WHAT TEAM STATS DO CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS HAVE IN COMMON?

I decided to analyze what stats teams that won pennants and championships have in common, in order to better understand what specific attributes make championship teams… well championship teams. I’m listing all World Series and pennant winners (when there was no World Series).

R/G = Runs per game.

I’m not putting the team’s actual number but rather their rank when compared to all other teams in the Majors or their league (if there was no World Series). As I’m sure most readers know, the World Series started in 1903, there was no World Series in 1904 and no finish to the season at all in 1994. I’m also not considering any pre-AL “World Series” as being such and skipping 1919. It’s also important to point out that the total number of teams in Major League Baseball varied throughout its history so certain rankings look more or less impressive based on the total amount of teams.

YEAR TEAM R/G OBP HR ERA FLD%

1876 CHC 1 1 2 4 2

1877 BSN 1 6 3 1 3

1878 BSN 5 1 6 4 1

1879 PRO 1 1 2 1 3

1880 CHC 1 1 7 3 1

1881 CHC 1 1 2 2 2

1882 CHC 1 1 5 1 5

1883 BSN 2 2 1 3 3

1884 PRO 5 4 6 1 2

1885 CHC 1 1 1 1 5

1886 CHC 1 1 1 2 5

1887 DTN 1 1 2 4 1

1888 NYG 4 4 3 1 3

1889 NYG 1 1 3 2 6

1890 BRO 1 2 2 3 1

1891 BSN 2 1 2 1 1

1892 BSN 2 4 7 2 6

1893 BSN 1 3 2 5 5

1894 BLN 2 1 12 3 1

1895 BLN 2 2 12 1 1

1896 BLN 1 1 11 2 3

1897 BSN 1 2 1 3 1

1898 BSN 1 3 1 3 2

1899 BRO 1 1 7 1 3

1900 BRO 1 1 7 6 2

1901 CWS 1 2 4 1 5

1901 PIT 2 1 4 1 3

1902 PHA 1 2 3 3 3

1902 PIT 1 1 2 2 2

1903 BOS 4 8 1 1 2

1904 BOS 2 3 4 1 2

1904 NYG 1 1 1 1 1

1905 NYG 1 1 1 4 5

1906 CWS 7 9 16 3 5

1907 CHC 5 3 10 1 1

1908 CHC 3 3 6 4 1

1909 PIT 1 2 2 4 1

1910 PHA 4 8 11 1 1

1911 PHA 1 2 6 6 1

1912 BOS 2 2 7 3 7

1913 PHA 1 1 5 11 2

1914 BSN 3 6 3 7 5

1915 BOS 3 3 14 3 7

1916 BOS 9 7 14 5 1

1917 CWS 1 1 9 1 3

1918 BOS 6 6 6 3 1

1920 CLE 1 1 8 7 2

1921 NYG 4 4 5 3 4

1922 NYG 4 4 6 3 3

1923 NYY 3 3 2 2 1

1924 WSH 7 3 16 3 3

1925 PIT 1 3 7 3 13

1926 STL 3 7 2 5 8

1927 NYY 1 1 1 1 5

1928 NYY 1 1 1 6 13

1929 PHA 2 3 5 1 1

1930 PHA 4 4 5 3 1

1931 PHA 3 4 2 3 1

1932 NYY 1 1 2 7 9

1933 NYG 12 14 3 1 5

1934 STL 5 10 4 2 6

1935 DET 1 1 3 6 1

1936 NYY 1 1 1 6 5

1937 NYY 1 2 1 4 7

1938 NYY 1 2 1 7 6

1939 NYY 1 1 1 2 1

1940 CIN 8 13 10 1 1

1941 NYY 1 4 1 6 6

1942 STL 3 3 10 1 8

1943 NYY 3 2 1 2 6

1944 STL 1 1 1 1 1

1945 DET 8 12 4 3 6

1946 STL 2 5 6 1 1

1947 NYY 2 3 3 1 2

1948 CLE 3 2 2 1 1

1949 NYY 3 2 7 3 5

1950 NYY 2 3 5 7 3

1951 NYY 2 3 3 4 9

1952 NYY 3 4 4 2 4

1953 NYY 2 2 7 1 3

1954 NYG 4 9 1 3 12

1955 BRO 1 1 1 4 4

1956 NYY 1 4 2 4 7

1957 MLN 1 7 1 5 3

1958 NYY 1 3 5 2 8

1959 LAD 7 4 9 7 1

1960 PIT 3 2 12 3 3

1961 NYY 2 7 1 2 2

1962 NYY 3 3 3 6 4

1963 LAD 12 10 15 1 14

1964 STL 4 2 15 10 18

1965 LAD 14 10 20 1 7

1966 BAL 2 3 4 7 2

1967 STL 2 4 9 3 8

1968 DET 1 3 1 5 1

1969 NYM 16 18 17 3 4

1970 BAL 3 2 4 1 2

1971 PIT 1 3 5 10 14

1972 OAK 8 15 3 2 10

1973 OAK 2 8 6 5 9

1974 OAK 6 16 4 1 6

1975 CIN 1 1 9 6 1

1976 CIN 1 1 1 12 1

1977 NYY 5 5 5 5 7

1978 NYY 4 10 9 2 2

1979 PIT 7 16 8 4 9

1980 PHI 10 11 11 3 7

1981 LAD 13 13 8 3 9

1982 STL 14 8 26 3 4

