Ranking Baseball's Last 25 World Series Matchups

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2013

Ranking Baseball's Last 25 World Series Matchups

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    Heading into the 2013 World Series, this matchup between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals looked to have all the makings of a seven-game dog fight.

    We're just two games in at this point, but things are all knotted up at 1-1 heading to St. Louis, and the two teams certainly look to be as evenly matched as any baseball fan could ask for.

    For now, however, we'll briefly turn our attention to the past. Looking back at the past 25 World Series matchups, I've ranked them from 25-1, based upon how good the series itself turned out to be.

    So what makes a great series? Memorable moments like the Kirk Gibson and Joe Carter home runs certainly help, but my main focus was on how many games the series went and how tightly contested each game in the series was.

    With that value system in mind, here is a look at the past 25 years of the Fall Classic.

25. 2007 World Series: Boston Red Sox over Colorado Rockies (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Red Sox 13, Rockies 1
    Game 2: Red Sox 2, Rockies 1
    Game 3: Red Sox 10, Rockies 5
    Game 4: Red Sox 4, Rockies 3

    Run Differential: Red Sox +19

     

    Series Notes

    Few teams have put together a late-season push like that of the 2007 Rockies, as they won 14-of-15 games to close out the regular season, then swept their way through the NLDS (vs. Phillies) and NLCS (vs. Diamondbacks) to reach their first World Series.

    They were in for a rude awakening once they reached the Fall Classic though, as they were unable to regain their momentum and were steamrolled in Game 1. It didn't get any better from there, and they were swept in the most lopsided series in recent memory.

     

    World Series MVP

    3B Mike Lowell (6-for-15, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R)

24. 1989 World Series: Oakland A's over San Francisco Giants (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Athletics 5, Giants 0
    Game 2: Athletics 5, Giants 1
    Game 3: Athletics 13, Giants 7
    Game 4: Athletics 9, Giants 6

    Run Differential: Athletics +18

     

    Series Notes

    The 1989 World Series was certainly a memorable one. But it was more due to Mother Nature than for the play on the field, as the Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the Bay Area during Game 3 of the World Series and postponed play for 10 days.

    In between the quake though, the series itself was a lopsided one, as the dynamic one-two punch of Dave Stewart and Mike Moore were able to make two starts each for the A's, and the Giants never led at any point in the series.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Dave Stewart (2 GS, 2-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 14 K, 16 IP)

23. 1998 World Series: New York Yankees over San Diego Padres (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Yankees 9, Padres 6
    Game 2: Yankees 9, Padres 3
    Game 3: Yankees 5, Padres 4
    Game 4: Yankees 3, Padres 0

    Run Differential: Yankees +13

     

    Series Notes

    The Padres were big underdogs heading into the World Series against a Yankees team that ranks as one of the best in baseball history, but they managed to jump out to a 5-2 lead in Game 1.

    The Yankees struck for seven runs in the seventh inning, however, helping them claim the victoryand they never looked back from there.

    Andy Pettitte capped things off by out dueling Kevin Brown and throwing 7.1 scoreless innings in the clinching Game 4 to complete the sweep.

     

    World Series MVP

    3B Scott Brosius (8-for-17, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R)

     

22. 2004 World Series: Boston Red Sox over St. Louis Cardinals (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Red Sox 11, Cardinals 9
    Game 2: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 2
    Game 3: Red Sox 4, Cardinals 1
    Game 4: Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0

    Run Differential: Red Sox +12

     

    Series Notes

    The 2004 postseason was certainly a memorable one, as the Red Sox became the first team ever to come back from being down 0-3 in the LCS and reach the World Series, knocking off the rival Yankees in a series for the ages. On the NL side, the Cardinals had their own thrilling LCS series with the Astros that went seven games.

    Things started off with a bang in the Fall Classic, as a two-run home run from Mark Bellhorn gave the Red Sox an 11-9 victory in the highest-scoring Game 1 in World Series history. There was no stopping them from there, as they took the next three games to snap the Curse of the Bambino and finally bring a title to Boston after 86 years.

