List of pre–World Series baseball champions

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The World Series, the modern championship series of Major League Baseball, began in 1903, and was established as an annual event in 1905. Before the formation of the American Association (AA), there were no playoff rounds—all championships went to the team with the best record at the end of the season. In the initial season of the National League (NL) in 1876, there was controversy as to which team was the champion: the Chicago White Stockings, who had the best overall record (52–14), or the St. Louis Brown Stockings (45–19), who were the only team to have a winning record against every other franchise in the league. The teams agreed to play a five-game "Championship of the West" series, won by St. Louis, 4 games to 1. Beginning in 1884, the championship series between the National League and the American Association were promoted and referred to as the "World's Championship Series" (WCS), or "World's Series" for short; however, they are not officially recognized by Major League Baseball as part of World Series history.[1] Though early publications, such as Ernest Lanigan's Baseball Cyclopedia and Turkin and Thompson's Encyclopedia of Baseball, listed the 19th-century games on an equal basis with those of the 20th century, Sporting News publications about the World Series, which began in the 1920s, ignored the 19th-century games, as did most publications about the Series after 1960. Major League Baseball, in general, regards 19th-century events as a prologue to the modern era of baseball, which is defined by the emergence of the two present major leagues.

In the second year of the WCS, a dispute in the 1885 series concerned Game 2, which was forfeited by the St. Louis Browns when they pulled their team off the field protesting an umpiring decision. The managers, Cap Anson and Charles Comiskey, initially agreed to disregard the game. When St. Louis won the final game and an apparent 3–2 series championship, Chicago owner Albert Spalding overruled his manager and declared that he wanted the forfeit counted. The result of a tied WCS was that neither team got the prize money that had been posted by the owners before the series (and was returned to them after they both agreed it was a tie). Following the collapse of the AA in 1891, four of its clubs were admitted to the National League. The league championship was awarded in 1892 by a playoff between half-season champions. This scheme was abandoned after one season. Beginning in 1893—and continuing until divisional play was introduced in 1969—the pennant was awarded to the first-place club in the standings at the end of the season. For four seasons, the league champions played the runners-up in the postseason championship series called the Temple Cup. A second attempt at this format was the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series in 1900.

Champions before 1876

The only championship teams to last beyond 1876 (when the National League was founded) were the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs, NL) and the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves, NL). The Philadelphia Athletics (1860–76) were not the same team as either the Philadelphia Athletics (American Association) of 1882–1890, or the former Philadelphia Athletics (American League) who now play in Oakland.

National Association of
Base Ball Players
  National Association of
Professional Base Ball Players
Year Champions Year Champions Year Champions
1857 Brooklyn Atlantics 1864 Brooklyn Atlantics 1871 Philadelphia Athletics
1858 [2] Brooklyn Atlantics 1865 Brooklyn Atlantics 1872 Boston Red Stockings
1859 Brooklyn Atlantics 1866 Brooklyn Atlantics 1873 Boston Red Stockings
1860 Brooklyn Atlantics 1867 Union of Morrisania 1874 Boston Red Stockings
1861 Brooklyn Atlantics 1868 New York Mutuals 1875 Boston Red Stockings
1862 Brooklyn Eckfords 1869 Brooklyn Atlantics The White Stockings became the Cubs, while the Red Stockings
were later the Red Caps, the Beaneaters and the Braves.
1863 Brooklyn Eckfords 1870 Chicago White Stockings

