As the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies battle in the 2022 version of Major League Baseball’s World Series, perhaps sports ultimate championship series, we’re reminded of World Series past, from a perfect game to a not so perfect blowout.
You might not recall that it wasn’t always the World Series. The first one of those happened in 1903, but from 1884-1890, the American Association (it folded in 1891) and National League sort of had world championships. It was organized by the teams, and the series, depending on the year, could last anywhere from three to 15 games.
In 1990, the American League emerged and three years later the first World Series was played, with the American League’s Boston Americans defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates, five games to three.
Here’s some other World Series trivia:
• The Yankees Don Larsen has recorded the only World Series no-hitter, a perfect game. The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0 in the fifth game of the 1956 Series. Larsen, 27, was not the Yankees’ ace. He started 20 games during the season and in game two of the Series he gave up four walks and four runs in an inning and two thirds. On the hill for the Dodgers in game five was Sal Maglie. Over his career, Larsen had an 81-91 record, and career earned run average of 3.78. There have been 23 Major League perfect games, the first of which was thrown by Lee Richmond in 1880. Richmond’s Worcester Red Legs beat the Cleveland Blues, 1-0. Five days later, on June 17, 1880, Monte Ward pitched a perfect game, propelling the Providence Grays to a 5-0 victory over the Buffalo Bisons.
• Talking about pitching, it’s the Yankees Whitey Ford who holds the World Series record for consecutive scoreless inning at 33, beating out Babe Ruth, who previously held the record at 29 1/3.
• It’s amazing that so many of World Series’ first or records revolve around the Yankees. In 1943, during World War II, the Series would go on, but without future Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, and Red Ruffng.
• First pinch-hit home run: the Yankees Yogi Berra in game three of the 1947 World Series.
• Most stolen bases: The Cardinals Lou Brock, who stole seven bases in both the 1967 and 1968 World Series. He and Eddie Collins are tied for career stolen bases in the World Series, with 14.
• Ticket prices for this year’s World Series were reaching into the thousands, and there hasn’t been an empty seat. But way back in 1908, the final game of a World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers, only 6,210 fans attended the game at West /side Park, the Cubs’ intermittent home. The stadium had an estimated capacity of 16,000. A ticket-scalping scheme that had fans boycotting games was blamed for the turnout The Cubs won that Series.
• Imagine snowflakes and ice patches during a World Series game. It happened on Oct 22, 1997, in Cleveland, Ohio, a game between the Florida Marlins and Cleveland Indians. It was the coldest Series game on record, a low of 38 and wind chill of 28. The previous two games were played in 80-degree weather.
• Longest World Series game – game three of the 2005 Series between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros, 14 innings with Chicago winning 7-5.
• Most Home Runs in a single World Series, five by Yankees Reggie Jackson in 1977 and Phillies Chase Utley in 2009.
• Unassisted Triple Play: Second baseman Bill Wambsganss in game five of the 1920 Series. He caught a line drive off Brooklyn Dodger Clarence Matchell, stepped on second to get Pete Kilduff, and then tagged Otto Miller, who had been running from first base.
• No list would be complete with mention of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. The Series pitted the Chicago White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds got a little help, allegedly, from eight White Sox players who were accused of intentionally losing games, in exchange for money. The players were acquitted in court but banned from baseball for life.
These are just a few World Series’ moments to remember, as the Astros and Phillies try to add their special achievements to the long list of World Series’ milestones.