Bleacher Report's Official Rankings of the 50 Greatest Teams in MLB History

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2014

Bleacher Report's Official Rankings of the 50 Greatest Teams in MLB History

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    Associated Press

    A couple weeks back, I gave my take on the 100 greatest MLB players of all time, and that article sparked some terrific debate. Now, we'll turn our attention to teams as a whole, as what follows are my rankings of the 50 greatest teams in MLB history.

    For the most part, the list is made up of World Series winners, because that is the ultimate goal after all, but there are a handful of teams that came up short of winning it all but still made their way onto the list.

    I've included a look at each team's record, run differential on the season, team ERA and ERA+ and team BA/OBP/SLG and OPS+ to give an idea of where it ranked among its contemporaries. Also included is a look at the team's primary lineup, starting rotation and a few key relievers, as well as a quick breakdown of the season.

    Hopefully this will lead to more great debate, and I encourage you to leave you thoughts in the comment section below.


    Note: All stats and lineup information courtesy of Baseball-ReferenceFuture Hall of Famers indicated in bold on team lineups.

50. 1994 Montreal Expos

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    Associated Press

    Record: 74-40 (No World Series)

    Run Differential: +131

    Team ERA: 3.56 (119 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .278/.343/.435 (101 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    CF Marquis Grissom SP Ken Hill
    1B Cliff FloydSP Pedro Martinez
    LF Moises AlouSP Jeff Fassero
    RF Larry WalkerSP Butch Henry
    C Darrin FletcherSP Kirk Rueter
    SS Wil CorderoRP Gil Heredia
    2B Mike LansingRP Mel Rojas
    3B Sean BerryRP John Wetteland


    Team Overview

    The 1994 Montreal Expos go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in baseball history, as they had the best record in baseball when the strike prematurely ended the season.

    Ken Hill (16-5, 3.32 ERA) and a young Pedro Martinez (11-5, 3.42 ERA) led the way on the mound, while Moises Alou (.989 OPS, 22 HR, 78 RBI) and Larry Walker (.981 OPS, 19 HR, 86 RBI) led the offense, which was third in the NL in runs scored.

49. 1983 Baltimore Orioles

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Record: 98-64 (7-2 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +147

    Team ERA: 3.63 (109 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .269/.340/.421 (111 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    CF Al BumbrySP Scott McGregor
    RF Dan FordSP Mike Boddicker
    SS Cal Ripken Jr.SP Storm Davis
    1B Eddie MurraySP Dennis Martinez
    LF John LowensteinSP Mike Flanagan
    DH Ken SingletonSP/RP Jim Palmer
    2B Rich DauerRP Sammy Stewart
    3B Todd CruzRP Tippy Martinez
    C Rick Dempsey 


    Team Overview

    The 1983 Baltimore Orioles claimed the team's first World Series title since 1970, and they have not won one since, only reaching the postseason three times in the past 30 years. The Orioles dominated in '83 though, going 7-2 in the playoffs and besting the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in the World Series.

    Eddie Murray (.930 OPS, 33 HR, 111 RBI) had one of the better seasons of his Hall of Fame career, and a 22-year-old Cal Ripken (.888 OPS, 27 HR, 102 RBI) took home AL MVP honors in just his second season.

    The rotation lacked star power, but the trio of Scott McGregor (18-7, 3.18 ERA), Mike Boddicker (16-8, 2.77 ERA) and Storm Davis (13-7, 3.59 ERA) did more than enough, and the team ranked second in the AL in ERA.

48. 2008 Philadelphia Phillies

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Record: 92-70 (11-3 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +119

    Team ERA: 3.88 (112 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .255/.332/.438 (99 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    SS Jimmy RollinsSP Cole Hamels
    CF Shane Victorino SP Jamie Moyer
    2B Chase UtleySP Brett Myers
    1B Ryan HowardSP Kyle Kendrick
    LF Pat BurrellSP Joe Blanton
    RF Jayson Werth RP Chad Durbin
    3B Pedro FelizRP Ryan Madson
    C Carlos RuizRP Brad Lidge


    Team Overview

    The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies may have been the better team on paper with their trio of aces, but it was the 2008 version that took home a World Series title.

