowing only 3 runs in the 4 games they win, while stealing 18 bases off the rattled Tigers.
- 1908: Chicago Cubs (NL) defeat Detroit Tigers (AL), 4 games to 1.
- The Series is anticlimactic after the tight pennant races in both leagues. Cobb has a much better Series, but the Cubs' pitchers and catcher Johnny Kling stifle the rest of the Tigers team. The final two games, in Detroit, are shutouts. The last Cubs Series win to date, and also the most poorly attended Series. The final game draws a record-low 6,210 fans.
- 1909: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) defeat Detroit Tigers (AL), 4 games to 3.
- 1910: Philadelphia Athletics (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 1.
- Jack Coombs of Philadelphia wins three games, and Eddie Collins supplies timely hitting as the Athletics win their first Fall Classic, and the greatest Cubs team in history closes out its glory years, only ten years into the new century.
- 1911: Philadelphia Athletics (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 2.
- Philadelphia third baseman Frank "Home Run" Baker earns his nickname hitting pivotal home runs in Games 2 and 3. The Giants never recover.
- 1912: Boston Red Sox (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 3 (one tie).
- This dramatic Series, regarded by some as the best ever, showcases great pitching from Christy Mathewson and from Boston fireballer Smokey Joe Wood, who wins two of his three starts and pitches in relief in the final game, won when Boston rallies for two runs in the ninth inning thanks to two costly Giants fielding misplays.
- 1913: Philadelphia Athletics (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 1.
- The A's pitching gives the edge to a closer-than-it-looked Series. The great Mathewson loses his Series swan song in the final game to an old college rival, Eddie Plank.
- 1914: Boston Braves (NL) defeat Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 4 games to 0.
- Another contender for greatest upset of all time. The "Miracle Braves," in last place on July 4th, roared on to win the NL pennant and sweep the stunned Athletics. In some circles it has been alleged that the A's were irritated at the penny-pinching ways of their manager/owner, and did not play hard. Mack apparently thought so, as he unloaded most of his high-priced stars soon after, and within two years the A's would achieve the worst won-lost percentage in modern history (even worse than the 1962 Mets or the 2003 Tigers).
- 1915: Boston Red Sox (AL) defeat Philadelphia Phillies (NL), 4 games to 1.
- The Phillies win Game 1 before being swept the rest of the way. It will be 65 years before the Phils will win their next Series game. The Red Sox pitching is so strong that the young Babe Ruth is not used on the mound, but only for a single pinch-hitting appearance.
- 1916: Boston Red Sox (AL) defeat Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 1.
- Casey Stengel shines on offense, but otherwise the Red Sox pitching core proves too much for the denizens of Flatbush. Babe Ruth pitches 13 shutout innings in Game 2, starting a consecutive scoreless innings streak that will reach 29 in 1918. The Red Sox play their home games at the larger Braves Field, and it pays off as they draw a then-record 42,620 for the final game.
- 1917: Chicago White Sox (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 2.
- Another Series loss for the Giants. The decisive game underscores the Giants' post-season frustrations, featuring a famous rundown in which Giants' third baseman Heinie Zimmerman futilely chases the speedy Eddie Collins toward home plate with apparently no one to throw to. This will be the last White Sox World Series win until 2005.
- 1918: Boston Red Sox (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 2.
- The Series is played early in September due to the World War I "Work or Fight order." It is marred by players threatening to strike due to low gate receipts. There are also rumors of a "fix," but there is no solid evidence, and with the War dominating the news, nothing comes of it.
- This will be the last Red Sox World Series win until 2004. The subsequent drought of eighty-six years will eventually become attributed to the Curse of the Bambino, as the Red Sox trade the superbly talented but troublesome Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for cash in the off-season a year later.
- 1919: Cincinnati Reds (NL) defeat Chicago White Sox (AL), 5 games to 3.
- The Black Sox scandal. Eight Chicago players conspire with gamblers to accept bribes and purposely lose the Series, in the face of being heavy favorites at the conclusion of the regular season. Of the 3 games won by the Sox, 2 come with Dick Kerr on the mound; he was not in on the "fix." The third is won by Ed Cicotte, who was, but was angry about gamblers reneging on their deals. It is likely the Sox would have won the Series easily if it had been played honestly. Although rumors are rife, even as the games are being played, that the Series is fixed (or "doped" in the slang of the day), it will be almost a year before suspicion becomes certainty, at which point the eight men are banned permanently from organized baseball. Some attribute the White Sox's inability to win a World Series for 86 years following this event to the "curse" brought on by the scandal.
