What is the best MLB team of all time?
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1998 New York Yankees
The fact is that this is only the first of multiple New York Yankees teams that will be considered for the title of finest Major League Baseball club of all time. As a bonus, it’s the only team among our candidates that was founded after 1975, a testament to how baseball has evolved and how dynasties are increasingly a thing of the past. After winning the World Series in 1996 and then losing in the American League Championship Series the following year, the New York Yankees became the final MLB dynasty to be established in 1998.
With 965 runs scored and an OPS+ of 116, the Yankees finished first in the Major League Baseball in runs scored and second in batting average (.288), stolen bases (153), and hits (472).
New York’s pitching staff was almost as dominating as their opponents.
Three starting pitchers (David Cone, David Wells, and Andy Pettite) each won 16 or more games, while Mariano Rivera (36 saves, 1.91 ERA) was outstanding.
- However, this is only the first of multiple New York Yankees teams that will be considered for the title of greatest Major League Baseball club of all time. Also notable among our selections is that it is the only team that was founded after 1975, a testament to how baseball has evolved and how dynasties are no longer commonplace. Having won the World Series in 1996 and then losing in the American League Championship Series the following year, the New York Yankees were the final major league dynasty to be established in 1998. Aside from AL MVP hopefuls Bernie Williams (.997 OPS) and Derek Jeter (.864 OPS), the New York lineup had slugging outfielders like Paul O’Neill (.882 OPS), Scott Brosius (.843 OPS), and Tino Martinez (.845 OPS) (.860 OPS). With 965 runs scored and an OPS+ of 116, the Yankees finished first in the Major League Baseball in runs scored and second in batting average (.288), stolen bases (153), and hits (352). (1,625). The pitching staff in New York was almost as dominant as the one in Los Angeles’s lineup. Despite having the sixth-best ERA (3.82), the Yankees had the second-highest number of team shutouts (16) and had the fourth-best K/BB ratio (24:1). (2.32). Three starting pitchers (David Cone, David Wells, and Andy Pettite) each won 16 or more games, while Mariano Rivera (36 saves, 1.91 ERA) was outstanding in the bullpen. It resulted in a +309 run difference at the conclusion of the game.
All of this resulted in a 114-win season, with New York taking first place in the American League East by 22 games. The New York Yankees swept the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series and then won the American League Championship Series in six games. After sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series, the New York Yankees established new Major League Baseball records for the most victories in a single season by a World Series winner (125).
1975 Cincinnati Reds
In the end, New York won the American League East by 22 games, finishing with 114 victories. Yankees sweep Texas Rangers in American League Division Series, then win in six games in American League Championship Series. Following their World Series victory over the San Diego Padres, the New York Yankees set an MLB record for the most victories in a single season by a World Series champion (125).
- This culminated in a season in which New York won 114 games and won the American League East by 22 games. The New York Yankees swept the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series, and then won the American League Championship Series in six games. After sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series, the New York Yankees established new Major League Baseball marks for the most wins in a single season by a World Series champion and the most victories in a single season by a World Series champion (125).
Consider what it would be like to be a pitcher in the 1970s, when batters were simply smashing baseballs. When the Reds’ starting lineup appeared on the schedule, it signified that they would go up against Bench, Morgan, and Perez. During the 1975 season, the three combined for 457 hits, 313 RBIs, and an OPS+ of above 120 for each of them individually. On top of that, Morgan stole a total of 67 bases that season, and this lineup included Pete Rose, among others. Despite all of the attention on the batting order, Cincinnati has the ability to pitch as well.
It had the sixth-lowest earned run average (3.37) and the seventh-lowest earned run average (WHIP) in baseball that season. This resulted in a +254 run differential, a 7-3 postseason record, and a World Series triumph over the Boston Red Sox in Game 7.
1927 New York Yankees
Brad Penner of USA TODAY Sports contributed to this report. The 1927 New York Yankees will be remembered for the rest of time as having the finest lineup in the history of Major League Baseball, owing to their storied season. New York established single-season marks for on-base percentage (.872), wRC+ (126), and batting average (.307), among other metrics. The “Murders’ Row” was a group of pitchers that annihilated their opponents.
- How many Hall of Famers played for the New York Yankees in 1927? Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Tony Lazzeri, and pitchers Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock are among those who have played in the World Series.
Consider the following statistics from the 1927 New York Yankees season. Gehrig (1.240 OPS) and Ruth (1.258 OPS) hit a combined 107 home runs and walked 246 times in their careers. Combs had 23 triples and a.925 on-base percentage, Bob Meusel had a 135 OPS+, and Joe Dugan had the lowest battering average in the league (.269 batting average). Gehrig was elected American League MVP in 1927 after accumulating 218 hits, 47 home runs, and 173 RBIs. New York’s opponents had little opportunities to keep pace with the Yankees on the scoreboard, and the Yankees’ pitching staff only made things more difficult by posting a 3.20 earned run average and tossing 11 shutouts.
