As the 2022 World Series approaches, it’s a great time to look back on some of the greatest World Series matchups in history. From the designated hitter era all the way back to the dead-ball era, memorable World Series moments have marked the time for so many fans. Fanatics has an amazing array of sports collectibles from the game’s iconic World Series stars.
2019: Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros
2019 marked both the first World Series appearance and championship for the Nationals. It was also the only World Series ever in which the visiting team won every single game. The Nationals won two in Houston, lost three in a row in Washington, then took the final two in Houston. It also served as the national audience’s introduction to slugging phenom Juan Soto.
2016: Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians
After 108 years, the Cubs finally overcame their own curse. Rookie Kyle Schwarber returned from a catastrophic knee injury to lead the Cubs with a .412 batting average, all while serving as the designated hitter because he wasn’t yet cleared to play in the field.
In Game 2, the Cubs started a record six players under the age of 25, including stars like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Starter Jake Arrieta went 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA in the series. The Indians took a 3-1 lead in the series, but the Cubs came back to win Games 5 and 7 to take the Series. Game 7, widely considered one of the greatest games in World Series history, was a 10-inning affair featuring a ninth-inning rain delay.
2004: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Red Sox finally defeated the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. After battling back from a 3-0 deficit to the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in the World Series. Behind stars like David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, and Curt Schilling, the Sox swept the Cards and gave Boston reason to celebrate.
2001: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees
The Yanks appeared in six of eight World Series between 1996 and 2003, winning four. The team featured legends like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera. Randy Johnson came off his third of four consecutive Cy Young Awards, and the D-backs countered with another Cy Young Award winner. Together, the co-aces started five of the seven games in the series, going 4-0 and allowing just six runs in nearly 39 innings. The series would end in a walk-off single by Luis Gonzalez, and Johnson and Schilling would share the MVP.
1993: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies and Blue Jays put on one of the most memorable Series in the past 30 years. Joe Carter’s Game 6 walk-off home run put an exclamation point on the Jays’ second consecutive championship. CBS Sports calculated that by measuring the stat Win Probability Added, all the lead changes and late game heroics made 1993 the most exciting World Series of all time.
1989: Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants
In this Bay Area World Series, stars Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Dennis Eckersley, and Dave Stewart led the A’s. After losing to Orel Hershiser and the underdog Dodgers in 1988, the Bash Brothers and company were not to be denied. The Oakland A’s swept the Giants handily, winning every game by at least three runs. The only thing that could slow down Oakland’s coronation was the earthquake that shook Candlestick Park just minutes before Game 3 was scheduled to start.
1975: Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox
ESPN once ranked the 1975 World Series as the greatest of all time. The Big Red Machine, fueled by legends Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, and Joe Morgan, would go on to win in seven, but the true highlight was in Game 6. In the bottom of the 12th inning, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit a walk-off home run over the Green Monster and just inside the foul pole. The footage of Fisk willing the ball to stay fair is still one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.
1964: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees
The 1964 series between Major League Baseball’s two winningest franchises was an all-time classic in its own right. Featuring Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, and Lou Brock, it didn’t need much in the way of embellishment. All the same, it achieved legendary status when it was immortalized in David Halberstam’s book “October 1964.” The series went the distance, with the Cardinals squeaking out a win in Game 7 behind a gutsy performance by Gibson.
1956: New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
The 1956 World Series featured the only perfect game in World Series history. The perfecto came from unlikely hero Don Larsen, who went 11-5 in the regular season and didn’t lead the Yankee rotation in any major statistical categories. Fans of memorabilia can snag an autographed picture of Larsen and catcher Yogi Berra celebrating after the final out. 1956 was the second year in a row that the Yankees defeated the Dodgers in the series and the second of four straight appearances by the Yankees.
In fact, between 1947 and 1964, the Yankees would appear in an unbelievable 15 of 18 World Series, winning 10 championships.
1947: New York Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
1947 marked the first World Series of the integration era, as 1947 was Jackie Robinson’s rookie year with the Dodgers. Robinson took home National League Rookie of the Year honors, batting .297 and leading the league in stolen bases. Unfortunately, Robinson’s production fell off in the Series, and the Yankees won in seven games. Yankees starter Bill Bevens nearly threw a no-hitter in Game 4. He went eight and two-thirds no-hit innings before surrendering a walk-off double in the ninth.
1934: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Detroit Tigers
Pitcher Dizzy Dean’s 30 wins powered the Cardinals to the pennant in 1934. He also picked up the National League MVP Award. Dean continued to impress in the series, going 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA. The story of the series, however, was Joe Medwick’s hard slide into third base in Game 7. The fans in Detroit were so enraged by the play that they interrupted the game by throwing foreign objects onto the field at Medwick. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis removed Medwick from the game, but it didn’t stop the Cardinals from winning the game and the series.
1923: New York Yankees vs. New York Giants
The 1923 World Series was the third consecutive clash between the Yankees and the Giants. It was also the first of the Yankees’ record 27 championships. It marked Babe Ruth’s sixth World Series, and the Babe did not disappoint. He batted .368 and walloped a series-leading three home runs, good for an OPS of 1.556. It’s no wonder you can still see fans wearing Ruth’s officially licensed sports apparel at Yankee Stadium to this day.
Future Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel appeared in the series for the Giants. The legendary skipper smashed two home runs of his own, posting a .417 batting average and a very nearly Ruthian 1.479 OPS.
1919: Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago White Sox
The 1919 World Series is one of the most famous in baseball history for good reason. In what became known as the Black Sox Scandal, eight players on the heavily favored White Sox were accused of intentionally throwing the series. Though cleared of wrongdoing in court, newly appointed commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned the eight players for life. The eight were headlined by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who followed up a .351/.422/.506 regular season slash line by batting .375 in the World Series without making a single error.
1908: Chicago Cubs vs. Detroit Tigers
Everyone in Chicago knows about 1908. For the second year in a row, the Cubs defeated the Tigers, but it marked their last championship for 108 years. The series featured stars like Mordecai Brown, Ty Cobb, and the legendary double play combination of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance. The Cubs would go on to make seven unsuccessful World Series between 1909 and 1945, and then suffer a 71-year drought before finally winning it all again in 2016.
1903: Boston Americans vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
With the National League and the younger American League still battling for supremacy, the World Series was established to appoint a championship across all leagues. The ball club from Boston wouldn’t be known as the Red Sox until 1908. Led by left fielder Patsy Dougherty, who hit two of the three home runs in the series, the Americans put Honus Wagner and the Pirates down 5-3. There would be no World Series in 1904, but it returned for good in 1905.