The History of the World Series

Before the championship game we know today, there have been some different versions of a postseason championship game for baseball. In 1884, the Providence Grays of the National League outplayed the New York Metropolitan Club of the American Association in a three game series called “The Championship of the United States”. Some newspapers across the country pegged the Grays as “World Champions” and the name stuck. For the next six years, the series was played with some variations, like the amount of games. Some years, it was played with six games, others were played with 15 games. Then, in 1891, the American Association mysteriously folded, which forced a suspension of the series. The following year, the National League acquired four of the teams that were a part of the American Association and expanded to 12 teams to try and promote the sport. The entire season was split into two halves; the first half winner playing the second half winner for the championship. This way of playing the series was not popular, and was dropped in 1893.

In 1894, William C. Temple, the owner of the Pittsburgh team, offered a trophy to the winner of a best-of-seven series between the League’s top two teams. He also stated that the winning team would receive 65 percent of the ticket sales, and the losing team would get 35 percent of the ticket sales. This idea lasted for the next three years and would start to build the foundation of the popularity of the postseason. More changes were up ahead, and in 1901, a “civil war” began. The American League was established in 1901, to the dismay of the senior circuit. The two different leagues competed for fan’s loyalty and attention. After two years of this pointless fighting, a truce, formally known as the “National Agreement” redefined outlining baseball’s employment, salary, and travel requirements. This agreement produced a business blueprint for major league baseball and it resulted in the merger that is still in place today. The first official “World Series” was between the two top teams of both leagues: Boston and Pittsburgh.

Since then, the World Series has been a much-anticipated annual championship, but there have been some years where the World Series wasn’t played. The inaugural World Series was a resounding success and represented the healing of bruised egos between the National and American Leagues. The following year, some higher-up executives were still not happy with the merger of the two leagues so the series was cancelled. The owner of the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants), John T. Brush, refused to play the returning Boston Americans (now the Boston Red Sox). Brush regretted the decision later that year, and proposed to continue the series as originally conceived. There was another year where there was no series. In 1994, the series was cancelled due to a player strike. The strike lasted for 232 days and ended on Aug. 11 to not start back up again for the postseason. Since the entire postseason was cancelled, the World Series was cancelled. Major League Baseball didn’t start back up again until April 25, 1995, which caused the originally 165 game season to go down to a 144 game season. Luckily, this was the last strike that had ever happened, and hopefully, that will ever happen. The World Series is technically currently on its 115 year, but a baseball championship has been happening for the past 134 years.

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