    The offense was terrific top to bottom, with Ryan Howard (.881 OPS, 48 HR, 146 RBI), Chase Utley (.915 OPS, 33 HR, 104 RBI) and Pat Burrell (.875 OPS, 33 HR, 86 RBI) all having big seasons.

    Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA) and Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA) led the rotation, while Brad Lidge (41 SV, 1.95 ERA, 11.9 K/9) was lights out in the ninth inning. Hamels then took his game to another level in the playoffs, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts while winning NLCS and World Series MVP.

47. 1969 Baltimore Orioles

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    Associated Press

    Record: 109-53 (4-4 in postseason, lost in World Series)

    Run Differential: +262

    Team ERA: 2.83 (126 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .265/.343/.414 (110 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    LF Don BufordSP Jim Palmer
    CF Paul BlairSP Dave McNally
    RF Frank RobinsonSP Mike Cuellar
    1B Boog PowellSP Tom Phoebus
    3B Brooks RobinsonSP Jim Hardin
    2B Davey JohnsonRP Eddie Watt
    C Elrod HendricksRP Dick Hall
    SS Mark Belanger RP Pete Richert


    Team Overview

    The first of three Orioles teams from the same era to crack this list, the 1969 Orioles came up short in the World Series, but they won a team-record 109 games while ranking second in the AL in runs scored and first in team ERA, earning them a spot on this list.

    Frank Robinson (.955 OPS, 32 HR, 100 RBI) and Boog Powell (.942 OPS, 37 HR, 121 RBI) put up big numbers in the middle of the lineup, while AL Cy Young winner Mike Cuellar (23-11, 2.38 ERA) led a rotation that also featured Dave McNally (20-7, 3.22 ERA) and Jim Palmer (16-4, 2.34 ERA).

46. 1931 Philadelphia Athletics

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    Associated Press

    Record: 107-45 (3-4 in postseason, lost in World Series)

    Run Differential: +232

    Team ERA: 3.47 (129 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .287/.355/.435 (102 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    2B Max BishopSP Lefty Grove
    CF Mule HaasSP Rube Walberg
    C Mickey CochraneSP George Earnshaw
    LF Al SimmonsSP Roy Mahaffey
    1B Jimmie FoxxSP Waite Hoyt
    RF Bing MillerSP/RP Hank McDonald
    3B Jimmy Dykes RP Eddie Rommel
    SS Dib Williams 


    Team Overview

    The 1929 Athletics rank as one of the greatest teams of all time, but the 1931 team actually won three more games during the regular season. However, the team dropped the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, so they fall down to the bottom of the list here.

    Al Simmons (1.085 OPS, 22 HR, 128 RBI) hit .390 to win the AL batting title, while Jimmie Foxx (.947 OPS, 30 HR, 120 RBI) and Mickey Cochrane (.976 OPS, 17 HR, 89 RBI) had solid seasons as well.

    Lefty Grove (31-4, 2.06 ERA) won AL MVP honors with the best season of his Hall of Fame career, with Rube Walberg (20-12, 3.74 ERA) and George Earnshaw (21-7, 3.67 ERA) turning in big seasons as well behind him.

45. 1934 St. Louis Cardinals

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    Associated Press

    Record: 95-58 (4-3 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +143

    Team ERA: 3.29 (109 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .260/.333/.389 (108 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    3B Pepper MartinSP Dizzy Dean
    RF Jack Rothrock SP Tex Carleton
    2B Frankie FrischSP Paul Dean
    LF Joe MedwickSP Bill Walker
    1B Ripper CollinsSP Bill Hallahan
    C Spud DavisRP Dazzy Vance
    CF Ernie OrsattiRP Jim Mooney
    SS Leo DurocherRP Jesse Haines


    Team Overview

    The Gas House Gang didn't move into first place for the NL pennant until there were just three games left in the season, and it took them a full seven games to knock off the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, but the scrappy group earns a spot on here nonetheless.