1920-1941: The "Live Ball Era" (sometimes "The Golden Age") Edit
- 1920: Cleveland Indians (AL) defeat Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers (NL), 5 games to 2.
- Wilbert Robinson's boys again face a juggernaut in the post-season. Cleveland second baseman Bill Wambsganss turns an unassisted triple play — one of roughly only a dozen such plays in major league history, and the only one in a World Series. Earlier in the same game, Cleveland rightfielder Elmer Smith had hit the first grand slam home run in Series history.
- 1921: New York Giants (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 5 games to 3.
- McGraw's Giants finally get another win in a closely-contested matchup. The Series ends on a double play featuring a baserunning miscue. All games are played at the Polo Grounds, the two teams alternating as the home team every game. The last of the experimental 5-of-9 Series.
- 1922: New York Giants (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 0 (one tie).
- By now the term "World Series" is frequently used, as opposed to "World's Series". Game 2, a tie called on account of darkness, produces such an uproar that Commissioner Landis orders the gate receipts turned over to charity. The Giants pitch around Babe Ruth and score just enough runs to win each of the other games. All games again played at the Polo Grounds, and again alternating home teams. McGraw's final Series win.
- 1923: New York Yankees (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 2.
- The Yankees opened their new Yankee Stadium in April on a home run by Ruth, setting the tone for the season and this Series, in which he hit 3 home runs along with drawing 8 walks. The Giants' one bright spot was "Old Casey" Stengel, who hit game-winning homers in each of the two Giants' victories. He would be traded after the season, leading him to quip later in life, "It's a good thing I didn't hit three homers in three games, or McGraw would have traded me to the Three-I League!". This marks the only time that three straight World Series have featured the same two teams.
- 1924: Washington Senators/Nationals (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 3.
- Walter Johnson, making his first World Series appearance toward the end of his storied career with the Senators, loses his two starts. The Nats battle back to force a game seven, giving Johnson a chance to redeem himself when he comes on in relief in that game. Johnson holds on to get the win and to give Washington its only World Series win. The franchise will not win another World Series until 1987, by which time it will have been playing in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) for over a quarter-century. The Giants become the only National League team to play in four consecutive World Series.
- 1925: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) defeat Washington Senators/Nationals (AL), 4 games to 3.
- Washington's Walter Johnson dominates the Pirates in Games 1 and 4 to give the Senators a 3 games to 1 lead in the Series. After Pittsburgh wins the next two games, Johnson again takes the mound for Game 7, and carries a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. But errors by shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh in both the seventh and eighth inning lead to four unearned runs, and the Pirates become the first team in a best-of-7 Series to overcome a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the championship.
- 1926: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3.
- Grover Cleveland Alexander, pitching on short rest, comes out of the bullpen to strike out Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded in game seven and lead the Cardinals to victory, upsetting the powerful New York Yankees Murderers' Row lineup. Social historians point out the irony of that matchup, as both men suffered secretly from epilepsy. The final out of the series is made when Babe Ruth, having been walked, inadvisably tries to steal and is easily thrown out. The series features a three-home run game by Ruth in game four, a World Series record only equalled twice: by Ruth again in 1928, and by Reggie Jackson in 1977.
- 1927: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Pittsburgh Pirates (NL), 4 games to 0.
- The "Murderers Row" Yankees, who won 110 games during the regular season, reportedly take a show-off batting practice before Game 1 in which they purposely rocket as many as they can into the seats. Whether true or legend, the Yankees have little trouble dispatching the Pirates, who will not see another Series for 33 years.
- 1928: New York Yankees (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 0.
- Babe Ruth hits .625 (10 for 16) as the Yankees demolish their opponents by a combined score of 27 to 10.
- 1929: Philadelphia Athletics (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 1.
- The famous "Mack Attack" occurs, named for the legendary manager of the Athletics, Connie Mack, in which the Athletics overcome an eight run deficit by scoring ten runs in the 7th inning of Game 4. The inning features an infamous Cubs' historic moment when centerfielder Hack Wilson loses Mule Haas' fly ball in the sun, resulting in a bases-clearing, inside-the-park home run, although the A's still trail 8-7 at that point. Game 1 features a surprise start by aging Howard Ehmke, whose record 13 Cubs strikeouts will stand until 1953.
- 1930: Philadelphia Athletics (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 2.
- The A's pitching ace Lefty Grove wins 2 and saves 1 as the Mackmen play the Cards right.
- 1931: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat Philadelphia Athletics (AL), 4 games to 3.
