HOW THEY WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP

I decided to analyze every team that won the World Series and see what led to them winning the championship that season.

1903 BOSTON RED SOX

Easily won the pennant, had the best record in the Majors and dominated to the championship.

1905 NEW YORK GIANTS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1906 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

An example of luck playing a role. They barely won the pennant and were lucky to have their hitters get hot in two crucial World Series games.

1907 CHICAGO CUBS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1908 CHICAGO CUBS

Got lucky in winning the pennant that should’ve went to the New York Giants, won the title as the NL was stronger.

1909 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

They had the best record in the Majors and were slightly better than Detroit, who they beat in the World Series.

1910 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

They easily won the pennant and were better than the Chicago Cubs, who they beat in the World Series.

1911 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

They finished with the best record in the Majors and were slightly better than the New York Giants, who they beat in the World Series.

1912 BOSTON RED SOX

Finished with the best record in the Majors and beat the worse New York Giants in the World Series.

1913 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

Experience led to them beating the almost as good New York Giants in the World Series.

1914 BOSTON BRAVES

They were the best team in the Majors in the second half of the season, and benefited from the Philadelphia Athletics likely throwing the World Series.

1915 BOSTON RED SOX

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1916 BOSTON RED SOX

Experience and luck in close World Series games against an almost as good Brooklyn Dodgers, led them to a second straight championship.

1917 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

They finished with the best record in the Majors and the possibly just as good New York Giants likely threw the World Series.

1918 BOSTON RED SOX

Experience and luck in close World Series games was key in them winning the championship.

1919 CINCINNATI REDS

The Chicago White Sox threw the World Series.

1920 CLEVELAND INDIANS

They had the best record and hitting in the Majors and while the Brooklyn Dodgers lead the World Series at one point, their superior pitching couldn’t stop Cleveland’s hitting.

1921 NEW YORK GIANTS

Babe Ruth‘s injury kept the better New York Yankees from beating them in the World Series.

1922 NEW YORK GIANTS

Babe Ruth’s injury once again kept the better New York Yankees from beating them in the World Series.

1923 NEW YORK YANKEES

They finished with the best record in the Majors and beat the worse New York Giants in the World Series.

1924 WASHINGTON SENATORS

They won a close 7 game World Series against the New York Giants where luck was the deciding factor between two evenly matched teams.

1925 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

They won a close 7 game World Series against the evenly matched Washington Senators. Luck was the deciding factor.

1926 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They beat the New York Yankees in a 7 game World Series between evenly matched teams that was decided by luck. It ended on Babe Ruth of all people being caught stealing a base.

1927 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1928 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1929 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1930 PHILADELPHIA ATHLETICS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1931 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Luck helped them win a 7 game World Series against the evenly matched Philadelphia Athletics.

1932 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1933 NEW YORK GIANTS

Despite their record, they were the best team in the Majors.

1934 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They won a close 7 game World Series against the Detroit Tigers. They were evenly matched teams.

1935 DETROIT TIGERS

Detroit won 3 games decided by 1 fun in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Hard to say if it was luck or skill in this case.

1936 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1937 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1938 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1939 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1940 CINCINNATI REDS

They had the best record in the Majors and it shouldn’t have taken 7 games to beat Detroit in the World Series. That said, Detroit had the best hitting in the Majors and Cincinnati had the best pitching. It came down to a close game 7 where Cincinnati kept Detroit from scoring more than 1 run.

1941 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and were better than the Brooklyn Dodgers, who they beat in the World Series.

1942 ST, LOUIS CARDINALS

They were evenly matched with their World Series opponents the New York Yankees. New York’s pitching gave out and had double their ERA during the season. It’s possible that St. Louis would’ve won even if New York pitched as they did during the season.

1943 NEW YORK YANKEES

Despite the disparity in records between them and their World Series opponents the St. Louis Cardinals, the teams were evenly matched and New York had winning experience.

1944 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1945 DETROIT TIGERS

They won a close 7 game World Series against the evenly matched Chicago Cubs. Chicago’s ERA was almost double what it was during the regular season, so that caused their loss.

1946 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Their World Series opponents the Boston Red Sox were the better team, but Ted Williams played injured and that turned it into a 7 game series where more bad luck cost Boston the championship.

1947 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and should’ve won the World Series against the overachieving Brooklyn Dodgers in less games.

1948 CLEVELAND INDIANS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1949 NEW YORK YANKEES

On paper they looked similar to their World Series opponents the Brooklyn Dodgers, they even had identical records, but New York had better pitching, which proved to be the difference maker.

