March Madness Bracket of the Greatest Baseball Teams of All Time

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

March Madness Bracket of the Greatest Baseball Teams of All Time

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    Yesterday was Selection Sunday for the annual college basketball tournament we all know and love known as March Madness, and diehard basketball fans and casual observers alike will be pouring over their brackets for the next month.

    In honor of the tournament kicking off, I've decided to take a look at what a bracket-style tournament of some of the greatest teams in baseball history would look like.

    I began by selecting what I felt were the 32 best teams in the history of baseball and ranked them from No. 1 to No. 32. I then assigned the teams seeds from one to eight and broke them into four regions, with my No. 1 overall team playing my No. 32 overall team, and so on.

    For the sake of pitching matchups, there will be a day off between each round. That way pitching depth at least comes into play a bit and it's not just a matter of who has the better No. 1 starter.

    So here is a look at how I feel a March Madness bracket of the 32 best teams in baseball history would play out.

    I look forward to hearing your takes on my selections.

Region One

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    Region 1 Teams

    No. 1 Seed: 1927 New York Yankees

    No. 2 Seed: 1907 Chicago Cubs

    No. 3 Seed: 1984 Detroit Tigers

    No. 4 Seed: 2004 Boston Red Sox

    No. 5 Seed: 1905 New York Giants

    No. 6 Seed: 1969 New York Mets

    No. 7 Seed: 2001 Seattle Mariners 

    No. 8 Seed: 1994 Montreal Expos

First Round: (1) 1927 New York Yankees vs. (8) 1994 Montreal Expos

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    (1) 1927 New York Yankees (110-44)

    With their heralded "Murderers' Row" led by legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the 1927 Yankees had one of the most fearsome lineups in baseball history. The two stars combined for 107 home runs and 339 RBI.

    Meanwhile, future Hall of Famers Waite Hoyt (22-7, 2.63 ERA) and Herb Pennock (19-8, 3.00 ERA) led a pitching staff that paced the league with a combined 3.20 ERA.

    (8) 1994 Montreal Expos (74-40)

    The 1994 Expos go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in baseball history, as they were six games up on the Braves in the NL East and had the best record in baseball when a strike ended the season prematurely.

    Ken Hill (16-5, 3.32 ERA) and a young Pedro Martinez (11-5, 3.42 ERA) led an unheralded pitching staff that posted a league-best 3.56 ERA.

    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.

    Winner: 1927 Yankees

    Hill is lit up by the Yankees lineup, and while Pedro keeps things from getting out of hand in relief, the damage is done.

First Round: (2) 1907 Chicago Cubs vs. (7) 2001 Seattle Mariners

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    (2) 1907 Chicago Cubs (107-45)

    In the first of what would be back-to-back titles for the Cubs, the 1907 Cubs were led by one of the greatest pitching staffs in baseball history.

    Orval Overall (23-7, 1.68 ERA), Mordecai Brown (20-6, 1.39 ERA), Carl Lundgren (18-7, 1.17 ERA), Jack Pfiester (14-9, 1.15 ERA) and Ed Reulbach (17-4, 1.69 ERA) made up the starting rotation for a staff that combined for an MLB-record 1.73 ERA (144 ERA+).

    The offense had the Hall of Fame double-play combination of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance and scored more than enough runs to back its phenomenal staff.

    (7) 2001 Seattle Mariners (116-46)

    The 2001 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 knocked them out in five games during the ALCS.

    The offense was led by the breakout season of Bret Boone (.331 BA, 37 HR, 141 RBI) as well as veterans John Olerud, Mike Cameron and Edgar Martinez. The real story, though, was Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki, who hit .350 to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award and the AL MVP.

    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.

    Winner: 1907 Cubs

    The Mariners veteran lineup isn't intimidated by Cubs starter Overall, but it doesn't matter, as it isn't able to score anyway. 

First Round: (3) 1984 Detroit Tigers vs. (6) 1969 New York Mets

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    (3) 1984 Detroit Tigers (104-58)

    Led by veterans Lance Parrish (33 HR, 98 RBI) and Kirk Gibson (27 HR, 29 SB) and the middle-infield duo of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, the Tigers' veteran offense led the AL in scoring.

    On the pitching side of things, Jack Morris (19-11, 3.60 ERA) led the starting rotation, while Dan Petry (18-8, 3.24 ERA) enjoyed the best season of his career.

    In the bullpen, closer Willie Hernandez (9-3, 1.92 ERA, 32 Saves) took home AL Cy Young and AL MVP honors as he appeared in a league-high 80 games.

    (6) 1969 New York Mets (100-62)

    After going 73-89 the previous season, the "Miracle Mets" did a complete 180, as they swept the Braves in the NLCS and knocked off the Orioles in five games in the World Series.