- Pepper Martin leads the Redbirds with hits and stolen bases galore, and also makes a running catch to stifle a 9th-inning rally by the A's in the final game and Mack's final World Series appearance.
- 1932: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 0.
- 1933: New York Giants (NL) defeat Washington Senators (AL), 4 games to 1.
- 1934: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat Detroit Tigers (AL), 4 games to 3.
- Brothers Dizzy Dean and Paul Dean each win two games for the "Gas House Gang" Cardinals.
- 1935: Detroit Tigers (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 2.
- 1936: New York Yankees (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 2.
- Hubbell wins Game 1, but it's all downhill after that. The Yankees win Game 2 at the Polo Grounds by an 18-4 count, a Series record for lopsided scoring. Joe DiMaggio makes all three 9th inning outs in that game, the final a long fly that he snares and then keeps on running all the way up the clubhouse steps.
- 1937: New York Yankees (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 1.
- DiMaggio hits his first Series homer, and Gehrig his last, in an easy Yanks victory.
- 1938: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 0.
- Dizzy Dean, whose sore arm had carried the Cubs all year, runs out of gas in the Series as the Yanks crush the Cubs again. It will be the 2003 regular season (inter-league play) before the Cubs win a meaningful game against the Yankees.
- 1939: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Cincinnati Reds (NL), 4 games to 0.
- In the 9th inning of the final game, a famous play at the plate typifies the Series, as Charlie Keller scores when he and the ball both collide with catcher Ernie Lombardi, and then Joe DiMaggio also scores while Lombardi, rolling on the ground, tries in vain to retrieve the ball to make the tag. Lombardi had been smacked in the groin, but the puritanical press reported it as if Lombardi was "napping" at the plate. For the fourth consecutive year, every game is won by a team from New York.
- 1940: Cincinnati Reds (NL) defeat Detroit Tigers (AL), 4 games to 3.
- A closely contested Series, especially the final game which was a heartbreaker for the Tigers, as losing pitcher Bobo Newsom had lost his father, who died in a Cincinnati hotel room the day after watching his son win Game 5.
- 1941: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 1.
- The name "Subway Series" arises, for a World Series played between two New York City teams. The last pre-War Series. Punctuated by Mickey Owen's dropped third strike of a sharply breaking curve (a suspected spitball) pitched by Hugh Casey, in the 9th inning of Game 4, leading to a Yankees rally and one win away from another Series clincher.
1942-1945: The War Years Edit
- 1942: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 1.
- A scrappy young Redbirds team, their rally in Game 1 falling just short, sweep the remaining games and shock the old-guard Yankees players in a notable upset.
- 1943: New York Yankees (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 1.
- The old Yanks turn the tables on the Cardinals and get revenge for 1942. The Series is scheduled for a 3-4 format due to wartime travel restrictions. Yankees manager Joe McCarthy's final Series win.
- 1944: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat St. Louis Browns (AL), 4 games to 2.
- This war year sees perhaps the nadir of 20th-century baseball, as the long-moribund St. Louis Browns win their only American League pennant. As both teams call Sportsman's Park home, the 2-3-2 home field assignment is preserved. The Junior World Series of that same year, partly hosted in Baltimore's converted football stadium, easily outdraws the "real" Series and attracts attention to Baltimore as a potential major league city. Ten years from now, the Browns will transfer there and become the Orioles.
- 1945: Detroit Tigers (AL) defeat Chicago Cubs (NL), 4 games to 3.
- Frank Graham called this Series jokingly "the fat men versus the tall men at the office picnic." Warren Brown, when asked who he liked, said, "I don't think either one of them can win it." The Series is again a 3-4 format due to travel restrictions, even though the major combat of the war has actually ended. In an unknowing foreshadowing of their future, the Cubs win 2 of 3 in spacious Briggs Stadium, but lose 3 of 4 in the too-hitter-friendly confines of Wrigley Field. It is the last time, through the 2008 season, that the Chicago Cubs have appeared in the World Series.
1946-1960: The Mad Dash and all New York Edit
- 1946: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat Boston Red Sox (AL), 4 games to 3.
- Ted Williams plays injured, and is largely ineffective, though refusing to use his injury as an excuse. Enos Slaughter scores the eventual Series-winning run in the 8th inning of Game 7, dashing around the bases to take advantage of a Red Sox fielding lapse.
- 1947: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 3.
