On October 1, 1903, the Boston Americans (soon to become the Red Sox) of the American League played the National League champion Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series. Pittsburgh won the game by a score of seven to three, but lost the best-of-nine series to Boston, five games to three.
The series was financially and popularly successful, but the arrangement to play was informal, depending only upon an agreement by the teams involved. The weakness of this arrangement became clear the following year when the manager of the National League pennant-winning New York Giants refused to play the American League champions, again the Boston Americans.
New York’s unpopular decision led to public and press demands for resumption of the championship series. Prompted by the outcry, baseball’s National Commission officially established the World Series in 1905. The World Series was played every year from 1905 to 1993—through two World Wars and the Depression. In 1994, however, the inability of players and owners to settle a strike resulted in the cancellation of much of the season and the World Series. The series resumed in 1995.
- Some of the game’s greatest players have participated in the World Series, among them Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, and the unforgettable trio of Tinker, Evers, and Chance. Great managers have participated as well, including Connie Mack, the winningest manager in the history of baseball. To find even more images and stories about our great American pastime and its players search across the Library’s website on baseball.
- Experience the World Series excitement in Washington DC in October 1924. View the following features:
- From the Picture This blog post World Series Excitement in the Nation’s Capital
- From the Library of Congress Blog post Rare Film: Washington Senators Win the 1924 World Series
- Explore Baseball Americana, which features items from the Library of Congress collections as well as materials from its lending partners to consider the game then and now—as it relates to players, teams, and the communities it creates.
- Explore a guide to coverage of the World Series from 1903-1922 available through the free historical newspaper database Chronicling America.
- Browse the Prints and Photographs Division’s Baseball Cards collection to see baseball greats pictured in this collection of 2,100 early baseball cards.
- Learn more about the history of the game. See the special presentation Early Baseball Pictures, 1860s to 1920s in the collection By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s .
- Learn more about baseball-related materials available on the Library’s website and in the Library’s physical collections through the online guide Baseball Resources at the Library of Congress.
- Search Today in History on baseball to find more features about the boys of summer.