When Fall was not classic

Monday, October 29, 2012 - 3:30pm

The San Francisco Giants recently won the World Series, the seventh in the history of the team. The championship known as the "Fall Classic" corresponds to the changing seasons of both sports and nature; temperatures and leaves are dropping, while football season passes its midpoint.

But on two occasions since its inception in 1903, the baseball year has ended without a World Series.

The first World Series was a best-of-nine exhibition between Pittsburgh, from the established National League, and Boston, from the upstart American League. In an upset, Boston won the series 5-3, giving its league a large dose of credibility.

The National League was won in 1904 by the New York Giants. The Giants, led by legendary manager John McGraw, had no interest in playing whichever team won the "inferior" American League. But baseball fans were so upset, the two leagues decided to make the series official and mandatory the following year. New York was the best team in the National League again, and it defeated Philadelphia' AL champs in the 1905 World Series.

The World Series withstood world wars and a gambling scandal, and was held each year for nearly nine decades. But labor tension overwhelmed the sport in 1994. Ownership wanted a salary cap because of dwindling profits. Players wanted the richest teams to subsidize the poorest teams. Negotiations yielded nothing, so the players went on strike in the middle of August. After a few more weeks of talks, interim commissioner Bud Selig cancelled the rest of the season in September, including the World Series.

The strike finally ended in March, 1995, allowing a condensed regular season and the return of the Fall Classic.

Sports

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