Learn more about World Series
- For other events named "World Series", see World Series (disambiguation).
The World Series is played between the winners of the American League and 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) and is awarded the World Series Trophy, as well as World Series rings. Baseball has employed various championship formulas since the 1860s. The modern World Series has been an annual event since 1903, with the exceptions of 1904 and 1994.
The New York Yankees have won twenty-six World Series championships, more than any other franchise and more than the combined number of titles won by the next three most successful clubs in the World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals have won ten championships, the most for any National League team.
The Series takes place in mid-autumn, and as such, sportswriters many years ago dubbed the event 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."<ref>Business of Baseball - 1905 World Series Regulations, accessed October 23, 2006</ref>
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"<ref>Allegedly said by Joe Cronin, reference needed</ref>). 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 "wildcard", patterned after the National Football League's playoff system, of including the best non-divisional winner 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 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 "pennant 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.
Home-field advantage is determined by the results of the All-Star Game. By virtue of the American League winning the 2006 All-Star Game, it had home-field advantage in the 2006 World Series. The series follows what is called a 2-3-2 format with the first two and last two games being played in the stadium of the club with home-field advantage. The other three games are played in the opponent's stadium.
This All-Star Game results determination of home-field was instituted following the 2002 Midsummer Classic which ended in a tie. The idea was that of Commissioner Bud Selig to prevent such an occurrence and to give the All-Star Game a more competitive element. The slogan "This one counts" has been used for the Classic. Prior to this, home-field was alternated between the leagues.
Between the American League having the home field advantage the last year of the "alternating" approach, and having won every All-Star Game since then, 2006 marks the fifth consecutive year of American League home field edge.
Since 1986, the designated hitter rule has been applied according to the rules normally in effect at the home ballpark. In an American League ballpark, both teams use a designated hitter to bat for the pitcher. In a National League ballpark, both team's pitchers must bat. From 1975 through 1985, the designated hitter was used for all games in even-numbered years and no 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 but not reaching the World Series, and certain other teams not qualifying for the playoffs. Prior to 1969, teams finishing in the first division, or top half of the leagues' standings, received such shares; today, only the teams finishing second in their divisions but not earning a wild card receive them. The shares for the actual participants are limited to the gate receipts of the minimum number of games necessary to decide the series; that rule has been in place from the beginning, to keep the games "honest".
 International impact, and explanation of the term "World" Series
The title of this championship is confusing to some international readers, because the World Series is confined to the champions of two baseball leagues that currently operate only in the United States and Canada.
The explanation is that when the term "World's Championship Series" was first used in the 1880s, baseball was almost exclusively confined to North America, especially at a highly skilled (and paid) level. Thus it was understood that the winner of the major league championship was the best baseball team in the world. The title of this event was soon shortened to "World's Series" and later to "World Series".
The United States continued to be the zenith of professional baseball some decades into the 20th Century. The first Japanese professional baseball efforts began in 1920. The current Japanese leagues date from the late 1940s. Various Latin American leagues also formed around that time.
By the 1990s, baseball was played at a highly skilled level in many countries, resulting in a strong international flavor to the Series, as many of the best players from the Pacific Rim, Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere now play on Major League rosters. The notable exception is Cuban nationals, due to the political situation between the USA and Cuba (despite that barrier, over the years a number of Cuba's finest ballplayers have defected to the United States to play in the American professional leagues). Players from the Japanese Leagues also have a more difficult time coming to the Major Leagues because they must first play 10 years in Japan before becoming free agents.
Early in 2006, Major League Baseball conducted the inaugural World Baseball Classic, to establish a "true" world's championship in the way the term is normally used for other international sports. Teams of professional players from 16 nations participated, and Japan won the first World Baseball Classic championship. Olympic baseball was instituted as a medal sport in 1992, but in 2005 the International Olympic Committee voted to eliminate baseball, and it will be off the Olympic program in 2012.
The World Series itself retains a US-oriented atmosphere. The title of the event is often presented on television as merely a "brand name" in the same sense as the "Super Bowl", and thus the term "World Series Championship" is sometimes used. However, the origin of the term lives on, as with these words of Frank Thomas in the Chicago White Sox victory celebration in 2005: "We're world's champions, baby!" At the close of the 2006 Series, Commissioner Bud Selig pronounced the St. Louis Cardinals "champions of the world". Likewise, the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine for November 6, 2006, features Series MVP David Eckstein and is subtitled "World Champions".
A recent myth has arisen that the "World" in "World Series" came about because the New York World newspaper sponsored it. There is no evidence at all supporting that hypothesis.<ref>Origin of the Name "World Series", Doug Pappas, originally published in the Fall 2001 issue of Outside the Lines, the SABR Business of Baseball Committee newsletter, accessed 23 October, 2006</ref>
 Other uses of "World Series"
The term World Series has 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. Additionally, the World Series of Darts & World Series of Blackjack made their debuts in 2006.
