Since 1903, the World Series has endured two world wars, global pandemics, the Great Depression, an earthquake, and 9/11. What it has not endured is the egos of the men who run Major League Baseball. The World Series was boycotted in 1904 because the owner of the New York Giants felt their opponents, the Boston Americans, were too inferior. The World Series was cancelled in 1994 due to a player’s strike.
The first World Series was won by the Boston Americans (now the Boston Red Sox). They defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates five games to three.
The World Series is the ultimate event of every MLB season. The seven-game series features the champions of the American League playing the champions of the National League. The series format is 2-3-2. Since 2003, home field advantage has gone to the team from the league that won that year’s All-Star Game.
Since 1969, the American and National Leagues have held a playoff to determine their respective league champions. Prior to that year, there were no playoffs and the teams with the best regular season records from each league faced off in the Fall Classic.
Events similar to today’s World Series occurred before 1903 but they are no longer recognized by Major League Baseball. Series from these eras were unorganized and competed in as few as three games and in as many as fifteen. Two of these series ended in a tie.
By far, the New York Yankees have won the most World Series championships. As of 2014, the Yankees have won 27 World Series titles while appearing in 40. Other teams that have won six or more championships include the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, and Boston Red Sox.
The Texas Rangers qualified for the World Series for the first time in 2010. That left the Seattle Mariners (American League) and Washington Nationals (National League) as the only two MLB teams that have never competed in the Fall Classic.
The Chicago Cubs currently hold the record for the longest World Series drought and the longest league championship drought. The Cubs haven’t reached the World Series since 1945 and they haven’t won it since 1908. Their tremendously long losing streak has endeared them to baseball fans all over the nation.