     

    World Series MVP

    LF Manny Ramirez (7-for-17, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R)

21. 1999 World Series: New York Yankees over Atlanta Braves (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Yankees 4, Braves 1
    Game 2: Yankees 7, Braves 2
    Game 3: Yankees 6, Braves 5 (10)
    Game 4: Yankees 4, Braves 1

    Run Differential: Yankees +12

     

    Series Notes

    Coming off of a dominant season in 1998 that ended in a sweep of the Padres in the World Series, the Yankees weren't quite as dominant during the regular season in 1999, with just 98 wins, but they rolled in the postseason once again.

    There were certainly some memorable moments, as Game 2 saw the announcement of the All-Century Team and Game 3 featured a walk-off home run from Chad Curtis in the bottom of the 10th inning. As a whole though, it was another dominant performance by the Yankees for a second consecutive World Series sweep.

     

    World Series MVP

    RP Mariano Rivera (3 G, 1-0, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 3 K, 4.2 IP)

20. 2012 World Series: San Francisco Giants over Detroit Tigers (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3
    Game 2: Giants 2, Tigers 0
    Game 3: Giants 2, Tigers 0
    Game 4: Giants 4, Tigers 3 (10)

    Run Differential: Giants +10

     

    Series Notes

    In the World Series for the second time in three years, it was no easy task for the Giants to get there in 2012. They fell behind 2-0 in the NLDS against the Reds before winning three straight, and then they fell behind 3-1 against the Cardinals in the NLCS before again winning three straight.

    It was all Giants once they got the World Series though, as they stymied the Tigers' offense with shutouts in Game 2 and Game 3 and did enough offensively to come away with the sweep.

    Pablo Sandoval provided the most memorable moment of the series with a three-homer game in Game 1.

     

    World Series MVP

    3B Pablo Sandoval (8-for-16, 1 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R)

19. 2005 World Series: Chicago White Sox over Houston Astros (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: White Sox 5, Astros 3
    Game 2: White Sox 7, Astros 6
    Game 3: White Sox 7, Astros 5 (14)
    Game 4: White Sox 1, Astros 0

    Run Differential: White Sox +6

     

    Series Notes

    Dominant pitching led the White Sox to the World Series in 2005, as they hurled three straight complete games against the Angels in the ALCS and claimed that series in five games. The Astros rallied from a dramatic Game 5 loss in their NLCS matchup with the Cardinals to take the NL pennant in six games.

    The World Series was all White Sox, though, as they came up with huge hits, time and time again. Scott Podsednick hit a walk-off home run in Game 2 after going 507 at-bats without a homer in the regular season, and Geoff Blum hit a game-winning solo home run in the top of the 14th in Game 3, which pretty much sealed the deal.

     

    World Series MVP

    RF Jermaine Dye (7-for-16, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R)

18. 1990 World Series: Cincinnati Reds over Oakland A's (4-0)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Reds 7, A's 0
    Game 2: Reds 5, A's 4 (10)
    Game 3: Reds 8, A's 3
    Game 4: Reds 2, A's 1

    Run Differential: Reds +14

     

    Series Notes

    One of the biggest underdogs in recent memory, the Reds went 91-71 during the regular season and didn't have a single player reach 30 home runs or 100 RBI during the 1990 season.

    On the opposite side of things, the A's went 103-59 during the regular season and featured the vaunted "Bash Brothers" in Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco as well as a pair of legitimate aces in Dave Stewart and 27-game winner Bob Welch. However, the Reds dominated them behind a pair of great starts from Jose Rijo and a dominant bullpen for the sweep.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Jose Rijo (2 GS, 2-0, 0.59 ERA, 0.913 WHIP, 14 K, 15.1 IP)

17. 2010 World Series: San Francisco Giants over Texas Rangers (4-1)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Giants 11, Rangers 7
    Game 2: Giants 9, Rangers 0
    Game 3: Rangers 4, Giants 2
    Game 4: Giants 4, Rangers 0
    Game 5: Giants 3, Rangers 1

    Run Differential: Giants +17

     

    Series Notes

    In a great matchup of pitching versus high-powered offense, the Giants led all of baseball with a 3.36 ERA during the 2010 regular season, while the Rangers were tops in the MLB with a .276 average and fifth in runs scored with 787.

