The Top All Time Major League Clubs by Season Record
|1.||1906 Chicago Cubs||NL||116||36||.763||Lost 1906 World Series|
|2.||1902 Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||103||36||.741||National League Champions|
|3.||1886 Chicago White Stockings||NL||90||34||.726||Lost 1886 World Series|
|4.||1909 Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||110||42||.724||Won 1909 World Series|
|5.||1954 Cleveland Indians||AL||111||43||.721||Lost 1954 World Series|
|6.||2001 Seattle Mariners||AL||116||46||.716||Lost 2001 ALCS|
|7.||1927 New York Yankees||AL||110||44||.714||Won 1927 World Series|
|8.||1886 Detroit Wolverines||NL||87||36||.707||2nd place in National League|
|9.||1897 Boston Beaneaters||NL||93||39||.705||Lost 1897 Temple Cup|
|10t.||1907 Chicago Cubs||NL||107||45||.7039||Won 1907 World Series|
|10t.||Philadelphia Athletics||AL||107||45||.7039||Lost 1931 World Series|
|12t.||1887 St. Louis Browns||AA||95||40||.7037||Lost 1887 World Series|
|12t.||1998 New York Yankees||AL||114||48||.7037||Won 1998 World Series|
|14.||1939 New York Yankees||AL||106||45||.702||Won 1939 World Series|
In a season that finds us Houston baseball fans looking at our 2011 Astros joining the ranks of the worst baseball clubs of all time, it helps to divert some attention to the clubs that have historically done the best in our sport’s history. Even a cursory look at the top fourteen clubs of all time is quite interesting.
The first fact that jumps out at me is the fact that most of these leading record clubs played a long time ago, when there apparently was far less team parity in the long ago player-buried era of the reserve clause. Eleven of the clubs on our list played prior to 1940 – and only two clubs, the 2001 Seattle Mariners and the 1998 New York Yankees, performed during the current era of free agency.
The Chicago Cubs also standout for all of their early success in the game. Three of their clubs make the list at rank positions number 1, 3, and a tie for spot 10. Those 1887 Chicago White Stockings were not the American League White Sox of today. The 19th century NL Pale Hose were simply an earlier identity of the current Cubs organization.The 1908 Cubs didn’t make the list, but they followed the World Series losing ’06 Cubs and ’07 winning Cubs with another victory in the 1908 World Series – and the last World Series title in Chicago Cubs history.
The arguably greatest club in baseball history, the 1927 New York Yankees, ranked only 7th on the all time best season record list, but many say that the 1939 Yankees, ranked 14th on the all time best season record list, were really the best quality ball club ever. both of these clubs waltzed to victory in their respective World Series ventures – nd the other Yankee club shown here from 1998 also won theirs.
That best result at season’s end wasn’t true for most of the best record clubs. Eight of the fourteen best record clubs ended up losing their chance for universal dominance in the years they played by coming up short in either the modern World Series or the championship series that passed for same in the 19th century. The 1902 NL champion Pittsburgh Pirates stand among the winners in a year that offered no further opportunity to play broader championship acclaim. The current World Series system did not start until the following year. The 1903 Pirates would get there, but they would lose that first one to Boston of the American League.
Interesting to note too that the year 1886 produced two of the clubs on our greatest records team list. The 1886 Chicago club and the 1886 Detroit Wolverines, both of the National League, made the list at positions 3 and 8. Altogether, four of the fourteen clubs on our list are from the 19th century.
The club I remember best from this list is the one that played so well into the adolescence of my personal history as a baseball fan. I remember thinking of the 1954 Cleveland Indians as one of the greatest clubs I ever watched (on television). They had that incredible pitching staff of Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia, Art Houtteman, Hal Newhouser, and Bob Feller – plus sluggers like Al Rosen, and Vic Wertz, and great hitters like Bobby Avila, Larry Doby, Al Smith, and Dale Mitchell, plus a brilliant defensive catcher named Jim Hegan and a wise old manager named Al Lopez. And still – they lost the World Series.
The 1954 Cleveland Indians went out there and got swept in the World Series by the New York Giants. Slugger Vic Wertz even kicked in one of baseball’s biggest photographic moments by crushing that long blow to deepest center field in the Polo Grounds that Willie Mays turned into “The Catch.”
I have to give the 1954 Cleveland Indians credit for teaching me one of life’s most valuable lessons. It was so clearly stated that even this buried-in-the-boondocks-of-minor-league-Houston teenage fan could get it – or, at least, some of it – the part that applies to baseball:
Life’s short. Learn quick.
There’s no such animal as a sure thing.
Never take anything for granted.