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World Series History and the events that shaped The Fall Classic

The first modern World Series was held between Boston of the American League and Pittsburgh of the National League in 1903. Boston won the series 5 games to 3, helping to establish the new league's credibility. However, the next year, the National League champion New York Giants refused to play the American League champions (Boston again) because of the alleged "inferiority" of the American League, along with the legitimate claim that there were no formal or standard rules for this championship (a factor which had helped kill the 1880s version of the Series). In response, the World Series was instituted in 1905 as a permanent institution, through which the leagues would "meet annually in a series of games for the Professional Base Ball Championship of the World."

The World Series is the championship series of Major League Baseball and the culmination of the sport's postseason each October. Since the Series takes place in mid-autumn, sportswriters many years ago dubbed the event the Fall Classic; it is also sometimes known as the October Classic and, more facetiously, the World Serious.

The World Series is played between the American League and National League. The modern World Series has been an annual event since 1903, with the exceptions of 1904 and 1994. Baseball has employed various championship formulas since the 1860s. When the term "World Series" is used by itself, it is usually understood to refer to the "modern" World Series exclusively.

The World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff. Best-of-seven has been the format of all the modern World Series except in 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921 when the winner was determined through a best-of-nine playoff. The Series winner is awarded the World Series Trophy, as well as individual World Series rings.

The New York Yankees, of the American League, have played in 39 of the 103 Series through 2007 and have won 26 World Series championships, which is far more than any other Major League franchise. For the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers have appeared in the series the most at 18 times, but has only won the series 6 times. The St. Louis Cardinals have represented the National League 17 times and have won 10 championships, which is the most for any National League team.

Until 1969, teams reached the Fall classic merely by having the best records in their respective leagues. If two teams were tied for the best record at the end of the scheduled season, the winner of a head-to-head "pennant playoff" game between the two teams was declared winner of the "pennant" (league championship), and thus represented the league in the Series.

The reorganization of each league into two divisions for the 1969 season changed the road to the Series. The winners of the East and West divisions of each league would meet in a best-of-five (later best-of-seven) League Championship Series to determine the winner of the pennant. The split into two divisions was partially based on the premise that there were too many teams in the league to have one division ("you can't sell a twelfth place team". It also ensured more "pennant races" to generate more regular-season attendance, along with more post-season revenue.

A further change occurred in 1994 with the expansion of the Major Leagues and the establishment of the Central Divisions. This created an odd number of teams in each league's playoff tournament, so a fourth playoff team was added. It was called the "wild card", patterned after the National Football League's playoff system of including the best non-divisional winner (by win-loss record) in the playoffs. This created additional regular-season races as well as further augmenting post-season income. It also had the inevitable effect of playing the game's prime event in the latter part of October, with weather often much colder and harsher than in the early part of the month, especially in the Midwest and Northeast.

Under the current format, normally the division-winner with the highest winning percentage in the league faces the wildcard in the best-of-five first round, or Division Series, and the two remaining teams face each other in the first round. However, if both the wildcard qualifier and the best divisional win-loss record come from the same division (which has happened frequently), the wildcard instead plays the division winner with the second-best record in the first round while the remaining two teams face each other. The winners of the two Division Series play in the League Championship Series for the right to play in the World Series.

In case two teams tie for the fourth playoff spot in a league, a single-game "wild-card playoff" is required to determine the final qualifier.

Although the current structure was established in 1994, the players' strike canceled the post-season events that year. Playoffs with the current structure were first played in 1995.

The Original World Series

Until the formation of the American Association in 1882 as a second major league, the National Association and then the National League 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. In 1882 and 1883, the champions of the American Association and National League played a series of exhibition games at the end of the season, but the winner of the series was not recognized as the champion of both leagues. Starting in 1884 and going through 1891, the National League and the American Association played an official series of games at the end of the season to determine an overall champion.

Although these series were promoted and referred to as the "The Championship of the United States","World's Championship Series", or "World's Series" for short, they are not officially recognized as part of World Series history by Major League Baseball.Major League Baseball, in general, regards 19th century events as a prologue to the Modern Era of baseball, which is defined by the two current major leagues.

