The first ones, published more than a century ago, were simply scorecards. Several ads and a blank page for fans who knew how to keep score. Eventually, World Series programs evolved into 300-page keepsakes priced higher than a ticket was in the early days. In between, the covers were veritable works of art, often reflecting the era in which the games were played.
The look has been standardized---gone are the days when each team designed its own program cover to cover--but did you know there are now three programs for each World Series? There's a slightly different versions for each team's home park and fans and a third, more generic, version for the public at largegeneral public.
In 1974, Major League Baseball took control to keep the overall look the same, acknowledging t that the program was the most popular World Series souvenir and "an increasingly coveted item by serious collectors, and therefore deserving of a more organized approach". At least that's what the New York Times says in this article on the history of Series programs.
Long time program dealer Alan Getz talked to us in 2006 about some of the toughest programs known.