The modern era of World Series history effectively began in 1969. That was the year major league baseball’s postseason changed and playoff rounds were introduced prior to the Fall Classic. No longer could a team win a pennant and move directly to the World Series. From 1969-93, there was a single League Championship Series hurdle to clear. Then a Division Series round was implemented and in 2012 a single wild-card game knockout was established. This page takes you on a year-by-year tour through 2019.
GREAT 1980s SPORTS MOMENTS
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This page has a concise summary of each World Series played since 1969. The teams and their record are listed, as is the Series MVP. We then wrap it up with a brief description of the events that made each particular World Series unique.
A couple things to note are that the method for determining homefield advantage has evolved during this time period, and changes are noted through the timeline. In all cases, the 2-3-2 format was used. The other, more minor note regards the won-loss records. It doesn’t always add up to a clean 162. There are numerous cases of rainouts not made up and teams playing fewer games. And in a couple instances—notably 1978 and 2007—a team that made the Series had to a win a one-game playoff to reach the postseason and MLB counts these games against the regular season record.
Bookmark this page as a reference tool and enjoy the ride through the modern era of World Series history. Check out our Pinterest board for a pictorial tour of the same time period.
HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE ROTATES
AL IN ODD-NUMBERED YEARS, NL IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS
1969: New York Mets (100-62) vs. Baltimore Orioles (109-53)
Result: NY Mets in 5
MVP: Donn Clendenon (1B, NY Mets)
Summary: The Orioles were heavy favorites and took Game 1 at home behind Mike Cuellar’s six-hitter. Then Mets pitching took over. Over the next three games a Baltimore lineup with Frank Robinson, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson mustered just two runs. New York won all three games. Two of the games were 2-1 decisions and each time Clendenon hit a solo home run. In Game 5, the Mets trailed 3-0 when Clendenon hit a two-run blast in the sixth, the Mets tied it in the seventh, took the lead in the eighth and clinched an improbable championship—some called it amazing.
1970: Baltimore Orioles (108-54) vs. Cincinnati Reds (102-60)
Result: Baltimore in 5
MVP: Brooks Robinson (3B, Baltimore)
Summary: Baltimore won both opening games in Cincinnati, 4-3 and 6-5. Powell homered in each game and the Orioles’ five-run rally in the fifth decided Game 2. They kept the bats rolling at home, getting three hits from Paul Blair in a 9-3 rout. Baltimore held a 5-3 lead in Game 4 with Jim Palmer on the mound before an eighth-inning Reds rally extended the Series. In Game 5, the Birds got another three-hit game from Blair and another 9-3 win. Brooks Robinson finished the series 9-for-21, homered twice and produced a series of defensive highlights.
1971: Pittsburgh Pirates (97-65) vs. Baltimore Orioles (101-61)
Result: Pittsburgh in 7
MVP: Roberto Clemente (RF, Pittsburgh)
Summary: Baltimore scored sixteen runs in winning the first two games at home. Back in Pittsburgh, the Pirates’ Steve Blass threw a complete-game three-hitter to turn momentum. Pittsburgh rallied from a 3-0 deficit in Game 4 with 6-plus innings of scoreless relief from Bruce Kison. A two-hitter by Nelson Briles won Game 5 and the Pirates took a 2-zip lead into the sixth inning of Game 6. Finally, the Orioles awoke and won 3-2 in extra innings. But in Game 7, Blass threw a four-hitter. Clemente homered early, capping a Series where he went 12-for-29. The Pirates won 2-1.
1972: Oakland A’s (93-62) vs. Cincinnati Reds (95-59)
Result: Oakland in 7
MVP: Gene Tenace (C, Oakland)
Summary: The Big Red Machine was upstaged by Tenace, who homered twice in a 3-2 win to start the Series. Cincinnati continued to struggle at the plate for the next three games. They lost again at home 2-1 before getting a 1-0 win. Oakland trailed the fourth game 2-1 in the ninth before winning with four straight singles. Cincy started to hit, rallying for a 5-4 win in Game 5 and then unloading for an 8-1 win in Game 6. Game 7 was tied 1-1 in the sixth, Tenace hit a go-ahead double and Oakland hung on for a 3-2 win.
