The 2013 World Series is ready to begin Wednesday night, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing the Boston Red Sox. With two of the most storied franchises in the history of Major League Baseball set to square off, here is a look at some of the coolest stories and bits of trivia from the long history of this great event:
The Canadian Games
Despite being called The World Series, only two match ups have ever featured games played outside of the United States. The 1992 and 1993 World Series were both won by the Toronto Blue Jays. As another fun fact, the ’93 Series was one of only two World Series to end on a walk off home run, with Joe Carter’s 3 run shot ending game 6 and clinching for the Blue Jays. And finally, this represented the first time that an expansion franchise won the World Series in consecutive years. It was certainly an historic run for the Blue Jays.
Don Larsen: The Only Perfect Game
Don Larsen pitched his way into World Series immortality during the 1956 World Series, pitching a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers. His nine inning masterpiece remains the only no-hitter ever thrown during the World Series. Yogi Berra caught the final strike, and the footage of him bear-hugging Larsen just off the first base line should give you chills.
First Night Game
The World Series is famously played at night, attracting the largest possible television audiences. In fact, every game has been scheduled to start at night since Game 6 of the 1987 series. But this was not always the case. The first night game was Game 4 of the 1971 World Series in Pittsburgh. The Pirates would beat the Baltimore Orioles that night 4-3, and set the stage for the blockbuster event that World Series has become.
The 1919 Black Sox scandal
One of the darker moments in the early history of the game, the 1919 World Series resulted in the lifetime ban of eight major league players for intentionally throwing the games. Chicago White Sox first baseman Chick Gandil masterminded the fix. Gandil had well known ties to organized crime, and managed to recruit seven other players in on the fix. Primarily driven by money (the players involved were paid off in sums much larger than their annual baseball salaries), the eight players were eventually discovered, but not before having done major damage to the reputation of the game. The establishment of a commissioner’s office was directly due to the Black Sox Scandal, as it is now known.
Three homer games
A player has hit three home runs in a single game on five different occasions: Babe Ruth did it twice in 1926 and 1928, Reggie Jackson earned his Mr. October nickname in 1977, Albert Pujols in 2011 had one of the greatest hitting days in postseason history, and most recently Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs for the Giants in 2012.
The 2013 series will certainly be memorable and historic, but will anybody be able to join the immortals with a first ever happening or the type of performance that we remember for decades? Tune in Wednesday to find out.