1907 Chicago Cubs
Brett Davis is a sports reporter for USA TODAY Sports. The connecting thread among our contenders for the greatest Major League Baseball club ever is offensive prowess. However, this was not the case with the 1907 Chicago Cubs, who were carried by the strength of their pitching staff. This time period also marked the end of the Cubs’ briefest dynasty, which preceded a record World Series drought that would last for more than a century and a half. It’s all in the numbers when it comes to determining how untouchable this collection of weapons was.
This wasn’t a fluke, though, as this same staff had the second-best team ERA (1.74) and the third-best mark (1.75) in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
After tying the Detroit Tigers 3-3 in Game 1 of the 1907 World Series, the Chicago Cubs went on to win the next four games to win the series.
The 1906 Cubs are likewise deserving of respect, despite the fact that they did not win the World Series.
1939 New York Yankees
Vincent Carchietta is a sports reporter for USA TODAY Sports. Among the numerous reasons for the 1939 New York Yankees’ enduring fame will be the fact that they won another World Series championship, which is unrelated to their overall performance or another championship. Lou Gehrig had complained about physical abnormalities in his body a year before, but the situation deteriorated much further in 1937.
Gehrig left the game on May 2, 1937, after having the worst start to his Hall of Fame career. He was feeling poorly at the time, and his run of 2,130 consecutive games played came to an end. Months later, he made the speech known as the “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth.”
New York didn’t quite feel the same without Gehrig, but the team nevertheless put together an incredible season. It was a successful season for the Yankee’s lineup, who compiled a slash line of.287/.374/.451, walked 11.4 times more than they struck out (8.9 times), and scoring 967 runs. Joe DiMaggio had a 1.119 on-base percentage while collecting 310 bases and hitting 30 home runs. Three Yankees hitters totaled more than 100 RBIs, which was as amazing. In part because of the performance of a pitching staff that had the third-lowest ERA (3.31) and the second-highest number of shutouts (14), New York cruised into the postseason with a 106-45-1 record and a +411 run differential.
During that same year, Gehrig was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1970 Baltimore Orioles
FILE PHOTO; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Frank Robinson (left) and his brother Brooks Robinson (right) pose for a photo at Tiger Stadium on an unknown day in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports is required for this image. When most people think of the 1970 Baltimore Orioles, Frank and Brooks Robinson, as well as Jim Palmer, come to mind as the first names that pop into their heads. The three Hall of Famers, along with skipper Earl Weaver, are understandably the first names that come to mind, but this entire club is really a part of Major League Baseball history.
It’s also worth remembering that the Orioles broke the Major League Baseball record the following season by fielding four members of the 20-win team.
Over the course of the season’s 162 games, Baltimore produced a 108-54 record, outscoring the second-place Yankees by 15 games.
They swept the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series and then defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series.
Who is the best MLB team of all time?
No one is surprised that the Yankees are the victorious team in the discussion. The Los Angeles Lakers, the most successful club in the history of American sports, achieved that distinction for a reason. There is a case can be made for the 1998 Yankees, who hold the record for most victories in a single season with 98. Putting all of these teams on the field at their peak, the 1998 Yankees will come out on top since they are more physically endowed than the other squads. When deciding on the finest club, it’s necessary to consider the many eras in which it was formed.
Without the discovery that Gehrig has ALS, the Yankees of 1939 would have been the team to beat. However, it is necessary to evaluate availability, which brings us to Murders’ Row. The New York Yankees of 1927 are the greatest Major League Baseball club of all time.
Top 20 Major League Baseball Teams of All-Time
Forming a list of the greatest Major League Baseball teams of all time was no simple task for the writers of this article. Many outstanding teams will be left out of the list because it goes back over 100 years in MLB history, but the list only has 20 teams.
20. 2002 Oakland Athletics (103-59, Lost ALDS to Twins 2-3)
In 2002, the A’s won 103 games, but the season ended in heartbreak for the team. Despite the fact that Eric Chavez andMiguel Tejada both hit 34 home runs, the pitching staff was a shining point for the club. Jermaine Dye was a hero who went unnoticed, despite hitting 24 home runs and driving in 86 runs. Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulderall all had outstanding seasons during their peak seasons, and each of them concluded with a winning record. Zito ended with a record of 23-5 with an ERA of 2.75, while Mulder finished with a record of 19-7 and an ERA of 3.47.
During the months of August and September, the club is most known for winning 20 consecutive games.
19. 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46, Lost ALCS to Yankees 1-4)
In 2001, the Seattle Mariners were unable to complete what would have been one of the greatest MLB seasons in history. Seattle won a franchise-record 116 regular-season games, but fell short of capturing the World Series championship. Ichiro Suzuki was the top hitter in baseball that season, finishing with 242 hits and a batting average of.350, while also stealing 56 bases in the process. Despite being 38 years old, Bret Boone hit 37 home runs and finished with a.331 hitting average, while Edgar Martinez hit.306 and drove in 106 runs despite being 38 years old.
Aaron Sele, Freddy Garcia, Paul Abbot, and veteranJamie Moyer were the best pitchers in the league during that season.
