The 107th edition of the Fall Classic kicks off on Wednesday night in St. Louis, with the Texas Rangers looking for their first World Series title and the St. Louis Cardinals trying for their 11th all-time.
The Rangers are one of eight current major-league franchises that have never won a World Series. Among those teams, the Rangers have been in existence the longest, playing their inaugural season in 1961.
Teams to Reach World Series
Season After Losing World Series
They are the fifth AL team in the Divisional Era to make it to the World Series in back-to-back seasons, and the first since the Yankees went to four straight from 1998-2001.
However, the pressure is on the Rangers to win this year after losing to the Giants in 2010. The previous three AL teams to go back to the World Series the season after a loss have each won the title in their return trip. The last AL team to lose back-to-back World Series was the Yankees in 1963 and 1964.
The Cardinals are making their 18th World Series appearance all-time, tied with the Dodgers and Giants for second-most in major-league history. This is their third appearance since the start of the 2004 season, the most of any team in that span.
Most World Series Appearances
The Cardinals this year were one of the most unlikely teams to ever make the World Series. On August 27th, a loss to the Pirates dropped them to 69-64 and put them 10½ games back in the division.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cardinals are the first team to be at least 10 games out in through the games of August 27 or later in either the league, division or wild card race and reach the World Series.
WHAT DO THE STATS MEAN?
Thanks to the NL’s win in the All-Star Game, the Cardinals have home-field advantage in the World Series. Since 1985, the team hosting Game 1 in the World Series has won 20 of the 25 titles.
The Cardinals clinched a postseason spot on the final day of the regular season. Of the 15 teams to do this in the Wild Card era, only four have reached the World Series, including the Cardinals. Two of the previous three won the title: the Giants last year and the Cardinals in 2006.
• The team with the better regular-season record is 5-5 in the last 10 World Series. The Rangers were 96-66, the Cardinals were 90-72.
• The team that averages more runs per game in the regular season has won 11 of the last 15 World Series. The Rangers averaged 5.3 runs per game, the Cardinals averaged 4.7 runs per game.
• The team with the better regular season batting average has won 14 of the last 21 World Series. That Rangers hit .283, the Cardinals hit .273.
• The team with the better regular season ERA has won only 5 the last 20 World Series. The Rangers had a 3.79 ERA, the Cardinals had a 3.74 ERA.