The greatest World Series rivalries are one of the major stories and history of American sports and, among the big four, is the longest-running championship in the history of the US. It continues to grow in popularity, and the excitement is palpable, with the 119th edition due to get going very soon. World Series odds currently have the Atlanta Braves as favorites after a white-hot regular season.
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New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
The Yankees and the Red Sox have competed in the American League for 120 years. Their geographical location means plenty of crossover between fans, and they have developed arguably the fiercest rivalry in all of American sports.
The two teams, of course, share a common ancestor in Babe Ruth, with the baseball icon being sold to the Yankees in 1919 by then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to finance a Broadway musical. It has been heated ever since, with Ruth leading both franchises to success.
The two have met in 24 overall postseason games on their respective journeys to the World Series, and the Yankees dominated much of their early meetings in the 90s and 2000s. However, they have been on a tear since the Red Sox’s historic turnaround to force a game seven in the 2004 AL Championship series, losing just once more since then. Their playoff record is now tied 12-12 as this incredible sporting war wages on.
LA Dodgers vs New York Yankees
This is the most-played game in World Series history. The pair have met 11 times, more than any other two teams across the AL and National League. This was originally a geographic rivalry, with the Dodgers initially playing in Brooklyn while the Yankees played in the Bronx before the former relocated to LA in 1958.
This rivalry dominated much of the mid to late 20th century with the two last facing each other in the 1981 series. They have played plenty of time since in the postseason. Across their 11 World Series meetings, the Yankees consistently got the better of their former neighbors with eight series wins to the Dodgers’ three. Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle have all played a part in this incredible rivalry.
LA Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants
Another geographical rivalry, this one, has bounced around from coast to coast. Although both are now based in California, in the late 19th century, they both played in New York. At that time, the Giants played in Upper Manhattan while the Dodgers played in Brooklyn. They both relocated to Cali in the same year.
The two have battled it out for a pennant or division title countless times and met in the postseason, most recently in 2021. Some of the most notable players to have appeared for both teams include Dusty Baker, Brett Butler, Orel Hershiser, and Jeff Kent. This rivalry is tightly contested, with the Dodgers narrowly ahead 3-2 in their five postseason meetings, and fans could argue for hours between these two and the Yankees-Red Sox rivalries as the most heated in all of baseball.
Cardinals vs Cubs
This rivalry is just as much about competition as it is about territory. Two of the oldest franchises in the MLB, they have called each other rivals since the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Stockings tied the 1885 World Series with three wins each and one tie. They have been competing against each other in the National League for decades and now the NL Central. As two storied franchises, this rivalry has to be the most historical in Baseball.
Although somewhat perennial underdogs, the Cubs have done well in their postseason meetings and lead with three wins to the Cardinals one. This rivalry sets itself apart from the rest on this list down its historical significance. Both are trying to prove that they are better than the other and the pride they take in this meeting is clear for all to see.
The rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs is one of the oldest and most storied in Major League Baseball. While the rivalry has deep historical roots, it has been particularly intense in recent years. Both teams have been strong contenders in the National League Central Division, adding fuel to an already fiery competition.
2015: The Cubs and Cardinals met in the postseason for the first time in history, facing off in the National League Division Series. The Cubs emerged victorious, winning the series 3-1 and advancing to the National League Championship Series.
2019: Both teams were in contention for the division title until the very end of the season. The Cardinals ultimately clinched the division, but the rivalry games were closely contested and had a significant impact on the final standings.
2020: Despite the shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rivalry remained intense. Both teams made it to the playoffs, although they did not face each other in the postseason.
2021: The Cardinals and Cubs continued to be strong divisional rivals. While the Cubs started to rebuild, trading away key players, the Cardinals made it to the postseason as a Wild Card team.
Who are the Detroit Tigers’ Biggest Rivals?
Michigan’s own Detroit Tigers have a storied history in the American League Central. While they may not have as many World Series appearances as some other teams, their divisional rivalries are nothing short of compelling. According to Bless You Boys, the Tigers’ most notable rivalry is with the Minnesota Twins. Seasons like 2006 and 2009 have seen these teams in tight races for the division title.
In 2006, the Twins clinched the division, but the Tigers went on to win the American League pennant. The 2009 season ended in a dramatic one-game tiebreaker, with the Twins winning 6-5 in extra innings. These matchups are a source of much excitement and debate among fans in Michigan, making them a crucial part of the state’s sports landscape.
Detroit Tigers vs Cleveland Indians: A Rivalry Rooted in the Rust Belt
The Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians share more than just a division; they share a history that is deeply rooted in the industrial Rust Belt of America. Other high-profile matchups have often overshadowed this rivalry, but for fans in Michigan and Ohio, it’s a contest that brings its own set of thrills and emotions.
The Tigers and the Indians have been divisional rivals since the American League Central was formed in 1994. However, their history goes back much further, with both teams being founding members of the American League. Over the years, they’ve had several memorable clashes that have had significant implications on division standings and playoff races.
One of the most memorable seasons for this rivalry was 2007. Both teams were in contention for the division title until the very end. The Indians managed to clinch the division, but not before a series of nail-biting games that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The tension reached its peak when the teams faced off in a crucial September series, with the Indians ultimately getting the upper hand.
Another highlight came in 2013 when both teams were strong contenders for the division title. The Tigers, led by stars like Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, managed to edge out the Indians, but the games were closely contested and had fans from both states glued to their screens.
The rivalry also has a cultural aspect. Both Detroit and Cleveland are cities that were built on industry, and both have faced economic challenges. This adds an extra layer of intensity to the games, as they’re not just about baseball; they’re about city pride.
While the Tigers-Indians rivalry may not have the national attention of some other matchups, it’s a fierce competition that resonates deeply with fans in Michigan. As we look forward to another season, this rivalry promises to bring more memorable moments, adding to the rich tapestry of the World Series and the American League.
Final Thoughts On The Greatest World Series Rivalries
The World Series is not just a championship; it’s a showcase of some of the greatest rivalries in American sports. From the Yankees-Red Sox feud to the Dodgers-Giants competition, these matchups make the World Series a must-watch event. And let’s not forget Michigan’s own Detroit Tigers, whose divisional rivalries add their own flavor to the American League. As we gear up for the 119th edition of the World Series, these rivalries promise to make it an unforgettable event.