1983 BAL 2 2 1 8 5

1984 DET 1 1 1 6 9

1985 KC 16 22 8 6 6

1986 NYM 7 3 13 1 14

1987 MIN 10 15 7 21 1

1988 LAD 19 23 22 2 23

1989 OAK 4 3 10 2 14

1990 CIN 12 13 14 3 4

1991 MIN 4 1 10 8 1

1992 TOR 2 6 2 20 2

1993 TOR 3 4 9 15 9

1995 ATL 21 24 8 1 5

1996 NYY 10 3 9 2 2

1997 FLA 20 6 22 4 12

1998 NYY 1 1 7 6 4

1999 NYY 5 2 13 6 12

2000 NYY 10 9 10 16 14

2001 ARI 7 8 7 4 1

2002 ANA 4 6 21 4 2

2003 FLA 17 14 19 10 2

2004 BOS 1 1 5 11 21

2005 CWS 13 22 5 3 2

2006 STL 14 14 12 16 10

2007 BOS 4 2 18 2 3

2008 PHI 8 15 2 6 8

2009 NYY 1 1 1 11 10

2010 SF 17 19 10 1 1

2011 STL 5 3 13 12 18

2012 SF 12 8 30 7 25

2013 BOS 1 1 6 14 7

2014 SF 12 17 17 10 11

2015 KC 7 11 24 10 11

2016 CHC 3 2 13 1 20

2017 HOU 1 1 2 11 21

Let’s now look at how championship teams ranked in each category by time period. TP = time period.

TP R/G OBP HR ERA FLD%

19Th Century 1.6 1.9 4.2 2.25 2.75

1900’s 2.3 2.8 4.7 2.5 2.5

1910’s 3.3 4 8.3 4.4 3.1

1920’s 2.7 3 5.3 3.4 5.3

1930’s 3 4 2.3 4.1 4.2

1940’s 3.4 4.7 4.5 2 3.7

1950’s 2.4 4 3.8 3.9 5.4

1960’s 5.9 6.2 8.3 8.8 6.3

1970’s 3.8 7.7 5.4 4.8 5.1

1980’s 9.6 10.1 10.7 5.5 9.2

1990’s 8.7 6.7 10.4 7.2 5.7

2000’s 7.9 9.2 10 8.3 7.3

2010’s 7.25 7.9 14.4 9.5 14.3

Based on this data alone, it appears that the quality of championship teams has fallen drastically since the game’s beginnings, however that’s not necessarily true. Upon doing my initial research, I noticed that teams that won championships were typically elite in one or two categories as in were either elite run scoring teams or elite pitching/defensive teams but not both as much. Let’s see if my suspicion was correct.

T/O = Top 3 in an offensive category or categories (R/G, HR, OBP) but not in any defensive category.

T/D = Top 3 in a defensive category or categories (ERA, FLD%) but not in any offensive category.

B = Top 3 in both offensive and defensive categories.

N = Not in the top 5 in any category.

TP T/O T/D B N

19’Th Century 1 2 21 0

1900’s 1 1 11 0

1910’s 0 3 5 1

1920’s 2 2 6 0

1930’s 4 3 3 0

1940’s 2 2 6 0

1950’s 4 1 5 0

1960’s 2 3 5 0

1970’s 2 2 4 2

1980’s 2 5 2 1

1990’s 3 3 2 1

2000’s 3 4 1 2

2010’s 3 1 1 3

The 1914 Boston Braves, 1977 New York Yankees, 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1985 Kansas City Royals, 1997 Florida Marlins 2000 New York Yankees, 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, 2012 San Francisco Giants, 2014 San Francisco Giants and the 2015 Kansas City Royals weren’t elite in any category. I believe that in those cases they were either different teams after the trading deadline and it wasn’t enough time for that to be reflected in the stats, or experienced teams who recently won the World Series and may have only been playing for the playoffs.

In conclusion, it seems that championship teams tend to be in the top 3 among all teams in either both hitting and pitching categories or one of the two. This also disproves the idea that pitching and defense are more important than good hitting or that there’s one sure way for a team to win a championship.

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter @NeilfromNYC and in the comments.

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