1973: Oakland A’s (94-68) vs. New York Mets (82-79)
Result: Oakland in 7
MVP: Reggie Jackson (RF, Oakland)
Summary: Oakland’s Ken Holtzman outdueled New York’s Jon Matlack 2-1 in the opener. The Mets overcame four hits by Reggie in a wild 10-7 win that went twelve innings. Bert Campaneris gave Oakland the series lead in Game 3 with two-out single in the top of the 11th. But the A’s bats were silenced in losing Games 4 & 5, scoring just one run combined. Reggie got three hits to key a 3-1 win in Game 6 and set up a third Holtzman-Matlack showdown. Oakland got home runs in the third from Reggie and Campaneris and won without drama, 5-2.
1974: Oakland A’s (90-72) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (102-60)
Result: Oakland in 5
MVP: Rollie Fingers (RP, Oakland)
Summary: Four of the five games ended by a final of 3-2. They split the first two in Dodger Stadium. Oakland got the first behind 4.1 IP of relief from Fingers, while Los Angeles took Game 2. Fingers got the final five outs of Game 3. Game 4 was the offensive anomaly, with the A’s getting four runs in the sixth to grab a 5-2 lead. Fingers got the last four outs. In Game 5, Joe Rudi broke a 2-2 tie with a seventh inning home run. Fingers came on again, nailing down the last two innings and the Oakland three-peat.
1975: Cincinnati Reds (108-54) vs. Boston Red Sox (95-65)
Result: Cincinnati in 7
MVP: Pete Rose (3B, Cincinnati)
Summary: Luis Tiant carried the Red Sox, with a 6-0 masterpiece in Game 1 and a 163-pitch effort to win Game 4. Cincy used an eighth-inning rally to win Game 2 and a controversial call to take Game 3. The Reds coasted in Game 5, setting the stage for two all-time classics. Boston won Game 6, 7-6, with Bernie Carbo’s tying home run, Dwight Evans’ stunning catch and Carlton Fisk’s off-the-foul-pole walkoff. In Game 7, Cincinnati rallied from 3-0 down. Joe Morgan broke a 3-3 tie in the ninth with a two-out single. Rose’s .485 on-base percentage led all everyday players.
1976: Cincinnati Reds (102-60) vs. New York Yankees (97-62)
Result: Cincinnati in 4
MVP: Johnny Bench (C, Cincinnati)
Summary: The only moment when this Series was even in the remotest of doubt was late in Game 2. The Reds had taken the opener 5-1 and jumped to a 3-zip lead in Game 2, but the Yankees had rallied to tie the game by the ninth. Then an infield hit, throwing error and single won that game for Cincinnati. The Reds coasted to a 6-2 win in Game 3, then sealed it with a 7-2 rout. Johnny Bench, after going 6-for-11 in the first three games, sealed his MVP award with two home runs to blow Game 4 open.
1977: New York Yankees (100-62) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (98-64)
Result: New York in 6
MVP: Reggie Jackson (RF, New York)
Summary: They split the first two games before Yankee pitching took over Mike Torrez won Game 3 and Rod Guidry threw a complete-game four-hit masterpiece to win Game 4. Even though the Dodgers won Game 5 handily, New York had two games at home, with Torrez and Guidry ready to pitch. But all they needed was Reggie’s bat. In four Game 6 plate appearances he drew a four-pitch walk and then homered on his first swing the other three times. It was an 8-4 win and the Yankees were champs for the first time in the modern era.
1978: New York Yankees (100-63) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67)
Result: New York in 6
MVP: Bucky Dent (SS, New York)
Summary: Los Angeles took the first two, with Game 2 punctuated by Bob Welch, winning an epic duel with Reggie to preserve a 4-3 win. New York got a stellar defensive effort from Graig Nettles to take the third game 5-1. The Yanks won Game 4 in extra innings, highlighted by a Jackson baserunning controversy, and from that point forward the Dodgers collapsed. With Bucky Dent going 10-for-24 and leading a death-by-a-thousand-cuts attack, New York won the last two games by a combined 19-4. The Yanks were the first team to win a Series in six after losing the first two. Read more about the 1978 MLB Season
1979: Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64) vs. Baltimore Orioles (102-57)
Result: Pittsburgh in 7
MVP: Willie Stargell (1B, Pittsburgh)
Summary: The Baltimore bats were the story in the first part of this World Series. The Orioles used a five-run first inning to take the opener and scored a combined 17 runs in winning games 3 & 4. Baltimore had Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan to pitch Game 5, and home dates for Games 6 & 7 in reserve. Instead, the bats suddenly went quiet. The Orioles scored two runs total in the final three games. They still led the seventh game 1-0 in the sixth, when Stargell hit his third home run of the series and Pittsburgh won 4-1. Read more about the 1979 MLB Season
1980: Philadelphia Phillies (91-71) vs. Kansas City Royals (97-65)
Result: Philadelphia in 6
MVP: Mike Schmidt (3B, Philadelphia)
Summary: The Phillies used comebacks to win the first two games, rallying from an early 4-0 deficit in the opener and then from 4-2 down late in Game 2. The Royals continued to get early leads in Games 3 & 4. This time they won both. Game 5 was the best one of the Series. KC clung to a 3-2 lead before Philly rallied again to lead 4-3, then held on tohttps://www.thesportsnotebook.com/2014/05/1982-milwaukee-brewers-sports-history-articles/ win after Tug McGraw walked the bases loaded in the ninth. The Phils then took a 4-1 lead in Game 6, stifled one last Royal rally and were champs. Read more about the 1980 MLB season.