- Yankees pitcher Bill Bevens comes within 1 out of throwing a no-hitter in Game 4, but Cookie Lavagetto's pinch-hit double off the rightfield wall at Ebbets Field scores two runs and wins the game for the Dodgers.
- 1948: Cleveland Indians (AL) defeat Boston Braves (NL), 4 games to 2.
- 1949: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 1.
- History is made in the 9th inning of Game 5, when the Ebbets Field lights are turned on, the first World Series game finished under artificial lights. The first scheduled Series night game will not be held until 1971.
- 1950: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Philadelphia Phillies (NL), 4 games to 0.
- The Phillies win in dramatic fashion on the final day of the season to garner their first pennant in 35 years, but the Bombers easily overwhelm the Phils' worn-out pitching staff.
- 1951: New York Yankees (AL) defeat New York Giants (NL), 4 games to 2.
- 1952: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 3.
- Second baseman Billy Martin makes a game-saving catch in the final contest.
- 1953: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 2.
- 1954: New York Giants (NL) defeat Cleveland Indians (AL), 4 games to 0.
- A shocker, as the Indians had won a then-league record 111 games during the regular season.
- In Game 1, Willie Mays makes "The Catch" — a dramatic over-the-shoulder catch of a line drive to deep center field which would otherwise have given Cleveland the lead. Dusty Rhodes, in 3 pinch-hit appearances, homers twice and drives in the game winning run twice.
- 1955: Brooklyn Dodgers (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Johnny Podres, Brooklyn
- "Next Year" finally becomes "This Year" for the Flatbush Faithful, as Brooklyn wins its only World Series title. Leftfielder Sandy Amoros makes a dramatic game-saving catch off the bat of Yogi Berra in the 6th inning of Game 7, to start a double play and stymie the Yankees' best chance of the day.
- 1956: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Brooklyn Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Don Larsen, New York
- Larsen pitches the only no-hitter in World Series play — a perfect game, no less — for the Yankees. Catcher Yogi Berra, who caught Larsen's gem, remarked many years later, "It's never happened in World Series history, and it hasn't happened since."
- 1957: Milwaukee Braves (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Lew Burdette, Milwaukee
- 1958: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Milwaukee Braves (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Bob Turley, New York
- Trailing 3 games to 1, the Yanks roar back and break the hearts of the Milwaukeans.
- 1959: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) defeat Chicago White Sox (AL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Larry Sherry, Los Angeles
- As Vin Scully says in the official film of the Series, "what a change of scenery" for the Fall Classic, the first time since 1948 that no Series games are played in New York City. The Los Angeles Dodgers win a pennant-playoff against the Braves, and continue on to win the franchise's first title since moving to the West Coast from Brooklyn after the 1957 season. This proves to be the first and only post-Black Sox World Series appearance by the Chicago White Sox until 2005.
- 1960: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Bobby Richardson, New York
- Best remembered for a pulsating Game 7. The Yankees lead 7-4 in the 8th inning, but the Bucs score 5 times, climaxed by catcher Hal Smith's 3-run homer. The Yanks fight back to score 2 in the 9th to tie it, and then second baseman Bill Mazeroski, known primarily for his glove wizardry rather than his bat, leads off the Pittsburgh half of the 9th and hits the first "walk-off" or "sudden-victory" homer to end a World Series.
- The Yanks lose four close games while outscoring the Bucs 38-3 in the three contests they won. Yogi Berra's assessment of what happened to his club is, "We made too many wrong mistakes."
1961-1968: The Era of Pitchers Edit
- 1961: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Cincinnati Reds (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Whitey Ford, New York
- After the summer-long Maris-Mantle pursuit of Babe Ruth's season home run record, the Series proves anti-climactic as the Yanks subdue the Reds easily.
- 1962: New York Yankees (AL) defeat San Francisco Giants (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Ralph Terry, New York
- This Series, closely matched in every game, is remembered for its appropriately dramatic final play. The New Yorkers are up 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with two outs. The Giants' Matty Alou and Willie Mays are on third and second, carrying the potential tying and winning runs. Ralph Terry, who had given up Maz's sudden-victory homer in 1960, elects to pitch to slugger Willie McCovey instead of walking him. McCovey hits a screaming line drive out to New York's second baseman Bobby Richardson, handing the Yankees their second consecutive World title and redemption for Terry. Soon after, Peanuts cartoonist and Giants fan Charles M. Schulz would draw a comic strip with Charlie Brown sitting glumly with Linus, lamenting in the last panel, "Why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?" Later, he would draw an identical strip, except in the last panel Charlie is moaning, "Or why couldn't McCovey have hit the ball just two feet higher?"
