The Wild Card was to debut in 1994, but a strike wiped out the postseason, so it came into being in 1995.
Ninety-two teams have won 100 or more games in a season, and only eight of them did not qualify for the postseason. Only two have come up short since the addition of the League Championship Series in 1969: the '93 Giants and the 1980 Orioles, who at 100-62 finished three games behind the Yankees.
The 1909 Cubs were 104-49 but finished second to the Pirates (110-42). The 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers were 104-50, two games back of the Cardinals. The 1954 Yankees won 103 games but finished eight games behind the Indians.
Other teams to win 100 or more games but stayed home were the 1962 Dodgers, who went 102-63, including a win and two losses in a playoff against the Giants for the NL pennant; the 1961 Tigers, 101-61 but eight games behind the Yankees; and the 1915 Tigers, 100-54, 2 1/2 games behind Boston.
Of the 84 100-win teams that advanced to the postseason, 34 won the World Series, 29 lost in the World Series, 10 were eliminated in the Division Series and 11 in the LCS.
MANAGING JUST FINE
The Giants' Bruce Bochy is in the World Series for the fourth time as a manager. He won with San Francisco in 2010 and 2012 but came up short with San Diego in 1998. Bochy will attempt to become the 10th manager in Major League history to guide a team to a World Series title at least three times.
The nine who have won three or more are all in the Hall of Fame: Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel (seven each), Connie Mack (five) Walter Alston and Joe Torre (four each), and Miller Huggins, Sparky Anderson, Tony La Russa and John McGraw (three each).
McCarthy, Stengel, Torre and Huggins all won their championships while managing the Yankees. Mack managed the Philadelphia A's, Alston the Dodgers, McGraw the New York Giants, Anderson the Reds twice and Tigers once and La Russa the Cardinals twice and A's once.
This is the second World Series featuring two Wild Card teams. The Giants lost to the Angels in 2002 and are the second team to advance to the postseason as a Wild Card twice. The Marlins were Wild Card entrants when they won the World Series in 1997 and 2003.
In addition to the Marlins and Angels, Wild Cards to win a World Series include the Red Sox in 2004 and the Cardinals in 2011. Wild Cards to lose in the World Series have been the Giants in 2002, Mets in 2000, Astros in 2005, Tigers in 2006 and Rockies in 2007.
The Royals not only have ended a 29-year absence from the postseason, dating back to their 1985 World Series victory, they can also end their World Series championship drought.
There are 11 teams who have longer current World Series droughts than the Royals.
The Cubs have gone 106 years without a title, the Indians 66 years, the Pirates 35 years, the Orioles 31 years and the Tigers 30 years.
The Rangers, born of expansion in 1961, are now at 54 years and counting. The Astros, an expansion product in 1962, have been in existence 53 years without a World Series championship. The Brewers, Padres and Nationals, all created out of expansion in 1969, are at 45 years without a championship. The Mariners have been in existence 38 seasons without a trip to the Fall Classic.
The Angels (2002), Marlins, Mets (1986, 1969), Royals, Blue Jays (1992-93) and Diamondbacks (2001) are the expansion teams to win world championships.
There have been 77 players, 41 of them pitchers, who have appeared in a regular-season game for both the Royals and Giants, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Only two will be on this year's World Series roster: Giants left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Affeldt has been with the Giants since 2009. He broke in with the Royals and played for them from 2002-06. Blanco, who has been with the Giants since 2012, played for the Royals in 2010.
• The Royals' 8-0 start to the postseason is the best ever. Only 13 teams have gone through a postseason unbeaten, according to STATS Inc. The 1976 Reds were 7-0, sweeping the best-of-three NLCS and then the World Series. Twelve other teams were 4-0, sweeping a World Series, all prior to 1969, when the postseason was expanded to include the LCS. Beginning with the final three games of the 1985 World Series, the Royals have won 11 in a row, one shy of the postseason record held by the Yankees in 1927-32 and again in 1998-99.
• The Giants' .192 batting average against this postseason is the fifth-lowest by a team that played at least four games since the playoffs were expanded in 1969. The Orioles allowed a .183 average in 1974; the Braves .188 in 1997; Astros .189 in 1986 and the Mets .190 in 1969. The Mets are the only one of the four that won the World Series. The Orioles and Astros were eliminated in the LCS. The Braves lost in the NLCS.
• The Giants have won seven World Series, fifth-most in history and second-most among NL teams. The Yankees have won 27, Cardinals 11, A's nine, and Red Sox eight.