18. 2016 Chicago Cubs (103-58, Won World Series over Indians 4-3)
Breaking the century-old curse makes this club one to remember for a long time to come. The Cubs have a lot of talent in 2016, and it showed. Chicago concluded the season with a 103-game winning streak and a plus-298 run differential. The team’s nucleus was comprised of players who were all under the age of 27: Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell, to name a few. Bryant ended with 32 home runs and 102 RBIs, while Rizzo finished with 32 home runs and 109 RBIs, all of which were career highs.
Aroldis Chapman was acquired by the Cubs from the Yankees just before the trade deadline, and his addition as closer proved to be a pivotal move throughout the postseason.
17. 1972 Oakland Athletics (93-62, Won World Series over Reds 4-3)
Rick Williams managed the Oakland Athletics to another World Series victory in 1972 after leading the team to a 93-game regular season record. In the Fall Classic, the A’s beat the Reds in seven games, claiming the title. During the season, Oakland ranked first in the American League in home runs, and it was this power that allowed the A’s to win their games. But it was the pitching staff that distinguished this club from the competition. Each of the five starts had an earned run average under 3.00, with Catfish Hunter having the lowest at 2.04.
Rollie Fingers, sporting a handle-bar mustache, was the closer, assisting the pitching staff in finishing in the top three or better in each of the pitching categories for the American League.
16. 2018 Boston Red Sox (108-54, Won World Series over Dodgers 4-1)
Despite the fact that they recently won the World Series in October, this club is deserving of being included on this list of the greatest 20 teams in baseball history. The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season and cruised through the postseason, defeating the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers on route to winning the World Series. Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and other players Despite the fact that Andrew Benintendi and his teammates were the offensive leaders, the team’s defense around the infield, behind the plate, and roaming the outfield fell short.
Betts was named MVP in 2018, but it was the signing of Martinez just prior to the start of the regular season that made the difference for the Red Sox.
Martinez was also named to the All-Star Game in 2018.
15. 1989 Oakland Athletics (99-63, Won World Series over Giants 4-0)
The Oakland Athletics had a slew of talents in 1989, ranging fromRickey Henderson to Dave Parker and Mark McGwire to Jose Conseco, among others. The A’s depended on three pitchers to get the job done: Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, and Dennis Eckersley. The A’s won 99 games and had a team ERA of 3.09, which was the lowest in baseball. While the preceding A’s teams were excellent, the 1989 squad was the greatest of the bunch, and they swept the Giants in the World Series in 1989. In addition to hitting 33 home runs, McGwire stolen 52 bases, while the squad as a whole was responsible for 157 base stealers.
14. 1969 New York Mets (100-62, Won World Series over the Orioles 4-1)
The Mets won 100 games in 1969, thanks to a pitching staff that was second to none in the league. During that season, the Mets had a 24-year-old pitcher named Tom Seaver, who went 25-7 with an ERA of 2.21 and 200 strikeouts.
Gary Gentry and Jerry Koosman both had successful seasons in the NHL. New York had the second lowest earned run average in the National League, and their bullpen was dominant. If Seaver, Koosman, and Gentry weren’t enough, the Mets also had rookie Nolan Ryan on the roster, who was 22 at the time.
13. 1995 Atlanta Braves (90-54, Won World Series over Indians 4-2)
The Atlanta Braves were a unique franchise from 1995 to 2000. Those were the years when every manager wished they had a pitching rotation like that. The Braves possessed three starting pitchers in Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine, all of whom were at the pinnacle of their respective careers. In 1995, Maddux was 19-2 with a 1.63 earned run average and 181 strikeouts. Both Smoltz and Glavine ended with ERAs less than 3.50 and winning percentages in the double digits. If the Braves didn’t defeat you with their pitching, they would beat you with their hitting order, which included Javy Lopez and Ryan Klesko, who combined for an OPS of 1.004.
The Braves were 11-3 in the postseason that year, culminating in a World Series championship.
12. 2004 Boston Red Sox (98-64, Won World Series over Cardinals 4-0)
This collection of players in 2004 was particularly memorable for the whole Red Sox fan base. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East, behind the Yankees, with 98 victories, but they were not about to give up the fight. Not only did the Red Sox create a Major League Baseball record by rallying from a 3-0 series hole against the Yankees, but they also broke the curse of the Bambino by winning the American League Championship Series. Manny Ramirez and DH are two of the best players in the world.
Overall, the Red Sox batted.282 and scored 949 runs, both of which were among the best in the American League this season.
Martinez and Schilling each ended with more over 200 strikeouts, and things didn’t get any easier as the rotation progressed with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and sinker baller Derek Lowe putting in work.
11. 1968 Detroit Tigers (103-59, Won World Series over Cardinals 4-3)
Denny McLain was the star of the 1968 Detroit Tigers, who ended the season 31-6 with an ERA of 1.96, earning him the Cy Young and MVP titles. In all likelihood, McLain’s 30-win season will be the last in the history of the Major League Baseball. Tigers won 103 games in 1968, and their pitching staff was the key to their success. Starting with McLain, the Tigers’ pitching staff included Mickey Lolich and Earl Wilson, both of whom pitched more than 220 innings and ended with ERAs less than 3.50 in 1968.
Offensively, the Tigers blasted 185 home runs, which ranked them first in the American League.