 Champions prior to and 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 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"<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>, "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.<ref>World Series Summary, Major League Baseball website, accessed 24 October, 2006</ref>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.
 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. 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.
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.
 The modern World Series (1903-present)
 The first attempt
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 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 (usually spelled "Pittsburg" at that time) Pirates of the NL and Boston Americans (later known as 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. 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 on the field.
 The boycott of 1904
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, 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 cited the lack of rules under which money would be split and games would be played (sited and staffed). 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 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 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.
 1919: The fix
- Main article: 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 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. 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 for life. The White Sox would not win a World Series again until 2005.
 The 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, magnitude 6.9 with an epicenter ten miles northeast of Santa Cruz, occurred. The earthquake caused a great deal of destruction in the Bay Area and killed 57 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. Commissioner Fay Vincent ordered the game to be postponed approximately 30 minutes after the earthquake, and fans, workers, and the teams evacuated a blacked out Candlestick. Game 3 was finally played on October 27, and Oakland won that day and the next to complete a four-game sweep.
 The 1994 strike
- Main article: 1994 baseball strike
After the boycott of 1904, the World Series would be played in October of every year. The Series was played in 1918 despite the Spanish flu and World War I, throughout the 1930s despite the Great Depression, three times during America's involvement in World War II, and in 1989 despite an earthquake.
It would be canceled in 1994, over money.
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 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 commissoner, responsible for insuring 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 commissoner for the first time since the office was founded in 1920.
The previous collective bargaining agreement expired on Dec. 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 Sept. 14. The World Series would not be played for the first time in 90 years.
The labor dispute would last 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 ruled owners guilty of unfair labor practices. The season started on April 25 and the 1995 World Series would be played as scheduled, with Atlanta beating Cleveland four games to two.
 List of modern World Series
 World Series appearances (modern) by franchise
- In World Series history, 50 teams have fallen into 0-2 deficits. 11 of those teams came back to win: the 1921 Giants, 1955 Dodgers, 1956 Yankees, 1958 Yankees, 1965 Dodgers, 1971 Pirates, 1978 Yankees, 1981 Dodgers, 1985 Royals, 1986 Mets and 1996 Yankees.
- 42 teams fell into 1-3 deficits, only six of which finally came back to win: the 1903 Red Sox, 1925 Pirates, 1958 Yankees, 1968 Tigers, 1979 Pirates, and 1985 Royals.
- Seven teams have won the Series in the last at-bat of the seventh game: the 1912 Red Sox, the 1924 Senators, the 1960 Pirates, the 1975 Reds, the 1991 Twins, the 1997 Marlins, and the 2001 Diamondbacks.
- The Chicago Cubs hold the record for the longest World Series drought (still active heading into 2007), with their last title coming in 1908. Other substantial droughts include the Philadelphia Phillies (97 seasons, from their inception in 1883 to 1980); the Chicago White Sox (88 seasons, from 1917 to 2005); the Boston Red Sox (86 seasons, from 1918 to 2004).
- The New York Yankees have won two or more championships in seven different decades - the 1920s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, and finally the 1990s.
- The New York Giants' four consecutive World Series appearances from 1921 to 1924 are the most for any non-Yankees franchise.
- The Oakland Athletics' three consecutive World Series victories from 1972 to 1974 are the most for any non-New York franchise.
- The 1907-1909 Detroit Tigers and the 1910-1912 New York Giants are the only teams to lose three consecutive World Series.
- The New York Yankees hold the record for most consecutive World Series titles with five (1949-1953).
- The New York Yankees and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have played each other in the World Series a record eleven times (1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1963, 1977, 1978, and 1981).
- Teams from New York (Yankees, New York Giants, Mets, and Brooklyn Dodgers) have accounted for 65 World Series appearances, or 32%, including thirteen all-New York Series. They have won 34 Series, or about 1/3. If the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are included, these franchises account for 76 appearances (38%) and 39 wins (38.6%).
- The Braves have appeared in the World Series representing the most cities: two for Boston (1914, 1948), two representing Milwaukee (1957, 1958) and five for the city of Atlanta (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999). They've brought home one victory for each of the three cities.
- The St. Louis Cardinals lead the National League with ten World Series titles in seventeen appearances: 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982 and 2006.
- Bill Mazeroski (Pittsburgh, 1960) and Joe Carter (Toronto, 1993) are the only players to secure a World Series win with a game-ending home run. Mazeroski's came in Game 7, the final game of that Series, breaking a tie score. Carter's came at the end of Game 6, with Toronto trailing by one run and with two runners on base; had Toronto not scored then and lost, it would have forced a seventh game.
- The American League has won sixty World Series, or 59.4%. Of that number, a single club, the New York Yankees, have won twenty-six, or 43% of all American League wins.
- The 1907-1908 Cubs, 1921-1922 Giants and 1975-1976 Reds are the only National League teams to win back-to-back World Series.
