You know Championship is a thing to be celebrated. It’s like a festival for sports fans. The term Pennant in Baseball refers to the Big Leagues like the National League or the American League. But there is more to it. You must be wondering why it is called “Pennant” in Baseball in the first place?? Let us then begin from the beginning.
Pennant in Baseball and the History of the Term
You know, when you first hear the term “Pennant,” the first image that comes to our mind are those triangular-shaped flags hovering on the mast of the ships. Or we are reminded of those flags we used to cheer our favorite athletic team in our schools or colleges, Right? Traditionally these flags were made in the colors of the supporting team. Not only that, even the emblem or mascots of the team used to be printed on these Pennants. It feels so amazing to go all the way down memory lane.
And you would be surprised when we tell you that the term “Pennant in Baseball” has a relation to these fabric pieces only—amazed?? okay, Storytime!
Fast forward to the present scenario. A long time ago, the Champions of a Baseball league were awarded a triangular flag in shape. The flag that they received as a trophy would fly over the stadium the following season. It was a way of celebrating their victory. Today, the Champions are awarded trophies for winning a Championship, but the term remains, and it still holds a very significant meaning to this day. The term Pennant in Baseball refers to the Championship of various leagues. And the winners of those Leagues, that is, the National League and the American League, ultimately compete in the World Series.
The Pennant Race and the relation with Pennant in Baseball
The pennant race is a “post-season game” that is played after the regular season of the Major League Baseball or, as we usually call it, the “MLB” has ended. As already mentioned, the objective of the Pennant in Baseball is to get the winning teams from the American League and The National League to finally compete in the World Series.
Suppose you are not too familiar with the names of various leagues in Baseball. In that case, you might wonder, Where does MLB come in the picture when the objective is a playoff against the American League and National League champions? Well, let us make it easy for you. MLB is a League that is played with 30 teams. 15 teams from AL and 15 from the National League.
It is now getting back to the post-season game. After the regular MLB is over, the elimination tournament begins. In this World Series, the American League Champions and the National League Champions play against each other in a “best of seven” World Series. In this “Best of seven playoffs.” the two champions compete against each other for seven games straight. The goal is that the team that wins four games amongst the seven is declared the Champion of the World Series.
However, it is not necessary to win four games consecutively. Also, there is no room for a match in this playoff that results in a draw. The match is played till there is a clear winner. This rule has been laid to ensure that there are not more than seven matches in the World Series Playoff.
Closest Pennant Races in Baseball History
What is the excitement in a game without some drama of a neck-to-neck fight for the trophy? That is the reason we all love sports. Some excitement, some adrenaline rush, and some last-minute battles!! So let us give you a list of the three oldest Pennant Races in Baseball that went down in history.
The National League in the year 1908.
In this game, three National League teams fought against each other. The game was between the most renowned teams of that time, the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Most surprisingly, all the three groups were there even on the final weekend. In this dramatic game, the Giants led because they did not play two games due to rain and had a higher percentage point. The match between the Pirates and the Cubs had a clear winner, and that the Pirates lost it. The final game was between the Giants and the Cubs, and finally, the Cubs won the Championship of 1908.
American League in the Year 1908.
You got to agree that 1908 was a dramatic year for the Baseball fans. But this was precisely the closest pennant race in the history of Baseball. The Tigers finally won against the rest of the teams by just half a game, which was legal in 1908.
The American League of 1915
There was an initial fight between the Tigers and the Cobb, but ultimately the Tigers fell short of points to the Boston. The Boston Red Sox finally won the League with 101 points.
Pennant in Baseball are even souvenirs?
Astonishing right? It should not be surprising that vintage collectors love these old Pennants in Baseball. But you would understand its actual value if you were a true baseball fan. Just like the kids nowadays have posters of their favorite player or singer on their walls, these vintage pennants are like a trophy for the Baseball fans.
People or curators often purchase pennants of their favorite team. Be it the Pennant of Detroit Tigers from the American League Championship that dates back to 1968 or the 1962 Pennant of the Guest Grand opening of the Dodger Stadium. These are more than just pieces of fabric.
First Pennant in Baseball for a World Championship
Although there is no solid evidence about the year in which the first pennant in Baseball for a World Championship was launched, from evidence, it is speculated to be somewhere around the year 1914. The reason behind the “guesswork” is that there is no year printed on these pennants. As our research goes, the “Boston Braves launched the first-ever Championship, Pennant in Baseball.”
The pennant features the SOX emblem of two crossed baseball bats alongside the balls and bases in golden. The entire emblem is in the middle, and encircling it is the name “Boston Red SOX Baseball Clubs,” printed in the upper half of the circle. The lower half shows the characters reading “World Champions.” This emblem is on the left broader side of the pennant, followed by the alphabets “RED SOX.”
Rarest Pennant in Baseball
The launch of the souvenir pennants with the team city or team’s name on it dates back to 1905, that is 117 years back. By looking at the period, you can already understand what makes these pennants so damn unique. One of the rarest and most special pennants could be the “Black felt Pennant, ” featuring the characters “SOX” to represent the Chicago White SOX team.
This Pennant in Baseball also features the face of the owner of the team Chicago White Sox, Charles Comiskey. His face is at the broader end of the flag, followed by the three alphabets representing his team’s name. This Pennant in Baseball could be found for purchase in the Comiskey Park before the scandal of 1991 of the “Black SOX” hit the headlines.
Vintage Pennant in Baseball gloves
You may be even more surprised to know that even the leather gloves that the players wore for the Pennants in Baseball also serve as souvenirs. Yes!! You heard it right. The vintage leather glove of the right-handed pitcher Erwin Coolidge Porterfield is available for sale. The glove we are talking about here is a 1950 Pennant Baseball glove. This even has his name inscribed in the wrist region. The best part? This is now available for sale online!! So if you are a person who loves to collect Pennants in Baseball Souvenirs, this is your chance to increase your collection.
FAQs on Pennant in Baseball
Are there pennants in Baseball with photos?
There is. And these pennants are very popular among the fans. The pennant of the Detroit Tigers, from 1968, American League Championship features the photo of the entire team on the pennant. After them, many teams adapted this technique to have it as a “stadium souvenir.”
Do teams still win these pennants?
Yes, they do. The winning team of a Championship is still presented with these triangular fabrics and other mementos and memorabilia.
Pennants in Baseball were initially used as “trophies.” However, they are not used for the purpose as before; they still have great significance. This term now refers to the Championship of the two most renowned leagues: the National League and the American League. The winning team from these two Championship ultimately competes in the World Series in a seven-match face-off.