Best World Series Of All Time: Top 5 MLB Championships Ever, According To Fans

The first World Series of Major League Baseball (MLB) was officially played in 1903. The matchup featured the Boston Americans taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine contest. Of course, the World Series eventually went to a best-of-seven format but that series helped spark America’s love affair with baseball. For over 100 years now, the fall classic has been played every year in October. Undoubtedly, baseball fans have seen some amazing World Series matchups, but only a few can be called the best World Series of all time. 

Before we dive into the list of the best World Series in MLB history, let’s look at the ways sports fans make time to watch their favorite teams play. A recent study found that the average sports fan is willing to travel and spend big money just to see their favorite team play in person. A survey of 2,000 self-identified sports fanatics examined the lengths people are willing to go to in order to watch their favorite sports team play in person and found some interesting data. The survey found that the average fan is willing to travel a whopping five hours and 48 minutes plus spend $762.20 on tickets just to see their favorite team play live. Although you’ll likely spend far more than that on World Series tickets, it sounds like a great way to spend a vacation and celebrate your favorite baseball team at the World Series in the fall.

Traveling to professional sporting events is nothing new for Americans. We love our sports and we’re loyal to our teams. However, another recent study suggests that simply getting out to watch a live sports event – whether it’s professional or amateur sports – is beneficial for your mental health. Scientists at Anglia Ruskin University say that attending live sporting events actually helps increase overall mental well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness. A survey of 7,000 adults found that those respondents who attended live sporting events scored better in terms of life satisfaction than those who had not recently attended events. That’s definitely another great reason to get the family out and watch the World Series in person in the fall. 

So, which World Series matchups have produced the most legendary in baseball history? StudyFinds did some digging, consulting 10 sports and baseball-oriented websites in an effort to bring you a consensus list of the best World Series of all time. Our list comprises the five most frequently listed matchups from across these sites. Think we missed one of the all-time best series? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! 

Baseball fans cheering in the stands
Baseball fans cheering in the stands (Photo by Tero Vesalainen on Shutterstock)

The List: Best World Series of All Time, According to Sports Experts

1. 1991: Minnesota Twins vs. Atlanta Braves

The top spot on the list of the best World Series of all time belongs to the 1991 series that featured the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves. Like most of the matchups on this list, this series went all seven games and ended with the Twins winning the World Series over Atlanta in a thrilling finish. 

“The Braves tied up Game 6 in the top of the seventh inning. No one would score again until the bottom of the 11th inning. Kirby Puckett hit his famous walk-off home run to keep the Twins’ championship hopes alive. Game 7 was a classic and was arguably the greatest game in World Series history… Both teams were scoreless through nine and the Twins decided to leave Morris in for the tenth. He shut down the Braves once again. After a Dan Gladden single, Chuck Knoblauch bunted him over. Alejandro Pena then intentionally walked the next two batters. Gene Larkin hit a pinch-hit walk-off single to win the World Series for the Twins,” explains Bleacher Report

In the early and mid-’90s, the Braves were one of the best baseball teams in the world, but they just couldn’t get over the hump and win a World Series. Of course, the Braves would eventually bring a title back to Atlanta, but fans would need to wait a little longer. This Twins team was not going to be denied. 

“Everyone recalls Game 7, when Jack Morris threw 10 shutout innings to outduel John Smoltz. But that whole series was incredible, with five one-run games and three extra-inning affairs, including a Game 6 that ended with Kirby Puckett’s walk-off in the 11th,” adds

That 11th inning walk-off of game six was truly a sight to behold. Puckett is one of the best players in the history of the Twins, and that home run is a big reason for his popularity in the great state of Minnesota. The seventh game of this series is widely regarded as one of the best games in MLB history. 

“With all due respect to the rest, this was the best World Series ever… Down 2-0 in the series, the Braves needed 12 innings to win Game 3 at home and stay alive. Atlanta then took Game 5 14-5 to take a 3-2 series lead and bring all of the momentum back to Minnesota. But the Twins fought back, winning Game 6 in 11 innings on a home run by Kirby Puckett that is one of the most iconic home runs in playoff history. In Game 7, Jack Morris delivered one of the greatest pitching performances ever, throwing 10 scoreless innings until the Twins finally scratched out a run to win the game and the series,” furthers Franchise Sports

2. 1975: Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston Red Sox

Next up on the list of the best World Series in MLB history is the ‘75 series that featured the Cincinnati Reds against the Boston Red Sox. This series is iconic for a variety of reasons, but it gave MLB fans one of the most memorable moments in baseball history – Carlton Fisk waving his home run ball fair. 

