Every World Series rematch in MLB history

November 3rd, 2021

Every year, one team leaves the World Series a champion -- and another leaves it with a score to settle. But actually getting the chance to settle that score is rare.

In Major League Baseball history, there have been 116 World Series, but only nine instances of World Series rematches -- the same two teams meeting in the Fall Classic multiple years in a row. And there hasn't been one in more than 40 years.

Here's a look back at every previous World Series rematch.

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 1977-78
1977: Yankees defeat Dodgers, 4-2
1978: Yankees defeat Dodgers, 4-2

The Bronx was burning in 1977, as the Yankees won their first World Series title under George Steinbrenner, who had taken ownership of the team four years earlier. The Yankees had won the AL pennant the season before, but were swept by the Big Red Machine in the World Series, and that winter they signed Reggie Jackson. In the 1977 Fall Classic, Jackson became Mr. October with his iconic performance in the clinching Game 6 of the World Series against the Dodgers, when he homered three times on total three pitches off three different Dodgers pitchers.

In 1978, both the Yankees and Dodgers were back, the Yankees only getting into the playoffs after beating the Red Sox the infamous tiebreaker game to win the AL East -- the Bucky Dent Game. In the Fall Classic, the Steve Garvey and Ron Cey-led Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with a post-surgery Tommy John winning Game 1. But the Yankees won four straight to clinch a repeat, thanks to Jackson, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage and the World Series MVP Dent.

Yankees vs. Braves, 1957-58
1957: Braves defeat Yankees, 4-3
1958: Yankees defeat Braves, 4-3

Exactly two decades before the Yankees-Dodgers rematch, the Braves and Yankees squared off in back-to-back seven-game Fall Classics. The Braves took the first of those, the only championship the franchise won while located in Milwaukee. That year's Braves team was led by the legendary trio of Cy Young winner Warren Spahn, league MVP Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. But the World Series hero was actually Lew Burdette, who beat the Yankees three times, including pitching a shutout in the deciding Game 7 on the road at Yankee Stadium.

In 1958, the Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra-led Yankees -- suddenly the only team left in New York, with both the Dodgers and Giants moving to California that year -- got their revenge in the rematch against Milwaukee. The Braves actually led the Series, 3-1, but the Yankees rallied to win three games in a row. With Game 7 tied entering the eighth inning in Milwaukee, Berra started the Yankees' rally with a double, Elston Howard singled him home with the go-ahead run, and a few batters later Moose Skowron put the series away with a three-run homer.

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 1955-56
1955: Dodgers defeat Yankees, 4-3
1956: Yankees defeat Dodgers, 4-3

These were the final World Series meetings of the Dodgers and Yankees' Brooklyn-Bronx rivalry, before the Dodgers went west in 1958. They were also the last two all-New York World Series until the Yankees-Mets Subway Series in 2000. Both went seven games. Brooklyn took the first -- also the franchise's first championship -- behind the efforts of league MVP Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and others.

In 1956, the Yankees came out on top. Mantle was at the peak of his powers, winning the Triple Crown by batting .353 with a career-high 52 home runs and 130 RBIs in one of the greatest hitting seasons in baseball history. But the '56 Fall Classic is best remembered for one of the most legendary performances in postseason history: Don Larsen's perfect game in Game 5.

Yankees vs. Dodgers, 1952-53
1952: Yankees defeat Dodgers, 4-3
1953: Yankees defeat Dodgers, 4-2

The Yankees and Dodgers would meet in the World Series four times in a five-season span from 1952-56. The Yankees would win three of the four meetings, including both of the first two in '52 and '53. New York had already won the previous three Fall Classic; these two wins over the Dodgers gave the Yankees a Major League-record five consecutive World Series titles.

The 1952 season was the beginning of the Mantle era in New York. It was The Mick's first full big league season, when he broke out as an All-Star and MVP candidate and hit the first two of his record 18 career World Series home runs -- which weren't just any home runs, they were the decisive home runs Game 6 and Game 7. The next season, the Yankees took the Fall Classic in six games, with Billy Martin winning the series with a walk-off single at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees vs. Cardinals, 1942-43
1942: Cardinals defeat Yankees, 4-1
1943: Yankees defeat Cardinals, 4-1

These two Yankees-Cardinals World Series matchups took place during a unique period in Major League Baseball history. The U.S. was fighting in World War II, and during their involvement from 1941-45 many players left the sport to serve in the military. Among them were Hall of Famers from both of these franchises: the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Red Ruffing, and the Cardinals' Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter. DiMaggio, Rizzuto, Ruffing and Slaughter were all serving in the military during the second of these World Series matchups in 1943.

