American League: New York Yankees (98-56) - 18th World Series (won 14 previous times)
National League: New York Giants (98-59) - 12th World Series (won in 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933)
For the 1951 Giants, the postseason, the entire season in fact, came down to the three-game playoff against Brooklyn. After winning that, and capping off the great comeback that lead up to it, the World Series seemed like ... an inconvenience. Their season peaked on Bobby Thomson's home run, they were exhausted, and they were up against a great Yankees team.
They should get credit, then, for putting up a good fight. Dave Koslo, who pitched more games as a reliever than as a starter in 1951, pitched a complete game in Yankee Stadium in Game 1. The Yankees won Game 2, but lost Mickey Mantle to the knee injury that would affect him the rest of his career. A five-run fifth gave the Giants the win in Game 3.
Then, the Giants pitchers started to tire. Sal Maglie gave up Joe DiMaggio's last World Series home run in a 6-2 Game 3 loss, five Giants pitchers gave up 13 runs in Game 5, and the Yankees took a 4-1 lead into the ninth inning in Game 6. Then, the Giants loaded the bases with nobody out, waking up the echoes of their dramatic playoff victory against the Dodgers. Then, the Giants hit three straight flyballs into the outfield. All three of them were caught. Two of them drove in runs, but they needed three runs to win. The Yankees were champions for the third straight year, but the Giants felt like they were already champions.
Game 6 had drama before the final inning. Tied 1-1 entering the sixth, the Yankees loaded the bases with two outs when Hank Bauer's deep triple to left broke open the game.
Eddie Lopat (unofficial); Two starts, two complete games, one run allowed in each game, only 10 hits allowed in 18 innings.
This series is notable for being the only time DiMaggio and Mantle played in a World Series, but the Giants had another noteworthy achievement. Their Game 1 outfield of Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, and Hank Thompson was the first all-black outfield in World Series history.
(Home team shaded; winners in Bold)
I'm ranking all the World Series, from worst to best. Here are the ones I've done so far:
84. 1951 - New York (A) def. New York (N) 4-2
85. 1939 - New York (A) def. Cincinnati (N) 4-0
86. 1910 - Philadelphia (A) def. Chicago (N) 4-1
87. 1905 - New York (N) def. Philadelphia (A) 4-1
88. 1965 - Los Angeles (N) def. Minnesota (A) 4-3
89. 1961 - New York (A) def. Cincinnati (N) 4-1