“The story goes that the iconic shot of Carlton Fisk waving his Game 6 home run to stay fair was an accident. The cameraman, Louis Gerard, was supposed to follow the ball. But he told his producer he couldn’t, that there was ‘a rat on my leg that’s as big as a cat. It’s staring me in the face.’ So he just kept the camera on Fisk… In that way, the 1975 World Series made every World Series that followed better. Buckner, Carter, Gibson, Bumgarner, Mo, Papi, all the way to Howie Kendrick: The biggest moments now immerse us in them, overpower us with the emotions of them. Fisk’s home run raised everything that followed. But still, nothing that followed could top it,” explains ESPN

The Cincinnati Reds of the ‘70s were known as the Big Red Machine and their lineup featured some of the best MLB players we’ve ever seen. Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and the great Johnny Bench comprised one of the best teams in the history of baseball. 

“The 1975 World Series pitted the Big Red Machine Reds and the Red Sox against each other. One one side, the Reds were looking to win a championship after losing to the Orioles in 1970 and the A’s in 1972. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were looking for their first championship since 1918. Games 2, 3, and 4 were all decided by one run. The drama began to build when Game 6 was rained out three days in a row. That allowed Luis Tiant, who threw a complete game shutout in Game 1 to start the game,” writes Last Word on Sports

Joe Morgan is arguably the greatest second baseman in MLB history while Johnny Bench and Pete Rose are widely regarded as two of the best to ever play their position. However, the Red Sox also fielded an all-time great team featuring Carl Yastrzemski and Dwight Evans. With names like these, this World Series had to be great – and it lived up to expectations. 

“When Boston took an early 3-0 lead in Game 7, it looked like the team’s long World Series drought might be over. But the Reds rallied for two in the sixth, then tied the game with another run in the seventh. Finally in the ninth, another future Hall of Famer came to bat with two outs and two men on base. Joe Morgan stayed alive for four pitches, then laced a dunk-job single to center off Sox lefty Jim Burton. Arguably the greatest second baseman of all time knocks in the winning run in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series … and almost no one remembers, because of Fisk’s waving skills. Baseball is a funny game sometimes,” furthers CBS Sports

3. 1986: New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox

The third spot on the list of the best World Series in the history of MLB belongs to the ‘86 series. This series featured the New York Mets battling the Boston Red Sox for the title, and it didn’t disappoint baseball fans. 

“The stars aligned for Major League Baseball in 1986 when the big market star-studded New York Mets faced off against the big market star-studded Boston Red Sox in a World Series that would produce one of the most notorious plays in baseball history. Led by Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter and Ron Darling, the Mets had won a whopping 108 regular season games. The Sox had some serious talent too, including Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans.  But it was still a big surprise when Boston won the first two games of the series on the road,” writes Lineup Forms

Unfortunately, the Red Sox were on the losing end of the ‘86 World Series, but don’t apologize to Mets fans. The ‘86 Mets are still talked about in the city of New York and they’re easily one of the most beloved teams in the history of professional baseball. 

“Few World Series can match the drama of the 1986 series, and few games will ever match the drama of Game 6, played Oct. 25 at Shea Stadium in New York City. At the time, Boston still had not won a championship since 1918 (4-2 over the Chicago Cubs) despite winning the American League pennant in 1946, 1967 and 1975. We now know Boston’s pain ended in 2004, but it looked about to end in 1986,” furthers Imagine Sports

The Red Sox eventually broke out of their 90-year funk to win the 2004 World Series, but they were so close in ‘86. Of course, this series featured one of baseball’s most discussed and highlighted errors as Bill Buckner let a seemingly routine ground ball go right through his legs. Still, the ‘86 Mets were a truly great team and they earned that World Series title. 

