What year did your favorite MLB team win it all? Which roster do you still look back on in awe? Whether it’s the “Team of Destiny” or the best year of a dynasty, every baseball team has that greatest lineup. From the 1936 New York Yankees to the 2012 San Francisco Giants, we all remember that one special year that stands heads and tails above the rest. These are the best seasons for every Major League Baseball team. Read on to see if you agree!
The 2004 Boston Red Sox Broke The Curse Of The Bambino
The Boston Red Sox are one of the most storied franchises in MLB history, but before 2004 it had been nearly 100 years since they had won the World Series. After trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, it was believed the Red Sox were cursed — The Curse of the Bambino.
Between 1918 and 2004, the Red Sox were perennial losers. With Terry Francona as their manager, Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez leading the pitching, and Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Nomar Garciaparra crushing the ball on offense, this team won it all and became legendary.
Everything Went Right For The 2012 San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants might have won the city’s first World Series championship in 2010, but it was the 2012 title team that stands out the most. Two years after winning it all, Buster Posey bounced back from a broken ankle to win the National League MVP award.
Right fielder Hunter Pence, a mid-season acquisition, became a postseason inspiration as the team overcame elimination on multiple occasions. The team won 94 games, then swept the World Series, beating the Tigers and securing manager Bruce Bochy’s eventual place in the Hall of Fame.
The 1989 Oakland A’s Gave The World The Bash Brothers
Today, the 1989 World Series might be most famous for the Loma Prieta earthquake, but we want to remind everyone just how good the Oakland A’s were that year. Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco formed the “Bash Brothers” behind the plate while Dennis Eckersley was the bullpen piece no one wanted to face.
The World Series might have been suspended briefly after an earthquake, but when it started back up, the A’s picked up where they left off and crushed the Giants’ dreams of championship glory.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs Were Filled With Drama
After winning the World Series in 1908, the Chicago Cubs went on a championship drought unlike any other in modern sports. Then, in 2016, a miracle happened. Against all odds and a weather delay, the Cubbies won it all, ending over 100 years of heartache.
With a team constructed by Theo Epstein and coached by Joe Maddon, Chicago took the Indians to game seven of the World Series, a game that today is known as one of the greatest ever played. And once it was over, Christ Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jon Lester, and a plethora of other memorable faces were able to lift the championship trophy.
The 1936 Yankees Were Loaded With Legends
It’s hard to choose the best starting lineup in New York Yankees history, but we think it might just be the 1936 roster. Like most years, the Yankees dominated, winning 102 games while losing 51 and earning their first World Series championship in four seasons.
Most importantly, 1936 was the year that Joe DiMaggio made his major league debut. He brought new blood to a Yankees roster that included Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, and Red Ruffing.
The 2001 Diamondbacks Won The World Series In Record Time
On paper, the Diamondbacks’ 2001 season wasn’t that impressive. The team only went 92-70, which isn’t really taking the league by storm. It was what they did in the postseason that defined, them, though. The team, four years into existence, became the fastest to ever win the World Series.
Led by the dominant pitching of MLB icons Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, Arizona beat the New York Yankees in a thrilling seven-game series. Having Luis Gonzalez, Jay Bell, and Steve Finley on offense didn’t hurt either.
The 1995 Atlanta Braves Finally Put It All Together
The 1995 MLB season was not typical. It was shortened by a strike and only featured 144 regular-season games. That didn’t stop the Atlanta Braves from dominating the league and finally connecting all the pieces of their talent to win the franchise’s only World Series title.
Calling the shots in the dugout was Bobby Cox, who was blessed with a starting pitching trio of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz. Chipper Jones in his prime was the offensive highlight of a team that cruised to victory in six games.
The 1970 Baltimore Orioles Won 108 Games
The Baltimore Orioles didn’t take being upset by the New York Mets in the 1969 World Series sitting down. The team came back in 1970 on a mission, winning 108 games and losing 54. Managed by Earl Weaver, the team cruised to the World Series, winning it in five games.
Of course, it’s hard to lose the World series when you have three 20-game winners on the mound with Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Jim Palmer. And to complement them, Hall of Famer Earl Robinson batted .429 won the World Series MVP award.
The 2005 Chicago White Sox Were Unbeatable In The Postseason
While many MLB historians will argue that the 1917 White Sox are the greatest in franchise history, we’re going with the 2005 roster. Winning 99 games (one shy of the 1917 team), the Sox burned their way through the postseason, only losing one game.
The White Sox were an offensive force to be reckoned with, featuring Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko, Carl Everett, and A.J. Pierzynski. Mark Buehrle was the ace of the pitching staff as the team won it all for the first time in 88 years.
