The World Series is the annual championship series of North American-based Major League Baseball (MLB), played since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion. Prior to 1969, the team with the best win-loss record in each league automatically advanced to the World Series; since then each league has conducted a championship series (ALCS and NLCS) held shortly before the World Series to determine which teams will advance. As of 2014, the Series has been contested 110 times, with the AL winning 63 and the NL winning 47. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played in October, which is one of the fall (autumn) months in North America, it is often referred to as the Fall Classic.
The most recent World Series was won by the San Francisco Giants, who defeated the Kansas City Royals four games to three in 2014. In the American League, the New York Yankees have played in 40 World Series and won 27, the Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics have played in 14 and won 9, and the Boston Red Sox have played in 12 and won 8, including the first World Series. In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have appeared in 19 and won 11, the New York/San Francisco Giants have played in 20 World Series and won 8, the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have appeared in 18 and won 6, and the Cincinnati Reds have appeared in 9 and won 5.