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Monday, October 12, 2009

The Story of the Very First World Series

By Nathan R Park

The very first World Series was played in 1903 between the Boston American League club (now the Boston Red Sox) and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Although the first world series wasn't played until 1903, there was a previous championship called "The Championship of the United States" and "World's Championship Series", which the winners of the National League and American Association had played from 1884 to 1891. The Series ended when the American Association folded in 1891.

Ban Johnson formed the American League in 1901 to try and take advantage of the National League's cut down from twelve teams down to eight. Ban Johnson and fellow owners raided the senior circuit and signed away many star players. This constant raiding formed the idea of a championship between the National and American Leagues.

The two leagues finally called a truce in the winter of 1902. The following August, Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates challenged the Boston American League Club to an eleven game Championship Series but instead agreed to a best-of-nine championship The first three games were played in Boston, the next four in Pittsburgh, and the remaining two in Boston.

Some in-game action saw Sam Leever, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates injuring his shoulder while trap-shooting. His teammate Deacon Phillippe had to stand in and pitch five complete games for Pittsburgh. He even set a Series record by striking out ten Boston batters, but that record was later broke, as Dinneen struck out eleven Pittsburgh batters in Game 2!

The Boston Americans came back behind to win the final four games. The end result for the 1903 Series, Boston won the first World Series five games to three, winning the last four.

Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share. This meant that the losing team's players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team!

The very first World Series was a voluntary arrangement between the two clubs, and so a World Series in 1904 did not take place.

The success of the first World Series proved the newly formed American League could beat the best of the National League, increasing the demand for future Series'. And so in 1905, the World Series was made into a formal compulsory annual event.

There is much to learn about baseball. Visit Major League Baseball Brainiac - an excellent source for baseball history, facts and information.

For more information about the first World Series, check out the Baseball Brainiac page The First World Series.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
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Have a great day, Nick