I tell you a tale of the Third World Series. (Not Third-World Series) What follows is the abridged story of the 1887 World Series between the Detroit Wolverines and the St. Louis Browns.
I repeat: 1887.
Before the safety razor (1901). Before the Teddy bear (1902). Before Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (1905). Before Penicillin (1928).
Yes. Baseball was there. The World Series was there.
Obligatory understatement: The World Series was a bit different back in tha day before the turn of the century and all… Truth be told, (preach it!) the Pre-Modern Era World Series was a disorganized, fluctuating, and rapidly evolving misfit of a creature.
The “Original (OG) World Series” or “World Championship Series” first stole American hearts in 1884, after the American Association was founded out of necessity in 1882. Before 1882, the National League was the highest tier of professional baseball in the United States.
In 1884, the American Association and National League first competed at the end of the season in a best-of-three-games “Championship of the United States” Series… the all-time lowest amount of games required to win the title.
Three years later, in 1887, the World Series was already drastically different from it’s humble origins. This Series was a contest between the champion St. Louis Browns of the American Association and the Detroit Wolverines of the National League. The Browns’ record that season was an impressive record-setting 95-40, and the Wolverines finished 79-45.
The 1887 Series was fifteen games long… Yes. Fifteen: the all-time crazy high amount of games required to win the title.
Not only was the Series ridiculously long-winded, (like, couldn’t we just call it a day after game 11…? No?) it was all over the place, quite literally. The games of the third-ever World Series were not only played in St. Louis and Detroit, but also in “neutral territory,” which, in essence, means every other major city in the United States: Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington.
Yes, I did write this entire post thinking the date today was October 26. Throwback Friday just doesn’t sound as nice.
Do you have a favorite baseball tradition? Is there a particular ghost of baseball past you would like to revisit? Ever wonder why they do what they do, and when they started doing it? If you have a suggestion, question, or submission for Throwback Thursday, contact Elise by tweeting @Elise_Myers.