The debate as to who is the greatest baseball team of all time has been raging ever since the sport’s beginning.
So is there any way to determine the greatest team of all time?
Well it’s a lot more difficult than you would have first thought, different teams played in different generations and thus makes it impossible to settle the debate on the field.
So how can we determine the greatest teams throughout baseball history?
We can take in the stats and how each team fared in their version of baseball at the time and try to reach a logical conclusion as to who are the top teams throughout the history of the wonderful sport we call baseball.
To determine the list we have to take a few things into account, these are their record in the regular season, if they won the World Series and their statistics throughout the season as a whole.
So now that we know the criteria that we are using to determine the best of the best lets get into this list.
New York Yankees (1998)
Let’s start off with the team many consider to be the greatest baseball team of all time, the franchise has had many great teams over their existence but perhaps none ever have or ever will be as good as the 1998 Yankees superteam.
The team was not just good in 98 the team dominated the league for a few years, but the 98 season was a truly special one.
During the season they batted an average of .288 as a team and also topped the scoring runs for the American League.
They had a staggering Earned Run Average of 3.82 by far the largest score of any team in 1998.
This season also saw the New York based team possessed the incredible talent Mariano Rivera who made 36 saves during the regular season.
What impressed most and the stat that many use as a way to explain how good the team is in comparison to most, was their insane run differential of plus 309.
This incredible team went 114-48, going 11-2 during the playoffs and capping it off with a 4-0 sweep of the Padres in the World Series.
The Hall of Fame would induct several members of this incredible team they were: Mariano Rivera, Tim Raines, Joe Torre and finally Derek Jeter.
The 1998 New York Yankees deserve their place in history but it will not be hard to find some more teams who stand up to these giants of baseball.
So who will follow them?
Cincinnati Reds (1975)
One team who also entered the eternal halls of baseball’s greatest teams was the 1975 Cincinnati Reds who won 108 games of their regular season winning the National League West division by an impressive 20 games.
There is no debate about the greatest team of all time without the aptly named “Big Red Machine” being mentioned.
The team included several Hall of Famers: Johnny Bench, Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan.
The team would run across the plate an incredible amount of times 840 to be precise, the team is known for having perhaps the greatest line up of batters in the sports history.
The brilliant Joe Morgan averaged a .327 with 67 of them being stolen.
Peter Rose had over 200 hits and it was not just batting where the side flourished.
They also had two of the best to take the mound in Jack Bellingham and Gary Nolan.
The first back to back World Series winners is more than enough to place them amongst the best teams to ever do it.
The 1975 squad were pushed all the way in the World Series against the Red Sox but the talent turning the cogs in the “Big Red Machine” was more than enough to win them the series.
Boston Red Sox (2018)
A more recent entry in the list of World Series winners but no less deserving of their place in history.
The 2018 Red Sox won 108 of their regular season games and won both the World Series in a comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Dodgers but they also won the Fall Classic blowing out the fierce competition of the Yankees, Astros and once again the Dodgers.
The team had a great performing case with Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez leading the great offense.
But it was not the offense that will be best remembered about this great team, the outfield, infield and pitching were agreed upon to be some of the most entertaining baseball the sport has seen in a long time.
Mookie Betts would win the MVP for the season but many believe the team won their World Series through the new signing of J.D. Martinez who batted the best batting average, along with home runs and runs batted in.
They may be a more recent entry in this list but have earned the right to be listed amongst the best.
Baltimore Oilers (1970)
Next up is a team who avenged their previous season’s heartbreak to win the World Series just a year after losing it.
Much like the 2018 Boston Red Sox the 1970 Oilers won 108 games within their regular season, the pitching team came up strong with an earned run average of 3.15.
Jim Palmer had a fantastic season finishing the season 20-10 and an ERA of 2.71 with team mate Dave McNally went 24-9, he averaged an ERA of 3.22 and finally Mike Cuellar was 24-8 with his ERA being 3.48.
The three men would set the record books ablaze being only the second team in history with three 20 game winners.
The following season the Oilers would break this record with four players getting 20 game winners.
The team had seven players in the MLB All Star Game, and beat the impressive second placed Yankees by a large margin of 15 games.
The Oilers smashed the playoffs and then would sweep the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series before destroying the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 in the World Series.
New York Yankees (1961)
We all knew they would show up again in this list and for good reason, despite being named the most hated MLB team the New York Yankees are the sports most successful team with 27 World Series titles.
The 1961 Yankees are certainly one of the best teams to win one of the 27 titles if not the best.
They won 109 games of the regular season and annihilated the Cincinnati Red 4-1 in the World Series.
This season was the year Roger Maris set a new home run record over a single season hitting 61 balls out of the park.
He also had 142 RBIs.
Mickey Mantle is often overlooked but had an amazing 54 home runs and 128 RBIs showing just how strong this line up truly was.
To show how strong the league was in 1961 the Detroit Lions also managed over 100 wins but this was only good enough for third in the overall standings.
The Best MLB Record
The title of most wins in a single MLB season is held by both the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners.
The 1906 Cubs posted at the time an almost insurmountable 116-36 season, despite this insane record the team would not win the World Series losing to the other team in Chicago, The White Sox would best the Cubs in a six game tussle.
In 2001 the impossible was achieved when the Seattle Mariners would also win 116 games in a season and actually hold a better winning percentage making them technically better of the two teams.
The team would lose in the American League Championship Series.
Longest Winning Streak
We have discussed the best teams on paper who in turn dominated the sport as well as two of the best single season teams of all time who both would unfortunately come up short in terms of completing their historical seasons.
But which team has the longest streak of wins in a row without losing?
Surely they should be in the conversation for being amongst the best of all time?
Well honor would go to the 1916 New York Giants who hold the MLB record due to a 26 game winning streak.
The Modern Era has seen the 2017 Cleveland Indians who set the current American League record of 22 consecutive victories.
Still four games off of the all time record and with their not being any going closer since, who knows how long the record will stand.
There we have it, hopefully you have an answer as to why there is not one definitive best team of all time but that there are many.
The beauty of baseball is its unpredictability and who knows maybe one day a super team will smash the Giants record or build a dynasty greater than the New York Yankees.
- Fenway Park Seating Chart: Best Seats To See the Red Sox - July 17, 2023
- What is RBI in Baseball: A Simple Explanation of The “Ribby” - July 3, 2023
- What is DFA in Baseball? A Term No Player Wants to Hear - July 3, 2023