The 1942 Cardinals had the NL MVP in Mort Cooper, who went 22-7 with a 1.78 ERA, and the runner-up in Slaughter. They rolled to a five-game win over New York in the Fall Classic. In 1943, the Yankees were the ones who cruised to a championship, despite Musial's emergence as a true superstar -- Stan the Man won the first of his three MVP Awards, leading the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, hits, doubles and triples.

Yankees vs. Giants, 1936-37
1936: Yankees defeat Giants, 4-2
1937: Yankees defeat Giants, 4-1

The Yankees-Giants New York rivalry included six World Series matchups over a span of three decades before the Giants moved to San Francisco. The Giants won the first two of those (more on that later), but the Yankees took the next four. That included back-to-back World Series in 1936 and '37, in the final years of the Lou Gehrig era.

With Babe Ruth having played his final Yankees season in 1934, The Iron Horse led the Yankees to their 1936 and '37 titles, the franchise's first without The Babe. Gehrig won his second career AL MVP Award in the first of those seasons, tying a career high with 49 homers. Behind Gehrig, the Yankees twice got the better of Giants teams led by Carl Hubbell (Gehrig's MVP counterpart in the NL in '36 after going 26-6 with a 2.31 ERA) and Mel Ott.

A's vs. Cardinals, 1930-31
1930: A's defeat Cardinals, 4-2
1931: Cardinals defeat A's, 4-3

Skippered by the legendary Connie Mack, the 1930 A's were a powerhouse -- their rotation was led by Lefty Grove, and their lineup by Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx hitting back-to-back-to-back in the middle of the order. Grove won the pitching Triple Crown that year, going 28-5 with a 2.54 ERA and 209 strikeouts. Cochrane hit .357, Foxx hit .335 with 37 home runs and 156 RBIs, and Simmons won the batting title by hitting .381 while also belting 36 homers and driving in 165 runs. The A's title in 1930 marked their last in Philadelphia.

The next season, St. Louis won a seven-game Fall Classic behind dominant pitching from "Wild Bill" Hallahan and spitballer Burleigh Grimes. Hallahan won Games 2 and 5, and Grimes won Games 3 and 7… with Hallahan coming on in relief to close out the series. Grimes was the last Major League pitcher legally allowed to throw the spitball, grandfathered in under the old rules after MLB banned the pitch in 1920.

Yankees vs. Giants, 1921-23 (three straight World Series matchups)
1921: Giants defeat Yankees, 5-3
1922: Giants defeat Yankees, 4-0-1
1923: Yankees defeat Giants, 4-2

The Giants-Yankees World Series at the beginning of the 1920s weren't just the beginnings of the decades-long New York rivalry, they were a clash of eras. One one side were the Giants under John McGraw, playing the small-ball, run-limiting style characteristic of the dead-ball era. On the other were the powerful Yankees, led by Babe Ruth, who had slugged the sport into the live-ball era with his 54 home runs in his first Yankees season in 1920.

The Giants actually got the better of the Yankees in the first two meetings. The 1921 Fall Classic -- the Yankees' first appearance in the World Series -- was the last one played in a best-of-nine format, and the Giants clinched it with a 1-0 win in Game 8. They won again the next year, holding the Yankees winless in the series (Game 2 was a tie after the game was controversially called on account of darkness) to take home their third world championship. All the games in the 1921 and '22 World Series were played at the Polo Grounds, as Yankee Stadium wouldn't open until 1923.

In that inaugural 1923 season in The House That Ruth Built, the Yankees finally broke through with the first of their record 27 World Series championships. Ruth was the MVP of the league, hitting .393 with 41 home runs and 130 RBIs. And The Bambino homered three times in the Fall Classic, including one to open the scoring in the Yankees' clinching Game 6.

Cubs vs. Tigers, 1907-08
1907: Cubs defeat Tigers, 4-0-1
1908: Cubs defeat Tigers, 4-1

The 1907 and '08 seasons marked the Cubs' first World Series championships… and their last for the next 108 years, until the 2016 Cubs finally shattered the franchise's century-plus-long championship drought.

Wrigley Field hadn't even yet opened when the Cubs took their first Fall Classic -- they played their games at the West Side Grounds. The 1907-08 Cubs teams were led by Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, and they featured the famed Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance double play combination. The Cubs twice bested Tigers teams led by Ty Cobb.