In 1903, Barney Dreyfuss, owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates sent a letter to the owner of the Boston Americans, now known as the Boston Red Sox, challenging the team to "a World's Championship Series."
That season, the Pirates had the best record in the National League, and the Red Sox ranked No. 1 in the American League. Boston won that year's best-of-nine series, 5 games to 3. The series has since been shortened to seven games.
The World's Championship Series — whose name was later shortened to World Series — has been played every year since, except 1904 and 1994.
"In 1904, the New York Giants refused to play the Red Sox," said Freddy Berowski, a research associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. "The leagues stepped in the following year to officially make the World Series an annual event. In 1994, the baseball strike prevented the playing of the World Series."
The term "World Series" first appeared in the Spalding Guides (guides to the game published by the Spalding Athletic Company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) in 1917, but didn't appear in the Sporting News (which has been published since 1886) until 1964, according to the Dickson Baseball Dictionary.
The early programs and scorecards read "World's Championship Series." The first time the series program was labeled with the term "World Series" was in 1936. The Cleveland scorecard, in 1920, and the Washington scorecard, in 1924, were labeled "World Series."
"A popular myth is that the World Series was named for the New York World Telegram," says Berowski. Although the newspaper reported the game's results, Berowski said, Barney Dreyfuss deserves credit for naming the series.
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This article was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.