    As it so often does, good pitching trumped good hitting, and it was actually the Giants who exploded offensively in the first two games of the series to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. The Rangers were held to just one run over the final two games of the series, with Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum each throwing gems, and the Giants claimed their first title since 1954.

     

    World Series MVP

    SS Edgar Renteria (7-for-17, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R)

16. 2006 World Series: St. Louis Cardinals over Detroit Tigers (4-1)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Cardinals 7, Tigers 2
    Game 2: Tigers 3, Cardinals 1
    Game 3: Cardinals 5, Tigers 0
    Game 4: Cardinals 5, Tigers 4
    Game 5: Cardinals 4, Tigers 2

    Run Differential: Cardinals +11

     

    Series Notes

    It's fair to say the Cardinals were underdogs heading into the 2006 World Series, as they went just 83-78 during the regular season but found their way to the NL pennant by getting hot at the right time. On the AL side, the Tigers posted their first winning record since 1993, going 95-67 to win the AL Wild Card.

    Both teams wrapped their LCS series in memorable fashion, as Magglio Ordonez delivered a walk-off, three-run home run for the Tigers in their clinching Game 4, and Adam Wainwright froze Carlos Beltran with a nasty curveball to end Game 7 of the NLCS.

    It was all Cardinals in the World Series though, as the Tigers committed eight errors in five games and were never able to overcome their mistakes.

     

    World Series MVP

    SS David Eckstein (8-for-22, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 3 R)

     

15. 2008 World Series: Philadelphia Phillies over Tampa Bay Rays (4-1)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Phillies 3, Rays 2
    Game 2: Rays 4, Phillies 2
    Game 3: Phillies 5, Rays 4
    Game 4: Phillies 10, Rays 2
    Game 5: Phillies 4, Rays 3

    Run Differential: Phillies +9

     

    Series Notes

    Just one season removed from a last-place finish and having never won more than 70 games since their inception in 1998, the Rays finally broke through in 2008, as they won 97 games to capture the AL East title. For the Phillies, 2008 was the second straight season they won the NL East, but it was the first time they reached the World Series since 1993.

    Runs came early in the series, with the winning team putting at least one run on the board in the first inning of each of the series' five games. Pitching was the difference though, as the Phillies posted a 2.86 ERA in the series compared to a 4.50 mark from the Rays. Cole Hamels led the way for the Phillies with a pair of great starts.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Cole Hamels (2 GS, 1-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 8 K, 13 IP)

14. 2000 World Series: New York Yankees over New York Mets (4-1)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Yankees 4, Mets 3 (12)
    Game 2: Yankees 6, Mets 5
    Game 3: Mets 4, Yankees 2
    Game 4: Yankees 3, Mets 2
    Game 5: Yankees 4, Mets 2

    Run Differential: Yankees +3

     

    Series Notes

    Not since 1956 had baseball seen a Subway Series, and back then, the matchup was between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers. The 2000 version still featured the Yankees, but this time it was the New York Mets taking the field on the NL side of things.

    Looking for their third straight title, the Yankees took Game 1 in 12 innings, with Jose Vizcaino delivering the walk-off RBI single. Game 2 saw the incident where Roger Clemens threw a shattered piece of bat towards (at?) Mike Piazza, and the Yankees came away with another one-run win. The Mets took Game 3, but the Yankees finished things off from there to become the first team to three-peat since the A's did it from 1972-1974.

     

    World Series MVP

    SS Derek Jeter (9-for-22, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R)

13. 1988 World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers over Oakland A's (4-1)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Dodgers 5, A's 4
    Game 2: Dodgers 6, A's 0
    Game 3: A's 2, Dodgers 1
    Game 4: Dodgers 4, A's 3
    Game 5: Dodgers 5, A's 2

    Run Differential: Dodgers +10

     

    Series Notes

    The 1988 World Series gave us one of the most memorable moments in baseball history, as a hobbled Kirk Gibson hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run off of Dennis Eckersley in Game 1.