It is worth pointing out, however, that until about the 1960s, the 19th century Series were often considered to have equal merit with the modern Series, particularly in encyclopedias such as Ernest Lanigan's Baseball Cyclopedia from 1922, and Turkin and Thompson's Encyclopedia of Baseball series throughout the 1950s. The Sporting News Record Book, by contrast, which began publishing in the 1930s, only listed the modern Series, although the TSN record books then and now do include regular-season achievements for all the 19th century leagues.

World Series History in Chronological Order with a link for Line and Box Scores for each World Series

Year/Link Games Winning Team Wins Losing Team Wins
1903 W.S. 8 (AL) Boston Americans 5 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 3
1904 World Series 0 No Series - (details below) -
1905 W.S. 5 (NL) N.Y. Giants 4 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 1
1906 W.S. 6 (AL) Chicago White Sox 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 2
1907 W.S. 5 (1) Tie (NL) Chicago Cubs 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 0
1908 W.S. 5 (NL) Chicago Cubs 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 1
1909 W.S. 7 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 3
1910 W.S. 5 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 1
1911 W.S. 6 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 2
1912 W.S. 8 (1) Tie (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 3
1913 W.S. 5 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 1
1914 W.S. 4 (NL) Boston Braves 4 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 0
1915 W.S. 5 (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 1
1916 W.S. 5 (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) Brooklyn Robins 1
1917 W.S. 6 (AL) Chicago White Sox 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 2
1918 W.S 6 (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 2
1919 W.S. 8 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 5 (AL) Chicago White Sox 3
1920 W.S. 7 (AL) Cleveland Indians 5 (NL) Brooklyn Robins 2
1921 W.S. 8 (NL) N.Y Giants 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1922 W.S. 5 (1) Tie (NL) N.Y. Giants 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 0
1923 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 2
1924 W.S. 7 (AL) Washington Senators 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 3
1925 W.S. 7 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (AL) Washington Senators 3
1926 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1927 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 0
1928 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 0
1929 W.S. 5 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 1
1930 W.S. 6 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 2
1931 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Philadelphia Athletics 3
1932 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 0
1933 W.S. 5 (NL) N.Y. Giants 4 (AL) Washington Senators 1
1934 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 3
1935 W.S. 6 (AL) Detroit Tigers 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 2
1936 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) N.Y Giants 2
1937 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 1
1938 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 0
1939 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 0
1940 W.S. 7 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 3
1941 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 1
1942 W.S. 5 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 1
1943 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 1
1944 W.S. 6 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) St. Louis Browns 2
1945 W.S. 7 (AL) Detroit Tigers 4 (NL) Chicago Cubs 3
1946 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 3
1947 W.S 7 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 3
1948 W.S. 6 (AL) Cleveland Indians 4 (NL) Boston Braves 2
1949 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 1
1950 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 0
1951 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 2
1952 W.S. 7 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 3
1953 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 2
1954 W.S. 4 (NL) N.Y. Giants 4 (AL) Cleveland Indians 0
1955 W.S. 7 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1956 W.S. 7 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Brooklyn Dodgers 3
1957 W.S. 7 (NL) Milwaukee Braves 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1958 W.S. 7 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Milwaukee Braves 3
1959 W.S. 6 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (AL) Chicago White Sox 2
1960 W.S. 7 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1961 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 1
1962 W.S. 7 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) San Francisco Giants 3
1963 W.S. 4 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 0
1964 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
1965 W.S. 7 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (AL) Minnesota Twins 3
1966 W.S. 4 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 4 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 0
1967 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 3
1968 W.S. 7 (AL) Detroit Tigers 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 3
1969 W.S. 5 (NL) N.Y. Mets 4 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 1
1970 W.S 5 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 1
1971 W.S. 7 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 3
1972 W.S. 7 (AL) Oakland Athletics 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 3
1973 W.S. 7 (AL) Oakland Athletics 4 (NL) N.Y. Mets 3
1974 W.S. 5 (AL) Oakland Athletics 4 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 1
1975 W.S. 7 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 3
1976 W.S. 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 0
1977 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 2
1978 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 2
1979 W.S. 7 (NL) Pittsburgh Pirates 4 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 3
1980 W.S. 6 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 4 (AL) Kansas City Royals 2
1981 W.S. 6 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 2
1982 W.S. 7 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Milwaukee Brewers 3
1983 W.S. 5 (AL) Baltimore Orioles 4 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 1
1984 W.S. 5 (AL) Detroit Tigers 4 (NL) San Diego Padres 1
1985 W.S. 7 (AL) Kansas City Royals 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 3
1986 W.S. 7 (NL) N.Y. Mets 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 3
1987 W.S. 7 (AL) Minnesota Twins 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 3
1988 W.S. 5 (NL) Los Angeles Dodgers 4 (AL) Oakland Athletics 1
1989 W.S. 4 (AL) Oakland Athletics 4 (NL) San Francisco Giants 0
1990 W.S. 4 (NL) Cincinnati Reds 4 (AL) Oakland Athletics 0
1991 W.S. 7 (AL) Minnesota Twins 4 (NL) Atlanta Braves 3
1992 W.S. 6 (AL) Toronto Blue Jays 4 (NL) Atlanta Braves 2
1993 W.S. 6 (AL) Toronto Blue Jays 4 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 2
1994 W.S. x No Series x Players Strike x
1995 W.S. 6 (NL) Atlanta Braves 4 (AL) Cleveland Indians 2
1996 W.S. 6 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Atlanta Braves 2
1997 W.S. 7 (NL) Florida Marlins 4 (AL) Cleveland Indians 3
1998 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) San Diego Padres 0
1999 W.S. 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) Atlanta Braves 0
2000 W.S. 5 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 4 (NL) N.Y. Mets 1
2001 W.S. 7 (NL) Arizona Diamondbacks 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 3
2002 W.S. 7 (AL) Anaheim Angels 4 (NL) San Francisco Giants 3
2003 W.S. 6 (NL) Florida Marlins 4 (AL) N.Y. Yankees 2
2004 W.S. 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 0
2005 W.S. 4 (AL) Chicago White Sox 4 (NL) Houston Astros 0
2006 W.S. 5 (NL) St. Louis Cardinals 4 (AL) Detroit Tigers 1
2007 W.S. 4 (AL) Boston Red Sox 4 (NL) Colorado Rockies 0
2008 W.S. 5 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 4 (AL) Tampa Bay Rays 1
2009 W.S. 4 (AL) New York Yankees 4 (NL) Philadelphia Phillies 2
2010 W.S. 5 (NL) San Francisco Giants 4 (AL) Texas Rangers 1

