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The Worst World Series: 2006

May we never be subject to such a hellacious matchup ever again.

Ah, the World Series, commonly known as the Fall Classic. The culmination of seven long months of playing ball damn near every day to determine a champion for America’s pastime — where baseball fans from sea to shining sea get to enjoy two amazing baseball teams featuring shutdown aces and dinger-mashing stars. But in 2006, we didn’t get a Classic … we instead got The. Worst. World. Series. Ever.

The coolest thing about the AL champion Detroit Tigers was their old, curmudgeonly, mid-game-cigarette-smoking manager. They were also quite bad at playing baseball down the stretch, losing 62 percent of their games over the final eight weeks of the season. And while Carlos Guillen was a very nice player, it shouldn’t be too much to expect a World Series team to have a player better than he.

The NL champion St. Louis Cardinals did their very best to blow a seven-game division lead with a bit over a week to go in the season, finishing with just one more win than the Astros. Though at least they did have one superstar — Albert Pujols. Indeed, he’d just joined some dude named Babe as the only players to ever bat at least .330 with 40+ homers in four straight seasons, clobbering baseballs as masterfully as humanly possible. But their lineup had little else to write home about. And spearheaded by two of the five worst pitchers in baseball (Jason Marquis, Jeff Weaver), the Cardinals’ rotation was literally well below average en route to a thoroughly middling 83-win season.