10. 1967 St. Louis Cardinals (101-60, Won World Series over Red Sox 4-3)
The 1967 St. Louis Cardinals were a one-of-a-kind team. It had live Cardinals icons such as Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, while Orlando Cepeda was named the National League MVP after hitting 25 home runs and posting an OPS of.923 in his first full season. Brock hit 21 home runs and swiped 52 bases in his career. Among the pitchers, Dick Hughes was named first on the club in wins with 16, and he concluded the season with an earned run average of 2.67.
Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson both had ERAs of 2.98 and placed first and second, respectively, on the team in wins. The Cardinals won the World Series in 1967 in seven games against the Boston Red Sox, who were considered to be the best team in the world at the time.
9. 1927 New York Yankees (110-44, Won World Series over Pirates 4-0)
The 1927 Yankees were primarily remembered for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but players such as Tony Lazzeri and Earle Combs helped to round out one of the greatest baseball lineups in history. Ruth hit 60 home runs and drove in 164 runs during this period, which was the pinnacle of Murderers’ Row. Gehrig hit 47 home runs and drove in 175 runs for the season’s final tally. On the mound, the Yankees had Herb Pennock and Waite Hoyt, who would both go on to be elected into the Hall of Fame later in their careers.
The Yankees have a plus-376 run differential and a.488 team slugging percentage in their last five games.
8. 1976 Cincinnati Reds (102-60, Won World Series over Yankees 4-0)
Winning only one World Series is a significant feat, but winning back-to-back championships is even more difficult, as the 1976 Cincinnati Reds demonstrated. The Reds comfortably defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League pennant, and they followed it up with a 3-0 victory against the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic to conclude the postseason with an 8-0 record. A.320 batting average and 60 stolen bases helped Joe Morganonce to lead the Reds in both categories against the Reds.
Despite the fact that Johnny Bench only hit.234 for the season, it didn’t matter.
7. 1984 Detroit Tigers (104-58, Won World Series over Padres 4-1)
With 104 victories, the Tigers’ offense was the main point of their season in 1984. A total of 33 home runs were hit by Lance Parrish, while shortstop Alan Trammell batted.314 for the Tigers, who were headed by Parrish. Kirk Gibson hit 27 home runs and drove in 91 runs throughout the course of his career. The starting pitching staff was led by an ace pitcher. Milt Wilcox and Dan Petry lend their support to Jack Morris. All three starting pitchers had at least 15 victories, and the squad concluded the regular season with a 3.49 earned run average, which was the best in the American League.
6. 1986 New York Mets (108-54, Won World Series over Mets 4-3)
With 104 victories, the Tigers’ offense was the main focus in 1984. Lanse Parrish led the Tigers’ offense with 33 home runs, while shortstop Alan Trammell hit.314 to lead the Tigers’ offense. With 27 home runs and 91 RBIs, Kirk Gibson had a great season. Pitching was led by the ace of the staff Milt Wilcox and Dan Petry provide their support to Jack Morris’ efforts. In the regular season, the club’s three starting pitchers each won at least 15 games, and the squad finished with a 3.49 earned run average, which was first in all of baseball.
5. 1970 Baltimore Orioles (108-54, Won World Series over Reds 4-1)
Baltimore Orioles waltzed through the regular season in 1970, winning 108 games in the process. The pitching staff was extremely effective, as seen by their 3.15 team earned run average. That season, the Orioles were led by Frank and Brooks Robinson, who were both outstanding players. Jim Palmer, a right-handed pitcher, was on the hill. The right-hander ended the season 20-10 with a 2.71 earned run average, while Dave McNally was 24-9 with a 3.22 earned run average and Mike Cuellar was 24-8 with a 3.48 earned run average.
The club was led by Boog Powell, who had a.962 OPS and hit 35 home runs. The Orioles defeated the Reds in the World Series in five games to claim the championship.
4. 1975 Cincinnati Reds (108-54, Won World Series over Red Sox 4-3)
A fantastic period for Cincinnati and baseball existed during the Big Red Machine era, and the Reds of 1975 were among the finest teams to emerge from that era. The Reds won six National League West Division crowns, four National League pennants, and a pair of World Series championships during their tenure. When the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series in 1975, they had driven 840 runs across the plate and beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games. Joe Morgan, who batted for the club, was one of several All-Stars and Hall of Famers who played on the squad.
Ken Griffey Jr.
On the mound, the Reds were led byJack Billingham and Justin Verlander.
3. 1961 New York Yankees (109-53, Won World Series over Reds 4-1)
Many of the years the Yankees controlled baseball with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra on the club may be regarded the best squad of all time, but the 1961 Yankees won 109 games and defeated the Reds in the World Series 4-1. The 1961 Yankees were the greatest team in baseball history. With 61 home runs in 1961, Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record, while Mantle batted.317 with 54 of his own. The club was first in the American League in home runs and second in runs scored last season.
Ralph Terry, Rollie Sheldon, and Bill Stafford all ended the season with ERAs less than 4.00 and a combined total of more than ten victories.
