The start of the MLB season is just around the corner, and with Spring training drawing to a close, minds are already starting to jump forward to the big questions. Who will upset the MLB odds and go for the World Series?
Will the Philadelphia Phillies defend their crown? Can the New York Yankees actually do something this season, and, most importantly, how will your team fare? Unfortunately, without a time machine, we can’t answer any of those questions for you.
What we can do, though, is build the excitement levels ahead of the start of the new season, and what better way to do that than by looking back at some of the greatest teams in MLB history?
Without further ado, here they are… (disagree with our selections? Let us know in the comments section below.)
5. 1970 Baltimore Orioles
Manager: Earl Weaver
Star Player: Boog Powell
In 1969 the Baltimore Orioles lost out to the New York Mets in the World Series in what was undoubtedly an upset. Going into the 1070 season, the team, led by Earl Weaver, used that disappointment to fuel themselves.
They embarked on a 108 game winning regular season, which, at the time, was an American league record. In the World Series, they made short work of the Cincinnati Reds, winning in five games with the pivotal moment coming at the glove of third baseman Brooks Robinson.
Boog Powell won the MVP award that season, but Jim Palmer was equally impressive, ending the campaign with a 2.71 ERA.
4. 1954 Cleveland Indians
Manager: Al Lopez
Star Player: Larry Doby
Sports is a cruel mistress. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still not win, which was the harsh lesson that the 1954 Cleveland Indians learned. During the regular season, the Indians won a staggering 111 games at a record .721 percentage.
During that period, they racked up two separate 11-game winning runs which was an unmatched feat until the Toronto Blue Jays managed to do the same in the 2015 regular season.
Yogi Berra of the World Series-winning New York Yankees finished the season as MVP, but Larry Doby, Bobby Avila, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn of the Indians were all in the running for the award.
(Contemporary footage of the 1954 Cleveland Indians Spring training)
3. 1998 New York Yankees
Manager: Joe Torre
Star Player: Scott Brosius
Now we start to verge into the realm of contentious decisions; should the 1998 New York Yankees only be third on our list? Are they actually the greatest baseball team of all time? You might think so, but we think we have them in just about the right place.
During the regular season, Joe Torre’s side racked up an incredible 114 wins, with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Mariano Rivera tormenting all that stood before them. Rivera finished the season with a 1.91 ERA and 36 saves.
Tino Martinez hit 28 home runs, with Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Darryl Strawberry pitching in with 26, 24, and 24 home runs each, respectively. After brushing all aside during the regular season, the Yankees went on to dispatch the San Diego Padres in the World Series.
2. 1975 Cincinnati Reds
Manager: Sparky Anderson
Star Player: Joe Morgan
The Big Red Machine, as they were known at the time, was the all-conquering Cincinnati Reds of 1975. The team posted a regular season record of 108-54 before winning the World Series in seven games against the Boston Red Sox.
The most impressive aspect of the Reds team that was season was the regularity and speed of their offense. Over the course of the season, the team scored 840 runs, with Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Joe Morgan regularly hitting it out of the park.
(The 1975 Cincinnati Reds clinch the World Series)
1. 1927 New York Yankees
Manager: Miller Huggins
Star Player: Who do you think?
The second entry for the New York Yankees on this list is not contentious at all. The 1927 team featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig ended the season with a 110-44 record and won the World Series with consummate ease.
Over the course of the season, Babe Ruth hit an astonishing 60 home runs, beating his previous record of 59, and Lou Gehrig racked up 173 runs. In total, the 1927 New York Yankees team scored 975 runs, writing themselves forever into the history of not only their team but baseball in general.