Looking Back at the Coldest World Series of All Time

By Brian Edwards, Meteorologist
October 24, 2012; 5:02 AM
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Second base umpire Ken Kaiser, wearing a ski mask to protect againt the cold, signals in the late innings of Game 4 of the World Series at Cleveland's Jacobs Field Wednesday, Oct. 22, 1997. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

As we head deeper into the fall season, one of my personal favorite events gets closer and closer - the World Series, otherwise known as the Fall Classic. It's always a great time of year because not only do you have the World Series, but NFL and NCAA football are in full swing, and the foliage is reaching peak viewing conditions.

However, the biggest drawback to this time of year is the wild swings in weather which can occur. We've seen everything from rain to snow to record warmth and record cold throughout the history of the World Series and today, we will look back at some of the coldest games of all-time.

We know for sure that the Detroit Tigers will represent the American League in the Fall Classic. The National League Championship Series will be decided tonight.

Whatever the outcome, there will be games during the final week in October in Detroit, which is one of the coldest cities in the country. In fact, average low temperatures in Detroit fall into the 30s by the final two days of October. Talking about cold weather cities, let's look at a few of the most memorable World Series games that were played in the fall chill.

1) 1997 World Series, Game 4
Perhaps the most memorable World Series game in terms of how cold it was occurred back on Oct. 22, 1997 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Florida Marlins played Game 4 against the Cleveland Indians in a winter-like chill. At first pitch, the temperature was 38 degrees with a wind chill of 18 degrees. Snow flurries fell throughout the game and ice patches formed on the infield. This game is officially the coldest World Series game on record. MLB didn't track weather records until the 1970s so it's certainly possible there were colder games prior to the 70s.

Perhaps one of the more interesting facts was that the first two games of this series were played in Miami where the temperatures were in the high 80s throughout the games.

2) 1979 World Series, Game 1
Another famously cold World Series Game which pops up quite often occurred way back on Oct. 10, 1979 in Baltimore, Md. when the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Orioles.

First pitch temperature was 41 degrees, which doesn't sound all that bad. The problem was that a steady, chilly rain fell throughout the game, creating difficult playing conditions. Players complained of their hands going numb and the ball being so slippery that they couldn't get a grip. In fact, there were 6 total errors in the game, 3 by each team.

3) 2008 World Series, Game 5
Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was played in two parts at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pa where the Phillies took on the Tampa Bay Rays. The game began on Oct. 27 with 50-degree temperatures and rain falling, but the rain became so heavy in the bottom of the 6th inning that the game was called by the umpires. The delay lasted too long to wait around and with rain forecasted into the 28th, no one knew when Game 5 would resume.

A heavy rain falls Tuesday afternoon Oct. 28, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park, site of the World Series, in Philadelphia. Game 5 of baseball's World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies has been suspended until Wednesday evening due to the weather. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Finally, the weather cleared two days later on Oct. 29 and Phillies/Rays Game 5 resumed. This time, much colder air had invaded the mid-Atlantic with a first pitch temperature of 44 degrees and a gusty wind out of the Northwest.

The wind chill factor fell into the 30s as the Phillies eventually won the game. Temperatures over the last three innings fell to near 40, but that didn't quite match the conditions felt back in 1997 in Cleveland which remains the coldest World Series game on record.

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