2. 1939 New York Yankees (106-45, Won World Series over Reds 4-0)
The New York Yankees ended the regular season with 106 victories and went on to win the World Series with a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series in 1939. The 1939 Yankees had an even stronger run differential than the 1998 Yankees, finishing the season with a plus-411 run difference and a team ERA of 3.31. The Yankees batted.287 as a team in terms of offense. Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, and Bill Dickey were among the players that distinguished out on that club, with DiMaggio batting.381 for the season and driving in 126 runs with 30 home runs and 126 RBIs.
Red Ruffing ended the season with 21 victories, four shutouts, and a 2.91 earned run average.
1. 1998 New York Yankees (114-48, Won World Series over Padres 4-0)
There have been many outstanding teams in the history of the New York Yankees club, but the 1998 squad was truly exceptional. For numerous years, the players that formed the nucleus of that squad dominated the competition. In 1988, the Yankees batted.288 as a team and finished first in the American League in terms of runs scored, according to Baseball Reference. The team’s earned run average (ERA) was a respectable 3.82, which was not only the best in the American League in 1998, but it was also the best in the league in 1997.
The astronomical run difference of plus-309 was probably the most astounding aspect of the game. The Yankees went on to win the series, finishing the season with an 11-2 record in the postseason.
The 8 Greatest MLB Teams of All Time
To build a ranking of the greatest Major League Baseball teams of all time, more than a century of data must be mined, as well as specific conditions that must be established in place. For starters, a club cannot be considered great if it loses in the playoffs. Until the World Series in 1969, the postseason meant nothing more than the World Series for the Ruth-and-Gehrig Yankees (and every other club prior to 1969). The best of the American League took against the best of the National League in a winner-take-all best-of-seven series that went to seven games.
Teams who make it through the first round gain the chance to compete for all of the prizes.
Baseball Almanac performed some impressive statistical crunching in order to create a picture of the most dominant clubs in both the regular season and the postseason.
Based on Baseball Almanac’s calculations and various accounts of legendary teams from the past, here are the eight greatest Major League Baseball teams of all time.
8. 1970 Baltimore Orioles
There is more than a century of data to mine and certain parameters to select in order to construct a ranking of the greatest Major League Baseball teams of all time. After all, a club that loses in the playoffs cannot be considered great. The World Series was the end of the postseason for the Ruth-and-Gehrig Yankees (and every other club before to 1969). It was a best-of-seven series between the best of the American League and the best of the National League. The victor took it all. Wild card playoffs are now followed by Division Series, which are then followed by League Championship Series.
Teams from decades ago, however, have earned the right to be considered among the all-time greats because of the lopsided manner in which they won their games.
For their definition of “greatest ever,” they looked at winning percentage, percentage of runs scored in any given game (which allowed defensive-minded teams to gain weight), postseason record, and earned-run average (ERA).
7. 1961 New York Yankees
Photo courtesy of H. William Tetlow/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Yankee Stadium However, the 1961 New York Yankees’ domination (109 wins) was simply too much for teams of their era to handle, and the 1954 New York Giants may have claimed this position instead. While Mickey Mantle had a fantastic season, it was Roger Maris who stole the show by smashing 61 home runs and snatching the record from Babe Ruth. Mantle blasted 54 home runs and batted.317 with a.448 on-base percentage in this new edition of Murderers’ Row, while three other players hit at least 20 home runs in this new version of Murderers’ Row.
During the regular season, Whitey Ford went 25-4, and he went on to pitch 14 shutout innings in two World Series victories to earn MVP honors.
It took the Yankees five games to defeat the Reds, but the outcome was never truly in doubt throughout. Maris’s 61 in 1961 appeared to be a foregone conclusion for this all-time best club.
6. 1929 Philadelphia Athletics
Before the advent of the National League, Philadelphia was a two-team town, with the A’s dominating the American League under Connie Mack’s leadership and Shibe Park serving as the team’s home field. Although it is questionable whether the 1910 team was superior to the 1929 squad, the latter was forced to win the American League championship from Ruth and Gehrig’s Yankees, and as a result, they won this race. Jimmie Foxx (also known as “Double X”) was the team’s offensive leader in ’29, batting.354 with 33 home runs and a gaudy.463 on-base percentage, but Al Simmons was the team’s beast, hitting.356 with 157 RBI and a.356 batting average to go along with his 157 RBI.
The A’s finished the regular season with a record of 104-46, outscoring the second-place Yankees by an impressive 18 games (the Red Sox ended up 48 games behind in the standings).
Their victory over the Cubs in the World Series came in five games, thanks to a.421 batting average from Jimmy Dykes and five RBIs from Foxx.
5. 1939 York Yankees
The New York Yankees in 1939. Photo courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Based on the 1939 Yankees’ 411 run difference, you might argue that they are the best team in baseball history, but they will receive their due. Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon, and Red Rolfe each had a productive season, but it was Joe DiMaggio’s squad that won the World Series. Joltin’ Joe hit.381 with 30 home runs in a Yankee Stadium where fly balls to left field were destined to be caught in the outfield (490 feet to left-center, 415 to left.) The Yankee Clipper had an on-base percentage of.448 and only struck out 20 times in 524 plate appearances, which was a career high for him.