18921900: The Unofficial World Series

Following the collapse of the American Association after the 1891 season, four of its clubs were admitted to the National League. The league championship was awarded in 1892 by a playoff between half-season champions. This scheme was abandoned after one season. 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. A second attempt at this format was the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series, which was played only once, in 1900.


1892 Boston Beaneaters win 5, Cleveland Spiders win 0, 1 tie - split-season championship
1893 Boston Beaneaters - no Series

1894-1897: Temple Cup

1894 New York Giants win 4, Baltimore Orioles win 0
1895 Cleveland Spiders win 4, Baltimore Orioles win 1
1896 Baltimore Orioles win 4, Cleveland Spiders win 0
1897 Baltimore Orioles win 4, Boston Beaneaters win 1


1898 Boston Beaneaters - no Series
1899 Brooklyn Superbas win 3, Philadelphia Phillies win 3, split series

1900: Chronicle-Telegraph Cup

1900 Brooklyn Superbas win 4, Pittsburgh Pirates win 1

National League - American League

1901 Pittsburgh Pirates NL, Chicago White Sox AL - no Series
1902 Pittsburgh Pirates NL, Philadelphia Athletics AL - no Series

1904 World Series

The 1904 World Series would have been between the AL's Boston Americans (Boston Red Sox) and the NL's New York Giants (San Francisco Giants). The Giants' owner, John T. Brush, refused to allow his team to play, 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 (previously known as the Baltimore Orioles and eventually 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, andhow 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 would be 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 Series matches would be operated strictly by the National Commission itself, not by the participating clubs.

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

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

1919: Black Sox Scandal

Gambling and game-fixing had been a problem in 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 the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series.

The Sox had won the World 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. 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. Today's two most prolific winners, the Yankees and the Cardinals, did not win their first World Series until the 1920s; and three of the teams that were highly successful prior to 1920 (the Red Sox, White Sox and 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.

World Series Poster of the 1919 Chicago White Sox

1919 White Sox Photo

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