The 1976 Cincinnati Reds Had Pete Rose
We know that one player out of nine doesn’t make the 1976 Cincinnati Reds the best in franchise history. When that player is Pete Rose, however, it doesn’t take many more to get them over the hump.
Rose played alongside Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Ken Griffey. The team won 102 games and swept the entire postseason, winning seven straight games against the Phillies and Yankees. Since the addition of the Division Series, no team has ever matched that incredible feat.
The 1920 Cleveland Indians Were A Three-Headed Monster
In 1920, the Cleveland Indians were gifted 75 of 98 wins from three pitchers – Stan Covelski, Jim Bagby, and Ray Caldwell. Carried on the strength of their pitching staff, the Indians powered their way to the World Series, beating the Brooklyn Robins in seven games.
Elmer Smith became the first player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in the World Series, and Bagby became the first WS pitcher to knock a ball into the stands.
The 2007 Rockies Got Hot At The Right Time
The 2007 Colorado spent most of the season riding mediocrity before lightning in a bottle struck. The team, fronted by former franchise star Troy Tulowitzki, won 14 of their last 15 games, then swept their way through the postseason in the World Series.
Their good luck didn’t last however and they were swept by the Boston Red Sox. Other notable players that year included Matt Holliday, Steve Finley, and Garrett Atkins.
The 1984 Detroit Tigers Made The City Rock
The 1984 Detroit Tigers won 104 games with the help of a roster that included Alan Trammel, Kirk Gibson, and Willie Hernandez as well as Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson. Hernandez, a relief pitcher, won the Cy Young and AL MVP award that season.
Trammel powered the Tigers to a five-game World Series win, hitting .450 with six runs batted in and two home runs. He was named the MVP of the series.
The 2017 Houston Astros Didn’t Make It Easy
The 2017 Houston Astros were one of the most prolific offenses in MLB history. With a lineup consisting of Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman, there wasn’t a lot that opposing pitchers could do to stop them.
But when they came up against an equally powerful Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, they’re pitching was just as negated. A crazy seven-game series ensued that saw matches regularly last five-plus hours. After the marathon of a series, the Astros came out on top, winning the first championship in franchise history.
The 2015 Kansas City Royals Conquered The Mountain
After a heartbreaking defeat to the San Francisco Giants in the 2014 World Series, no one would have blamed the low budget Royals to pack it in and sell the farm for a rebuild. Instead, they kept the core of Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez around for one more go.
Rising star Lorenzo Cain won the World Series MVP as Kansas City beat the New York Mets in five games, creating a much less stressful and dramatic World Series as the previous year.
The Los Angeles Angels Came Back Against Bonds
The year 2002 was supposed to be when Barry Bonds would finally win a ring with the San Francisco Giants. The Anaheim Angels, of course, had no problem playing spoiler thanks to a lineup that included Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, Troy Percival, and Jarrod Washburn.
The series went for seven games, and at one point looked like it was going to end in San Francisco’s favor. Then the Rally Monkey was born, the Giants had a minor meltdown, and the Angels’ engines revved to life.
The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers Are A Nostalgic Classic
As of this writing, the last time the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series was 1988. The iconic team was built on pitching with Hall of Famer Orel Hershiser and media sensation Fernando Valenzuela.
Kirk Gibson mashing once in a lifetime home runs helped Los Angeles secure the World Series championship. The Dodgers have tried to replicate the magic of the 1988 season ever since, but have continually come up short.
The 1997 Florida Marlins Shocked The World
In 1997, the Miami Marlins were the Florida Marlins and then-team owner Wayne Huizenga went for broke. The famously stingy owner opened his wallet to sign Moises Alou and Bobby Bonilla and Kevin Brown (the previous year). The result was a team that won 92 games and shocked the MLB world by winning the World Series.
Sadly, after the championship was won, Huizenga dismantled his team, trading away key pieces and starting an unnecessary rebuild that still has fans confused today.
The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers Were So Close To Winning It All
In a cruel twist of fate, after the 1982 Brewers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals, the team went on a playoff drought that lasted 25 seasons. Let’s not focus on the negative, though, and instead celebrate what was easily the greatest team in Milwaukee history.
Paul Molitor led the American League with 136 runs batted in while Robin Yount was named the AL Most Valuable Player. The Brewers won 95 games and pushed the World Series to seven games.
The 1991 Minnesota Twins Went From Worst To First
The 1991 Minnesota Twins were the first in MLB history to finish in last place the previous season and go on to win the World Series the next year. The team didn’t make it easy though, winning their last 15 games to move from 6th place to 1st and secure their spot in the playoffs.