Even the World Series matchup versus Cincinnati in 1939 wasn’t fair.
With the playoffs included in, the 1939 Yankees finished with a record of 110-45.
4. 1907 Chicago Cubs
Hulton Archive/Getty Images courtesy of the New York Yankees in 1939. With a 411 run differential, the 1939 Yankees would be among the finest teams in baseball history, and they will be given fair credit for what they accomplished. It was Joe DiMaggio’s club that year, even though Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon, and Red Rolfe caused a lot of damage. Joltin’ Joe batted.381 with 30 home runs in a Yankee Stadium where fly balls to left field were destined to be smacked by a pitching machine (490 feet to left-center, 415 to left.) In 524 plate appearances, the Yankee Clipper managed an on-base percentage of.448 while striking out only 20 times.
Even the World Series matchup versus Cincinnati in 1939 wasn’t even close to being equitable. As the Yankees swept the Reds, Charlie Keller hit.438 with three home runs and drove in a total of 20 runs. Including the postseason, the Yankees finished with a record of 110-45 in 1939.
3. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
1976 Cincinnati Reds photo courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images Despite the fact that the 1975 “Big Red Machine” was considered one of the finest teams in baseball history, the team needed to win all seven games to win the World Series. That was not the case with the 1976 Reds, who swept the Philadelphia Phillies in three games in the National League Championship Series before destroying the New York Yankees in a four-game sweep in the World Series. While George Foster and Dave Concepcion contributed to the assault, Johnny Bench hit.533 in the Series and drove in six runs to take home the MVP award.
The Reds of 1976 were scrappy and scruffy in the way that only a 1970s baseball team could be, but they were also one of the best teams in baseball history.
2. 1998 New York Yankees
Consider the careers of David Wells, David Cone, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera when they were at their peak. Add Cuban superstar Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez to the roster in the middle of the season. Start with Chuck Knoblauch and Derek Jeter at the top of the batting order, and then add Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez in years when the team is producing well. Add in Jorge Posada, Scott Brosius, and Chili Davis to round out the lineup. When you want to intimidate a pitcher, bring in Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Graeme Lloyd, Ramiro Mendoza, and Ramiro Mendoza from the bullpen and DH, or pinch-hit Darryl Strawberry for a hit.
- During the 114-48 regular season, manager Joe Torre had access to the most talented pool of players in the modern era, allowing him to put together a winning team.
- These were the Yankees’ only two losses in the postseason, and they came against the Red Sox.
- This squad treated the World Series as if it were a vacation in San Diego, as they cruised to victory in a four-game sweep of the competition.
- With his brutal treatment of Trevor Hoffman in Game Three, Scott Brosius effectively put an end to the best closer argument and demonstrated just how deep the Yankees were in 1998.
- Upon objective examination, his conclusion is valid.
1. 1927 New York Yankees
Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive/Getty Images The 1927 Yankees went 110-44 over a season that lasted 154 games, which was unprecedented at the time. Babe Ruth hit a then-record 60 home runs (more than 12 whole baseball teams hit home runs in one season), while Lou Gehrig batted.373 with 47 home runs and 52 doubles in a season. Earl Combes (.356 batting average) and Bob Meusel (.337 batting average) teamed for 83 doubles. It’s for a good reason why they were dubbed “Murderers’ Row.” The Yankees of 1927 were also capable pitchers who could compete with the best of them.
This team had an astonishing run differential (the amount of runs they outscored their opponents) of 376.
It’s what happens when the greatest player in history leads the greatest squad in history against any opponent.
To put Babe Ruth’s accomplishment in context, consider that the Pirates, Babe Ruth’s World Series opponent in 1927, hit 54 home runs as a team, six fewer than the Sultan of Swat. It’s no surprise that they wanted to add an asterisk next to Maris’s number 61.
The Best MLB Teams Of All-Time, According To Elo
The Chicago Cubs finished the regular season with a 116-36 record one hundred and ten years ago this year. With a.763 winning percentage, the Cubs had the greatest record in modern baseball history by a wide margin. However, they were eliminated from contention in the World Series by the White Sox in six games. Is it possible that they are still the best team in baseball history? Recently, as part of ourComplete History Of Major League Baseballinteractive graphic, we computed historical Elo ratings for every team after every game.
- Among the measures we use at FiveThirtyEight are elo ratings, which are excellent for analyzing the relative strengths of clubs throughout the course of a league’s history because of their basic inputs.
- Our interactive travels even further back in time, to the year 1871.
- This will allow us to concentrate on more recognizable clubs.
- A team’s best performance, its continuous success during the season, and, more broadly, how well it performed in the postseason are all taken into consideration.
- This is effective when attempting to estimate a team’s quality early on, but when evaluating individual seasons, it unfairly penalizes teams that have risen to prominence after having a horrible season.
- “> 2 adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial adverbial ad So, who comes out on top in the end?
- There were 2,374 team seasons from 1903 to 2015, and you can see how they were rated in the table below: We discovered that the league was a little more top-heavy in its earlier decades based on our Elo ratings.