1950 NEW YORK YANKEES

It was close but ultimately they were the best team in the Majors and finished with the best record.

1951 NEW YORK YANKEES

It was close, but they were the best team in the Majors and finished with the best record.

1952 NEW YORK YANKEES

It was close between the New York Yankees and their World Series opponents the Brooklyn Dodgers, but New York had the slightly better team.

1953 NEW YORK YANKEES

They were the best team in the Majors despite Brooklyn having a better record.

1954 NEW YORK GIANTS

Their World Series opponents the Cleveland Indians were better, but completely collapsed during the World Series. Their team ERA was double what it was during the season and their hitters slumped. Looking at team stats, the New York Giants were only slightly worse, so bad luck due to a slump at the worst time cost Cleveland the championship.

1955 BROOKLYN DODGERS

They were very evenly matched with their World Series opponents the New York Yankees, it came down to Mickey Mantle‘s injury, New York’s pitching doing significantly worse than during the season, and Johnny Podres improbably pitching a perfect game in game 7 to tip the scale in a 7 game World Series.

1956 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and while the Brooklyn Dodgers were close, New York were the best team.

1957 MILWAUKEE BRAVES

They were evenly matched with the New York Yankees in the World Series and either team could’ve won the 7 game series.

1958 NEW YORK YANKEES

A rematch from the previous year in the World Series. Once again either team could’ve won and Milwaukee even had a 3-1 lead at one point. I think that it’s fitting that they split the World Series these two years.

1959 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

A season full of luck for them and their World Series opponents the Chicago White Sox. At least they did overall look like the best team roster-wise.

1960 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Bizarre World Series as the New York Yankees outscored them and dominated the games that they won, but every game that Pittsburgh won was close. Either team could’ve won.

1961 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1962 NEW YORK YANKEES

Despite the records, New York and their World Series opponents the San Francisco Giants were evenly matched. New York was luckier.

1963 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Their World Series opponents the New York Yankees had better hitting, but LA had better pitching and completely shut down New York in the World Series.

1964 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Another World Series that came down to luck. Their opponents the New York Yankees were the better team, but luck played a big part in them losing in 7 games.

1965 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Another close 7 game World Series where luck had to play a major role. LA had superior pitching, but their opponents the Minnesota Twins had better hitting. LA’s pitching shut down Minnesota’s hitting for most of the World Series, but just barely held on to beat them.

1966 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Baltimore has better hitting, but their World Series opponents the Los Angeles Dodgers had better pitching. LA seemed a bit exhausted though and their ace Sandy Koufax was about to retire due to a severe injury that he was pitching through.

1967 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

St. Louis finished the season with the best record in the Majors, but their World Series opponents the Boston Red Sox put up a fight, despite losing Tony Conigliaro to injury before the World Series. St. Louis has better pitching however.

1968 DETROIT TIGERS

Detroit had the best record in the Majors and were the best team, but it took them 7 games to beat St. Louis in the World Series.

1969 NEW YORK METS

Thir bats got really hot at the right time and combined with their strong pitching got them the pennant, then their pitching shut down Baltimore in the World Series.

1970 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1971 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

They were the best in the NL, but luck helped them win a close 7 game World Series against Baltimore.

1972 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

They were the best team in the AL, but were lucky in an evenly matched World Series against Cincinnati, where 6 of the 7 games were decided by 1 run.

1973 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

They were the best team in the Majors, though they didn’t finish with the best record and needed 7 games to beat the worse New York Mets in the World Series.

1974 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

They were the best team in the AL, but were evenly matched with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. 4 of the 5 games were decided by a single run as Oakland’s experience and luck decided this series.

1975 CINCINNATI REDS

They were the best team in the Majors, but needed 7 games to beat the red hot Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

1976 CINCINNATI REDS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1977 NEW YORK YANKEES

They were the best team in the AL. It was close between them and their World Series opponents the Los Angeles Dodgers, but New York was better.

1978 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and were the best team overall.

1979 PITTSBURGH PIRATES

They were the best team in the NL, but were evenly matched with Baltimore in the World Series. The World Series went 7 games as Pittsburgh’s bats got red hot while Baltimore’s pitching imploded.

1980 PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

They were the best team in the NL and were better than the Kansas City Royals, who they beat in the World Series.

1981 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

They were the best team in the NL, but were lucky to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. New York’s pitching imploded and LA won 3 games by a single run.

