The 1904 World Series was a championship that didn't happen. But even though there was no champion crowned, 1904 was the key year in bringing about the annual Fall Classic.
After the pennant winners of the American and National leagues had arranged to play in 1903 in a post-season championship, it seemed the two leagues had finally moved beyond the bitter rivalry that had defined baseball since the American League formed in 1901.
But New York Giants owner John T. Brush announced during the 1904 season that if his team won the National League pennant, they would not play the American League champ. His manager, John McGraw, made it clear he thought the National League was the only major league.
The New York Giants did end the season as the National League champions, winning 106 games and finishing 13 games ahead of the second place Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, the defending world champ Boston Americans (later the Boston Red Sox) won their second consecutive American League pennant, fighting off the New York Highlanders (later the New York Yankees) by a game and a half.
A series made in heaven.
But because previous post-season series, going back to the 1880's, were put together by the teams and not mandated by the leagues, the Giants were under no obligation to play.
Brush stood by his decision not to play. There would be no post-season. No World Series.
But baseball fans and sports writers were clamoring for a 1904 World Series after the success of 1903. So after taking a lot of criticism, Brush put together a plan during the off-season that regulated when and where the champions of the National and American leagues would play as well as ticket prices and players' shares of the monies.
As an indication of the gambling atmosphere that was already surrounding baseball, he even tried to prevent players from throwing games extending the series by paying all of their percentage out of the first four games.
The two leagues agreed on the rules, setting the groundwork for the annual World Series that has continued for more than 100 years.
So even though there was no 1904 World Series, baseball listened to its fans and the year was redeemed and a great tradition was set.