- A large part of this disparity may be attributed to the New York Yankees’ incredible domination during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
- Because the Major League Baseball grew by eight clubs during this time period, the 1960s were unsurprisingly poor — with only two teams in the Elo top 100.
- The first six seasons of the 2010s were similarly mediocre; the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies are the highest-ranked club from that era, ranking No.
76 on the all-time list of MLB teams. Despite the fact that the Philadelphia club fell in the division series, it is widely considered to be the finest Phillies team in history. Here are the all-time greatest teams from each franchise:
|FRANCH.||TEAM||COMP. ELO||WON WS?||RANK AMONG BEST TEAMS EVER|
|–||NYY||1939||New York Yankees||1623||✓||1|
|–||STL||1942||St. Louis Cardinals||1605||✓||8|
|–||SF||1905||New York Giants||1601||✓||13|
|–||BOS||1912||Boston Red Sox||1584||✓||46|
|–||NYM||1986||New York Mets||1580||✓||62|
|–||CHW||1917||Chicago White Sox||1579||✓||68|
|–||TOR||2015||Toronto Blue Jays||1565||161|
|–||KC||1977||Kansas City Royals||1560||213|
|–||TB||2012||Tampa Bay Rays||1558||237|
|–||SD||1998||San Diego Padres||1543||480|
The 1939 Yankees and 1906 Cubs are in a league of their own, with Elo ratings that are more than ten points higher than the other organizations in the league. Even if the Marlins have only been in existence since 1993, it’s still a little disappointing that their best club ever (a World Series winner, no less!) is only the 601st-best team in baseball history. The Colorado Rockies, another organization that was established in 1993, are in a similar state of despair, but without the World Series rings.
480 on the list of the worst teams in baseball history.
All seven clubs have a history that dates back to 1903, yet none of their teams has even come close to entering the top 25 in the previous 113 seasons.
Here is a list of every MLB franchise’s worst ever team:
|FRANCH.||TEAM||COMP. ELO||1ST YEAR?||RANK AMONG WORST TEAMS EVER|
|–||NYM||1962||New York Mets||1398||✓||3|
|–||BOS||1932||Boston Red Sox||1414||12|
|–||BAL||1911||St. Louis Browns||1417||15|
|–||TOR||1979||Toronto Blue Jays||1419||22|
|–||SD||1969||San Diego Padres||1419||✓||23|
|–||STL||1908||St. Louis Cardinals||1432||51|
|–||CHW||1932||Chicago White Sox||1435||61|
|–||KC||2005||Kansas City Royals||1437||71|
|–||TB||2002||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||1442||96|
|–||NYY||1908||New York Highlanders||1449||136|
|–||SF||1985||San Francisco Giants||1461||251|
The 2003 Detroit Tigers finished with 119 losses, but won five of their last six games to escape matching the modern-era record of 120 losses established by the 1962 New York Mets in their first season as a team. Despite this, Elo is not deceived – the 2003 Tigers had a significantly worse run differential than the 1962 Mets, and as a result, they receive a slightly lower rating in this category. According to Elo, the 1904 Washington Senators, who are now the Twins, were significantly worse than the 1903 Senators, going 38-113.
- Angels fans definitely don’t remember the 91-loss season of 1969 with fondness, but when compared to the other organizations’ worst seasons ever, it’s not a horrible low point, placing just 279th out of the 300 worst seasons in baseball history.
- TheAtlanta Braves and theCincinnati Redshave gotten off to a shaky start and might be on their way to setting new franchise lows in Elo.
- If they can maintain up with this pace, the Cubs have a chance to become one of the all-time great teams, which would be a historic achievement.
- Take a look at our most recent MLB predictions.
Looking at baseball’s winningest seasons
When the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in 2001, they equaled the record set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906 for the most wins in a 162-game season, which had been held for more than a century. However, because Chicago accomplished this achievement in a shorter season, the team still holds the record for the highest winning percentage of all time (.763). Is it possible for such records to be broken? In recent years, there haven’t been many genuine rivals. From 1961 to 2020, when the American League switched to a 162-game schedule, only two teams (the 2001 Mariners and 1998 Yankees) had posted a winning percentage of.700.
- (The Netherlands followed suit a year later.) Here is a list of the ten American League and National League clubs in the Modern Era (since 1900) with winning percentages of at least.700 over the course of a full season (so not counting the 2020 Dodgers).
- Five of them were victorious in the end.
- Since the start of the twentieth century, the 1906 Cubs have been the most successful club in baseball history.
- Frank Chance, the club’s first-year captain who also happened to be the team’s daily first baseman, guided Chicago to the first of four National League pennants during his five-year tenure.
- With 704 runs scored and 381 runs allowed, the Cubs topped all of baseball in both categories, and Brown’s 1.04 ERA remains the National League record, only exceeded by the American League’s Tim Keefe in 1880 (0.86) and the National League’s Dutch Leonard in 1914 (0.86).
- The Cubs, on the other hand, were defeated in the World Series by the rival Chicago White Stockings, who defeated them in five games.
- 2001 The Seattle Mariners went 116-46 (.716) and fell in the American League Championship Series.
