'A permanent piece of baseball history'

Holliday, Ortiz on cover of Series program

BOSTON -- It is no surprise that the National Baseball Hall of Fame displays official World Series programs like artwork, preserved through 104 years of baseball history. Famous programs have shown President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first pitch at the Polo Grounds (1917), and the Yankees' and Mets' logos looking like numbers on a subway sign (2000).

The 2007 Major League Baseball Official World Series Program features images of Most Valuable Player candidates Matt Holliday of the Rockies and David Ortiz of the Red Sox in action on the cover, amid bright fall foliage. And like previous programs, this one is almost as notable for what is featured inside.

"It's a permanent piece of baseball history," said Don Hintze, vice president of publishing for Major League Baseball. "It's an item that people will hold on to forever."

Inside, articles from scribes Tim Kurkjian, Jayson Stark and Jerry Crasnick from ESPN; Bill Madden and Adam Rubin from the New York Daily News; and legendary boxing writer Bert Randolph Sugar, complement interviews, scorecards and team rosters. Troy Renck from the Denver Post and Steve Krasner from the Providence Journal will provide a local focus for the National and American league champions.

The program runs 270 pages long, even without the local sections. Previous writers have included syndicated political columnist George Will and Bob Costas from NBC Sports.

"I think we tried to get the most prestigious and well-known baseball writers in the world," Hintze said. "They also recognize the prestige of being published in the World Series program."

Major League Baseball expects brisk sales in Boston, Denver, and points in between.

"It's probably the most sought-after souvenir of the World Series," Hintze said. "Based on the hot markets, it should do really well this year."

If anything, Red Sox Nation has grown stronger since 2004, when the team won its first World Series in 86 years. Historic Fenway Park has not failed to sell out a game, playoffs or regular season, since 2003. For the first time since perhaps the late 1940s, the Red Sox have put together a run of sustained success near the top of the league, winning 90 or more games in five of the last six years.

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Then there's the Rockies, six seasons removed from their last winning record -- until this year. Spurred on by young stars such as Holliday, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and pitchers Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado won 14 of its last 15 regular-season games and then streaked right into the playoffs, sending sports-mad Denver into a frenzy with seven successive postseason wins entering the World Series.

"They're very excited about being in their first World Series," Hintze said. "It's great to be able to commemorate it."

The program will be on sale at Fenway Park and Coors Field during the Series, as well as at various retail sites and on MLB.com.

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.