- 1963: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles
- Before Randy and Curt, there were Sandy and Don. Koufax, Drysdale and Johnny Podres combine to give up only 4 runs in 4 complete games. Koufax starts it off with a 15-strikeout performance in Game 1, and the Yankees are stymied throughout. This is the first time that the New York Yankees have been swept in a World Series in four games (the 1922 series had one tie).
- 1964: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Bob Gibson, St. Louis
- The Cardinals are the only team that has played the Yankees more than once in a World Series and holds a winning edge, 3 Series to 2. The Diamondbacks and the Marlins won single Series against the Yanks in the early 21st century.
- For an account of this Series, and the lively season that preceded it, see David Halberstam's book, October 1964.
- 1965: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) defeat Minnesota Twins (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Sandy Koufax, Los Angeles
- Koufax and Drysdale return to the Series. LA's lefty-righty one-two punch had combined for 49 wins and 15 shutouts in '65, but after Sandy and Don got rocked by the Twins in the first two games, it takes a five-hit shutout by Claude Osteen to get the Dodgers back into the Series. The Dodgers proceed to win the 3 middle games at Dodger Stadium. By Game 7, Koufax regains his form and clinches the title with a three-hit, 10-strikeout, 2-0 victory. Koufax was the MVP while Ron Fairly hit two home runs.
- 1966: Baltimore Orioles (AL) defeat Los Angeles Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Frank Robinson, Baltimore
- This is a thoroughly dominating performance by Hank Bauer's Baltimore club. Sandy Koufax announces his retirement after the Series due to his chronic sore elbow.
- 1967: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat Boston Red Sox (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Bob Gibson, St. Louis
- After a dramatic pennant-clinching win on the last day of the regular season, "The Impossible Dream" comes to an end for the Red Sox. Bob Gibson throws three complete games on his way to a second World Series MVP title.
- 1968: Detroit Tigers (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Mickey Lolich, Detroit
1969-1976: Miracles, Dynasties, and Fisk Waves It Fair Edit
- 1969: New York Mets (NL) defeat Baltimore Orioles (AL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Donn Clendenon, New York
- The Amazin' Mets become the Miracle Mets: The New York Mets, 73-89 in 1968, win 100 regular season games and vanquish all before them, in only their 8th year of existence, behind the pitching of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman, along with timely hitting from everyone in the lineup and seemingly endless heart-stopping defensive plays. Mets rookie Nolan Ryan recorded a save in game 3.
- 1970: Baltimore Orioles (AL) defeat Cincinnati Reds (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Brooks Robinson, Baltimore
- Game 1 of this Series is the first World Series game to be played on an artificial surface. Brooksie is a one-man gang, with uncharacteristic strong hitting to go along with vacuum-cleaner efficiency at the hot corner, stifling the Big Red Machine.
- 1971: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) defeat Baltimore Orioles (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh
- Game 4 of this World Series is the first night game played in World Series history. The one-man gang this year is the great Clemente.
- 1972: Oakland Athletics (AL) defeat Cincinnati Reds (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Gene Tenace, Oakland
- In their first visit to the World Series in 41 years, the Athletics upset the heavily favored Reds, in a Series with drama at every turn. All but one of the games is won by a single run.
- 1973: Oakland Athletics (AL) defeat New York Mets (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Reggie Jackson, Oakland
- Oakland reliever Darold Knowles becomes the first (and only, as of 2004) pitcher to appear in every game of a seven-game World Series.
- 1974: Oakland Athletics (AL) defeat Los Angeles Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Rollie Fingers, Oakland
- The "California Dreamin'" Series. This A's team remains the only team other than the Yankees to win three straight Series.
- 1975: Cincinnati Reds (NL) defeat Boston Red Sox (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Pete Rose, Cincinnati
- The Big Red Machine wins its first Series despite the Game 6 heroics of Carlton Fisk. In that game, Fisk hits a home run off the left field foul pole in the bottom of the 12th, and is famously shown waving for the ball to stay fair.
- 1976: Cincinnati Reds (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Johnny Bench, Cincinnati
- Reds dominate becoming the only team to sweep an entire multi-tier postseason. Reds are the only National League team to repeat since the 1921-22 New York Giants. First World Series in which the designated hitter rule is applied.
- 1977: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Los Angeles Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Reggie Jackson, New York
- Reggie Jackson hits three home runs off of three consecutive pitches from three different Dodger pitchers in the deciding game six, only the third time a player has hit three homers in a World Series game (Babe Ruth did it twice, in 1926 and 1928). The first two are line drives into the right field stands, the third an appropriately "Ruthian" blast into the distant center field seats. His nickname of "Mr. October" is born here.