*A mid-summer strike cut out two months of the 1981 schedule
1981: Los Angeles Dodgers (63-47) vs. New York Yankees (59-48)
Result: Los Angeles in 6
MVP: Ron Cey (3B, Los Angeles), Pedro Guerrero (OF, Los Angeles), Steve Yeager (C, Los Angeles)
Summary: It was the mirror image of 1978. The Yankees won early, with efficient wins of 5-3 and 3-0. A third baseman turned the Series around. This time it was LA’s Ron Cey, who hit a three-run homer and made a defensive gem that secured Game 3. The Dodgers then won a wild 8-7 slugfest. Game 5 was a great pitchers’ duel between lefties Jerry Reuss and Ron Guidry. The decisive blows were landed in the seventh–back-to-back homers from Guerrero and Yeager to secure a 2-1 Dodger win. The Yankees then fell apart at home, losing 9-2 in Game 6. Read more about the 1981 MLB season.
1982: St. Louis Cardinals (92-70) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (95-67)
Result: St. Louis in 7
MVP: Darrell Porter (C, St. Louis)
Summary: Milwaukee came out swinging, winning the opener 10-0 behind a Series-record five hits from Paul Molitor and taking a 3-0 lead in Game 2. The Cards responded, rallying for a 5-4 win behind a key double from Porter, winning Game 3 easily and leading the fourth game 5-1 in the seventh. The Brewers responded. They scored six runs in the seventh to win Game 4, then took Game 5. St. Louis got an easy win in Game 6. The seventh game saw the Cards trail 3-1 in the sixth before scoring three runs and adding two more for late insurance. Read more about the 1982 MLB season.
1983: Baltimore Orioles (98-64) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (90-72)
Result: Baltimore in 5
MVP: Rick Dempsey (C, Baltimore)
Summary: Baltimore’s bats picked up where they left off in 1979—in the freezer. The Orioles lost the opener 2-1 and trailed the second game 1-zip in the fifth. A solo blast by John Lowenstein spurred a rally to a 4-1 win the Birds never looked back. They used outstanding bullpen work to beat the Phillies 3-2 and 5-4 and again moved to the brink of a championship. This time they finished the job. Scott McGregor was brilliant in Game 5, Eddie Murray hit two mammoth home runs, Dempsey hit a big home run and Baltimore cruised to a 5-0 win. Read more about the 1983 MLB season.
1984: Detroit Tigers (104-58) vs. San Diego Padres (92-70)
Result: Detroit in 5
MVP: Alan Trammell (SS, Detroit)
Summary: The Tigers were the heavy favorite and staff ace Jack Morris won a 3-2 decision in Game 1. A Padres rally took Game 2. Detroit rolled to a comfortable win in Game 3, and sent Morris back to the mound for the fourth game. The ace was brilliant again, while Trammell provided the offensive support by hitting two home runs. The Tigers were knocking out Padre starters early and while San Diego’s bullpen was excellent, the toll caught up to them. Detroit led the fifth game 5-4 when Kirk Gibson sealed the deal with a three-run blast. Read more about the 1984 MLB season.
1985: Kansas City Royals (91-71) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (101-61)
Result: Kansas City in 7
MVP: Bret Saberhagen (SP, Kansas City)
Summary: St. Louis won the opener and rallied to win Game 2, 4-2. Kansas City looked cooked. No team had ever lost the first two at home and then won the Series. But the Royals got easy wins in Games 3 & 5 to bring the Series back home. They still trailed the sixth game 1-0 when a bad umpire’s call got the tying run aboard. The Cardinals came completely unglued, with an error and passed ball keying the winning rally. St. Louis then mailed in Game 7, as KC rolled to an 11-0 win and finally had a title. Read more about the 1985 MLB season.
