The Century-Long History Of MLB's Subway Series

Each season, some baseball fans look forward to an update on the epic saga between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, or a chance to check in on the longstanding beef between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, per the MLB website. Or maybe instead, some fans simply anticipate a chance to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in the 7th-inning stretch at the ballpark with a hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other (via Bleacher Report). Among all those examples, though, one of the best baseball traditions of all, no matter where you're located, could be the so-called "Subway Series" between the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. 

The American League (AL) Yankees and the National League (NL) Mets have played each other since interleague play began in 1997, as Baseball Reference notes. (The Mets swept the first matchup in the 2022 season, according to CBS Sports). Beyond those individual game and series results though, the New York Subway Series has an otherwise fascinating history, stretching back more than a century.

The Yankees have appeared in every Subway Series in history

The only American League team to play in New York, the Yankees have been one side of every so-called "Subway Series" ever played. The Pinstripes' opponent has cycled through whatever National League team was based in the city at that time, including the Giants and Dodgers, both of which now play in California, but who once called the New York-area home base. Now, though, it's the Mets (via Baseball Almanac). Perhaps needless to say, the nickname Subway Series comes from the fact that the ballparks are connected by a subway line, Yankee Stadium on one side and the Mets' Citi Field on the other, as MLB notes. 

On that note, games between Southern California teams the Dodgers and Angels are called the "Freeway Series" for reasons that anyone who's ever driven in LA knows all too well, according to The Los Angeles Times. So, Subway Series refers to the fact that Big Apple baseball fans can take in each game in the series with nothing more than subway fare and the cost of a ticket. There have been several World Series matchups between the New York teams that get the Subway Series designation dating back to 1921, but a so-called Subway Series need not be for the championship. For those counting, the Bronx Bombers have won 10 of 13 Big Apple Subway Series matchups, according to ESPN. The Mets won the first Subway Series of 2022 with a walk-off home run from outfielder Starling Marte (pictured).

The last World Series Subway Series was in 2000

The last time the Yankees and Mets played in the World Series was in the year 2000, which the Yankees won, as CBS News reports. As previously mentioned, the regular-season Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets has taken place twice a season — once in Yankee Stadium and once again at City Field — since interleague play began in the late `90s. The Subway Series advantage in those interleague matchups belongs to the Yankees overall, but in recent matchups, the Mets have gained some ground, as CBS News also notes. 

As far as the first Subway Series of the 2022 baseball season, both teams entered hobbled by injury, and the Yankees, in particular, were in a slump, per The New York Times. Nonetheless, with right-handed veteran pitcher Max Scherzer on the mound (pictured) the Mets swept the Yankees in the series, winning 3 – 2 in the decisive game. What's also notable about the first Subway Series of 2022, it was the first time since 2015 that both teams entered the series holding first place in their division  As of this report, the Mets and Yankees will play once more in 2022, and possibly meet up again in the fall for World Series' rings (via The New York Times).