The baseball playoffs are here.
The World Series will begin soon, and with its arrival comes a palpable sense of excitement filling the October air, rekindling the nostalgia of games past and summoning a flood of cherished memories for fans who’ve made this timeless tradition a part of their lives.
But how much do you really know about the championship games of America’s favorite pastime?
The First “World Series” was Not Quite Worldwide
The first “World Series” in 1903 was a battle between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Interestingly, it wasn’t considered a “world” series back then, but rather a championship series. It wasn’t until the New York Giants faced the Philadelphia Athletics in 1905 that the term “World Series” was coined.
Playing Through World War I and II
Even world wars couldn’t halt the World Series. During World War I, the series continued uninterrupted, while during World War II, it was played to boost the morale of both soldiers and civilians. In fact, during WWII, the series was played in September to ensure the daylight games would conserve electricity for wartime purposes.
1989 Earthquake Shakes the Series
During the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, a massive earthquake struck California, postponing the series for ten days. When it resumed, the Bay Area teams played in a memorable and emotional atmosphere.
Bill Wambsganss’s Unassisted Triple Play
The unassisted triple play is a rare feat, but Bill Wambsganss made it happen during the 1920 World Series. Playing for the Cleveland Indians, he nabbed a line drive, tagged second base to retire a runner, and then tagged a runner heading to third base. It remains the only unassisted triple play in World Series history.
Babe Ruth’s Called Shot
In Game 3 of the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs, Babe Ruth is said to have pointed to the outfield, calling his shot before hitting a home run. The exact truth remains debated, but the legend lives on.
The Series That Almost Wasn’t
The 1918 World Series almost didn’t take place due to a dispute between players and owners. Thankfully, an agreement was reached just in time, and the series went ahead, featuring the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.
The Battle of the Sox
It’s not uncommon for World Series to feature intense rivalries. In 1906, 1912, 1915, and 2005, there were battles of the “Sox” – the Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs in 1906, Boston Red Sox vs. New York Giants in 1912 and 1915, and Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros in 2005.
Records and Feats
From Reggie Jackson’s three home runs in a single game during the 1977 World Series to the impressive 14-inning battle in 1916 between the Brooklyn Robins (now the Dodgers) and Boston Red Sox, the World Series has seen its fair share of records and historic moments.
The Oldest and Youngest
In the 1928 World Series, Jack Quinn of the Philadelphia Athletics became the oldest pitcher at age 45 to start a World Series game. On the flip side, in the 1903 World Series, Jimmy Sebring of the Pittsburgh Pirates became the youngest player at age 19 to hit a home run in the series.
Ticket Prices Over Time
For a bit of fun with numbers, let’s talk ticket prices. In the inaugural 1903 World Series, a grandstand seat cost $1. By the 2020 World Series, the same ticket was $455. Quite the price jump, isn’t it?
The World Series, with its rich history and legendary moments, is more than just a baseball championship.
This legendary event is a tapestry of stories, characters, and unforgettable feats that continue to captivate fans year after year.
So, the next time you tune in to watch, or listen on the radio, or attend a game, remember these captivating tidbits and appreciate the depth of this historic competition.