1986: New York Mets (108-54) vs. Boston Red Sox (95-66)
Result: New York in 7
MVP: Ray Knight (3B, New York)
Summary: For five games, this Series was competitive, if uneventful. The road teams won the first four before the Red Sox took Game 5 at Fenway. Boston let leads of 2-0 and 3-2 get away in Game 6 and it went to extra innings. They took a 5-3 lead and got two outs in the tenth. Then came the historic sequence of three singles, a wild pitch and the Buckner error to save New York. The Red Sox took a 3-0 lead in Game 7, but a home run by Knight rallied the Mets and another blast from Darryl Strawberry sealed it. Read more about the 1986 MLB season.
1987: Minnesota Twins (85-77) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (95-67)
Result: Minnesota in 7
MVP: Frank Viola (SP, Minnesota)
Summary: It was the right year for Minnesota, as the rotation said it was American League homefield. The Twins unloaded for wins of 10-1 and 8-4 to start the Series. The bats fell silent back in St. Louis though. Cardinal pitching held Minnesota to five runs in three games, with St. Louis sweeping the three. The Metrodome awoke the Twins’ bats. A grand slam by Kent Hrbek was the highlight of an 11-5 rout in Game 6. On Sunday night, Viola won his second game of the Series, 4-2 with a two-out infield hit in the sixth breaking a 2-2 tie. Read more about the 1987 MLB season.
1988: Los Angeles Dodgers (94-67) vs. Oakland A’s (104-58)
Result: Los Angeles in 5
MVP: Orel Hershiser (SP, Los Angeles)
Summary: It was supposed to be a coronation for the A’s and a pre-Series injury to Dodger MVP rightfielder Kirk Gibson only added to that sense. Instead, Gibson managed to pinch-hit in Game 1 and delivered an iconic October moment—a walkoff home run off the great Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley. After that, the Dodgers could turn the Series over to their real hero, Orel Hershiser. The hottest pitcher of all-time, Orel shut out the mighty Oakland bats in Game 2 and won the clincher in Game 5. Los Angeles held the A’s to a .177 batting average and eleven runs. Read more about the 1988 MLB season.
1989: Oakland A’s (99-63) vs. San Francisco Giants (92-70)
Result: Oakland in 4
MVP: Dave Stewart (SP, Oakland)
Summary: Oakland was again the solid favorite and this time their pitching gave them an early edge, as Dave Stewart and Mike Moore dominated San Francisco the first two games. Just prior to Game 3, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck and devastated the Bay Area. The Series was postponed for ten days. When play resumed, Stewart and Moore delivered solid starts again, although some bullpen issues made the final scores higher—13-7 and 9-6 in Games 3 & 4. On the field it was an uneventful sweep. Off the field, both teams won accolades for their response to the natural disaster.
1990: Cincinnati Reds (91-71) vs. Oakland A’s (103-59)
Result: Cincinnati in 4
MVP: Jose Rijo (SP, Cincinnati)
Summary: For the third straight year, the A’s were heavy favorites And for the second time in that span an early home run set the tone and then their bats went silent. This time it was Cincinnati centerfielder Eric Davis taking Stewart deep and kickstarting a 7-0 win in Game 1. This time Jose Rijo was the starting pitcher Oakland couldn’t touch, as the Reds ace won Game 1 and delivered a 2-1 masterpiece over Stewart in Game 4. Cincinnati took Game 2 in extra innings, beating Eckersley and stunned the Oakland crowd with a seven-run outburst early in Game 3.
1991: Minnesota Twins (95-67) vs. Atlanta Braves (94-68)
Result: Minnesota in 7
MVP: Jack Morris (SP, Minnesota)
Summary: The Twins won Game 1 comfortably and the nail-biting began. Minnesota got an eighth-inning home run to win Game 2. Atlanta went extra innings to win Game 3 and broke a 2-2 tie in the ninth in Game 4. The Braves won Game 5 comfortably and the nail-biting resumed. Kirby Puckett was a Minnesota hero in Game 6 with a spectacular catch in the field and a walkoff blast in extra innings. Game 7 was the best yet, a scoreless duel that went extra innings, aided by a Braves baserunning blunder. Morris pitched ten innings and the Twins won 1-0.