- 1978: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Los Angeles Dodgers (NL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Bucky Dent, New York
- Famous for a controversial play in which Reggie Jackson breaks up a double play by using his hip to deflect the ball heading to first base away, allowing Thurman Munson to go to second base on the error. There will not be any repeat World Champions for the next fourteen years. This is also the first of 10 consecutive years that see 10 different teams win the World Series, a string unprecedented in MLB history.
- 1979: Pittsburgh Pirates (NL) defeat Baltimore Orioles (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh
- The "We Are Family" Pirates led by "Pops" Stargell who hit three home runs to lead the way.
- 1980: Philadelphia Phillies (NL) defeat Kansas City Royals (AL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia
- The Phillies finally win their first World Series after a then-record 97-year wait. This Series is also the first in which every game is played on an artificial surface.
- 1981: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Tie: Ron Cey, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager, Los Angeles
- 1982: St. Louis Cardinals (NL) defeat Milwaukee Brewers (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Darrell Porter, St. Louis
- Porter erases bitter memory of tiptoeing into Bob Boone's glove in the 1980 Series.
- 1983: Baltimore Orioles (AL) defeat Philadelphia Phillies (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Rick Dempsey, Baltimore
- Eddie Murray hits a towering homer in the final game that bangs off his own name on the Philly scoreboard.
- 1984: Detroit Tigers (AL) defeat San Diego Padres (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Alan Trammell, Detroit
- The Tigers, who led wire-to-wire in the American League divisional race, roar through the playoffs and the Series, capped by a game-cinching Kirk Gibson homer at Tiger Stadium.
- 1985: Kansas City Royals (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Bret Saberhagen, Kansas City
- A blown call by umpire Don Denkinger helps the Royals stave off elimination in Game 6, followed by a Cardinals meltdown in Game 7. Known as the I-70 World Series or the Show Me State World Series. This was the first World Series in which every game was played at night.
- 1986: New York Mets (NL) defeat Boston Red Sox (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Ray Knight, New York
- Famed for the Bill Buckner error in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 allowing Knight to score the winning run, following a wild pitch by Bob Stanley that brought in the tying run. Mets then come back from 3-0 score in Game 7 with Knight hitting the go-ahead home run.
- 1987: Minnesota Twins (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Frank Viola, Minnesota
- This is the first World Series in which every game was won by the home team. Game 1 was the first World Series game to be played indoors (in the Metrodome). Game 6 is the last World Series game to date to be played in the afternoon. The 1987 Twins have the dubious distinction of the lowest regular-season win-loss record (85-77) of any World Series champion in the history of baseball.
- 1988: Los Angeles Dodgers (NL) defeat Oakland Athletics (AL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles
- 1989: Oakland Athletics (AL) defeat San Francisco Giants (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Dave Stewart, Oakland
- The Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred shortly before Game 3 was due to start, caused a 10-day postponement in the middle of this Series that is otherwise totally dominated by the A's. First sweep in the Fall Classic since the 1976 Series when the Cincinnati Reds did it to the New York Yankees. Because of the postponement due to the Earthquake, Oakland used the same starters for games 3 & 4 as they did in games 1 & 2, Stewart and Mike Moore.
- 1990: Cincinnati Reds (NL) defeat Oakland Athletics (AL), 4 games to 0. MVP: José Rijo, Cincinnati
- The Reds shock the heavily favored Athletics with a sweep. Rijo wins two of the four games allowing just one run. The A's were the first team to appear in three straight World Series since the 1976-78 Yankees.
- 1991: Minnesota Twins (AL) defeat Atlanta Braves (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Jack Morris, Minnesota
- Five of the seven games in this series are decided by one run; four of the five are won on the last play. Three of those five go into extra innings. Morris starts three games and wins two, including the dramatic seventh game, to win the Series MVP honors. Down three games to two, the Twins win Game 6 behind Kirby Puckett's extra-inning "See you tomorrow night" home run. The next night, after Morris pitches ten innings of shutout ball in game 7, Gene Larkin's single scores Dan Gladden in the bottom of the 10th for the deciding game's only run.
- This was the first World Series to feature two teams that had finished the previous season in last place. Like the Twins' previous Series win in 1987, every game in this Series was won by the home team.
- 1992: Toronto Blue Jays (AL) defeat Atlanta Braves (NL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Pat Borders, Toronto
- The Blue Jays become the first Canadian team to play in a World Series and the first to win.
