For the third time in five years, the Houston Astros will represent the American League in the World Series after knocking off the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. They have all the makings of a championship team, boasting a potent lineup that’s led by Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. The Atlanta Braves are not a team to overlook, especially not after they beat the 106-win Dodgers in the NLCS.
With the Fall Classic getting underway on Tuesday night in Houston, we took a look at the last 21 World Series since 2000, ranking them from best to worst. This isn't a list of the best World Series, but rather a ranking of the most intriguing, exciting and fascinating World Series of this century.
1. 2001: Diamondbacks over Yankees (7 games)
The timing of this series coming after 9/11 and the fact that the Yankees were playing in it added a layer of emotion not felt in many sporting events. It helps that the series went the full seven games with plenty of drama in the middle thanks to the Yankees’ three straight wins, all by one run. Randy Johnson won three games in the series, too, helping the D-Backs secure the 3-2 win at home in Game 7. Roger Clemens’ nine-strikeout performance in Game 3 was among the many highlights, too.
2. 2016: Cubs over Indians (7 games)
Few things are better in sports than Game 7. One thing that might be is an extra-innings series finale for all the marbles. That’s what the 2016 World Series gave us, with the Cubs beating the Indians 8-7 in the 10th inning of Game 7. There were three one-run games and the Indians had Chicago on the ropes with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs battled back with three straight wins to secure their first World Series title since 1908.
3. 2002: Angels over Giants (7 games)
In three of the seven games, at least one team scored 10-plus runs – including Game 2 when the Angeles beat the Giants, 11-10. It was a high-scoring, seven-game set in which each team’s ERA was well above 5.00. John Lackey turned in a gem of a performance in Game 7 to earn the win, pitching five innings of one-run ball, leading the Angels to a 4-1 win at home.
4. 2017: Astros over Dodgers (7 games)
The Astros and Dodgers were unquestionably the best teams in baseball in 2017, which is part of the reason this series stands out. They each won more than 100 games during the regular season and for seven games traded punches with five of the seven contests being decided by two or fewer runs. The Astros clinched it in Game 7 with a 5-1 victory, helped by Charlie Morton’s four innings in relief to hold off the Dodgers. This victory wound up being tainted in MLB history, thanks to Houston’s cheating scandal.
5. 2011: Cardinals over Rangers (7 games)
The Cardinals trailed 3-2 in the series and were down 7-5 entering the ninth inning of Game 6. They desperately needed a rally to extend the series, getting exactly that when Albert Pujols doubled in the ninth, followed by a walk of Lance Berkman. Two batters later, David Freese tripled to right and drove both runs in to tie it and sent the game to extras. St. Louis won it in 11 innings on Freese’s walk-off homer, playing the role of hero in Game 6. The next night, St. Louis beat the Rangers 6-2 to wrap up the series and win it all.
6. 2014: Giants over Royals (7 games)
With two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7 and the Royals trailing 3-2, Alex Gordon hit a liner to center, which got by outfielder Grego Blanco and went to the wall. He took third on the error, putting the Royals in a great spot to tie the game. It was a clutch hit, but also one that leaves many wondering if he could’ve scored had he rounded third and went home in an attempt to tie it. It was a fantastic series regardless, even with five blowouts.
7. 2020: Dodgers over Rays (6 games)
What a bizarre season 2020 was, with four wild-card matchups in the AL and NL after a shortened regular season, all leading to the Dodgers and Rays squaring off in the World Series. After the Dodgers lost in the 2017 and 2018 World Series, they finally beat the Rays to secure their first title since 1988. It was a great series for Clayton Kershaw, who captured two wins, including a pivotal Game 5 victory by allowing only two runs in 5.2 innings.
8. 2000: Yankees over Mets (5 games)
The Subway Series may not have had the drama of many others, but it did feature Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat in the direction of Mike Piazza, so that was something quite unexpected. Piazza had some fans thinking he tied the game in the bottom of the ninth in Game 5 when he hit a shot to center field, but it wasn’t quite enough and the Yankees notched their third straight World Series title.
9. 2003: Marlins over Yankees (6 games)
The most memorable name from this series was Josh Beckett, the starter for Florida who pitched nine shutout innings against the Yankees in the series-clinching Game 6, striking out nine batters and stymying a potent New York lineup. The Marlins only hit two home runs all series and batted .232 as a team, but they came through in the clutch by winning three straight games to close out the series.
