The 24 Best World Series Photographs of All Time

Legendary sports photographers reveal their favorite World Series memories
Ezra Shaw-Getty Images

Legendary sports photographers reveal their best World Series memories

Bianca Silva | Marie Tobias

The World Series is where routine plays turn into anxiety-inducing, legend-making, career-defining feats. It’s where underdogs become heroes, where champions turn into dynasties, and where curses are born––or busted.

With this year’s historic matchup pitting the Chicago Cubs (last win: 1908) and the Cleveland Indians (1948), TIME asked sports photographers who covered the World Series throughout the years to select the images that moved them most.

1956 – Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Yankees

John G. Zimmerman—Sports Illustrated

John G. Zimmerman (1927–2002) captured Brooklyn Dodger Pee Wee Reese beating out the throw to New York Yankees first baseman Joe Collins in Game 1 of the World Series for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 2, 1956. As told to Linda Zimmerman, daughter of the late photographer:

If you plan for a moment—like the first three seconds of a horse race or the double plays at second base—you can get some pictures that are really kind of timeless because even though you’re ready for it, you don’t expect that marvelous, surprising action.”

1958 – New York Yankees v. Milwaukee Braves

New York Yankees Casey Stengel, 1958 World Series
John G. Zimmerman—Sports Illustrated

John G. Zimmerman (1927–2002) photographed New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel in the locker room after winning Game 7 of the 1958 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves on Oct. 9, 1958 for Sports Illustrated. As told to Linda Zimmerman, daughter of the late photographer:

“The background and the attitude of the subject make the picture. In effect, what I am shooting when I make a portrait of a famous athlete is a symbolic picture of the man and his sport.”

1960 – New York Yankees v. Pittsburgh Pirates

Marvin E. Newman
Marvin E. Newman

Marvin E. Newman photographed Game 7 of the 1960 World Series:

This is my most famous World Series photo. Mazeroski of Pittsburgh hitting the winning home run in the deciding seventh game. You can see the home run ball going over the all informing scoreboard. I worked on this all-telling viewpoint during the game waiting for a defining moment. It came with the home run. The ball over the scoreboard was a once-in-a-lifetime icing on the cake.”

1963 – Los Angeles Dodgers v. New York Yankees

Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Yankees, 1963 World Series
Neil Leifer—Sports Illustrated

Neil Leifer captured Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax celebrating on the mound at home after sweeping the New York Yankees in four games for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 6, 1963:

“I grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and watched my Dodgers lose the World Series over and over again to the dreaded Yankees, so getting to see the Dodgers now in Los Angeles – not Brooklyn – sweep in four games straight was a thrill for me. I love sports pictures that do not need a caption. If you look at that picture, you got the scoreboard at the top. It tells you exactly where you are in the game and Sandy Koufax’s exuberance lets you know that this was a significant win. Koufax, who may have been the best pitcher in the history of baseball, was one of those players that never showed a lot of outward emotion or exuberance. He was one of those guys that if he pitched a perfect ballgame, you might get a small smile or a wave from him. I’m sure he was thrilled with many of his other victories, but he never showed that kind of emotion.But here he is, looking like Muhammad Ali when he knocked out George Foreman.”

1965 – Los Angeles Dodgers v. Minnesota Twins

Walter Looss–Sports Illustrated
Walter Iooss, Jr.–Sports Illustrated

Walter Iooss, Jr. got this shot of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrating in the locker room for Sports Illustrated in 1965:

“It is the sheer joy of the moment, and the complete respect for the best pitcher I have ever seen, Sandy Koufax. I also love those two guys in the sunglasses. The image wouldn’t be the same without them.”

1967 – Boston Red Sox v. St. Louis Cardinals

Walter Looss–Sports Illustrated
Walter Iooss, Jr.–Sports Illustrated

Walter Iooss, Jr. photographed the 1967 World Series for Sports Illustrated:

“What are the odds of getting the ball, the runner, and Curt Flood all in the perfect place. Photos like this happen once in your life.”

1975 – Boston Red Sox v. Cincinnati Reds

Boston Red Sox Carlton Fisk, 1975 World Series
Heinz Kluetmeier—Sports Illustrated

Heinz Kluetmeier shot this photograph of Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk celebrating after hitting a walk-off home run in the 12th inning at Fenway Park in Game 6 of the World Series for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 21, 1975:

I was shooting Game 6 of the 1975 Red Sox-Cincinnati World Series. It was a tied game, extra innings and Carlton Fisk was up to bat. I was shooting from a perfect location sitting on a borrowed low chair in an aisle uncomfortable for any claustrophobic fan. In anticipation, the fans were pleasant and nice, but were gung-ho all over my back waiting for the home run. We all got our wish. As he swung, I felt the fans swing with him on my back and then the crushing rush was on. As he made contact, fans were jumping and pushing me aside to jump over the low fence. And in self-defense for my life, I had to join them in the rush to the plate. I found myself in the midst of a mob at home plate as Fisk jumped on the plate several times and I was just a few wide feet away. It was not my best World Series photo but the most memorable in my life.”

