Baseball’s All-Time Greatest Teams
It isn’t an easy task choosing between them, but statistically these are the four best teams in baseball history. Enjoy this journey through the glorious past of baseball greats.
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Ask baseball fans who the greatest team of all time is and the most common answer would probably be the 1927 Murders Row New York Yankees of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. But was that really the greatest baseball team of all time statistically? Were any other teams as good as or better than the 1927 Yankees? In order to try and answer that question I statistically analyzed all Major League baseball teams from 1901 until today.
What constitutes a great team? Obviously winning is a hallmark of a great team and so is dominating the opposition. So how did I quantify that statistically? I used five markers that teams must meet to be considered great.
- Winning Percentage – Great teams should win the vast majority of their games. I used .700 as the cutoff.
- Run Differential – The difference between how many runs scored minus how many runs given up per game on average. The higher the number the more dominating a team is. I used 1.80 as the cutoff.
- Total Number of Great Players – Great players being defined as Hall of Fame players or Hall of Fame caliber players. Hall of Fame caliber players are players who fall short of the Hall of Fame but had Hall of Fame caliber seasons and failed to make it due mainly to longevity issues. I used a combination of at least 6 players who are Hall of Fame players or Hall of Fame caliber players as the cutoff.
- Led League in Both Runs Scored and Fewest Runs Allowed – Teams should do both to be considered great and dominating. Some might argue that park effects play a great role in determining which teams lead the league in runs scored and runs allowed. That is true but great teams overcome all obstacles which is what makes them the greatest. (The Brooklyn Dodgers played in a bandbox in Ebbets Field yet led the National League in both categories in the 1955 season, while the Los Angeles Dodgers have played in the greatest pitchers park in baseball since Dodger Stadium was opened and they too led the National League in both categories in 1974 and 1978. None of the Dodger teams qualify on all categories though.)
- Winning the World Series (provided there was a World Series) – how can a team be considered great if they did not win the World Series if they played in it? The 1906 Chicago Cubs won 116 games and had a winning percentage of .763, the best ever for regular season since 1901, but lost the World Series to their cross-town rivals the Chicago White Sox.