    After a gem from Orel Hershiser in Game 2, the A's came through with some heroics of their own in Game 3, as Mark McGwire hit a walk-off home run to give Oakland a 2-1 victory. The Dodgers scratched across a 4-3 win in Game 4, and then Hershiser turned in another great start in Game 5 to wrap things up.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Orel Hershiser (2 GS, 2-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.722 WHIP, 17 K, 18 IP)

12. 2009 World Series: New York Yankees over Philadelphia Phillies (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Phillies 6, Yankees 1
    Game 2: Yankees 3, Phillies 1
    Game 3: Yankees 8, Phillies 5
    Game 4: Yankees 7, Phillies 4
    Game 5: Phillies 8, Yankees 6
    Game 6: Yankees 7, Phillies 3

    Run Differential: Yankees +5

     

    Series Notes

    The 2008 season saw the Yankees miss the postseason for the first time since 1994, but they were right back in the World Series the following year, squaring off against a Phillies team that had pushed their roster over the top at the deadline with the acquisition of Cliff Lee.

    Cliff Lee and Chase Utley led the Phillies to wins in Game 1 and Game 5 of the series, with Lee recording the win in each of his two starts and Utley hitting two home runs in each of those games. The Yankees got to the rest of the Phillies rotation though, and wrapped things up in Game 6, when they chased Pedro Martinez after just four innings.

     

    World Series MVP

    DH Hideki Matsui (8-for-13, 1 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R)

11. 1993 World Series: Toronto Blue Jays over Philadelphia Phillies (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 5
    Game 2: Phillies 6, Blue Jays 4
    Game 3: Blue Jays 10, Phillies 3
    Game 4: Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14
    Game 5: Phillies 2, Blue Jays 0
    Game 6: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6

    Run Differential: Blue Jays +9

     

    Series Notes

    The Blue Jays took home their first-ever World Series title in 1992, topping the Braves in six games, and they were right back in the Fall Classic the following year on the strength of perhaps the most complete roster in baseball at the time.

    On the other side, a scrappy Phillies team rebounded from a 92-loss season in 1992 to win 97 games and capture the NL pennant.

    There was no shortage of offense in the series, and Game 4 saw the teams combine for a record 29 runs, as the Blue Jays pushed across eight runs in the eighth inning for a 15-14 victory. The memorable moment, though, was of course the walk-off, series-winning home run from Joe Carter off of Mitch Williams in Game 6.

     

    World Series MVP

    DH Paul Molitor (12-for-24, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 10 R)

10. 1995 World Series: Atlanta Braves over Cleveland Indians (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Braves 3, Indians 2
    Game 2: Braves 4, Indians 3
    Game 3: Indians 7, Braves 6 (11)
    Game 4: Braves 5, Indians 2
    Game 5: Indians 5, Braves 4
    Game 6: Braves 1, Indians 0

    Run Differential: Braves +4

     

    Series Notes

    During their remarkable run of 14 straight division titles, the Atlanta Braves reached the World Series an impressive five times, but they were only able to come away with one title. That came in 1995, and it came against a Cleveland Indians team that won 100 games and boasted one of the best offensive attacks of all-time.

    A lineup with the likes of Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Eddie Murray, Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga and Manny Ramirez led all of baseball in runs, home runs and team batting average, but the Braves had the pitching to match and managed to score just enough runs over a six-game series that saw all but one game decided by a single run.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Tom Glavine (2 GS, 2-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.714 WHIP, 11 K, 14 IP)

9. 1996 World Series: New York Yankees over Atlanta Braves (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Braves 12, Yankees 1
    Game 2: Braves 4, Yankees 0
    Game 3: Yankees 5, Braves 2
    Game 4: Yankees 8, Braves 6 (10)
    Game 5: Yankees 1, Braves 0
    Game 6: Yankees 3, Braves 2

    Run Differential: Yankees -8

     

    Series Notes

    Playing in their first World Series since 1981, the New York Yankees had the tough task of going up against the defending champion Atlanta Braves and their vaunted pitching staff. The Yankees had bowed out in the ALDS the previous season in what was their first postseason appearance since 1981.