1978 – New York Yankees v. Los Angeles Dodgers

New York Yankees Thurman Munson
Manny Millan—Sports Illustrated

Manny Millan photographed Yankees catcher Thurman Munson in Game 5 of the World Series on Oct. 15, 1978:

“I was photographing home plate from the first base side, near the Dodgers dugout, with a 300mm Nikon lens and camera. The Dodgers Davey Lopez had just scored and the Yankees catcher, Thurman Munson, is looking at the umpire, showing his displeasure at the result.”

1982 – Milwaukee Brewers v. St. Louis Cardinals

John Biever–Milwaukee Journal
John Biever–Milwaukee Journal

John Biever captured Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Don Sutton looking distressed during Game 6 of the World Series for The Milwaukee Journal on Oct. 19, 1982:

“The image sort of summarizes the despair of my hometown Milwaukee Brewers. This was their only World Series appearance. Sutton, a Hall-of-Famer, was having a bad game in the rain of Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo. He was giving up 7 runs, 5 earned, in only 4 1/3 innings after starting this Game 6, which the Brewers lost 13-1. St. Louis went on to win the Series the next day in 7 games.”

1986 – New York Mets v. Boston Red Sox

Ken Jarecke–Contact Press Images
Ken Jarecke–Contact Press Images

Ken Jarecke shot the New York Mets celebrating on the mound after winning in seven games for Contact for Press Images in 1986:

After game seven of the World Series I stuck around hoping to make a picture, of what? I don’t know. Maybe 30 minutes after everyone left, the bullpen of the Mets left the locker room celebration to have a mini celebration of their own on the pitcher’s mound. There were few fans left in the stadium. Most of the other press was either in the locker room or filing their stories. The guys in the background are mainly the Mets ground crew. So my gamble paid off. I had no idea anything would happen, but lucky for me it did.”

1993 – Toronto Blue Jays v. Philadelphia Phillies

Toronto Blue Jays vs Philadelphia Phillies, 1993 World Series
Chuck Solomon—Sports Illustrated

Chuck Solomon shot the Toronto Blue Jays celebrating the walk-off, game-winning home run by Joe Carter in Game 6 of the World Series for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 23, 1993:

“When Joe Carter hit his game and series-winning home run in 1993 at what was then called Skydome, my photo position was inside the roof directly over home plate. When Carter hit the ball, I swung my camera to the outfield in case an outfielder made a great catch. When the ball went over the wall I quickly tried to pick up Carter as he was rounding the bases. The problem was all the runners on the bases looked the same when you shoot almost straight down focusing on their heads. By the time I picked up Joe he was rounding third base and I shot as he was coming into the pile. To my surprise the pile of players opened up to allow Carter to clearly extend his leg to touch home plate and win the Series. As the late Toronto broadcaster, Tom Cheek famously said when the ball went out, ‘Touch ’em all, Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!’

1996 – New York Yankees v. Atlanta Braves

David Burnett–Contact Press Images
David Burnett–Contact Press Images

David Burnett photographed the Yankees celebrating their first World Series championship since 1978 for Contact Press Images:

“One of the joys of October is the arrival of the World Series. Crisp nights in New York, at the old Yankee Stadium, were unlike any other sports events. In 1996, when the Yankees eked out a victory in Game 6, winning the title (4-2) over the Braves, there was an explosion of elation and excitement. As the game ended, the team raced from the dugout to share, on the infield, that moment of exaltation. Leaping, like kids, into the air and over each other, it was a time of supreme triumph, an electric moment. Little league players could take a few lessons from the ’96 Yankees.”

1996 – New York Yankees v. Atlanta Braves

David Burnett–Contact Press Images
David Burnett–Contact Press Images

David Burnett captured this shot of a boy and his mitt in Atlanta for Contact Press Images:

“Baseball is a sport which touches the soul of America, both young and old. The game survives on a reservoir of hope: ‘Will my team make it to the playoffs…the series. Hopes of catching a foul ball continue to drive young (and old) to bring their mitts to a game, in hopes of catching a foul ball, as this boy in Atlanta did. You can glimpse that look of hopefulness: ‘Maybe, just maybe, they’ll foul one off towards me.’”