Led by Kirby Puckett, Kevin Tapani, Chuck Knoblach, and Jack Morris, the Twins fended off the Atlanta Braves in seven games.
The 1986 New York Mets Were Destined For Greatness
The 1986 New York Mets were special. First baseman Keith Hernandez had a great season, hitting .310 with 83 RBIs. Gary Carter knocked in another 105, and Mookie Wilson may have had the luckiest hit in MLB history.
The Mets, after winning 108 regular-season games, were on the brink of losing the World Series against the Red Sox. It was game six, and Wilson hit a ball to Bill Buckner that should have been an out. Instead, the ball slipped through Buckner’s legs, and the Mets would go on to win the game, and eventually the championship.
The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies Brought Back The Good Vibes
In 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies were swept out of the playoffs by the Colorado Rockies. The next season, the team finished with 92 wins. Closer Brad Lidge was a perfect 48 for 48 in save opportunities and the team was clicking at just the right time.
Offensive standout Ryan Howard hit 48 home runs and drove in 146 RBIs. Chase Utley added another 33 home runs and 104 RBIs. The team steamrolled the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series in five games.
The 1909 Pirates Are Yet To Be Topped
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a decorated history in MLB, winning multiple World Series championships. The best team, though, has to be the 1909 incarnation — a roster that included Honus Wagner, Babe Adams, Dots Miller, and Fred Clarke.
The Pirates won an astonishing 110 games that season and faced off against the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Pittsburgh beat Detroit in seven games. The franchise would go on to win four more World Series, most recently in 1979.
The 1998 San Diego Padres Were Powered By Tony Gwynn
After winning the World Series in 1997 with the Marlins, Kevin Brown ended up in San Diego as a Padre back in the spotlight. Manager Bruce Bochy navigated the team to a 98 win season while Tony Gwynn carried the offense with 50 home runs.
For the Padres, it was the first time back to the World Series since losing to the Tigers in 1984. They faced off against the New York Yankees, who overpowered them in just four games. Still, this 98-win San Diego team is one of the most memorable Cinderella stories in MLB history.
The 2001 Seattle Mariners Won 116 Games
The 2001 Seattle Mariners should have won the World Series. The team won an MLB record 116 games and the lineup included Bret Boone, David Bell, Carlos Guillen, Ichiro Suzuki, and Freddy Garcia.
After advancing to the ALCS, the Mariners his a brick wall though. They lost the series to the New York Yankees in five games. The greatness of the 2001 Mariners won’t be forgotten in the eyes of MLB aficionados.
The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals Took Down The Yankees
The 1942 St. Louis Cardinals unknowingly played spoiler when they stopped the New York Yankees from winning three straight World Series. The Bronx Bombers won it all in 1941 before getting bulldozed in five games by the Cardinals.
St. Louis powered its way to 106 wins that season thanks to a historic performance by starting pitcher Mort Cooper, who won 22 games and recorded a 1.78 ERA. Enos Slaughter lived up to his last name, too, driving in 98 RBIs during the season while crushing 13 home runs.
The 2008 Rays Were The First Great Tampa Bay Team
The Tampa Bay Rays not only reached their first World Series in franchise history in 2008, but they also recorded their first-ever winning season. The team won 97 games powered by Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, Carl Crawford, and Evan Longoria.
As you might remember, though, this Rays incarnation also ended up going against the Phillies in the World Series, losing the championship in five games. Tampa Bay became a perennial playoff team after, but have not yet made it back to the World Series.
The 2011 Texas Rangers Almost Won It All
The 2011 Texas Rangers won 96 games on their way to their second straight World Series appearance. Their roster was loaded with heavy hitters including Mike Napoli, Ian Kinsler, Andrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, and Chris Davis.
Texas matched up against the St. Louis Cardinals, and on paper were the better team. Unfortunately, a series of comebacks in championship-clinching games ended the Rangers’ chances at winning the first World Series in franchise history.
The 1992 Toronto Blue Jays Made History
The Toronto Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series championships in the early ’90s, but it was their victory in 1992 that made history. The team became the first non-U.S. based franchise to take the season title.
The Blue Jays won 96 games with a loaded lineup featured Roberto Alomar, Jack Morris, Tom Henke, and Joe Carter. When they met the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, it was a no-contest, six-game series win.
The 2019 Washington Nationals Brought Glory To D.C.
After years of being one of the most disappointing teams in playoff history, the Washington Nationals finally clicked in 2019. The team ended the season on a tear, giving them the momentum they needed for the postseason gauntlet.
Their roster, which featured Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick, Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmerman, proved up the task. Not only did the team have to overcome the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, they then had to beat the otherworldly Houston Astros in the World Series, which they accomplished in seven games.