The World Series as we know it began in 1903, when the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 in a best-of-nine series. There were some postseason series before that, though.
From 1884-1890, the champions of the National League and American Association met for series of various lengths. Baseball-reference now has the stats from those series.
The earliest was the 1884 series between the Providence Grays and the New York Metropolitans, which was swept by Providence 3-0. Old Hoss Radbourn, fresh off a 59-12 regular season, pitched all three games for the Grays and didn’t allow a run in 22 innings. Fellow Hall of Famer Tim Keefe was on the losing side of two of those games. Jerry Denny of the Grays was the star hitter of the series, collecting the only homer.
There was also one more “Championship Series” in 1892, one year after the American Association folded. That featured the National League’s first- and second-half champions, with the Boston Beaneaters defeating the Cleveland Spiders 5-0-1. Three Hall of Famers pitched in that one, with Kid Nichols going 2-0 for Boston and Cy Young and John Clarkson both losing twice for Cleveland. Hugh Duffy, the Hall of Fame outfielder, hit .462 and drove in nine runs for the Beaneaters.
It’s worth looking at the rest if you have some time to kill.
UPDATE: Here is what, in my view anyway, constitutes a sad update. The Yankees and Red Sox will not, themselves, be wearing these cool Union Jack caps on the field during the London Series games. They will be wearing regular caps with a special patch.
The good news is that the Union Jack caps will still be available to purchase if you’re so inclined. They’re just not going to be official on-field replicas. Alas.
My verbiage about the propriety of wearing Union Jack baseball-themed merchandise below still stands.
12:45 PM: Patriots in Boston led the fight against Great Britain for an independent America. The popularization of the word “yankee” has its origins in an often derogatory term British military and political leaders used for people native to the American colonies. In light of that, with the possible exception of the Nationals — it’s hard to find two teams with a better regional and/or etymological claim on, well, not being British.
But, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. here are the caps Major League Baseball just revealed the Yankees and Red Sox will be wearing in London when they meet next month:
And check out the crown on the back:
My intro to this article aside, I have no problem with these at all. Indeed, they look pretty cool. I’ve seen some people being grumpy about it seriously, in contrast to my jokingly, citing the history of the colonies and the Revolution and all of that and calling them inappropriate, but c’mon. These are some boss caps.
Besides (a) the war ended 238 years ago; and (b) we probably stole baseball from them anyway. Let your freak flag– er, Jack, fly.