1982 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They were the best team in the NL. It’s not clear if they were a better team than the Milwaukee Brewers (who they beat in the World Series) as it was close between the two teams. St. Louis had better pitching, but Milwaukee had better hitting, the pitching won out the 7 game World Series.

1983 BALTIMORE ORIOLES

They were the best team in the Majors.

1984 DETROIT TIGERS

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

1985 KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Bad managing? Bobby Cox had a habit of having his heavily favored teams losing in the playoffs. It’s likely that this is why his Toronto Blue Jays blew a 3-1 lead against Kansas City in the ALCS. Kansas City than remarkably bounced back from another 3-1 deficit in the World Series against St. Louis, to win another series 4-3. Their pitching was outstanding and their hitting better than during the season as well. They also benefited from an umpire’s bad call and a foul ball that should’ve been an out in game 6. In short, St. Louis should’ve won the World Series, as they were the best team in the Majors.

1986 NEW YORK METS

They were the best team in the Majors, but their World Series opponents the Boston Red Sox came within an error by Bill Buckner of winning the World Series. The reason being the total collapse of cocaine taking New York Mets ace Dwight Gooden, who went 17-6 2.86 during the season, but 0-2 8.00 during the World Series.

1987 MINNESOTA TWINS

Arguably the worst championship team of all time. Their Pythagorean record was below .500 and their real one was very unimpressive. Detroit’s pitching imploded in the ALCS and Minnesota won the series 4-1. Strangely, they were cold to end the season. They cheated to win the World Series against St. Louis, that went 7 games.

1988 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

They miraculously beat the seemingly better New York Mets in the NLCS in 7 games. New York Mets starter David Cone blew game 2 for his team by ghostwriting a column bashing LA’s closer Jay Howell and the negative publicity along with LA’s anger psychologically ruined him in that game. Add a close extra inning win with their ace Orel Hershiser coming in as a reliever, and LA managed to ultimately luck their way into a pennant. In the World Series, LA’s pitching shut down Oakland, whose bats went on a cold streak at the worst possible time.

1989 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

They had the best record in the Majors that season and dominated all the way to a championship.

1990 CINCINNATI REDS

Were they even the best team in the NL? They won 4 games that were decided by one run in the 6 game NLCS and their pitching was unusually good, shutting down Pittsburgh’s bats. They completely outplayed Oakland in the World Series, with their pitching once again shutting down the opposing team’s hitting. They were clearly the best team in the Majors during the playoffs, but whether they were really the best that season is debatable.

1991 MINNESOTA TWINS

They were the best team in the AL, but not in the Majors, as luck (5 games decided by one run or less in the 7 game World Series) and the previously mentioned cheating won them the World Series.

1992 TORONTO BLUE JAYS

They were the best team in the AL, but needed to win 4 games decided by one run in the 6 game World Series. Bobby Cox was now Atlanta’s manager and once again mismanaged his team’s crucial playoff series.

1993 TORONTO BLUE JAYS

They were evenly matched with the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS, but their experience pulled them through. They were better than the Philadelphia Phillies, who they beat in the World Series.

1995 ATLANTA BRAVES

They were the best team in the Majors and dominated on the way to a championship.

1996 NEW YORK YANKEES

They were the best team in the AL, but probably not as good as their World Series opponents the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta had a 2-0 lead, winning both games on the road, but a series of 4 games ended by a run and Bobby Cox’s managing cost Atlanta the championship.

1997 FLORIDA MARLINS

Atlanta should’ve beat them in the NLCS, but Bobby Cox and arguably the worst umpiring in history cost them the series. Florida were the best team in the Majors otherwise.

1998 NEW YORK YANKEES

Finished with the best record in the Majors and dominated to the championship.

1999 NEW YORK YANKEES

They were the best team in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

2000 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had experience as the defending 2 time World Champions going in, so their record was misleading. Oakland’s manager Art Howe strangely started Gil Heredia instead of any of their best starters in the decisive game of the ALDS and New York was already evenly matched with them otherwise. They were ultimately the best team in the Majors.

2001 ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

They were the best team in the NL and probably in the Majors. The 7 game World Series against the New York Yankees was bizarre, as they dominated New York in 3 games that they won, lost 3 by a single run and won game 7 by a single run as New York’s closer Mariano Rivera pitches injured.