- The 1915-1916 Red Sox and 1992-1993 Blue Jays are the only non-Yankee or non-A's American League teams to win two straight World Series.
- From 1949 to 1956, every Series game was won by a team from New York City.
- From 1949 to 1966, every Series involved the Yankees, Dodgers and/or Giants.
- From 1978 to 1987, no franchise won the World Series twice, the longest such streak. The second longest streak extends from 1982 to 1990, and the current streak of seven straight (2000 to 2006) is the third longest such streak.
- The 1987, 1991, and 2001 World Series were the only Series in which the home team won every game. The Minnesota Twins (1987, 1991) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2001) won those Series. There has never been a World Series in which the visiting team won every game.
- Babe Ruth twice hit three home runs in one Series game (1926 and 1928). Reggie Jackson is the only other player to accomplish the feat (1977).
- Game 3 of the 2005 World Series holds the record for longest World Series game played in elapsed time at 5 hours and 41 minutes, and number of innings with 14 complete innings (technically tied with Game 2 of the 1916 World Series which went into the 14th, but ended with 1 out in the bottom of the 14th completing only 132⁄3 innings).
- Yogi Berra holds the record for World Series Championships by a single player, with 10.
- Don Larsen is the only pitcher who has pitched a no-hitter in the World Series, throwing a perfect game in 1956.
- As of 2006, the team with the better regular season winning percentage has won the World Series 50 times, or 49.0% (50 of 102) of the time. The longest such streak was from 1936 to 1942 (7 years). 1958 and 1949 are included in the percentage, but both of those teams had the same exact record.
- In the last fifteen World Series matchups, ten teams with a lower winning percentage than their opponent have emerged as champions (1990–1993 and 1995–2005). This is currently the highest percentage of any stretch of 15 World Series.
- The 2006 Cardinals are only the fourth team to win a World Series in their first season in a new stadium (Busch Stadium), and the first since the 1923 Yankees (Yankee Stadium). The other teams to do so are the 1909 Pirates (Forbes Field) and the 1912 Red Sox (Fenway Park).
- The 1974, 1988, 1989 and 2002 World Series involved only California teams.
- In 1992 Cito Gaston became the first (and so far only) African American manager to win the world Series. Likewise, in 2005 Chicago White Sox's Ozzie Guillen became the first Latin-American manager to win a World Series.
- Only two managers have won a World Series in both leagues: Sparky Anderson (1975 and '76 with the Cincinnati Reds, 1984 with the Detroit Tigers) and Tony La Russa (1989 with the Oakland Athletics, 2006 with the St. Louis Cardinals).
 In fiction
- In the Movie Back to the Future Part II, a future Major League Baseball team, the Miami Gators, loses the 2015 World Series to the Chicago Cubs in a four-game sweep. Protagonist Marty McFly expresses surprise, not being aware (in 1985) of the future existence of a Miami major league team. The humor of the scene, however, is that McFly should really be more surprised that the Cubs won a World Series.
- In the science fiction television program Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a future Major League Baseball team, the London Kings, won the 2042 World Series, which the show claims was the last World Series before Major League Baseball disbanded. Only 300 spectators showed up to watch the final game.
- In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, the character Meyer Wolfsheim was supposedly behind the fixing of the 1919 World Series.
- In the television serial Lost, the stranded airplane crash survivor Jack is shown video of the Boston Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series to prove that citizens of the remote fictional island are in contact with the outside world. Due to the Red Sox's history of futility, Jack does not initially believe the video to be authentic.
- In the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Jack Nicholson's character McMurphy performs an improvised version of a World Series radio broadcast for his fellow mental patients, after Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) has refused to let them listen to the actual broadcast.
- Baseball has been a theme of many films, with a subgenre of films centering around teams trying to make the World Series. Examples of films in this subgenre include both versions of Angels in the Outfield as well as Little Big League, Major League, The Natural, and Rookie of the Year. However, fictional films that deal with the World Series itself are quite rare. One of the few feature films to dramatize a World Series is the non-fiction Eight Men Out, which tells the story of the 1919 World Series and the Black Sox scandal.
 Image gallery
Washington's Bucky Harris scores his home run in the fourth inning of Game 7, October 10, 1924
 External links
- Baseball Reference "postseason" page, listing every World Series, with links to play-by-play summaries of every game
- World Series.com - official website
- Sporting News: History of the World Series
- Baseball Almanac: World Series
- Coolest World Series teams ever
- ESPN Classic - Who's #1?: Best World Series
- Jerry Lansch, Glory Fades Away: The Nineteenth Century World Series Rediscovered (1991). ISBN 0-87833-726-1
 See also
de:World Series es:Serie Mundial fr:World Series hr:World Series id:World Series it:World Series hu:World Series nl:World Series ja:ワールドシリーズ pt:World Series simple:World Series sh:World Series sv:World Series zh:世界大賽 (棒球)