Five Best World Series Teams of All-Time

This selection is based on the best teams in the World Series, not the greatest teams of all time.

#1 – 1928 New York Yankees

Lou Gehrig had perhaps the best four-game series of any hitter in Fall Classic history, batting .545 and blasting four homers (one in Game Two, two in Game Three, and another in Game Four) and driving in nine runs. That runner he kept driving in was Babe Ruth, who got on base eleven times, batting .625 with 10 hits, three homers, four RBI, nine runs scored, and six extra-base hits. Gehrig slugged 1.728 and Ruth weighed in at 1.375! In addition, the pitching staff (led by Waite Hoyt) posted a 2.00 ERA and allowed just 27 hits.

Like the ’76 Reds, the ’28 Yanks were repeat champions, and considering their dominating performance against the Cardinals, they rank as the greatest World Series team of all time.

#2 – 1976 Cincinnati Reds

The first team on this list that were the defending champions, the Reds were prohibitive favorites against the Yankees in the Series of ’76. “The Big Red Machine” won 102 games and swept Philadelphia in the playoffs (coming from behind in each victory).

In the World Series, the Reds destroyed Yankee pitching to the tune of a .313 batting average and a .522 slugging percentage. They dominated in every area: hitting four homers, 10 doubles, three triples, stealing seven bases, and posting a 2.00 team ERA. The Cincinnati bullpen pitched nine innings of two-hit shutout ball for the Series. Catcher Johnny Bench had a monster performance in the sweep, hitting .533 with a 1.133 slugging average. Davey Concepcion (.357), George Foster (.429), Dan Driessen (.357), Cesar Geronimo (.308), Joe Morgan (.333), and Tony Perez (.313) all enjoyed good four-game series as well. With their win, the Reds solidified themselves as the greatest team of their era, and rank second among all World Series teams on my list.

#3 – 1998 New York Yankees

Having won 114 games during the regular season, the Yankees were poised to join the greatest teams of all-time as long as they could navigate the three-levels of the post-season. In the Division Series, they allowed Texas to score just one run, sweeping in three games. The Indians proved a little more challenging in the LCS, winning games two and three. But New York pitchers (3.21 ERA) stymied the Tribe attack and advanced to the World Series against the underdog San Diego Padres.

In a four-game massacre, the Yankees trailed for just two innings, winning 9-6, 9-3, 5-4, and 3-0. The Pads batted just .239 while the Bombers hit .309 with 26 runs in the four games. The first three batters in the Yankee order: Chuck Knoblauch (.375), Derek Jeter (.353), and Tino Martinez (.385), spearheaded the attack. The same essential team won titles the next two years, at one point winning 13 straight World Series games.

#4 – 1907 Chicago Cubs

The greatest team of their era, and one of the best ever, the Cubs won 116 games in 1906 (an ML record tied by Seattle in 2001), but lost the Series to the crosstown Sox. In ’07 they returned to the post-season and outclassed the young Detroit Tigers. Their dominating pitching staff, led by Three-Finger Brown and Orval Overall, held batting champ Ty Cobb to a .200 (4-for-20) batting average. The Cubs scored 19 runs in the five game sweep (with one tie game called due to darkness), while allowing just six Tiger runners to score.

The Cubs offense was led by Harry Steinfeldt (.471) and Johnny Evers (.350). Brown, Overall, Ed Reulbach, and Jack Pfiester each pitched complete games as the Cubs never once called on a reliever.

#5 – 1984 Detroit Tigers

This team had no peer in baseball for the ’84 season, bolting like a colt from the gate to win 35 of 40 games. They held off the pesky Blue Jays in the regular season and faced Kansas City in the playoffs. They scored two runs in the first inning of Game One and coasted behind Jack Morris. In Game Two they plated two more runs in the opening inning and left Kansas City with a 2-0 lead. Back in Detroit for Game Three they won a tight game as Milt Wilcox out-dueled Charlie Leibrandt 1-0, the winning tally scoring on a force out.

In the World Series, the Tigers handled San Diego rather easily, scoring in the first inning in four of the five games. Their only loss was in Game Two, when they squandered a 3-1 lead. Tiger batters, led by MVP Alan TrammellKirk GibsonLance ParrishChet LemonLou Whitaker, and Larry Herndon, battered Padre starting pitchers for a 13.98 ERA in 10 1/3 innings, collecting 25 hits and 16 earned runs!

Manager Sparky Anderson, the first skipper to win 100 games in both leagues, handled his talented team with skill. “When we got off to a 35-5 start all the experts said that we were already the world champions. For the rest of the season, the team felt pressured to prove them right.”

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