1992: Toronto Blue Jays (96-66) vs. Atlanta Braves (98-64)
Result: Toronto in 6
MVP: Pat Borders (C, Toronto)
Summary: Atlanta got the opener behind a gem from Tom Glavine and then Toronto began winning close games. The Blue Jays faced a 4-2 deficit in the eighth inning of Game 2 and rallied, with a stunning home run from Ed Sprague. They kept Game 3 close with a magnificent catch by centerfielder Devon White and scored two late runs to win 3-2. The Jays got a key home run from Borders, for a 2-1 win in Game 4. The Braves rolled in Game 5, but Toronto won another close one, in Game 6—an 11-inning battle to secure a championship.
1993: Toronto Blue Jays (95-67) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)
Result: Toronto in 6
MVP: Paul Molitor (DH, Toronto)
Summary: The Blue Jay bats opened by beating Curt Schilling 8-5. The Phils won Game 2, but Toronto unloaded for ten runs in a Game 3 rout. Then came the historic Game 4 onslaught—Toronto trailed 14-9 in the eighth inning, but scored six runs to get the win. Schilling quieted Blue Jay bats with a Game 5 gem and Philadelphia took a 6-5 lead into the ninth of Game 6. But no lead was safe. Toronto rallied, with Molitor getting the last of his 12 hits to set the table. Then Joe Carter hit a three-run walkoff blast to win it.
Postseason canceled in 1994 due to players’ strike
Delayed start to 1995 season resulted in a 144-game schedule
Canceled ‘94 Series Means NL Now Hosts In Odd-Numbered Years, AL In Even
1995: Atlanta Braves (90-54) vs. Cleveland Indians (100-44)
Result: Atlanta in 6
MVP: Tom Glavine (SP, Atlanta)
Summary: It was a battle of pitching and hitting, with Braves’ arms of Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz facing Indian bats of Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Albert Belle, then the best of them all. Atlanta got strong outings from Maddux and Glavine to win the first two. Cleveland bats awoke in a 7-6 extra-inning win in Game 3 and then beating Maddux 5-4 in the fifth game. But the Braves got Game 4. In Game 6, all Glavine needed was a run and he spun a 1-0 shutout that gave the city of Atlanta its first professional sports title.
1996: New York Yankees (92-70) vs. Atlanta Braves (96-66)
Result: New York in 6
MVP: John Wetteland (RP, New York)
Summary: The Braves blasted the Yankees in the first two games by a combined score of 16-1. But New York got Game 3 and then the fourth and fifth games took their place in World Series lore. The Braves had a 6-3 lead in Game 4 and were ready to resume control. Role player Jim Leyritz hit a shocking three-run homer in the eighth and the Yanks won in extras. In Game 5, Andy Pettite beat John Smoltz 1-0 in one of the great duels in Series history. New York won the finale 3-2 with Wetteland saving his fourth straight game.
1997: Florida Marlins (92-70) vs. Cleveland Indians (86-75)
Result: Florida in 7
MVP: Livan Hernandez (SP, Florida)
Summary: The Marlin offense carried Hernandez to a 7-4 win in the opener, before Cleveland’s Chad Ogea won the second game 6-1. Game 3 was tied 7-7 in the ninth. Florida scored seven times, then nearly gave it all back in a 14-11 win. The Indians easily won Game 4 and led the fifth game 4-2 against Hernandez. But Marlin bats rallied in an 8-7 win. Ogea delivered again on the road in Game 6 and Cleveland led Game 7, 2-1 in the ninth. But the Marlins tied it and won in extra innings on a two-out single from Edgar Renteria.
1998: New York Yankees (114-48) vs. San Diego Padres (98-64)
Result: New York in 4
MVP: Scott Brosius (3B, New York)
Summary: In the storied history of the New York Yankees, they were never better than in 1998. The threshold moment of this Series came in Game 1. San Diego was leading 5-2 in the seventh inning, when the Yankees unloaded for seven runs and won 9-6. The momentum rolled into the next night when three early runs keyed a 9-3 win. The last big moment came in Game 3 when the Padres led 3-0 after six innings. Brosius homered twice in the final three frames. Andy Pettite got the ball in Game 4 and pitched a shutout to complete the sweep.
1999: New York Yankees (98-64) vs. Atlanta Braves (103-59)
Result: New York in 4
MVP: Mariano Rivera (RP, New York)
Summary: They were the two best teams of 1999 and the two best franchises of the 1990s. A battle was anticipated, but never materialized. Trailing 1-0 in the opener, the Yankees used a late rally off Maddux to win 4-1, then used a small-ball attack to pepper their way to a 7-2 win in Game 2. The Braves’ last stand was in Game 3 when they led 5-3 in the ninth. A two-run blast by Chuck Knoblauch tied it and an extra-inning walkoff by Chad Curtis won it. New York closed the sweep, with Rivera saving two games and winning one.
