The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants will square off starting Wednesday in the World Series. In a Fall Classic matchup for the ages, Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum will face one another as mound opponents for Game 1.

It will likely be a great series, with two strong teams capable of beating one another in myriad ways. At the beginning of the season, though, it seemed a long shot for either to seriously threaten the powers that were in their respective leagues. In fact, neither team was even the favorite in the League Championship Series. The fact that both have made it this far is stunning.

It isn’t the first time the World Series has matched two unlikely combatants. Since the advent of the Wild Card and two-layer league playoffs, of course, there have been a fair number of upsets in early rounds of postseason play. Even before that era, thrilling pennant races featuring unlikely collapses and surprising upstarts produced many improbable twosomes.

Which 15 World Series have featured the least likely foes? How do the Rangers and Giants stack up? Where do legendary teams like the 1964 Cardinals and the 1969 “Miracle” New York Mets rank? Read on.

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