1993-1997: Carter's Blast, The Player's Strike, Tomahawk Choppin', The Florida "Who?" and Resurgence of the Yankees Edit
- 1993: Toronto Blue Jays (AL) defeat Philadelphia Phillies (NL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Paul Molitor, Toronto.
- Joe Carter, Toronto, hits the first (and so far only) come-from-behind walk-off home run to win a World Series (Bill Mazeroski's famous home run in 1960 was hit with the score tied). The fourth game, won 15-14 by Toronto, is the highest-scoring game in any World Series. Toronto becomes the first repeat World Champions since the 1977-78 New York Yankees.
Starting in 1994, MLB introduced the wild-card, allowing the non-division winner with the best record from each league a spot in the postseason. The American League Division Series and National League Division Series were introduced to determine which teams would play in the ALCS and NLCS. However, due to the season-ending strike, none of this would actually come to pass until the following year.
- 1995: Atlanta Braves (NL) defeat Cleveland Indians (AL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Tom Glavine, Atlanta
- In something of a franchise rematch of 1948, the Braves become the first team to win a World Series in three different cities (Boston in 1914, Milwaukee in 1957, and Atlanta in 1995).
- 1996: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Atlanta Braves (NL), 4 games to 2. MVP: John Wetteland, New York
- The first of four Yankees titles in only 5 years gets off to a bad start as the team loses the first two games at Yankee Stadium, thanks to Andruw Jones of the Braves, who becomes the youngest player to hit a World Series home run. However, the Yankees sweep the three games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and win the sixth and final game in New York. The Yankees were the first team to come back from down 0-2 in the series since the 1986 New York Mets. They were the third team to come back and win after losing the first two games at home, following the 1986 Mets and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
- 1997: Florida Marlins† (NL) defeat Cleveland Indians (AL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Liván Hernández, Florida
- The Florida Marlins win in just their fifth year, beating the New York Mets' record as the fastest expansion team to win the World Series. The Marlins are also the first wild card team ever to win a World Series.
1998-present: Yankee Domination, the November Series, Rally Monkeys, Fighting Fish, and Curses Reversed Edit
- 1998: New York Yankees (AL) defeat San Diego Padres (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Scott Brosius, New York
- The New York Yankees cap off the winningest season in baseball history (including playoffs) with their 125th win of the year in San Diego. It was the first sweep in the Fall Classic since 1990.
- 1999: New York Yankees (AL) defeat Atlanta Braves (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Mariano Rivera, New York
- The Yankees complete their second consecutive World Series sweep capping an 11-1 postseason. The 11-1 mark was a record until the Chicago White Sox matched it in the 2005 postseason. This was also the first sweep by a team without home-field advantage since 1966 when Baltimore swept the Dodgers.
- 2000: New York Yankees (AL) defeat New York Mets† (NL), 4 games to 1. MVP: Derek Jeter, New York AL
- This was the last World Series to date with a repeat World Champion. This is the first Subway Series since 1956, and the only one to date since the Giants and Dodgers moved to California. The 1998-2000 New York Yankees establish a record of 10 consecutive games won in the World Series. The previous record was 9, by the 1936-1938 New York Yankees. They are the first back-to-back-to-back Champions since the 1972-1974 Oakland Athletics and became the first team to appear in the three straight World Series since the 1988-90 A's.
- 2001: Arizona Diamondbacks (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 3. MVPs: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, Arizona.
- This Series is often cited alongside the 1991 World Series as the most exciting in history. It featured two extra-inning games. In both games, the Yankees hit ninth-inning homers off Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim to tie the game and go on to win. Despite these victories, the Yankees are unable to make it four straight Series championships. In Game 7, the D-backs pull off a ninth-inning comeback of their own to win the game and the Series, victimizing Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with Luis Gonzalez knocking in the game-winning RBI with a bloop single into the outfield. As the winning pitcher in game 7 of the World Series and the clinching game in the NLCS, Randy Johnson became the first pitcher since Orel Hershiser in 1988 to be the winning pitcher of the clinching games in the LCS and World Series.
- The Diamondbacks, in their fourth year of existence, break the Marlins' short-lived record as the fastest expansion team to win the World Series. The Yankees became the first team to appear in 4 straight World Series since the 1961-64 Yankees.
- This was the third Series in which every game is won by the home team.
- The 2001 Series is the first to have games played in November, due to the 2001 regular season ending a week late following the mass postponement of sporting events in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11. All the Series games that season are punctuated with heavy security and shows of patriotism.