2002 ANAHEIM ANGELS

According to Pythagorean W-L records, they were the best team in the Majors. They had elite defense and pitching and went on a hitting hot streak in the playoffs. In the 7 game World Series against San Francisco, 4 games were decided by a single run, and San Francisco had a 5-0 lead in game 6 going into the 7’th inning, while leading the series 3-2. Anaheim had some key players have career seasons and their elite pitching and defense combined with a hitting hot streak won them the championship.

2003 FLORIDA MARLINS

Despite their record, they were better than San Francisco in the NLDS and beat them accordingly. Atlanta May have had the best team in the NL, but the pitching wasn’t that good and Bobby Cox’s managing hurt them as well. Florida overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, but both real and Pythagorean record-wise were the better team.

In the World Series however, they faced a better team in the New York Yankees. New York tinkered with the lineup too much (trying to move Alfonso Soriano from 2B to CF for the first time during the actual series for example). They also had bad luck play a role: New York had a 2-1 lead in the series, but just barely lost the next game by a run in the 12’th inning, and then lost the next game because their starter David Wells had to be replaced by long reliever Jose Contreras in the first inning. Contreras promptly gave up 4 runs in 3 innings and took the loss. Florida then suddenly led the series 3-2

Florida starter Josh Beckett pitched a gem to win game 6 and the series.

2004 BOSTON RED SOX

They were the best team in the Majors despite their record, which was affected by injuries and trades. You can make the argument that the New York Yankees (their ALCS opponents) were as good as them, as they took a 3-0 lead in that series, but they weren’t expected to dominate like this, and Boston looked like the better team going into the series and then won 4 in a row. In fact other than the ALCS, Boston swept through the playoffs.

2005 CHICAGO WHITE SOX

They had the best record in the AL and dominated all the way to a championship. St. Louis had a better record, but Chicago were better.

2006 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They won the pennant in 2004 and were 2 wins from another one in 2005, so their record (due to a plague of injuries) was highly misleading.

2007 BOSTON RED SOX

They were tied for the best record in the Majors with Cleveland (who they beat in the ALCS), but Pythagorean record-wise were the best team in the Majors by a wide margin.

2008 PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Were they the best in the Majors that season? That’s debatable, but they had the best hitting and were better than every team that they eliminated in the playoffs.

2009 NEW YORK YANKEES

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

2010 SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

They were the best team in the Majors.

2011 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

They were the best team in the Majors in the second half of the season. Their NLDS opponents the Philadelphia Phillies were the best team overall, but St. Louis were hotter and combined with luck (they won 2 games decided by a run in the series) and Philadelphia’s bats going cold, eliminates them 3-2. They were actually evenly matched with the Texas Rangers in the World Series, but luck helped them avoid getting eliminated when they were a strike away from that TWICE. They eventually won the World Series in 7 games.

2012 SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Their NLDS opponents the Cincinnati Reds were probably the best team in the NL, but they lost ace Johnny Cueto for the rest of the series in game 1 and was out for the rest of the season. 2B Brandon Phillips was caught stealing in game 3 during what was becoming a big inning for Cincinnati, and ultimately San Francisco won it by a run in the 10’th inning. Cincinnati’s manager Dusty Baker mismanaged the team the rest of the series: strangely giving starter Mike Leake the start in game 4 and not pulling starter Mat Latos from facing San Francisco’s C Buster Posey, who was typically good against him. To top it all off, he got Jay Bruce caught stealing to end a big rally in game 5. Cincinnati led the series 2-0 with the next 3 games at home at one point. San Francisco were the best team among the teams remaining in the LCS.

2013 BOSTON RED SOX

They were tied for the best record in the Majors with St. Louis, and were the best team overall.

2014 SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

The value of experience in full effect? Their pitching shut down the Washington Nationals 3-1 in the NLDS, with them winning each of the 3 games that they won by a run. They were the best of the remaining teams in the playoffs the rest of the way.

2015 KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Toronto looked like the best team in the AL, but they easily beat them in the ALCS. It seems experience played a big part in this, as Kansas City’s hitting was red hot, while Toronto’s pitching fell apart. They were the two best teams in the Majors, so Kansas City didn’t have much trouble beating the New York Mets in the World Series.

2016 CHICAGO CUBS

They had the best record in the Majors and should’ve dominated all the way to the championship, but needed the whole 7 games to beat Cleveland in the World Series.

2017 HOUSTON ASTROS

They were the best team in the AL but not the Majors, luckily for them the Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts was secretly playing for Houston.

2018 BOSTON RED SOX

They had the best record in the Majors and dominated all the way to the championship.

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