Champions from 1876 to 1904


  • After 1871, a team's name links to the team's season that year (rather than to the team in general).
  • Italicized names refer to years when two teams and their managers could claim equal status as champion, either because they did not play a series against each other, or because they tied such a series.
  • A third bracketed and asterisked number in a series score, for example " 3–3–(1)* ", refers to a tied game,
Year Winning (or tying) team Manager Season Games Losing or tying team Manager Season
National League champions        
1876 Chicago White Stockings Albert Spalding 54-14
1877 Boston Red Caps Harry Wright 31–17
1878 Boston Red Caps Harry Wright 41–19
1879 Providence Grays George Wright 55–23
1880 Chicago White Stockings Cap Anson 67–17
1881 Chicago White Stockings Cap Anson 56–28
National League versus American Association — exhibition
1882 Chicago White Stockings (NL) Cap Anson 55–29 1–1 Cincinnati Red Stockings (AA) Pop Snyder 55–25
1883 Boston Beaneaters (NL) John Morrill 63–35 canceled Philadelphia Athletics (AA) Lon Knight 66–32
National League versus American Association
1884 Providence Grays (NL) Frank Bancroft 84–28 3–0 New York Metropolitans (AA) Jim Mutrie 75–32
1885 St. Louis Browns (AA) Charles Comiskey 79–33 3–3–(1)* Chicago White Stockings (NL) Cap Anson 87–25
1886 St. Louis Browns (AA) Charles Comiskey 93–46 4–2 Chicago White Stockings (NL) Cap Anson 90–34
1887 Detroit Wolverines (NL) Bill Watkins 79–45 10–5 St. Louis Browns (AA) Charles Comiskey 95–40
1888 New York Giants (NL) Jim Mutrie 84–47 6–4 St. Louis Browns (AA) Charles Comiskey 92–43
1889 New York Giants (NL) Jim Mutrie 83–43 6–3 Brooklyn Bridegrooms (AA) Bill McGunnigle 93–44
1890 Louisville Colonels (AA) Jack Chapman 88–44 3–3–(1)* Brooklyn Bridegrooms (NL) Bill McGunnigle 86–43
1891 Boston Beaneaters (NL) Frank Selee 87–51 no Series Boston Reds (AA) Arthur Irwin 93–42
National League champions — (The 1894–1897 series were for the Temple Cup; the 1900 one for the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup)
1892 Boston Beaneaters Frank Selee 102–48 5–0 Cleveland Spiders Patsy Tebeau 53–23
1893 Boston Beaneaters Frank Selee 86–44 no Series    
1894 New York Giants John Montg'y Ward 88–44 4–0 Baltimore Orioles Ned Hanlon 89–39
1895 Cleveland Spiders Patsy Tebeau 84–46 4–1 Baltimore Orioles Ned Hanlon 87–43
1896 Baltimore Orioles Ned Hanlon 90–39 4–0 Cleveland Spiders Patsy Tebeau 80–48
1897 Baltimore Orioles Ned Hanlon 90–40 4–1 Boston Beaneaters Frank Selee 93–39
1898 Boston Beaneaters Frank Selee 102–47 no Series    
1899 Brooklyn Superbas Ned Hanlon 101–47 no Series    
1900 Brooklyn Superbas Ned Hanlon 82–54 4–1 Pittsburg Pirates Fred Clarke 79–60
American League and National League champions
1901 Chicago White Sox (AL) Clark Griffith 83–53 no Series Pittsburg Pirates (NL) Fred Clarke 90–49
1902 Philadelphia Athletics (AL) Connie Mack 83–53 no Series Pittsburg Pirates (NL) Fred Clarke 103–36
1903 Boston Americans (AL) Jimmy Collins 91–47 5–3 Pittsburg Pirates (NL) Fred Clarke 91–49
1904 Boston Americans (AL) Jimmy Collins 95–59 no Series New York Giants (NL) John McGraw 106–47
* tied game
Sources: World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1929,[3] Baseball


Championship of the National Association of Base Ball Players

Team Number Years Current status League
Brooklyn Atlantics 9 1857−1861, 1864−1866, 1869 Defunct (1875) -
Brooklyn Eckfords 2 1862−1863 Defunct (1872) -
New York Mutuals 1 1868 Defunct (1876) -
Union of Morrisania 1 1867 Defunct (1873) -
Chicago White Stockings 1 1870 Chicago Cubs Nat'l

Championship of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players

Team No. of
Years Current status League
Boston Red Stockings 4 1872–1875 Atlanta Braves Nat'l
Philadelphia Athletics 1 1871 Defunct (1876) -

Championship of the National League (through 1904)

Team No. of
Years Current status League
Boston Red Caps/Beaneaters 7 1877–1878, 1883, 1891–1893, 1898 Atlanta Braves Nat'l
Chicago White Stockings 6 1876, 1880–1882, 1885–1886 Chicago Cubs Nat'l
New York Giants 4 1888–1889, 1894, 1904 San Francisco Giants Nat'l
Brooklyn Bridegrooms/Superbas 3 1890, 1899–1900 Los Angeles Dodgers Nat'l
Providence Grays 2 1879, 1884 Defunct (1885) -
Baltimore Orioles 2 1896–1897 Defunct (1899) -
Pittsburg Pirates 3 1901–1903 Pittsburgh Pirates Nat'l
Detroit Wolverines 1 1887 Defunct (1888) -
Cleveland Spiders 1 1895 Defunct (1899) -

Championship of the American Association

Team No. of
Years Current status League
St. Louis Browns 4 1885–1888 St. Louis Cardinals Nat'l
Cincinnati Red Stockings 1 1882 Cincinnati Reds Nat'l
Philadelphia Athletics 1 1883 Defunct (1890) -
New York Metropolitans 1 1884 Defunct (1887) -
Brooklyn Bridegrooms 1 1889 Los Angeles Dodgers Nat'l
Louisville Colonels 1 1890 Defunct (1890) -
Boston Reds 1 1891 Defunct (1891) -

Championship of the American League (through 1904)

Team No. of
Years Current status League
Boston Americans 2 1903–1904 Boston Red Sox Amer.
Chicago White Sox 1 1901 Chicago White Sox Amer.
Philadelphia Athletics 1 1902 Oakland Athletics Amer.

Winner of the World's Championship Series

Team No. of
Years Current status
New York Giants (NL) 2 1888–1889 San Francisco Giants (NL)
Providence Grays (NL) 1 1884 Defunct (1885)
St. Louis Browns (AA) 1 1886 St. Louis Cardinals (NL)
Detroit Wolverines (NL) 1 1887 Defunct (1888)
Boston Beaneaters (NL) 1 1892 Atlanta Braves (NL)

See also


  1. World Series Summary, Major League Baseball website, accessed 2006-10-24
  2. Charlton, James. "The Chronology – 1858". Baseball Library. Baseball Library. Retrieved 22 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 1929 World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1971 reprint by Workman Publishing, ISBN 978-0-07-071882-1, pages 776-777