When the term "World's Championship Series" was first used in the 1880s, baseball at a highly-skilled level was almost exclusively confined to North America, especially the United States. 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.”
I’ve never liked the name “World Series.” The title of this championship may be confusing to those from other countries because the “World Series” is confined to the champions of two baseball leagues that currently operate only in the United States and Canada. There’s more to the world than two countries.
Bottom line…………we have absolutely no proof that the winner of what we call the “World Series” has just won that event based on its title. For example, Cuba might have something to say about that, among others.
The New York Yankees have played in 39 of the 102 Series up to and including 2003 and have won 26 World Series championships, which is far more than any other Major League franchise.
The St. Louis Cardinals have won ten championships out of 17 appearances, which is the second most all time and the most for any National League team. The Cardinals also hold a 3 Series to 2 edge against the Yankees in Series play, the only one of the "veteran eight" National League teams to lead the Yankees overall in the Fall Classic.
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 New York Yankees hold the record for most consecutive World Series titles with five (1949-1953). The Yankees are also in second place for that record, with four (1936-1939).
The 1907-1909 Detroit Tigers and the 1911-1913 New York Giants are the only teams to lose three consecutive World Series.
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 from each of the three cities.
The Chicago Cubs hold the record for the longest World Series drought (still active heading into 2007), with their last title coming in 1908 (98 years).
The American League has won 60 of the 102 World Series played (60-42, .588). Of that number, the New York Yankees, have won twenty-six (26), 25% of all wins 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 other American League teams besides the Yankees and the A's to win two straight World Series (The Philadelphia A's won 1910-1911 and 1929-1930, the Oakland A's won 1972-1974).
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.
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 match-ups, nine teams with a lower winning percentage than their opponent have emerged as champions. This is currently the highest percentage of any stretch of 15 World Series.
The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks were the newest expansion franchise ever to both get to and win a World Series, having been founded in 1998.
While the New York Mets were the first expansion team to win or appear in the World Series, the American League would have to wait until 1980 for its first expansion-team World Series appearance, and until 1985 for its first expansion team win. Both were by the Kansas City Royals. They also had two expansion teams appear in the World Series (the Milwaukee Brewers being the second, in 1982) before the National League's second expansion team to appear--the San Diego Padres in 1984.
As of 2007, no two expansion teams have met in the World Series, although nine of them (the Arizona Diamondbacks, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Anaheim Angels (now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays) have made it there. Expansion teams are 9-7 in the World Series, with three teams (the Mets, Blue Jays and Marlins) winning more than one.
The Marlins and the Blue Jays are the only teams with more than one World Series title to have never lost a World Series. Each have two. The Marlins have never even lost a post-season series.
The Marlins are the only World Series-winning team that has never won a Division title. While the Angels won their only World Series appearance on a Wild Card berth, they have also won six Division titles in their history.
Every non-expansion team has won at least one World Series title. The last to do it were the Philadelphia Phillies, who finally won a title in 1980.
The last American League non-expansion team to win their first World Series was the Baltimore Orioles, winning in 1966.
The Orioles were also the last non-expansion team in the majors to make their first World Series appearance, as the St. Louis Browns in 1944. They have won three World Series, in six appearances, since moving to Baltimore. The last National League non-expansion team to make their World Series debut were the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926.
As of 2007, 22 of the 25 teams to play in the World Series have won it at least once. The Astros, Brewers and Padres are the exceptions.
As of 2007, only five teams (all of them expansion) haven't won a pennant: the Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.
Including their existence as the Washington Senators, beginning in 1961, the Texas Rangers are the oldest franchise to have never won a pennant or a World Series.
Their neighbors, the Houston Astros (established in 1962 as the Colt .45's), are the second oldest franchise--and oldest in the National League--to have never won a World Series.
The Washington Nationals (established in 1969 as the Montreal Expos) are the second oldest franchise--and oldest in the National League--to have never won a pennant.
The Seattle Mariners (established in 1977) are the second oldest American League franchise to have never won a pennant or a World Series.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are the only team to have no playoff experience at all.
There is no way I can leave my World Series Issue without paying tribute to the author of the single most dramatic play in the history of the Fall Classic. (It's my opinion, it’s my website, so I’m correct.) It happened 19 years ago, and his name is Kirk Gibson. To quote the great Jack Buck’s memorable play call, “I don’t believe what I just saw!” I still don’t believe it.
Last Week’s Trivia
Paul Molitor of Milwaukee is the only player in history to register five base hits in a World Series game. He did it in Game One of the 1982 World Series against St. Louis.
Trivia Question of the Week
Three players share the record for most hits in a World Series with 13. Name the players and the years. See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.