    After the Yankees were slaughtered 12-1 in Game 1 and then shutout in Game 2, the series moved to Atlanta, with the Braves carrying a commanding 2-0 lead. However, late-inning rallies by the Yankees in the next two games evened up the series up, with Jim Leyritz hitting a huge home run in Game 4. That effectively swung the momentum to New York, and they squeaked out one-run wins in the next two games to finish off the series.

     

    World Series MVP

    RP John Wetteland (5 G, 4 SV, 2.08 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 6 K, 4.1 IP)

8. 2003 World Series: Florida Marlins over New York Yankees (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Marlins 3, Yankees 2
    Game 2: Yankees 6, Marlins 1
    Game 3: Yankees 6, Marlins 1
    Game 4: Marlins 4, Yankees 3 (12)
    Game 5: Marlins 6, Yankees 4
    Game 6: Marlins 2, Yankees 0

    Run Differential: Marlins -4

     

    Series Notes

    After sneaking into the postseason as the wild-card winner in 1997 and winning it all, the low-budget Marlins completely dismantled their roster and lost 108 games the following season. However, by 2003, they had built themselves back up and again found themselves in the World Series after a stunning NLCS comeback against the Cubs.

    Squaring off against the heavily-favored Yankees, the Marlins took Game 1 and handed the Yankees their first home World Series loss since Game 2 in 1996. The Yankees took the next two, but a walk-off home run from Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez in Game 4 effectively shifted the momentum to the Florida side. After taking Game 5, the Marlins finished things off in Game 6 behind a five-hit shutout from a then 23-year-old Josh Beckett.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Josh Beckett (2 GS, 1-1, 1.10 ERA, 0.796 WHIP, 19 K, 16.1 IP)

7. 1992 World Series: Toronto Blue Jays over Atlanta Braves (4-2)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Braves 3, Blue Jays 1
    Game 2: Blue Jays 5, Braves 4
    Game 3: Blue Jays 3, Braves 2
    Game 4: Blue Jays 2, Braves 1
    Game 5: Braves 7, Blue Jays 2
    Game 6: Blue Jays 4, Braves 3 (11)

    Run Differential: Blue Jays -3

     

    Series Notes

    The following season's World Series would end with the most memorable moment in Blue Jays history in the Joe Carter home run, but on a game-by-game basis, the 1992 series was the more closely contested of the two. It featured four one-run wins, including an 11-inning thriller in the clinching Game 6.

    The matchup featured the Blue Jays retooled offense against a Braves starting rotation that did not yet feature Greg Maddux but was still formidable nonetheless.

    Jack Morris was the World Series hero in 1991, but he was beaten twice by the Braves in this series, including in Game 1. The Blue Jays took the other four games though, and the clinching Game 6 saw them cough up a one-run lead in the ninth inning but eventually win things in the 11th on a two-run double from 41-year-old Dave Winfield.

     

    World Series MVP

    C Pat Borders (9-for-20, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)

6. 1987 World Series: Minnesota Twins over St. Louis Cardinals (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Twins 10, Cardinals 1
    Game 2: Twins 8, Cardinals 4
    Game 3: Cardinals 3, Twins 1
    Game 4: Cardinals 7, Twins 2
    Game 5: Cardinals 4, Twins 2
    Game 6: Twins 11, Cardinals 5
    Game 7: Twins 4, Cardinals 2

    Run Differential: Twins +12

     

    Series Notes

    There may have been no bigger underdog in the World Series over the past 25 years than the 1987 Twins, as they went just 85-77, were actually outscored by their opponents in the regular season and were coming off of a 91-loss season the previous year. The Cardinals, meanwhile, saw their only real power threat in Jack Clark sidelined for the World Series by an ankle injury.

    Game 1 saw an offensive explosion from the Twins, while ace Frank Viola shut down the Cardinals. The Twins jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in Game 2 as well and were able to hold off a late rally to take a 2-0 lead heading to St. Louis.

