The World Series:
A Brief History of the October Classic
In America’s favorite pastime, the game of baseball, there is one major goal each
year for every team in the league, and that is to win the World series. For nearly one
hundred years, two teams each year have competed in a best of seven series with the
champion of the American League and the champion of the National League representing
their respective leagues. The New York Yankees have won the most titles by far, with
twenty-five championships, and the St. Louis Cardinals have the second-most with ten.
Many teams have never won the World Series, and with the small income and coverage
of some teams, they may never win a series.
From 1901 to 1902, the American and National leagues were staged in war, and
there was no World Series. The American League was still very young, and many felt
that they could not compete with the powerful teams of the National League. However, a
national championship was not far away. When the Boston Pilgrims of the American
League accepted a challenge from owner Barney Dreyfuss of the National League
Pittsburgh Pirates, the modern World Series was born ( Total World Series-Boston 1).
The Pirates entered the 1903 series heavily favored to win even with injuries to the ace of
the pitching staff, Sam Leever and also to Honus Wagner. The Pirates had also lost
pitcher Ed Doheny to mental illness.
In game one of the series, Cy Young took the mound for the Pilgrims, but was
stunned in the first inning as the Pirates scored four runs and went on to take a 1-0 series
lead. In the game, the Pirates’ Jimmy Sebring hit the first home run in World Series
history (Total World Series-Boston 2). After taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, the
tide began to turn on the Pirates. The Pilgrims won the next two games, and in game
seven, Bill Dinneen held the Pirates to four hits as he shut them out for the second time in
the series, giving the Boston Pilgrims the first ever World Series Championship.
The World Series continued to grow popular for the next several years, until 1919,
when members of the Chicago White Sox were rumored to have thrown the Series. In the
bottom of the first inning of game one against the Cincinnati Reds, White Sox pitcher
Eddie Cicotte hit the first batter to face him, a prearranged signal to gamblers that ?the fix
was on? — that the Sox would throw the Series (Total World Series-White 1). There were
eight members of the Chicago White Sox that were in on the fix, including Cicotte and
outfielder ?Shoeless’ Joe Jackson. The White Sox lost the first two games of the series,
thanks in large part to the two starting pitchers who were in on the fix. However, in game
three, the White Sox’ Dickie Kerr, who was not in on the fix, pitched a three-hit shutout
to get the Sox back to within one game. After game three, the players who were in on the
fix managed to play poorly enough to lose the Series, and the Cincinnati Reds took home
their tainted title.
In 1927, the New York Yankees won the World Series over the Pittsburgh Pirates
with perhaps the best lineup ever to take the field. With 110 regular season victories and
a 19 game margin over second-place Philadelphia, the Yankees led the American League
in nearly every offensive category. Three Yankees–Earle Combs, Lou Gehrig, and Babe
Ruth–hit over .350, and divided among them league crowns in runs, hits, doubles, triples,
home runs (Ruth’s 60), RBI’s, and slugging average. The Yankees not only hit: their
pitching staff boasted the league’s lowest earned run average ( Total World Series – New
1). The Yankees swept the Pirates out of the series for the first American League sweep
in a World Series and many still consider them to be the best team ever.
The ?Miracle Mets? of 1969 proved that magic could happen in the World Series
as they took home the World Series title with a very young, upstart team. The heavy-
hitting, slick- fielding Orioles, who also boasted the majors’ top pitching staff, entered
the Series clear favorites against the New York Mets. But the ?Miracle Mets?, after
losing the opener, polished off Baltimore with four straight wins (Total World
The National League team with the most World Series titles- The St. Louis
Cardinals- won their most recent Series in 1982 by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in
seven games. The Series was anticipated as a matchup of Cardinal speed and Brewer
power. In the event, though, St. Louis outslugged the Brewers and wound up with their
tenth world championship (Total World Series-Cards 1). The Brewers, who were
competing in their first World Series, looked unstoppable in the first game, winning 10-0.
However, the Cards managed to come back to win the next two games, one in St. Louis,
and one in Milwaukee, with the help of pitchers Bruce Sutter in game two, and Joaquin
Andujar in game three. The Brewers won the next two games at home, which put the
Cardinals down three games to two, but in game 6 in St. Louis the Cards walked all over
the Brewers 13-1, and in game 7, Joaquin Andujar got his second win of the Series and
Bruce Sutter picked up his second save of the Series as the Cards took home their tenth
World Series title.
The Fall Classic has had many exciting moments, and every year at spring
training, each of the teams in both leagues look forward to October with hopes of playing
in the best of seven Series. Every team has a fair chance to play in to October, but in the
end, only one team from each league will remain, and one of those teams will become
part of baseball history.
?Boston Bests Braves for Championship.? Total World Series. Online. Netscape. 29 Apr
?Cards Rock Brewers for Title.? Total World Series. Online. Netscape. 29 Apr 2000
?Make Way For The Marvelous Mets.? Total World Series. Online. Netscape. 29 Apr
?New York Celebrates Clean Sweep.? Total World Series. Online. Netscape. 29 Apr
?White Sox Fall to Reds.? Total World Series. Online. Netscape. 29 Apr 2000
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