The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB), the most important professional baseball organization in Canada and the United States. Spectators enjoying the 2023 World Series and its lead-up will find that it operates slightly differently to how it did in 1993. Thirty years ago, there were only West and East divisions in each league, with the Central divisions being introduced in 1994. The Division Series were added in 1995 to determine which teams would advance to the League Championship Series, and the Wild Card Series was made permanent in 2022 to give a leg-up to teams who were not top division winners.
The World Series has a long history dating back to the late nineteenth century. The Providence Grays won against the New York Metropolitan Club in a three-game series in 1884, earning the title of “World Champions” from several newspapers. From that point on, the moniker served various different competitions before what is considered by baseball historians as the first official World Series: when the Boston Americans won 5-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an eight-game series in 1903.
A poster commemorating the first official World Series, which saw the Boston Red Sox face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903.
The first official World Series was made possible by a new agreement of cooperation between the National League and the recently-formed American League, which had been in fierce competition for players and spectators. Though the relationship between the two remained rocky in the years ahead, they became increasingly intertwined, resulting in the leagues joining their organizational structures and becoming a single entity known as Major League Baseball at the turn of the millennium. 2023 is not only the 30th anniversary of the Jays’ 1993 win, but the 120th anniversary of the first official World Series.