1997 – Florida Marlins v. Cleveland Indians

Al Tielemans—Sports Illustrated

Al Tielemans photographed Cleveland Indians first baseman Jim Thome after losing the championship to the Florida Marlins in Miami for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 26, 1997:

“The Florida Marlins won their first Championship only four years after their inception. The series moved from balmy Miami to frigid, snowy Cleveland and back again for Games 6 and 7. The seventh game was decided in extra innings, and in the span of just a few minutes I saw glimpses of Bobby Bonilla celebrating at home as Craig Counsell scored; Indians Jim Thome squatting with his head buried in his hands, and Marlins manager Jim Leyland, the crustiest of baseball guys, blowing kisses to the crowd.”

2000 – New York Yankees v. New York Mets

2000 World Series - New York Yankees v New York Mets
Brad Mangin—MLB Photos via Getty Images

Brad Mangin photographed New York Yankees manager Joe Torre being carried off after winning his third straight World Series for MLB/Getty Images in 2000:

“This picture of New York Yankees Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre being carried off the field at Shea Stadium in New York after the Yankees beat the New York Mets in Game 5 to win the 2000 World Series is special to me for so many reasons. This was the first year that I shot the Series for Major League Baseball and it was an historic Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets. This harkened back to the 1950s when the Yankees seemed to play the Brooklyn Dodgers in the Fall Classic every year. In 2000, we were still shooting film, Fujicolor 800 color negative film pushed to 1600 ASA to be exact. I love the old-school look the film gives this picture. It’s fitting that Torre was the last manager to be carried off the field after winning a World Series. This has not happened since. I am thrilled that I was there to witness this event and photograph the history of this great Yankee dynasty led by Torre.”

2004 – Boston Red Sox v. St. Louis Cardinals

World Series: Red Sox v Cardinals Game 4
Al Bello—Getty Images

Al Bello photographed the Boston Red Sox clinching their first World Series title since 1918 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, for Getty Images on Oct. 27, 2004:

“I like this picture because after 86 years of failure to win a World Series, the Boston Red Sox finally got it. I had followed them the whole season when their rivalry with the New York Yankees was at its most intense. They had come from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and I just knew that there was nothing stopping them after that. I shot this picture via radio remote after I had placed and set the camera at the top of the stadium. I was on the field and fired it from there while shooting the action with my hand held camera at the end of the game. It was an angle that nobody else got that night and I was happy to successfully shoot something different to so many photographers from all over the country who were there covering the same event. I always liked the placement of the exact moment the Red Sox won. I like the losing team walking off the field. This picture tells the story of the series all in one frame. It is a scene-setter.”

2004 – Boston Red Sox v. St. Louis Cardinals

World Series: Red Sox v Cardinals Game 4
Elsa Garrison—Getty Images

Elsa Garrison photographed the Boston Red Sox celebrating their first World Series win in 86 years for Getty Images on Oct. 27, 2004:

“I shot game four of the 2004 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals in the outfield. I positioned myself so I was looking into the Red Sox dugout. If they were to sweep the Cardinals and win the title, I thought a nice way to get more of the team and their faces in a celebration picture would be to shoot into the dugout. This was the moment they won. You can see the joy of the dugout as they charge the pitcher’s mound. It was a cool moment to see – the Curse of the Bambino was lifted! It is not the most amazing picture I have shot at a World Series but the moment it represents is something I will always remember.”

2004 – Boston Red Sox v. St. Louis Cardinals

World Series: Red Sox v Cardinals Game 4
Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

Ezra Shaw captured Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield and his teammates celebrating in the locker room after winning for Getty Images on Oct. 27, 2004:

“I snuck right in the middle of a champagne toast after the Red Sox finally broke the curse and won the series. I like this picture but it was a great story because of the curse and how the Red Sox came from behind to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and then went on to beat the Cardinals.”

2008 – Philadelphia Phillies v. Tampa Bay Rays

Al Tielemans–Sports Illustrated
Al Tielemans–Sports Illustrated

Al Tielemans photographed the Philadelphia Phillies clinching their first World Series title since 1980 for Sports Illustrated in 2008:

In 2008, the Phillies made it back to the Series and dispatched the Tampa Bay Rays in five games. As Rays pinch hitter Eric Hinske stepped to the plate to face Phil’s closer Brad Lidge, I looked into the upper deck above first base where my family sat. Twenty-eight years ago I sat up there with my dad and a teammate, and now my two sons would experience a Phillies championship too. Lidge struck out Hinske and pandemonium reigned for three days in Philly. There are so many memories of that experience: Lidge awaiting Carlos Ruiz on the mound, the parade, and the final walk through the stadium… but seeing another Philly native, Phil’s pitcher Jamie Moyer (who I had played against in summer ball as a teenager), dig up the pitching rubber and carry it into the clubhouse is a memory that will stay with me forever.”

