In this column, I’ll take a look at the best baseball teams of all-time. Although I’ll warn you up front: in my book, you can’t be considered “THE BEST” unless you won it all. Therefore, my list will only include teams who ended up winning the World Series.
Best Baseball Teams of All-Time
1998 New York Yankees (114-48, .704) These Yankees set an American League record for wins in a season, which would stand until 2001, when the Mariners won 116 games. Highlighting this Yankees’ season was David Wells tossing the 15th perfect game in baseball history. The Yankees capped the greatest season in MLB history by sweeping the Padres in the World Series.
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110-42, .724) The Pirates scored the most runs in the majors, led by Honus Wagner and outfielder-manager Fred Clarke. In fact, Wagner led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and RBI. The Pirates faced Ty Cobb and the Tigers in the World Series, winning in seven games.
1927 New York Yankees (110-44, .714) The 1927 Yankees were the most dominating team in MLB history. From Opening Day to the end of the regular season, the team never spent a day out of first place. The Yankees topped off this incredible season by sweeping the Pirates in the World Series. In addition to the renowned “Murderers’ Row,” the roster boasted nine future Hall of Famers (7 players, 2 non-players).
1961 New York Yankees (109-53, .673) This Yankees’ season is best known for the home run chase between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Mantle fell short of Ruth’s record with 54 homers, but Maris set the single-season record by hitting 61. Additionally, ace Whitey Ford’s posted a 25-4 season en route to being named the World Series MVP after the Yankees beat the Reds.
1970 Baltimore Orioles (108-54, .667) The 1970 Orioles had a great starting pitching rotation. In fact, the Orioles featured three 20-game winners (Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Jim Palmer) in 1970. Despite strong pitching, the defensive play of 3B Brooks Robinson in the Series against the Reds solidified this team’s place on this list.
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2018 Boston Red Sox (108-54, .667) A controversial pick for this list due to the sign-stealing allegations against them. Regardless, this Red Sox team was resilient as it was good, overcoming a crushing 18-inning loss to the Dodgers in Game Three of the World Series to win it all.
1975 Cincinnati Reds (108-54, .667) The “Big Red Machine” at the height of its power. The starting lineup featured three and a half Hall of Famers: Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench– and Pete Rose. Despite its regular season offensive dominance, the Big Red Machine needed seven games to defeat the Red Sox for the championship.
1986 New York Mets (108-54, .667) The 1986 Mets were an almost perfect balance of veterans and youngsters who came together to form a great team. Yet despite its dominant regular season, the team struggled in the post-season, first against the Astros in the NLCS and then against the Red Sox in the World Series.
1907 Chicago Cubs (107-45, .704) The 1907 Cubs followed up their record-setting 1906 season of 116-36, .736 with an almost as impressive 107-win season. However, unlike the previous year’s team, these Cubs did not choke in the World Series, sweeping the Tigers in four games (the first game ended in a tie). This team holds the record for having the youngest manager to lead his team to the championship: Frank Chance, who was 30.
1932 New York Yankees (107-47, .695) This team featured nine future Hall of Famers on the roster (Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing, Babe Ruth, and Joe Sewell). Consequently, it’s no surprise that this team was the first in MLB history to no be shut out during the season. Additionally, they predictably swept the Cubs in the World Series.
This list is missing some of the teams that are often brought up in “Best Baseball Teams of All-Time” conversations, notably the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners, who each won 116 regular season games. However, neither team makes this list due to their failures in the post-season (the Cubs lost in the World Series to the White Sox, and the Mariners failed to even reach the World Series).
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