    After the Cardinals took all three games at home, things shifted back to Minnesota and the Twins forced a Game 7 with another offensive outpouring in Game 6. Viola took the ball in the decisive game, allowing two runs in eight innings of work for his second win in the series.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Frank Viola (3 GS, 2-1, 3.72 ERA, 1.034 WHIP, 16 K, 19.1 IP)

5. 2002 World Series: Anaheim Angels over San Francisco Giants (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Giants 4, Angels 3
    Game 2: Angels 11, Giants 10
    Game 3: Angels 10, Giants 4
    Game 4: Giants 4, Angels 3
    Game 5: Giants 16, Angels 4
    Game 6: Angels 6, Giants 5
    Game 7: Angels 4, Giants 1

    Run Differential: Angels -3

     

    Series Notes

    The 2002 World Series saw the first-ever matchup of wild-card winners from each league squaring off in the World Series. It also marked the first-ever Fall Classic appearance for an Angels team that had been around since 1961.

    The Giants took a 3-2 lead in the series after a 16-4 blowout win in Game 5, and looked poised to wrap up the series when they took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh in Game 6. However, a three-run home run by Scott Spiezio sparked an Angels rally, and Anaheim managed to pull out a 6-5 win.

    With the momentum now on their side, the Angels turned to 23-year-old rookie John Lackey to take the ball in Game 7, and he allowed just one run in five innings of work as the Angels secured their first ever title with a 4-1 victory.

    Barry Bonds went 8-for-17 with four home runs and 13 walks in the series for the Giants.

     

    World Series MVP

    3B Troy Glaus (10-for-26, 3 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R)

4. 1997 World Series: Florida Marlins over Cleveland Indians (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Marlins 7, Indians 4
    Game 2: Indians 6, Marlins 1
    Game 3: Marlins 14, Indians 11
    Game 4: Indians 10, Marlins 3
    Game 5: Marlins 8, Indians 7
    Game 6: Indians 4, Marlins 1
    Game 7: Marlins 3, Indians 2 (11)

    Run Differential: Marlins -7

     

    Series Notes

    In just their fifth season of existence, the Marlins managed to reach the World Series behind what was essentially a store-bought roster of veteran talent. They squared off against an Indians team that was not quite as dominant as their 1995 counterparts but featured a potent veteran offense nonetheless.

    The teams traded wins through the first six games of the series, setting up what would be a memorable Game 7. The Indians carried a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but the Marlins managed to push across a run against Indians closer Jose Mesa on a sacrifice fly by Craig Counsell. The score remained 2-2 heading into the bottom of the 11th, when the Marlins sent 21-year-old Edgar Renteria to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, and he delivered a walk-off, series-winning RBI single up the middle.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Livan Hernandez (2 GS, 2-0, 5.27 ERA, 1.829 WHIP, 7 K, 13.2 IP)

3. 2011 World Series: St. Louis Cardinals over Texas Rangers (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Cardinals 3, Rangers 2
    Game 2: Rangers 2, Cardinals 1
    Game 3: Cardinals 16, Rangers 7
    Game 4: Rangers 4, Cardinals 0
    Game 5: Rangers 4, Cardinals 2
    Game 6: Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11)
    Game 7: Cardinals 6, Rangers 2

    Run Differential: Cardinals +8

     

    Series Notes

    The 2011 World Series pitted a potent Rangers offense against a Cardinals team that had used a late-season push to claim the NL Wild Card and got hot at the right time to reach the World Series. Though the series featured a three-homer game from Albert Pujols in Game 3, it was Game 6 that goes down as perhaps the greatest game in World Series history.

    Down to their last strike and trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth in Game 6, David Freese delivered a two-run triple over the head of a leaping Nelson Cruz to send things to extra innings. He wasn't done there though.

    A two-run home run from Josh Hamilton in the top of the 10th again saw the Cardinals facing elimination, and after pushing across a run in the bottom half of the inning, the Cardinals were again down to their last strike when Lance Berkman hit a 2-2 pitch for an RBI single to again tie things up at 9-9.