2000: New York Yankees (87-74) vs. New York Mets (94-68)
Result: New York Yankees in 5
MVP: Derek Jeter (SS, New York Yankees)
Summary: The Mets led 3-2 in the ninth inning of Game 1. Paul O’Neill worked a 10-pitch walk for the Yankees and scored the tying run. They won in 12 innings. It set the tone for the Series–individually, these games were outstanding. Collectively, the Pinstripes kept finding ways to win. The biggest win was Game 4, when Jeter led the game off with a home run and the Yanks won 3-2. The juiciest highlight came in Game 2 when Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza got into a dustup. History was made in the end, when the Yankees concluded their three-peat.
2001: Arizona Diamondbacks (92-70) vs. New York Yankees (95-65)
Result: Arizona in 7
MVP: Randy Johnson (SP, Arizona), Curt Schilling (SP, Arizona)
Summary: Schilling and Johnson opened up by dominating Yankee bats, in wins of 9-0 and 4-1. Game 3 in the Bronx saw President George W. Bush throw out the first ball—a cathartic moment for the city and nation in the aftermath of 9/11. New York won that game then delivered stunning ninth-inning home runs that averted defeat in Games 4 & 5. The Diamondbacks won Game 6 in a rout behind Johnson. Arizona trailed 2-1 in the ninth inning of Game 7, but a soft rally marked by strange fielding and bloop hits produced two runs and a thrilling championship.
2002: Anaheim Angels (99-63) vs. San Francisco Giants (95-66)
Result: Anaheim in 7
MVP: Troy Glaus (3B, Anaheim)
Summary: San Francisco won a 4-3 final in Game 1 and Anaheim took a crazy 11-10 decision in Game 2. The two teams each had blowout wins in the middle—the Angels in Game 3, the Giants in Game 5. In between a San Francisco rally stole a 4-3 win in Game 4. The Giants led the sixth game 5-0 in the seventh. A three-run blast by Scott Spiezio set the stage for Glaus’ two-run double in the eighth that gave the Angels a shocking 6-5 win. One night later, rookie John Lackey gave Anaheim a 4-1 win in Game 7.
HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE AWARDED TO LEAGUE THAT WINS ALL-STAR GAME
2003: Florida Marlins (91-71) vs. New York Yankees (101-61)
Result: Florida in 6
MVP: Josh Beckett (SP, Florida)
Summary: The upstart Marlins came into the Bronx won the opener 3-2, but the Yankees immediately re-asserted themselves. They won the next two games by 6-1 scores. Game 4 went into extra innings and New York manager Joe Torre opted to leave Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, after pitching two innings the night before. Florida won that game, then took Game 5 when Yankee starter David Wells had back spasms after one inning. The Marlins still had to get one in the Bronx and they turned Josh Beckett. The power right-handed threw a five-hit shutout to win 2-0.
2004: Boston Red Sox (98-64) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (105-57)
Result: Boston in 4
MVP: Manny Ramirez (LF, Boston)
Summary: The series opened at Fenway Park with a wild game. The Red Sox held a 7-2 lead after three innings, before the Cardinals rallied to tie it 7-7. Boston led 9-7 and St. Louis tied it again. Finally, the Red Sox won it behind a Mark Bellhorn home run, 11-9. Boston was off and rolling. They won Game 2 easily. They took Game 3 after a Cardinal baserunning gaffe let Boston off the hook early. The Red Sox grabbed a 3-0 lead early in Game 4 and cruised home to the title fans had waited 86 years for.
2005: Chicago White Sox (99-63) vs. Houston Astros (89-73)
Result: Chicago in 4
MVP: Jermaine Dye (RF, Chicago)
Summary: Houston’s record wasn’t great, but their top three starting pitchers were Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite and Roy Oswalt. But the White Sox hit Clemens early, he left with an injury and Chicago won 5-3. They won Game 2, 7-6 on Scott Podsednik’s walkoff home run. The Astros led 4-0 in Game 3 before the White Sox rallied against Oswalt and won in extra innings. They had taken out all three Houston aces. Game 4 was scoreless in the eighth when Dye capped off a series that saw his OBP at .526, with a RBI single that won it.
