5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the World Series
- Why the World Series
- The Second World Series Never Happened
- The 1994-95 Strike
- The Tradition of Rings
- It Wasn’t Always Played at Night
Baseball is known fondly as America’s Favorite Passtime, and while gaining international popularity in recent years, it is still predominantly an American sport. Why then, are its ultimate playoffs called the World Series? For those who have always been curious about this, here is the answer, along with four other surprising facts about the World Series.
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1. Why the World Series
Baseball teams are divided into two leagues: the American League, and the National League. In 1903, the Pittsburg Pirates were leading the National League, and the Boston Red Sox were leading the American League. They were called the Boston Americans at the time. Barney Dreyfuss, the owner of the Pirates, challenged Red Sox’s owner Henry Killilea to what he called a World’s Champion Series. The name stuck and shortened to World Series over time. Perhaps they kept the name because, while all teams are American except for the Canadian Toronto Blue Jays, not all players are. Many professional baseball players come from nations all across the globe.
2. The Second World Series…
…never happened. The Boston Americans, who won the first World’s Championship Series in 1903, were set to play the then New York (now San Francisco) Giants of the National League. The New York Giants, however, refused to play their ultimate rivals. The Giants claimed that the American League was not a real league. Giants owner John T. Brush declared his team the world champions, but historically, that game just did not exist. Today, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are two of the most renowned rivals in baseball. While the Red Sox have ended up facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in this year’s World Series, the New York Times piece about the Boston-New York face-off leading up to it is still a fascinating read.
3. From Strike Out to Strike
Exactly 90 years later, another World Series was canceled. A battle between owners broke out over a litany of topics, from revenue and player salary, to the spirit of competition. The result was a strike that spanned from 1994 to 1995, just in time to disappoint countless fans with the loss of the 1994 World Series. CBS Sports offers a deep dive into the history and repercussions of the cancellation, as well as a debate about who to blame. This was the last World Series canceled to date.
4. It’s a Dead Ringer
In 1922, a new World Series tradition was born. Winning teams rewarded all players and coaches with exquisite rings. That is until Frank Crosetti went on to play 17 years and coach 20 more with the New York Yankees. Throughout his career, he participated in 17 World Series wins. After the 17th, he decided that was one ring too many, and requested an engraved shotgun in its place.
5. When the Lights Go Down on Baseball
The 1971 World Series was the first to include a game played at night. Baseball officials realized that fewer and fewer fans were able to watch the series given their daytime obligations to work and school, so they decided to start shifting the series to the night. That very first nighttime World Series game was played between the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburg Pirates. By 1973, all World Series games were held at nighttime.
To many, baseball is more than just a game. It is a tradition full of history, drama, and humor. The World Series is many people’s favorite time of year. It is a time of team spirit, nostalgia, and celebration.