The World Series begins tomorrow, with the American League champion Boston Red Sox hosting the National League champs the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway. The Red Sox and Cardinals were the top two teams in baseball this season, so the World Series could be epic. So while we wait for the final games of the 2013 baseball season to start, let's relive all the drama of the ALCS and NLCS — animated in glorious OYO bricks!
Along with our friends at OYO and thefourmonkeys, SI Kids presents the top plays of the league championship series. Check 'em out:
I recently visited Cooperstown, New York, to see a number of sites that are important to baseball and loved by fans. Naturally, one stop was the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where I had a chance to tour the Hall with Craig Muder, the Director of Communications, and speak with Jim Gates, the Librarian of the Hall of Fame.
The Baseball Hall of Fame opened on June 6, 1939. The first five members of the Hall of Fame were Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, and Christy Matthewson. There are only 300 members of the Hall of Fame. Of those, 208 are players. The rest are managers, umpires, and executives.
The Hall of Fame is chock full of baseball artifacts, from jerseys and caps to bats and gloves. The Hall takes in about 400 new artifacts a year, with about 50 items provided by MLB and the rest donated by players, players’ families, and fans. But the Hall only displays about 10-15 percent of their artifacts at a time because they don’t have enough space to display everything. One of the most exciting parts of my visit was a program held in the Learning Center that gave kids a close-up view of Lou Gehrig artifacts, including a bat he used to hit a home run in the 1937 All-Star Game.
Baseball's postseason begins today! The playoffs start with the National League Wild Card game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds, then tomorrow the Tampa Bay Rays meet the Cleveland Indians in the American League Wild Card game. The Wild Card round might be the most exciting of the playoffs — it's win or go home, and none of the teams want to see their seasons come to an end.
For the first time in 21 years, the Pittsburgh Pirates are headed to the playoffs. The Buccos defeated the Cubs 2-1 last night, and with some help from the Washington Nationals (who lost to the St. Louis Cardinals), the Pirates are guaranteed at least a spot in the win-or-go-home Wild Card game.
It was a big night for the Pirates. The last time they were in the playoffs was 1992, when it lost to Atlanta in seven games in the National League Championship Series. That year was also the last time Pittsburgh had a winning record. This year, the Pirates got back to winning and got back in the postseason.
Last night, the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 7-6, to clinch the NL West. It was the team's first divisional title since 2009 — and it capped a stunning turnaround that saw LA go from last place in the West to division champs in just three months.
Of course, that calls for a huge celebration. And after the game was over, the Dodgers celebrated on the field, then in the clubhouse. But that still wasn't enough. Since they were playing in Arizona, their options were limited in how to keep the party started.
Until someone realized, "Hey, the Diamondbacks have a pool in the outfield!"
On September 20, 1998, the Baltimore Orioles played their last home game of the season. And third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. did something he hadn't done in 16 years: He stayed on the bench.
After playing in 2,632 straight games — a baseball record — Ripken decided to keep himself out of the Orioles' lineup. "I think the time is right," Ripken said. "I was going to take the last day of the season off in Boston, But I thought about it a long time and decided if this is going to end, let it end where it started, in Baltimore," Ripken said at the time.
In 1995, Ripken broke the record for most consecutive games played. The previous record was 2,130, which was set in 1939 by Lou Gehrig. But Ripken didn't sit once he owned the record. He kept playing. And playing. Ultimately pushing the record to 2,632 games.
At the end of the streak, the 38-year-old Ripken was the undisputed Iron Man of baseball. And when he retired in 2001 (his career line: 3,184 hits, 1,695 RBIs, and 431 homeruns) he was guaranteed a place in Cooperstown. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 with 98.53 percent of first-ballot votes, the third-highest percentage in history.
Fifteen years later, Ripken's streak remains one of the all-time great sports achievements. When he stopped by Sports Illustrated in July, he spoke to SI Kids about the end of the streak and who he thinks could challenge his place as baseball's Iron Man.
Did you happen to catch the Houston Astros-Cincinnati Reds game last night? No? All you missed was one one of the best worst slides of the season. Or maybe any season.