2006: St. Louis Cardinals (83-78) vs. Detroit Tigers (95-67)
Result: St. Louis in 5
MVP: David Eckstein (SS, St. Louis)
Summary: St. Louis came into Comerica Park and jumped all over a rookie Detroit pitcher named Justin Verlander, winning 7-2. The Tigers took Game 2 amidst rumors that starter Kenny Rogers was doctoring the baseball. The Cardinals got a Game 3 shutout from Chris Carpenter and set up the decisive moment in Game 4. The game was tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, Eckstein drilled an RBI double, the highlight of a Series where he went 8-for-22. . One night later, St. Louis beat Verlander again to clinch their first title since 1982.
2007: Boston Red Sox (96-66) vs. Colorado Rockies (90-73)
Result: Boston in 4
MVP: Mike Lowell (3B, Boston)
Summary: Colorado was the hot team, winning 21 of 22 coming into the Series. But Josh Beckett was the hot pitcher for Boston and he held the Rockies to one run in the opener. The Boston offense ripped off 13 runs, starting with a home run from Dustin Pedrioa. The Red Sox held serve at Fenway, winning 2-1 in in Game 2, preserved when Jonathan Papelbon picked off Matt Holliday in the eighth. Boston cruised in Game 3, then won completed the sweep when Lowell hit a big home run late in the game to provide insurance in a 4-3 win.
2008: Philadelphia Phillies (92-70) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (97-65)
Result: Philadelphia in 5
MVP: Cole Hamels (SP, Philadelphia)
Summary: Hamels went seven solid innings in Game 1. Aided by a Chase Utley home run, the Phillies won and split in the opening set in Tampa. In Game 3, the Rays rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game, but Philadelphia got the win with a soft rally—hit batsman, wild pitch, two intentional walks and an infield hit. After winning Game 4 easily, the Phils were in a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning of Game 5. Rain came and delayed completion of the game for two days. Play resumed, Philly got a run and sealed the title.
2009: New York Yankees (103-59) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (93-69)
Result: New York in 6
MVP: Hideki Matsui (DH, New York)
Summary: It was the first year of the new Yankee Stadium, but Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee spoiled the party by winning Game 1. New York took Game 2, but the Phils grabbed three early runs in Game 3. It was time for Alex Rodriguez to come through. He hit a two-run shot and started the Yankee rally that won this game, then drove in the go-ahead run late in a Game 4 win that all but settled the Series. Lee won again to stave off elimination for the Phils, but the Yankees won Game 6 thanks to six RBI from Matsui.
2010: San Francisco Giants (92-70) vs. Texas Rangers (90-72)
Result: San Francisco in 5
MVP: Edgar Renteria (SS, San Francisco)
Summary: Game 1 was supposed to be a pitchers’ duel between Lee, now a Ranger, and Tim Lincecum. It ended an 11-7 slugfest for the Giants. They blew open Game 2 with a seven-run eighth ining. Texas rebounded at home to win Game 3. San Francisco sent a 21-year-old named Madison Bumgarner to the mound in Game 4 and got eight scoreless inning, supported by an early home run from Aubrey Huff. A Lee-Lincecum rematch in Game 5 provided the expected pitching brilliance and was scoreless into the seventh. A three-run blast from Renteria was the final blow for San Francisco.
2011: St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) vs. Texas Rangers (96-66)
Result: St. Louis in 7
MVP: David Freese (3B, St. Louis)
Summary: The teams split one-run games in St. Louis to start. The Cards’ Albert Pujols hit three home runs to lead a 16-run onslaught for Game 3, but Texas bounced back. Derek Holland was brilliant in a 4-0 win and Mike Napoli hit a two-run double in the eighth to win Game 5. In Game 6, the Rangers had leads of 7-5 in the ninth and 9-7 in the tenth and had the Cardinals down to the last strike. Each time St. Louis survived, they won iin the 11th on a Freese home run and then easily took Game 7.
2012: San Francisco Giants (94-68) vs. Detroit Tigers (88-74)
Result: San Francisco in 4
MVP: Pablo Sandoval (3B, San Francisco)
Summary: San Francisco came out blazing at home, with Sandoval’s three home runs leading an 8-3 rout of Verlander. Then the Giants got down to the business of winning close, low-scoring games. They got consecutive 2-0 shutouts, one from Bumgarner and another from Ryan Vogelsong. Game 4 went to extra innings tied 3-3 when Marco Scutaro knocked in the go-ahead run. Sergio Romo got the last of his three Series saves to complete the sweep. Sandoval hit .500 for the Series and carried the San Francisco offense, while a Detroit lineup led by Triple Crown-winner Miguel Cabrera batted .159.