“In the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6, the Mets’ Mookie Wilson stepped to the plate with the score tied at 5. On a full count, he hit a slow roller to first base. The ball went through first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs for an error—one of the most infamous errors in World Series history—and Ray Knight scored the winning run to force a Game 7… Many blame Buckner for Boston’s loss, but the truth was many Red Sox were at fault for the collapse. Boston reliever Bob Stanley’s wild pitch allowed the Mets to tie the score before Wilson’s winning grounder,” adds History

4. 1924: Washington Senators vs. New York Giants

The fourth spot on the list of the best World Series in baseball history takes us all the way back to 1924 and the infamous meeting between the Washington Senators and the New York Giants, who are now located in San Francisco. This series featured a slew of one-run baseball games, and many experts feel that game seven is one of the best baseball games ever played. 

“Game 1 of the 1924 World Series was an indication that the series would be an entertaining one. The Washington Senators tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. In the 12th, the Giants scored twice and then held off the Senators for the win. This was just one of four games in the series to be decided by one run. Both Game 6 and Game 7 were also one-run games. In Game 7, the Senators tied the game in the eighth inning on a ball that bounced over the head of Giants third baseman Fred Lindstrom,” writes Bleacher Report

For all the baseball purists out there, footage of the 1924 World Series can still be seen on YouTube, as shown below. This series had it all – great pitching and legendary hitting. In fact, the Senators’ Walter Johnson is regarded as one of the best pitchers in MLB history. 

“Game 7 was a crazy 12-inning affair; the legendary Walter Johnson pitched four scoreless innings with one day of rest, and the Giants made a couple of errors in the final frame to allow the winning run to score,” adds

Every game in the 1924 World Series was a close affair that saw each squad giving it their all to win a title. The games were all relatively close in score, but the Senators were able to pull out the victory and bring home the championship

“Aside from the Giants 6-2 win in Game 5, every game was decided by three runs or less. Four of the games were decided by one run, and the first and seventh games went 12 innings. To add to the drama of the series, Walter Johnson, 36 at the time, pitched out of the bullpen in Game 7 to pitch the last four innings, allowing the Senators to win 4-3. That victory on two days of rest was Johnson’s only of the series despite pitching 12 innings in Game 1 and eight in Game 5, allowing eight earned runs total in the 20 innings,” furthers Last Word on Sports

YouTube video

5. 1960: Pittsburgh Pirates vs. New York Yankees

Rounding out the list of the best World Series of all time is the 1960 matchup between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees. This series is best known for its riveting game seven which featured a lot of scoring and several lead changes. 

“If we’re being honest, most of the 1960 Series wasn’t all that compelling. We got a few dynamic individual performances, led by Whitey Ford shutting out the Pirates in Game 3, then doing so again in Game 6. Still, three of the games were absolute blowouts, ending in scores of 16-3, 10-0 and 12-0 — the Yankees winning all three. But oh, what a Game 7. The deciding game featured an avalanche of runs, with 10 of the 19 scoring in the final two innings. The Buccos looked like they would salted the game away in the bottom of the eighth, rallying for five runs to take a 9-7 lead,” explains CBS Sports

The seventh game of the 1960 World Series is considered one of the best game sevens in MLB history, if not the very best. Although most of the games leading up to game seven were decided by the ninth, game seven gave baseball fans one of the most riveting matchups we’ve ever seen. 

“This series was a little unusual because when the Yankees won, they won big, out-scoring Pittsburgh 38-3 in their three wins. Meanwhile, the Pirates mostly won close games, which is why Bobby Richardson of the Yankees won MVP honors despite his team losing the series. Of course, the real MVP was Bill Mazeroski, who hit a walk-off home run in Game 7 to win the series for the Pirates. That remains the only Game 7 walk-off homer in World Series history,” writes Franchise Sports

The 1960 New York Yankees’ roster featured some of the biggest names in baseball history – Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. But, Pittsburgh wouldn’t be denied their shot at glory. The Pirates winning the title in game seven is one of the biggest upsets in recent history. 

“All you have to do with this series is look at Game 7, called by many as the greatest baseball game ever. The Yankees had been killing the Pirates in this series, but Pittsburgh still managed to hang on and force the deciding game for all the marbles. After several lead changes, the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski humbled everyone in New York with a two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Yankees Manager Casey Stengel was fired before Mazeroski’s home run ball landed in the stands,” adds Top 5

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