- 2002: Anaheim Angels† (AL) defeat San Francisco Giants† (NL), 4 games to 3. MVP: Troy Glaus, Anaheim.
- 2002 is the first time two Wild Card teams meet in the World Series. It features the greatest comeback in Series history by a team facing elimination, when the Angels erase a 5-0 deficit with 8 outs remaining, to win Game 6 (6-5) and then go on to win Game 7 (4-1). There is considerable controversy regarding Glaus' selection as Series MVP; despite being on the losing team, Barry Bonds was by most accounts the biggest star of the Series, hitting .471 for the Series with 4 homers, 6 RBI, and a mind-boggling 13 walks, vs Glaus' 7 runs, 8 RBI, 3 homers and a .385 average. Thus Bobby Richardson of the 1960 Yankees remains the only Series MVP in a losing cause. This will be the last World Series (through 2005) in which the home team wins the deciding game of a series.
- 2003: Florida Marlins† (NL) defeat New York Yankees (AL), 4 games to 2. MVP: Josh Beckett, Florida.
- The Marlins, 19-29 in mid-May of the season, complete one of the most spirited comebacks in MLB history. They go 75-49 under new (old-time) manager Jack McKeon, owning the best record in the league after May 23. The Marlins shock the defending NL-champ Giants and then the Cubs before capping their run by beating the Yankees. Jack McKeon becomes the oldest manager to ever win a World Series. The Marlins also become 6-0 in postseason series in only 11 years of existence. This championship gives the Marlins more World titles (2) than division titles (0). The Atlanta Braves had won the NL East every year since 1995, a strike ended the 1994 season without division winners, and the Philadelphia Phillies won the division in 1993.
- For the first time since the LCS was a best-of-7 series, both the NLCS and ALCS go the full 7 games in the same postseason, with the Marlins beating the Chicago Cubs and the Yankees beating the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees had been awarded home-field advantage for this World Series, because the AL won the 2003 All-Star game. MLB had alternated home-field advantage for the World Series between the two leagues prior to this, and the NL would have been due for home-field in 2003 before the change.
- 2004: Boston Red Sox† (AL) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Manny Ramírez, Boston.
- Boston's victory breaks the Curse of the Bambino, coming on the heels of the largest comeback in postseason MLB history (a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees in the Championship Series) to sweep St. Louis. The Red Sox's eight consecutive wins constitute the longest post season winning streak since the Cincinnati Reds accomplished it in 1975-1976. It marks the 3rd time in a row that a Wild Card Team wins the World Series. Boston pitcher Derek Lowe became the first pitcher in history to be the winning pitcher in the series-clinching game in three postseasons series and the first to clinch both the LCS and WS clinchers since Randy Johnson in 2001. By winning his start in game 2, Curt Schilling became the first pitcher to win World Series games with three different teams. He won game 5 with Philadelphia in 1993 and game 1 with Arizona in 2001. Again, the AL had been awarded home-field advantage, having won the All-Star game, giving the Red Sox advantage at Fenway Park despite St. Louis having the superior regular season record (Boston 98-64, St. Louis 105-57).
- 2005: Chicago White Sox (AL) defeat Houston Astros† (NL), 4 games to 0. MVP: Jermaine Dye, Chicago.
- The Chicago White Sox sweep the Houston Astros to win their first championship since 1917. Game 3 is the longest game in World Series history by time. Jermaine Dye bats in the only run in Game 4. This is the second consecutive World Series sweep, the third year in a row that the home team did not win the deciding game of a World Series, and the first time in recent years that the home team did not win the deciding game of either the two League Championship Series or the World Series. This is also the first World Series since 2001 to have been won by a division champion. The White Sox match the 2004 Red Sox as the only teams to win eight straight games in a single post-season. The 1975-76 Reds won eight straight over two post-seasons. The 11-1 record by the White Sox in the playoffs also matches the 1999 Yankees mark as the best postseason record in the three-tier playoff era. This marks the first time the World Series was played in Texas. It achieved the lowest television ratings ever for a World Series .
†Denotes wild-card team (since 1995).
- World Series.com - official website
- Sporting News: History of the World Series
- Baseball Almanac: World Series
- Glory Fades Away: The Nineteenth Century World Series Rediscovered, Jerry Lansch, 1991.
- Caribbean World Series
- College World Series
- Negro League World Series
- Japan Series
- Asia Series
- List of sporting events
- List of Major League Baseball franchise post-season droughts
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