10. 2019: Nationals over Astros (7 games)
The Nationals went three straight games scoring one run each, nearly blowing a 2-0 series lead to the Astros. Houston then grabbed a 3-2 lead with those three straight wins, but Washington’s bats came alive in Games 6 and 7, helped by the pitching staff holding Houston to only four total runs in the final two games. Max Scherzer gutted out five innings of two-run ball in Game 7, while Patrick Corbin came in in relief and allowed zero runs in three innings. The Nationals scored all six of their runs in the seventh inning on, coming from behind to win 6-2.
11. 2013: Red Sox over Cardinals (6 games)
David Ortiz made a name for himself in the clutch during the Red Sox’ 2004 title run, but he was equally good in the 2013 World Series with two home runs and 11 hits in only 16 at bats. The Cardinals walked him eight times and he posted a mind-blowing .688 batting average, playing a big part in the Red Sox’s championship. Boston fell behind 2-1 but broke off three straight wins to take the series 4-2 in six.
12. 2005: White Sox over Astros (4 games)
One year after the Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918, the White Sox won their first championship since 1917 – an almost poetic finish to the 2005 season. Yes, it was a sweep, but all four games were decided by two or fewer runs and Game 3 went 14 innings. The White Sox had a team ERA of 2.63 in the series and all of their starters went between 7 and 7 1/3 innings – including Freddy Garcia, who didn’t allow a run in his seven innings pitched.
13. 2015: Royals over Mets (5 games)
Despite the series finale ending with a 7-2 final score, it was much closer than it seemed on the surface. That’s because KC scored five runs in the 12th inning to win it, ending the series with an outburst in the late-night hours. Johnny Cueto outdueling Jacob deGrom in Game 2 was a major point in the series, pitching nine innings with one run allowed to help the Royals take a 2-0 series lead.
14. 2018: Red Sox over Dodgers (5 games)
The turning point came in Game 4 when the Red Sox, up 2-1 in the series, were trailing 4-0 in the seventh inning. The Dodgers were on the verge of knotting the series at two apiece, but the Red Sox scored three in the seventh, one in the eighth and five in the ninth to win 9-6, going up 3-1 over the Dodgers. They won Game 7 fairly comfortably, 5-1, thanks to Steve Pearce’s two home runs and three RBI. And let us not forget the 18-inning marathon in Game 3, which the Dodgers won 3-2.
15. 2010: Giants over Rangers (5 games)
This was mostly a forgettable series, with only two of the five games being decided by two or fewer runs. Edgar Renteria won MVP honors thanks to his two home runs and six RBI, batting .412 in the series with seven hits. Madison Bumgarner’s eight shutout innings in Game 4 were a statement from the young pitcher, while Tim Lincecum earned two wins in the series – including the decisive Game 5.
16. 2009: Yankees over Phillies (6 games)
Outside of Cliff Lee, the Phillies didn’t get much out of their pitching staff, which was a big reason the Yankees claimed this series. The Yankees’ offseason acquisitions paid off during the season, and in the World Series, it was Hideki Matsui’s three homers and eight RBI that helped lift New York to victory.
17. 2004: Red Sox over Cardinals (4 games)
The 2004 postseason will always be remembered for the Red Sox’ miraculous comeback in the ALCS against the Yankees, which left the World Series feeling anticlimactic – especially considering it was a four-game sweep by Boston and only three total runs being scored by the Cardinals in the final three games. Derek Lowe and Pedro Martinez were brilliant, each pitching seven shutout innings in their starts.
18. 2012: Giants over Tigers (4 games)
Aside from the Giants’ eight-run outburst in Game 1, neither team scored more than four runs in any other game. The Tigers were shut out twice and scored just six total runs in the series, making this a low-scoring stretch of four games. Bumgarner built on his World Series resume with seven shutout innings in Game 2 after Barry Zito won Game 1.
19. 2008: Phillies over Rays (5 games)
The most notable thing from this series was perhaps the fact that Game 5 took three days to complete due to a weather delay that pushed it out two days later. Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz were the catalysts for Philadelphia’s offense while Cole Hamels made two starts and allowed just four runs in 13 innings. As a team, Tampa Bay batted .212 and didn’t score more than four runs once.
20. 2006: Cardinals over Tigers (5 games)
These Cardinals are statistically one of the worst World Series teams, winning 83 games in the regular season before going on a surprising postseason run all the way to a championship. There wasn’t a whole lot of offense in this series with the Tigers scoring just 11 runs in five games, and the star power was lacking on both sides.
21. 2007: Red Sox over Rockies (4 games)
The Red Sox cruised to a second World Series title in four years, once again sweeping their NL foe in four games. They blew the doors off the Rockies in Game 1, 13-1, and then slugged their way to another big win in Game 3, winning 10-5. There simply wasn’t much drama between these two teams in 2007, making for a lackluster series in late October.