Since the first recognized meeting of the American and National League champions in 1903, the World Series has marked a special time on the sports calendar. While America’s attention otherwise turns to football, the chill of fall witnesses baseball deliver its highest drama. Following a lengthy season, which began on the spring training diamonds of Florida and Arizona back in February, two successful teams stand only four wins away from being crowned ultimate champion. With over a century of history, fans enjoy a wealth of trivia about World Series competition. And since all but two of baseball’s 30 teams (Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners) have reached the World Series, the scope of such tidbits is near limitless.
Here are five examples of the always fun topic of World Series trivia.
Two Teams Now Tied for Second Most World Series Appearances
It is widely known that the New York Yankees have reached the Fall Classic far more than any other team. With 40 World Series appearances and 27 titles in franchise history, the club has made October its preferred month since first its trip to the World Series in 1921. Two National League teams are tied for the second most appearances and recent times reveal the competition is wide open. With a trip to the 2013 World Series to face the Boston Red Sox, the Cardinals have played for baseball’s championship 19 times. It is the club’s fourth appearance in the past decade and the Red Birds have already claimed recent titles in 2006 and 2011. Tied for second place are the San Francisco Giants, who also have made 19 appearances in the World Series, including a pair of triumphs in 2010 and 2012. A tie-breaking edge must go to the Cards, however, as they possess 11 championships, in contrast to 7 for the Giants.
13 Pitchers Won Three Games in a World Series
Few achievements have proven more dominant than a pitcher capturing three games of a World Series. After all, only four total victories have been necessary since the format switched to best-of-seven in 1922. Though 13 different hurlers have claimed three wins during a single series, eight had the benefit of the prior best-of-nine era. Therefore, only six elite pitchers won those three games in the past 90 years of championship baseball. The feat was last accomplished in 2001, when Randy Johnson captured two contests as a starter and one in relief. Even more stellar were the efforts of Mickey Lolich in 1968, Bob Gibson in 1967, and Lew Burdette in 1957. Each of those competitors racked up 3 wins in a single series by pitching 3 complete games. Behind a pair of shutouts, and a minuscule 0.67 ERA in 27 combined innings, Burdette was the 1957 World Series MVP. His performance enabled the Milwaukee Braves to upset the Yankees 4 games to 3 and may be the greatest pitching ever in a World Series.
Light-Hitting Bobby Richardson Posted Most RBI in a World Series
This Yankees’ second baseman impressively has held the record for most RBI in a single world series for over fifty years. Knocking in 12 runs in during a back-and-forth 1960 series, Richardson was part of one of the most prolific offensive attacks in baseball history, which included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Roger Maris. Despite falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates on a dramatic walk-off home run in the 9th inning of the seventh game, the Yanks outscored the Bucs by a combined 55-27 score. Interestingly, the seven-time All Star never produced even as many as 60 RBI during a respectable 12 year-career and only knocked in a total of 3 RBI in six additional World Series appearances. Yet, Richardson’s stunning production in the 1960 Fall Classic remains legendary and has stood the test of time.
Which World Series Were Played in One Ballpark?
When the New York Yankees and New York Giants shared the Polo Grounds from 1913 to 1922, these same-city rivals met twice to determine baseball’s champion. In the last playoff to use a best-of-nine format, the Giants captured the 1921 World Series 5 games to 3. With slugger Babe Ruth battling an array of injuries, the Giants’ pitching proved dominant, and even held their feared opponents scoreless two times. These games also became the first World Series broadcast on radio. The squads squared off on the same field a year later, when the Giants claimed glory again 4 games to 0. Fans have witnessed a single stadium hold an entire series just one more time, when the St. Louis Cardinals overcame the St. Louis Browns 4 games to 2 in 1944. Sportsman’s Park housed both clubs from 1920 to 1953, when the Browns left town to become the Baltimore Orioles.
Yogi Berra Is Truly “Mr. World Series”
Though Reggie Jackson was dubbed “Mr. October” for his brilliance in the post-season, no player left a greater impact on World Series history than Yogi Berra. Then dealing with only a single round of playoffs, the three-time American League MVP reached the Fall Classic 14 times during a 19-year career. The Hall-of-Famer possesses a record 10 championships as a player and even accumulated three more as a coach. Reaching the playoffs on a near annual basis during the Yankees’ historic run from 1947 to 1964, Berra and teammate Mickey Mantle dominate the Words Series record books. Perhaps his most unbreakable achievement is an astounding 71 total hits. Despite active leader Derek Jeter reaching the World Series on seven occasions, the veteran shortstop remains 21 back of Yogi. The catcher/outfielder is additionally the all-time leader with the most career World Series games, at bats, singles, and doubles.
More by Jeff Briscoe for Yahoo Contributor Network:
Baseball’s 5 Most Dominant Triple Crown Winners
Jeff Briscoe talks Tampa Bay Rays baseball and more on the Florida-based The Sports Train radio show.