The Top 10 Best World Series Teams of All Time
The Best of the Best
Every six-year-old who digs his feet into the batter’s box dirt envisions playing on a baseball player’s biggest stage: The World Series.
Started in 1903, this battle between MLB’s American League and National League has grown to be one of the most beloved American traditions. Millions come together every fall to watch the best of the best compete for that championship trophy.
Some franchises have dominated this fall classic. The New York Yankees have made 40 World Series appearances, winning a MLB record 27 times. The St. Louis Cardinals have the most appearances for the National League, with 18, winning 11 of those times.
Some teams go through some mighty long World Series droughts, like the Boston Red Sox who were dominant in the early 1900’s, winning 4 times in 7 years from 1912-1918, but then had to wait another 86 years before winning it again in 2004. And the poor Chicago Cubs, who won it all in 1907 and 1908, but 104 years later, are still waiting for their next title.
So while it's clear that the two teams that make it to the Championship series are the best of the year, what makes a World Series team the best of all time?
What is the criteria? The 1927 "Murderer's Row" Yankees outscored their World Series opponents 23-10, but would Babe Ruth and Lou Gerhig's monster hitting hold up against Bob Gibson's three wins and 1.00 ERA in the 1967 World Series?
Unfortunately these scenarios are something no one will ever have an answer for, leaving this as a topic that will be debated for generations to come.
Here are, in my opinion, the top 10 World Series teams of all time, and yes they are in order. I most certainly believe that the number one team could beat any other baseball team in history.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know & follow me on Twitter: @BrownEyedNJGirl
1907 Chicago Cubs
The first of back to back championships for the Chicago Cubs, the 1907 World Series was dominated by their pitching staff. The crazy thing about this series is that the first game technically ended in a tie, and essentially 12 innings of play were negated.
The Cubs were playing against that year's batting champion, Ty Cobb, and the Detroit Tigers, and yet allowed only three runs in the next four games.
These Cubs were the real deal. It was before the "steroid era" (as the 13 homeruns they hit as a team that season shows), but their 5 starting pitchers had ERAs under 1.70 on the season. Harry Steinfeldt had the most RBIs on the season with 70 and a batting average of .266, which is just about where most of the team lied. But when they got on base, they were dangerous, stealing 235 bases during the season, and 15 in the World Series
1970 Baltimore Orioles
After being upset by the New York Mets in 1969, the Baltimore Orioles were going to make sure nothing like that happened again. They were going against the first year of the “Big Red Machine” which was the nickname given to the Cincinnati Reds.
This was another team where pitching was their strength. The O’s were stacked with three 20-game winners that season: Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, and Dave McNally.
But don’t forget their hitting as well. The Orioles scored 33 runs in the five World Series games, led by Boog Powell and Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson.
1967 St. Louis Cardinals
Going up against Triple Crowne Winner, Carl Yastrzemski, and the Boston Red Sox would be no easy feat, which is why this World Series went to seven games, but the St. Louis Cardinals proved to be up to the task. The Cardinals pitching, led by Bob Gibson who went 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three games of this series, most definitely paved their road to the Championship.
With Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, Rogis Maris, Bob Gibson, and Steve Carlton on this team, there’s no doubt that they’re tops.
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
This one is tough, and not a lot of people will not agree that the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks should be on this list, but I always say that it’s not just about stats, sometimes it’s about that special magic that a team has.
What seemed like a roster of over the hill, soon to be ex-players, the Diamondbacks played with the passion of 12 year olds in Little League. Luis Gonzalez hit 57 home runs that season, Mark Grace hit just under .300 with 78 RBIs, and Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson combined to win 43 games that season. So when they met the New York Yankees in the World Series, I don’t know why no one expected them to win.
In the seventh game, in the ninth inning, against baseball’s all-time greatest closer, the Diamondbacks were down 2-1, but came back to win it all thanks to a walk off single by Gonzalez. They played right up until the very end, with an incredible amount of heart. I don’t care how many home runs a team can hit, if they don’t play like they love it, then then don’t win.
1961 New York Yankees
With Roger Maris chasing (and ultimately breaking) Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961, it’s no wonder why he, along with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra led the New York Yankees to another championship. And of course we can’t forget WSMVP, Whitey Ford, who went 2-0 yielding no runs in the World Series.
1986 New York Mets
I know many will say that if Bill Buckner hadn't let that ball pass through his legs, then the New York Mets wouldn't have even won, nevermind be on this list. But they definitely deserve to be. The Mets won a franchise record 108 games in 1986 led by veteran Gary Carter and a young Darryl Strawberry.
What was impressive was their pitching staff. The Mets had four pitchers with 15+ wins (Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, and Sid Fernandez), who combined for 732 strike outs on the season.
The Mets could have easily given up when they were losing in game six of the World Series, and they didn't. That's the sign of a true winner.
2004 Boston Red Sox
Don’t call it a comeback. Actually, yes, call it exactly that. What the 2004 Boston Red Sox did was nothing short of a miracle. Squeaking into the playoffs via the Wild Card, the Sox would go on to be down 3-1 to their heated rivals, the New York Yankees, in the ALCS; a series which included an embarrassing 19-8 loss in game three. But the Sox never gave up, and rallied back to beat the Yankees, the best team in the American League that season.
After a monumental comeback, the Sox went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals for their first World Series victory since 1918. Another team with such heart and passion, not to mention sluggers Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, and Orlando Cabrera, and starting pitchers Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, and Derek Lowe who all allowed no earned runs in the World Series.
1998 New York Yankees
It's hard to argue against a team which won 114 games in the regular season, swept the ALDS, won 4-2 in the ALCS, and swept the World Series. It's that simple.
It would also be no surprise when the New York Yankees would go on to win the 1999 World Series as well.
1927 New York Yankees
Nicknamed “Murderer’s Row” the 1927 New York Yankees led the league in just about everything imaginable: runs scored, hits, triples, home runs, walks, batting average, and on base percentage. What else would you expect when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are in the heart of your lineup?
1975 Cincinnati Reds
They were nicknamed the "Big Red Machine" and there was no question why. The starting eight consisted of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, and Ken Griffey, and were led by manager, Sparky Anderson.
The Cincinnati Reds clinched their playoff apperance on September 7th of that year, which is still the earliest an MLB team has ever done it. The team was just so well-rounded that everyone played a major role, and had a special part in the World Series Championship. From Bench starting a 9th inning rally in game two, to Morgan driving in Griffey for the series winning run, to Rose tying game seven with a 2-out single, to Concepcion tying game two, and to Perez hitting a 2-run homerun in game seven to ignite the team to victory.
It was the true definition of a team. Not even Carlton Fisk's dramatic home run could keep these Reds down.