2013: Boston Red Sox (97-65) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (97-65)
Result: Boston in 6
MVP: David Ortiz (DH, Boston)
Summary: After the Red Sox and Cardinals split a pair in Fenway, St. Louis won a bizarre Game 3 where the winning run scored on a baserunner interference play in the 10th inning. The Cardinals then had a 1-0 lead midway through Game 4. Boston won that game when Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer in the sixth. They won a Game 5 pitchers’ duel between Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright with two runs in the seventh. And the Red Sox closed it out back home with an easy 6-1 win. Ortiz dominated the Series, going 11-for-16 with eight walks.
2014: San Francisco Giants (88-74) vs. Kansas City Royals (89-73)
Result: San Francisco in 7
MVP: Madison Bumgarner (SP, San Francisco)
Summary: The Giants and Royals split two in KC, before the Royals won Game 3 and led 4-1 early in Game 4, with baseball’s best bullpen in reserve. But San Francisco rallied in time to win that game. Bumgarner got his second win of the Series in Game 5. After a Kansas City rout in Game 6, the Giants took an early 3-2 lead in Game 7, aided by a brilliant defensive play from second baseman Joe Panik. Bumgarner came out of the bullpen for the final five innings and concluded the greatest October pitching display since Orel Hershiser in 1988.
2015: Kansas City Royals (95-67) vs. New York Mets (90-72)
Result: Kansas City in 5
MVP: Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City)
Summary: Kansas City again had homefield advantage and almost gave it back right away, trailing 4-3 in the ninth inning of Game 1. Alex Gordon hit a home run to tie and the Royals won in 14 innings. The teams split the next two games and the Royals again displayed their comeback mojo. The Mets led 3-2 in the eighth inning of Game 4 before KC scored three times. New York was ahead 2-0 in the ninth inning of Game 5. Kansas City tied that game and later won the Series with a five-run outburst in the 12th.
2016: Chicago Cubs (103-58) vs. Cleveland Indians (94-67)
Result: Chicago in 7
MVP: Ben Zobrist (LF, Chicago)
Summary: The Indians, a decided underdog, came out blazing. Corey Kluber won Games 1 & 4 and Cleveland led the series 3-1. Chicago survived at home behind Jon Lester and then easily took Game 6, with Jake Arrieta winning his second game of the Series. The Cubs were in control of Game 7 with a 6-3 lead when the Indians scored tied it in the eighth on a Rajai Davis home run. A short rain delay preceded extra innings. Chicago regrouped and scored twice in the 10th, the key hit being a Zobrist double and 108 years of waiting were over.
HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE DETERMINED BY SUPERIOR RECORD
2017: Houston Astros (101-61) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58)
Result: Houston in 7
MVP: George Springer (CF, Houston)
Summary: Los Angeles had a chance to seize early control, winning Game 1 and leading the second game 3-1 in the eighth. Houston tied that game and then won a wild extra-inning affair on a Springer home run. They split Games 3 & 4 and one of the craziest games in World Series history ensued in Game 5. With aces Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel on the mound, the offenses that repeatedly traded blows. The Astros won 13-12. The Dodgers beat Verlander in Game 6, but an early Springer home run set the tone in Game 7 and Houston won comfortably.
2018: Boston Red Sox (108-54) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71)
Result: Boston in 5
MVP: Steve Pearce (1B, Boston)
Summary: The top of the Red Sox lineup set the tone. Andrew Benintendi had four hits in Game 1’s 8-4 win. In Game 2, Mookie Betts had three hits, J.D. Martinez hit a key two-run single and starting pitcher David Price was brilliant. The Dodgers stayed alive in an 18-inning classic in Game 3, then took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning of Game 4 before the bullpen collapsed. Pearce hit a game-tying homer in the eighth and the Sox scored five in the ninth. Pearce hit two more home runs the next night, as Price dominated again.
2019: Washington Nationals (93-69) vs. Houston Astros (107-55)
Result: Washington in 7
MVP: Stephen Strasburg (P, Boston)
Summary: The Nationals came out firing on the road, beating both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander to get control of the series. But the middle three games in D.C. were a different story. The Washington bats fell silent and Houston won all three on the road. In Game 6, Strasburg beat Justin Verlander for the second time to keep the Nats alive. The Astros led Game 7 into the seventh inning before home runs by Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick gave Washington the last word in the first series where the road team won every game.