Despite the fact that teams from only two countries compete in it, one of which supplying just a solitary side (but more on that later) – the “World” Series is an iconic sporting competition respected by sports fans around the globe. Having been hotly contested since 1903, it comes as no surprise that there are some truly fascinating and unexpected tidbits of information surrounding the World Series that even the most ardent baseball aficionado might not know.
Whether you fall into that category or you simply have a curious mind, join us as we delve into ten surprising facts that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for America’s favorite pastime. There’s more to the World Series than meets the eye!
The Essence of the World Series
- The World Series is an annual championship in Major League Baseball (MLB), pitting the champion team of the National League against the champion of the American League.
- This historic series traces its roots back to 1903 when the Boston Red Sox faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first official World Series.
- The series typically takes place in October, marking the culmination of the baseball season. The timing is carefully chosen to avoid clashes with the other major sporting events like the NFL.
- One of the most intriguing aspects is the best-of-seven format. The first team to win four games is crowned the champion. This allows for incredible game strategies and comeback opportunities.
The Atlanta Braves, sporting the best offense in the National League, have already been singled out by the sportsbooks as favorites for the World Series this year. They have the best record of the season at 76-42. The LA Dodgers are not far behind them as far as World Series odds are concerned but the championship is known for kicking up its fair share of upsets and underdog stories.
Ten Fascinating World Series Facts
- The Name – The name was first coined by 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates (National League Champions) owner Barney Dreyfuss who challenged the Boston Red Sox, formerly the Boston Americans, (American League Champions) to a “World’s Championship Series”. The Red Sox won the inaugural championship. Over time the name has shortened to the World Series.
- Babe Ruth’s Pitching Dominance – Before becoming a legendary home run hitter, Babe Ruth was a dominant pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In the 1918 World Series, he pitched 29 consecutive scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs, a record that stood for more than 40 years.
- Chicago Cubs Elusive Victory – The Chicago Cubs hold the record for the longest World Series drought in history. Lifting the trophy in 1908 and failing to do so again until 2015, reaching the finals seven times in the interim.
- Freddie Freeman’s Tape-Measure Home Run – Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman made the record books by hitting a 460-foot home run in the fifth game of the series against the Astros at Truist Park – the longest, verifiably, in World Series history. While it doesn’t compare to Mickey Mantle’s reported 565-footer, the ball left the bat at 112 mph and managed to make its way deep into the right-center field seats.
- Perfect Game Perfection – In the 1956 World Series, Yankees pitcher Don Larsen achieved the rare feat of pitching a perfect game, where no Brooklyn Dodger batter reached base. This remains the only perfect game in World Series history.
- Jackie Robinson’s Barrier-Breaking Moment – In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. His presence in the World Series that year marked a pivotal moment in sports history.
- Longest World Series Game – The 2018 World Series saw the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers compete in the longest World Series game by time. Game 3 went to 18 innings and lasted 7 hours and 20 minutes.
- 1993 World Series Fireworks – The 1993 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies featured a memorable game where Joe Carter of the Blue Jays hit a walk-off home run to win the championship. Carter’s iconic home run sealed the victory and remains one of the most enduring moments in World Series history.
- Pitching Duel of 1991 – The 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves is known for its epic pitching duel in Game 7. The Twins’ Jack Morris and the Braves’ John Smoltz engaged in a tense battle, with Morris ultimately pitching a 10-inning shutout to secure the championship for the Twins.
- A Fitting Trophy – The World Series champions receive the Commissioner’s Trophy, presented by the Commissioner of Baseball. The current iteration was designed by Tiffany & Co. and depicts flags representing each team in the MLB.
These ten facts showcase just a hint of the rich history, memorable moments and remarkable achievements that make the World Series a captivating and cherished event in the world of sports. Who will you be backing this year?