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How the World Series Works


Controversies and Cancellations at the World Series
The crowd at Candlestick Park reacts after an earthquake rocked Game Three of the World Series between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants in 1989.
The crowd at Candlestick Park reacts after an earthquake rocked Game Three of the World Series between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants in 1989.
Otto Gruele, Jr./Stringer/Getty Images

The World Series is prone to human frailty and interruptions from the outside world. In 1918, the Series, which always begins in October, was held in September. The baseball season had been cut short so the World Series could be held early, due to a national "Work or Fight" law designed to get American male workers to contribute to the World War I war effort. (With patriotism on the minds of many, this was also the first World Series where "The Star Spangled Banner" was played before games.) The next year, there was no war, but the World Series was mired in its biggest scandal to date. A gambling ring enlisted eight Chicago White Sox players to fix the World Series. Those eight players that were paid to lose were banned from baseball for life, including otherwise sure-bet Hall of Famer "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

In the last two decades, the World Series has been held up three times. In 1989, the World Series was held entirely within the San Francisco Bay area, as the teams were the San Francisco Giants (NL) and the Oakland Athletics (AL). Oakland won the first two games at home, and the series shifted to San Francisco for Game 3 on Oct. 17, 1989. As pre-game activities were underway, a 6.9-level earthquake ripped through the city and Candlestick Park. The Series was delayed for 10 days.

Five years later, however, there was no World Series at all, the first and only time that's happened. The cause was a players' strike that ended the season on Aug. 12. When negotiations stalled by Sept. 14, commissioner Bud Selig called off the postseason. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 led to a mid-season delay, and then a postseason delay, the World Series began on Oct. 27 and ended on Nov. 4, resulting in the first ever "November Classic."

What are the biggest on-field moments in World Series history? Read on.