The Cubs finished with the best winning percentage in baseball history, steamrolling the National League competition and winning the pennant by 20 games over the Giants. But they were stunned by their crosstown rivals in the World Series. The "Hitless Wonder" White Sox erupted for 16 runs and 26 hits in the final two games to hand the Cubs the first of many October disappointments.
2 of 11Chuck Solomon/SI, John Iacono/SI
The three-time defending world champion Yankees were hardly intimidated by the Mariners record-tying 116-win squad that featured Edgar Martinez, Brett Boone and Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees won the first two games in Seattle, got a walk-off home run from Alfonso Soriano to win Game 4 and wrapped up their fourth straight pennant by pounding the Mariners 12-3 in the clinching Game 5.
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The Mets were in last place in late August, yet rallied to win the NL East with the worst record, to that point, of any postseason team in history. The Reds, meanwhile, were in their Big Red Machine heyday, and were seeking their third pennant in four years. But the Mets showed they were ready for a fight, with shortstop Bud Harrelson wrestling with Pete Rose in the Mets' Game 3 win. Despite the lopsided ledgers, the Mets had home field in the decisive Game 5, and won going away, 7-2, wrapping up a series in which they outscored the Reds 23-8.
4 of 11Mark Kauffman/SI
1954 World Series
Led by a dominant pitching staff that featured Bob Lemon and Bob Feller, the Indians set an AL record with 111 wins. But Willie Mays' sensational catch and a game-winning home run by little-known Dusty Rhodes in Game 1 sent the Giants on their way to a four-game sweep.
5 of 11John Iacono/SI
Two years prior, the Cards had won 105 games, yet it would be the 83-win squad that would win the World Series. To get there,St. Louis had to beat a heavily-favored Mets team that was weakened by injuries to its starting rotation. Light-hitting Yadier Molina hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 7 at Shea Stadium, which proved to be the game winner when Carlos Beltran and Co. couldn't answer it.
6 of 11Bill Frakes/SI
The Braves latest October letdown came at the hands of the upstart Cubs, who snuck into the playoffs on the season's last weekend. Kerry Wood won two games in the series, including the decisive Game 5, as the Cubs won their first postseason series since the 1908 World Series.
7 of 11Ronald C. Modra/SI
The Twins record would have only been good enough for fifth in the AL East, but Minnesota took advantage of the electric atmosphere produced by its homer hanky-waving fans in the Metrodome to win the first two games on its way to a five-game triumph.
8 of 11John Iacono/SI
1990 World Series
Led by Bash Brothers Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, the defending world champion A's rolled into their third straight Fall Classic with a four-game sweep of the Red Sox in the ALCS. But it was the A's who got the broom in the World Series, falling victim to the Reds' outstanding pitching, led by the relief corps known as the Nasty Boys and Series MVP Jose Rijo, who went 2-0 and won the clinching Game 4.
9 of 11Walter Iooss Jr./SI (3), Fred Kaplan/SI
1974 World Series
The first all-California World Series saw the A's win their third straight title, disposing of the Dodgers in five games. Los Angeles' potent offense was held to just 11 runs for the series. Four games in the series were decided by 3-2 scores, with Oakland winning three of them.
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The wild-card Orioles were big underdogs against the defending AL champion Indians and their power-packed lineup. But Baltimore won the first two games in its ballpark, and Roberto Alomar's 12th-inning homer in Game 4 knocked out Cleveland, which eventually won six AL Central titles between 1995 and 2001 but never the World Series.
11 of 11AP
For the 100th consecutive season, a World Series championship will elude the Cubs. After finishing the regular season with its best record since 1945, Chicago flamed out with a three-game sweep against the underdog Dodgers. The Cubs have been swept out of the playoffs two straight years and have lost nine consecutive postseason games.
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