SAN FRANCISCO -- This year's National League Championship Series is historic in more ways than the comebacks that got the competitors here -- the Giants with three straight road wins, the Cardinals with four runs in the ultimate ninth inning.
Turns out, this is only the fifth postseason series to pit winners of the previous two World Series.
Not even the participants commenting on the challenges posed by the pairing were aware of how rare it was.
"These are going to be great games," said San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval. "Nothing will be easy. These are two guys who've been there before and are going to fight to be there again."
"I see a knockdown, drag-out series ahead of us," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny. "We're looking at two well-rounded teams. The Giants have all the components needed for winning baseball -- but we look in the mirror and see a pretty good club, too."
Three of these five reunions have included the Redbirds:
1928 World Series ('27 champ Yankees vs. '26 champ Cardinals).
1943 World Series ('41 champ Yankees vs. '42 champ Cardinals).
1958 World Series ('56 champ Yankees vs. '57 champ Braves)
2005 ALDS ('04 champ Red Sox vs. '05 champ White Sox).
2012 NLCS ('10 champ Giants vs. '11 champ Cardinals).