World Series trivia

By George Garza
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Each member of the winning 1903 World Series team received $1,182 - in 2005, each player received more than $200,000
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Do you know your World Series trivia?

The 2007 World Series has just ended. For baseball fans, it is a period of mourning. They will have to wait six months for the next season to start. In the meantime, let's enjoy some World Series trivia.

World Series Trivia

What year was the first World Series game played? 1903. That year National League and American League decided to get together for a world championship series. They had been feuding for several years stealing each other's players, interfering with schedules so in 1903 the Boston Pilgrims (American League) and Pittsburgh Pirates (National League) played each other in a 9-game series (7 games are the norm now) in which the Pilgrims won in 8 games (5-3). Each member of the Boston Pilgrims, who won the 1903 World Series, received $1,182. Each member of the Chicago White Sox, who won the 2005 World Series, received more than $200,000!

But after that the National League, The New York Giants team, refused to play the Boston Americans in 1904, causing the World Series to be canceled. The only other time the series was cancelled was in 1994. The World Series was cancelled after baseball players went on strike in August.

Other facts:
  • Woodrow Wilson was the first U.S. president to throw out the first ball in a World Series.
  • Natural disasters sometimes have interfered with the game. The 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's was postponed for 10 days after a massive earthquake rocked Northern California.
  • The longest game played? The World Series game on Oct. 21, 2000, between the Yankees and the Mets, ran four hours, 51 minutes and spanned 12 innings.
Probably the most notorious trivia fact is the throwing of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. Arnold Rothstein was the notorious gambler accused, but never convicted of fixing the Series. The entire team was forever banned from baseball, and it started the reign of Judge Kennesaw "Mountain" Landis as the commissioner of baseball. Shoeless Joe Jackson knew of his teammates association with gamblers, but his play during the series was outstanding. Still, he suffered the fate of the others and the popular refrain "Say it ain't so Joe" took a life of its own.

Winning Teams and Losing Teams

If the Dallas Cowboys are America's team in football, that honor in baseball goes to the Yankees. Between 1923 and 2000, the Yankees put 26 championships to their name. That's almost three times as many as the second-place titleholders, the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, 86 years after their last World Series title in 1918. Some blame this long losing streak on the Curse of the Bambino. Babe Ruth, the Bambino, was a Boston Red Sox player and was traded to the Yankees. The Yankees began their 20th century domination of the sport. In 2005, the Chicago White Sox ended an even longer streak of World Series troubles by winning their first title since 1917.

On the other hand, some teams can't win for losing. The Chicago Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908. They came close in 2007, but sadly they lost in the playoffs and didn't even make it into the series. Things were looking good back then. They had a Series win in 1907 and again in 1908. This made them the first-ever back-to-back World Series winners.

But in 2001 the expansion team Arizona Diamondbacks led by pitcher Randy "Big Unit" Johnson won the series against the Yankees just three years after their Major League Baseball debut.

Plays and Players

There have been some interesting plays and players in the World Series.
  • Mickey Mantle holds the record for most World Series home runs with 18. He played in 12 Fall Classics. He also holds World Series records for most runs (42), runs batted in (40) and total bases (123).
  • During the 1920 World Series during the fifth inning, a triple play occurred. It was an unassisted triple play. Bill Wambsganss caught a line drive hit by Clarence Mitchell. He then stepped on second to put out Pete Kilduff and personally tagged Otto Miller, who was coming from first.
  • Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants was walked a record 13 times during the 2002 World Series. The Angels thought he was less dangerous on the base path than in the batter's box. The series was won by the Anaheim Angels.
  • Speaking of the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder Lou Brock stole a record 7 bases in the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. He did the same a year later in a losing World Series effort against the Detroit Tigers.
  • Sandy Koufax came back from a game 2 loss with a 4-hitter in game 5 and a 3-hitter in game 7. His earned runs average (ERA) was amazing. He finished with a 0.38 ERA. He also had a record 29 strikeouts, and won World Series MVP honors.

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