    After a scoreless top of the 11th from Jake Westbrook, Freese led off the bottom of the 11th and deposited a 3-2 pitch from Mark Lowe over the center field fence for the walk-off winner.

    The Cardinals took Game 7 of the series 6-2 to claim their 11th title the following night, and Freese deservedly walked away with MVP honors.

     

    World Series MVP

    3B David Freese (8-for-23, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R)

2. 2001 World Series: Arizona Diamondbacks over New York Yankees (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Diamondbacks 9, Yankees 1
    Game 2: Diamondbacks 4, Yankees 0
    Game 3: Yankees 2, Diamondbacks 1
    Game 4: Yankees 4, Diamondbacks 3 (10)
    Game 5: Yankees 3, Diamondbacks 2 (12)
    Game 6: Diamondbacks 15, Yankees 2
    Game 7: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2

    Run Differential: Diamondbacks +23

     

    Series Notes

    In a classic David and Goliath matchup, the Yankees entered the 2001 World Series looking for their fourth title in as many years, while the Diamondbacks were in just their fourth season of existence. Arizona was no slouch though, as they featured the dynamic one-two punch of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling atop their rotation.

    The Diamondbacks took an early 2-1 series lead and looked poised to go up 3-1 in the series when they took a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning of Game 4. However, a two-run home run from Tino Martinez off of closer Byung-Hyun Kim in his second inning of work tied things up, and Derek Jeter delivered a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th.

    The Diamondbacks turned to Kim again the next night with a 2-0 lead heading into the ninth, and he again surrendered a two-run home run to blow the lead, this time to Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius. Alfonso Soriano then delivered the walk-off RBI single in the 12th.

    After a 15-2 blowout to force a Game 7, it was the Diamondbacks who found themselves trailing heading into the ninth inning in the deciding game, as Mariano Rivera was called upon to protect a 2-1 lead. However, an RBI double from Tony Womack tied things up, and a one-out bloop single from Luis Gonzalez with the bases loaded gave the Diamondbacks the walk-off winner.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Randy Johnson (3 G, 2 GS, 3-0, 1.04 ERA, 0.692 WHIP, 19 K, 17.1 IP)
    SP Curt Schilling (3 G, 3 GS, 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.656 WHIP, 26 K, 21.1 IP)

1. 1991 World Series: Minnesota Twins over Atlanta Braves (4-3)

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    Series Results

    Game 1: Twins 5, Braves 2
    Game 2: Twins 3, Braves 2
    Game 3: Braves 5, Twins 4 (12)
    Game 4: Braves 3, Twins 2
    Game 5: Braves 14, Twins 5
    Game 6: Twins 4, Braves 3 (11)
    Game 7: Twins 1, Braves 0 (10)

    Run Differential: Twins -5

     

    Series Notes

    There may be no more closely contested matchup in World Series history than the 1991 meeting between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves, as the series featured five one-run wins and three extra-inning games. It was truly a nail-biter from start to finish.

    The Twins had their backs against the wall facing elimination in Game 6 after a big 14-5 win from the Braves in Game 5, and an RBI groundout from the Braves Ron Gant in the seventh inning tied things up at 3-3, setting up extra innings. After Rick Aguilera worked a scoreless 10th and 11th for the Twins, Kirby Puckett led off the bottom of the 11th with a walk-off home run to send things to a Game 7.

    The Twins had added veteran right-hander Jack Morris on a one-year deal in the offseason for exactly this occasion, and he took the ball for his third start of the series in Game 7. Opposing him was 24-year-old John Smoltz, who had pitched well in Game 4 (7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K) but wound up with a no decision.

    The two exchanged zeroes through seven innings, before Smoltz was lifted with one out in the eighth. The game would remain scoreless through nine innings, and Morris would remain on the mound for the Twins, working a scoreless 10th before an RBI single from Gene Larkin won it in the bottom of the inning.

     

    World Series MVP

    SP Jack Morris (3 GS, 2-0, 1.17 ERA, 1.174 WHIP, 15 K, 23 IP)