2009 – New York Yankees v. Philadelphia Phillies

30087808a--11/04/09-New York Yankees vs Philadelphia Phiiles World Series Game -6at Yankees StadiumMariano rivera-Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte reacts after winning the World SeriesPhoto by Barton Silverman/NYT/SptsPhoto by Barton Silverman/NYT/Spts
Barton Silverman—The New York Times/Redux

Barton Silverman photographed the New York Yankees celebrating their 27th World Series championship for the New York Times on Nov. 4, 2009:

“There was chaos on the field after the Yankees clinched the 2009 World Series. There was media everywhere, and the players were reacting to winning. I was in the midst of this when I happened to turn around and there was Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. In the midst of all the chaos I was able to capture this moment. Sometimes you just get lucky.”

2011 – St. Louis Cardinals v. Texas Rangers

2011 World Series Game 7 - Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals
Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

Ezra Shaw photographed the St. Louis Cardinals winning their second World Series title in six years against the Texas Rangers for Getty Images on Oct. 28, 2011:

“This is from the 2011 World Series, which was probably one of the best series I have photographed. I love the confetti coming down from the sky in the top picture as the cardinals celebrate beating the rangers in game 7. This picture was taken from a remote camera positioned at the top of the stadium.”

2012 – San Francisco Giants v. Detroit Tigers

Damian Strohmeyer–Sports Illustrated
Damian Strohmeyer–Sports Illustrated

Damian Strohmeyer captured the San Francisco Giants winning their second championship in three years for Sports Illustrated in 2012:

“The 2012 World Series was an interesting one for me. I remember this one well because it was in Detroit and I hadn’t done a World Series there ever. The San Francisco Giants were up 3-0 going into Game 4 on a Sunday night and everyone from Sports Illustrated was pulling for the Giants to wrap up. A Giants victory would allow SI to put out their current issue with a World Series cover that would only be a few days old when it hit the street and in subscribers’ mailboxes. If the World Series went back to San Francisco for a Game 5, we would be too late for the current issue. I was working with my colleagues Al Tielemans and Chuck Solomon. The way we normally worked the games is that we rotated through positions. So my assigned positions for Game 4 was going to be in Center Field looking in toward the field and the dugouts. It’s kind of a safety position because you can pretty much see everything from that spot. Except that someone at SI thought we should try to shoot from a spot in Left Field. I made a stink about being in Center Field because it put more pressure on everyone else if the position in Left Field was one that could be obstructed by fans. So much happens on the mound I just thought it was imperative to be there in a possible clinching game. Nate Gordon, our baseball picture editor saw my point and agreed to have me go to Center Field as we had agreed earlier in our plans. I have to admit that I had a plan about the Center Field position. From the way I was tracking the games I thought there was a strong possibility Buster Posey would win the MVP of the series and I knew he would head straight toward the mound if San Francisco won. I was banking on that photo if they won. As it turned out that is exactly what happened and to make it even sweeter Detroit Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera was the hitter who struck out to end the game. You can see him in the cover photo walking away from the batter’s box after striking out.”

2014 – San Francisco Giants v. Kansas City Royals

MLB Baseball: World Series: San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City RoyalsGame Action: Game 7 K auffmann Stadium/Kansas City, MO, USA 10/29/2014 X158854 TK4 Credit: Robert Beck
Robert Beck—Sports Illustrated

Robert Beck captured San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner playing in Game 7 on less than three days rest for Sports Illustrated on Oct. 29, 2014:

“This one was challenging to get. Showing the motion of a pitcher while keeping part of the athlete sharp and recognizable. And this guy is no regular athlete. This is Madison Bumgarner, the MVP of the 2014 World Series. Madison went into Kansas City and held the Royals to one run over seven innings while picking up the victory. Madison came back to throw a complete game shutout in game six, the first since 2003. He gave up only four hits while striking out eight and not issuing one walk. The Royals thought that would be the last they would see of Madison during the series. Rarely do starting pitchers throw on less than three days rest but a tight game seven called for drastic measures–Giants manager Bruce Bochy did the unthinkable. He called on his ace to come on in relief with only two days rest…in the fifth inning! Madison blanked the Royals over the final five frames setting down 14 in a row at one point. It was an unbelievable feat. Just incredible. No one has ever pitched as well as Madison in a World Series.”

2015 – Kansas City Royals v. New York Mets

2015 Top Stories Kansas Missouri
Frank Franklin II—AP

Frank Franklin photographed the Kansas City Royals jumping over the dugout at Citi Field after winning their first World Series championship since 1985 for the Associated Press on Nov. 2, 2015:

“With all that goes into covering a World Series there are quite possibly hundreds of images that one could use to document all the action and dramatic moments that go into winning it all. But this is the moment that says it all for me. There’s before this and after this. I feel that I was fortunate to have captured a moment that accurately shows the elation of both fans and a team that had to play another season to reach the goal that they were so close to accomplishing the year before. It is a special moment in sports that not everyone gets to photograph or see in person.”

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Lead Photograph by Ezra Shaw–Getty Images

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