    Player-manager Frankie Frisch was one of five players to hit over .300, with Hall of Famers Joe Medwick (.872 OPS, 18 HR, 106 RBI) and Ripper Collins (1.008 OPS, 35 HR, 128 RBI) leading the way for the league's highest-scoring offense.

    Brothers Dizzy (30-7, 2.66 ERA) and Paul Dean (19-11, 3.43 ERA) fronted a pitching staff that had the second-best ERA in the league, and Dizzy's 30-win season is the last in the National League.

44. 1989 Oakland Athletics

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    Al Behrman/Associated Press

    Record: 99-63 (8-1 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +136

    Team ERA: 3.09 (119 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .261/.331/.381 (104 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    LF Rickey HendersonSP Dave Stewart
    3B Carney Lansford SP Mike Moore
    RF Jose CansecoSP Bob Welch
    DH Dave ParkerSP Storm Davis
    CF Dave HendersonSP Curt Young
    1B Mark McGwireRP Todd Burns
    C Terry SteinbachRP Rick Honeycutt
    2B Tony PhillipsRP Dennis Eckersley
    SS Mike Gallego  


    Team Overview

    In a World Series that was interrupted by the Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1989 Athletics dominated the San Francisco Giants, sweeping them in four games and out-scoring them 32-14.

    The rotation was the strength of the club, as Dave Stewart (21-9, 3.32 ERA), Bob Welch (17-8, 3.00 ERA) and Mike Moore (19-11, 2.61 ERA) all had great seasons, and closer Dennis Eckersley (33 SV, 1.88 ERA) capped off a formidable staff.

    Mark McGwire (.806 OPS, 33 HR, 95 RBI), Jose Canseco (.875 OPS, 17 HR, 57 RBI) and Dave Parker (.741 OPS, 22 HR, 97 RBI) provided the fireworks, while Rickey Henderson (52 SB, 85 G) still made an impact despite starting the season in New York.

43. 1904 New York Giants

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    Associated Press

    Record: 106-47 (No World Series)

    Run Differential: +270

    Team ERA: 2.17 (125 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .262/.328/.344 (104 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff (Starting Lineup Unavailable)

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    C Jack WarnerSP Christy Mathewson
    1B Dan McGann SP Joe McGinnity
    2B Billy GilbertSP Dummy Taylor
    3B Art DevlinSP Hooks Wiltse
    SS Bill Dahlen SP Red Ames
    LF Sam Mertes
    RP Claude Elliott
    CF Roger BresnahanRP Billy Milligan
    RF George Browne 


    Team Overview

    No World Series was played in 1904, or the New York Giants would have been the overwhelming favorites to win it, as they claimed the NL pennant by 13 games over the Chicago Cubs. They would win it all the following season with essentially the same group of guys.

    Christy Mathewson (33-12, 2.03 ERA) and Joe McGinnity (35-8, 1.61 ERA) formed the best one-two punch of the era atop the rotation, while the offense led the NL in batting average and runs scored in the middle of the dead ball era.

42. 1966 Baltimore Orioles

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    WAS/Associated Press

    Record: 97-63 (4-0 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +154

    Team ERA: 3.32 (102 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .258/.324/.409 (111 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    SS Luis AparicioSP Jim Palmer
    LF Curt BlefarySP Dave McNally
    RF Frank RobinsonSP Steve Barber
    3B Brooks RobinsonSP Wally Bunker
    1B Boog PowellSP John Miller
    2B Davey JohnsonSP/RP Eddie Watt
    CF Paul BlairRP Eddie Fisher
    C Andy EtchebarrenRP Stu Miller


    Team Overview

    Behind offseason trade acquisition Frank Robinson, who hit .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI to win the Triple Crown and AL MVP honors, the 1966 Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers and won the first of what would be four AL pennants in six years.

    Boog Powell (.903 OPS, 34 HR, 109 RBI) and Brooks Robinson (.776 OPS, 23 HR, 100 RBI) backed Robinson at the plate, while Dave McNally (13-6, 3.17 ERA) and a 20-year-old Jim Palmer (15-10, 3.46 ERA) fronted the rotation.