In numerous important statistical categories, including runs (927), stolen bases (174), on-base percentage (.360), earned run average (3.54), shutouts (14), runs allowed (637) and WHIP, the Seattle Mariners topped the major leagues (1.200).
He had an amazing rookie season, hitting.350/.381/.457 to win the American League batting championship and the American League Rookie of the Year Award as well as the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
They were Ichiro, Bret Boone at second base, Mike Cameron at outfield and Freddy Garcia at starting pitcher.
The Mariners’ extraordinary season concluded in the same way as that of the 1906 Chicago Cubs: without a championship.
1998 The New York Yankees went 114-48 (.704) in the regular season and won the World Series.
The New York Yankees still retain the record for the most victories by a team that has won a World Series championship.
In addition, the season was highlighted by southpaw David Wells’ perfect game on May 17, which was the 15th such game in Major League Baseball history.
It also boasted a squad that included big players such as Andy Pettitte and David Cone as well as Jorge Posada and Scott Brosius as well as Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Darryl Strawberry, and Chuck Knoblauch, as well as two future Major League managers in Joe Girardi and Dale Sveum.
The Yankees’ only two losses were against Cleveland in the American League Championship Series.
When it comes to winning percentage in the American League, the 1954 team maintains the record.
Cleveland’s pitching staff would go down in history as one of the finest, including three Hall of Famers in Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, and Bob Feller, and posting a 2.78 earned run average that season, which was the best in either the American League or the National League by a significant margin.
- The Cleveland Indians were unable to maintain their momentum in the playoffs, as they were defeated by the New York Giants in the World Series.
- 1927 The New York Yankees went 110-44 (.714) in the regular season and won the World Series.
- This club, one of the finest ever formed by the famous franchise, established a new program record in winning percentage as well as a new Yankees record in victories, which was only surpassed seven decades later by the 1998 Yankees team.
- When Ruth hit 60 home runs in a season, it was the single-season record, which was held until Roger Maris shattered it 34 years later.
- The Yankees’ 110 victories set a new American League record.
- In a four-game sweep in the World Series, they ended the season by outscoring the Pirates, 23-10, to win the championship.
With player-manager Fred Clarke and shortstop Honus Wagner, the Pirates were able to secure a pair of future Hall of Famers prior to the 1900 season, kicking out the new century in style.
Despite winning three consecutive National League pennants from 1901-03 (and losing the first modern World Series that year), it wasn’t until 1909 that they returned to the Fall Classic on the strength of another 16-game winning streak in late September.
Dots Miller, a rookie second baseman, was third in the league with 87 RBIs, and the Pirates had a pair of 20-game winners in Howie Camnitz (25-6) and Vic Willis (25-6) to help them to the title (22-11).
The series would feature two of baseball’s top hitters, Wagner and Wagner’s teammate Ty Cobb.
1931 The Philadelphia Athletics went 107-45 (.704) and were eliminated from the World Series.
A league-best pitching staff, led by AL MVP Award winner Lefty Grove, was the driving force behind the Athletics’ success, as he led the league in wins (31), earned run average (2.06), complete games (27) and strikeouts (175) to win his second straight Triple Crown in baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies came tantalizingly close to winning their third consecutive World Series, but they were defeated by the National League champion St.
1907 The Chicago Cubs won the World Series with a record of 107-45 (.704).
Despite returning every starter, the Cubs scored about 130 fewer runs than they did in 1906, when they scored a league-high 704 runs.
No member of the starting lineup had a season batting average greater than.300.
A combined 1.73 earned run average was set by the Cubs’ pitching staff, and five of the top six ERAs among qualified starts in the National League that season belonged to Cubs pitchers, with Jack Pfeister (1.15), Carl Lundgren (1.17), and Brown (1.39) atop the list in that category.
The New York Yankees went 106-45 (.702) in 1939 and won the World Series.
The season was marked by both a fourth consecutive World Series victory and Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” retirement speech, which was broadcast worldwide.
The Yankees won their fourth consecutive American League pennant by finishing 17 games ahead of rookie Ted Williams and the second-place Red Sox.
The Pittsburgh Pirates went 103-36 (.741) in 1902, winning the National League title.
As part of a three-year stretch of dominance following the turn of the century, they ran roughshod over the National League in 1902, leading the Bucs to their first 100-win season and their second consecutive pennant.
As a member of the Pirates’ loaded lineup that included batting champion Ginger Beaumont (.357) and league win leader and future Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro (26-2), Wagner led the league in RBIs (91) and stolen bases (42), as the Pirates led the National League in every major hitting category except stolen bases and won the pennant by a 27.5-game margin over the second-place Brooklyn Dodgers.
By the way, third baseman Tommy Leach, who is 24 years old, was the league’s leading home run hitter with six.
Teams with winning percentages of.700 or higher prior to 1900 The 1887 St. Louis Browns defeated the Chicago Cubs 95-40. (.704) The Boston Beaneaters won 93-39 in 1897. (.705) White Stockings from Chicago in 1886: 90-34 (.726) 1886 Detroit Wolverines win 87-36 over the University of Michigan (.707)