History of the World Series: For People Who Don’t Watch
HISTORY OF THE WORLD SERIES
The World Series is over a hundred years old, starting in 1903 as a contest between the National League and the American League. This sporting event, usually held in October and sometimes called the Fall Classic, has already infringed upon the territory of the following athletic contest run-up with the football season, which has already begun.
This exciting, riveting, seat-of-the-pants, 3-hour baseball drama plays out on television but never gets the kind of love football gets. Baseball is supposed to be the national pastime, but the major religious holiday seems to be the Super Bowl. Football seems more designed for television, with large individuals inflicting physical harm on others tempestuously.
Whence came the name “World Series?” Does it suggest that this is the championship competition for baseball anywhere in the world, across the entire planet? Canada occasionally gets included, but:
- What do Japanese baseball players think of this?
- Does the World Series extend off-planet?
- Will we have to play Mars in a Worlds’ Series?
- And what’s the deal with the World Series of Poker?
- Or the World Series of Beer Pong?
Originally called “The Championship of the United States,” it became the “World’s Championship Series,” shortened eventually to just “World’s Series.”
Implications of the World Series Designated Hitter Rule
Wikipedia, the prequel to The Encyclopedia Galactica, but smaller, tells us:
The National and American Leagues operated under essentially identical rules until 1973, when the American League adopted the designated hitter (DH) rule, allowing its teams to use another hitter to bat in place of the (usually) weak-hitting pitcher. The National League did not adopt the DH rule. This presented a problem for the World Series, whose two contestants would now be playing their regular-season games under different rules. From 1973 to 1975, the World Series did not include a DH. Starting in 1976, the World Series allowed for the use of a DH in even-numbered years only.
The Cincinnati Reds swept the 1976 Series in four games, using the same nine-man lineup in each contest. Dan Driessen was the Reds’ DH during the series, thereby becoming the National League’s first designated hitter. From 1986 to 2019, and in 2021, the DH in the World Series was used only in games played at American League parks, and pitchers were required to bat in games played at National League parks. In 2020, and starting in 2022, the DH was adopted by the National League on a regular basis.
This, of course, is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. What is not obvious is the implication of this on other World Series rules.
World Series Designated Slapper Rule
This impacts (pun intended) players’ faces in an unfriendly altercation during the game or the glutei maximi of players as an encouraging gesture. This occurs on odd-numbered fortnights for longitudes that end in even numbers.
World Series Designated Driver Rule
For the winners who celebrate after a victory, selecting a player who will remain sober to drive other players home after the celebratory party is necessary. This player is chosen by drawing a card.
Each player gets six cards, except for the player on the dealer’s right, who gets seven. The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays. You need a king and a deuce, except at night, when you’d need a queen and a 4. You’ve got another jack! Ha ha ha! How lucky you are! How wonderful for you. If you didn’t get another jack, if you’d gotten a king, why, then, you’d get another card, except when it’s dark when you’d have to give it back.
Sure, this sounds like science fiction, probably because I lifted it from the Star Trek episode “A Piece of the Action.”
But for the losers, they select a Designated Hankie Carrier, except in those cases where it is overruled by the There’s No Crying in Baseball Rule.
Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian
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