41. 2002 Anaheim Angels

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    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Record: 99-63 (11-5 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +207

    Team ERA: 3.69 (120 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .282/.341/.433 (105 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    SS David EcksteinSP Jarrod Washburn
    CF Darin ErstadSP Ramon Ortiz
    RF Tim SalmonSP Kevin Appier
    LF Garrett AndersonSP Aaron Sele
    3B Troy GlausSP John Lackey
    DH Brad FullmerRP Ben Weber
    1B Scott SpiezioRP Francisco Rodriguez
    C Bengie MolinaRP Troy Percival
    2B Adam Kennedy 


    Team Overview

    The 2002 Los Angeles Angels reached the postseason as the AL Wild Card, despite winning 99 games during the regular season, as the Oakland A's won 103 games to claim the AL West. They rolled through the ALDS and ALCS before falling behind 3-2 in the World Series.

    Down 5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6, the team mounted a terrific comeback and wound up taking the series in Game 7 behind a great start from rookie John Lackey.

    Garrett Anderson (.871 OPS, 29 HR, 123 RBI) and Troy Glaus (.805 OPS, 30 HR, 111 RBI) paced the offense, while Jarrod Washburn (18-6, 3.15 ERA) and Ramon Ortiz (15-9, 3.77 ERA) topped the rotation and Troy Percival (40 SV, 1.92 ERA) dominated in the ninth. Rookie reliever Francisco Rodriguez won five games out of the pen in the postseason after making just five regular-season appearances.

40. 1957 Milwaukee Braves

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Record: 95-59 (4-3 in postseason, won World Series)

    Run Differential: +159

    Team ERA: 3.47 (101 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .269/.327/.442 (111 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    2B Red SchoendienstSP Warren Spahn
    SS Johnny LoganSP Lew Burdette
    3B Eddie MathewsSP Bob Buhl
    RF Hank AaronSP Gene Conley
    LF Wes Covington SP Bob Trowbridge
    1B Frank TorreSP/RP Juan Pizarro
    CF Bill BrutonRP Ernie Johnson
    C Del Crandall RP Don McMahon


    Team Overview

    The 1957 Milwaukee Braves captured the franchise's first World Series title since 1914, and it's first since moving from Boston to Milwaukee, besting the New York Yankees in seven games.

    Hall of Fame sluggers Hank Aaron (.978 OPS, 44 HR, 132 RBI) and Eddie Mathews (.927 OPS, 32 HR, 94 RBI) led the way offensively, while the rotation featured a terrific trio in Cy Young winner Warren Spahn (21-11, 2.69 ERA), Lew Burdette (17-9, 3.72 ERA) and Bob Buhl (18-7, 2.74 ERA).

39. 2001 Seattle Mariners

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Record: 116-46 (4-6 in postseason, lost in ALCS)

    Run Differential: +300

    Team ERA: 3.54 (117 ERA+)

    Team BA/OBP/SLG: .288/.360/.445 (117 OPS+)


    Batting Order/Pitching Staff

    Starting LineupPitching Staff
    RF Ichiro SuzukiSP Jamie Moyer
    LF Mark McLemore SP Freddy Garcia
    DH Edgar MartinezSP Aaron Sele
    1B John Olerud SP Paul Abbott
    2B Bret BooneSP John Halama
    CF Mike CameronRP Jeff Nelson
    SS Carlos GuillenRP Arthur Rhodes
    3B David BellRP Kaz Sasaki
    C Dan Wilson 


    Team Overview

    The 2001 Seattle Mariners tied the MLB record for wins in a season with the 1906 Cubs, but they came up short in the postseason, as the Yankees eliminated them in five games in the ALCS.

    Veterans Bret Boone (.950 OPS, 37 HR, 141 RBI) and Edgar Martinez (.966 OPS, 23 HR, 116 RBI) had big seasons, while Ichiro Suzuki (.350 BA, 242 H, 56 SB) took the league by storm as a rookie and won AL MVP honors.

    A 38-year-old Jamie Moyer (20-6, 3.43 ERA) led the pitching staff, while Freddy Garcia (18-8, 3.05 ERA) gave the Mariners a second ace, and closer Kaz Sasaki (45 saves) had a strong year as well.

38. 1912 Boston Red Sox

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