    A 24-year-old Tom Seaver (25-7, 2.21 ERA) took home his first career Cy Young award atop the staff, while Jerry Koosman (17-9, 2.28 ERA) was solid as well.

    The offense lacked a bona fide star, but Cleon Jones (.340 BA, .904 OPS) and Tommie Agee (26 HR, 12 SB) were solid. In the end, though, this was a team of destiny and everything seemed to break right for them.

    Winner: 1984 Tigers

    Hard to bet against the "Miracle Mets," as there was clearly something special going on in New York that year, but who better to take the ball for the Tigers in such a big game than Jack Morris? He throws a complete game shutout and further pads his Hall of Fame resume as a big-game pitcher.

First Round: (4) 2004 Boston Red Sox vs. (5) 1905 New York Giants

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    (4) 2004 Boston Red Sox (98-64)

    The team that broke the Curse of the Bambino and ended an 85-year title drought in Boston earns its spot in the field having completed the most impressive comeback in baseball history.

    The one-two punch of Manny Ramirez (1.009 OPS, 43 HR, 130 RBI) and David Ortiz (.983 OPS, 41 HR, 139 RBI) led the highest-scoring offense in the AL.

    The staff was led by Pedro Martinez (16-9, 3.90 ERA), who was on the other side of his prime but still among the game's best arms. Veteran Curt Schilling (21-6, 3.26 ERA) gave the team a second ace as well.

    (5) 1905 New York Giants (105-48)

    On the back of ace Christy Mathewson (31-9, 1.28 ERA) and the top offense in the league during the Dead Ball Era, the Giants topped the A's in the World Series in five games.

    Mathewson pitched three of those five World Series games, throwing three shutouts and giving up a total of 13 hits over 27 innings while striking out 18 and walking just one.

    Despite being the highest-scoring offense, the team hit just .273 and scored just 778 runs, but that was tops in an era dominated by pitching.

    Winner: 2004 Red Sox

    David Ortiz homers off of Christy Mathewson in the ninth to give the Red Sox a 1-0 victory.

Second Round: (1) 1927 New York Yankees vs. (4) 2004 Boston Red Sox

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    (1) 1927 New York Yankees  vs. (4) 2004 Boston Red Sox

    Can you imagine what these tickets would be going for on StubHub? 

    Each team had a deep pitching staff with a pair of aces, so they'd both be in good position heading into the second round from that standpoint.

    The matchup is an interesting one for a number of reasons, and these are arguably the most beloved teams in the history of these two bitter rivals.

    In the end, I'll take the Yankees and their legendary lineup here, but it's tough to bet against the clutch hitting of David Ortiz and what would likely be another gutsy outing from Curt Schilling here in Round 2.

    Winner: 1927 Yankees

    I could see this one being an offensive shootout, and while the 2004 Red Sox had a solid lineup, I'd never pick against the 1927 Yankees in an offensive showdown.

Second Round: (2) 1907 Chicago Cubs vs. (3) 1984 Detroit Tigers

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    (2) 1907 Chicago Cubs vs. (3) 1984 Detroit Tigers

    The depth of the 1907 Cubs pitching staff is tough to overcome, and having an MVP closer in Willie Hernandez doesn't mean much for the 1984 Tigers if they can't scratch across a lead for him to protect.

    Guys like Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell were solid offensive players, but none rank as a Hall of Fame talent, and one way or another, they'd be going up against a Hall of Fame pitcher in the prime of his career.

    It'd likely be a low-scoring game, but I'll take the Cubs and their record-setting stable of pitchers in this one.

    Winner: 1907 Cubs

    Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown takes the ball for the Cubs in Game 2, throwing a gem at the overmatched Tigers and advancing the Cubs to the Elite Eight.

Region Two

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    Region 2 Teams

    No. 1 Seed: 1998 New York Yankees

    No. 2 Seed: 1939 New York Yankees

    No. 3 Seed: 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates

    No. 4 Seed: 1986 New York Mets

    No. 5 Seed: 1968 Detroit Tigers

    No. 6 Seed: 1995 Atlanta Braves

    No. 7 Seed: 1967 St. Louis Cardinals

    No. 8 Seed: 2005 Chicago White Sox

First Round: (1) 1998 New York Yankees vs. (8) 2005 Chicago White Sox

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    (1) 1998 New York Yankees (114-48)

    The winningest team in the storied history of the Yankees franchise, the 1998 squad rolled through the regular season and on into the postseason, where they went 11-2 and swept the Padres in the World Series.

    The team had a dynamic offense, as seven of their nine everyday players tallied double-digit home runs and steals. Bernie Williams paced the AL with a .339 mark, and Tino Martinez had team-highs of 28 home runs and 123 RBI.

    David Cone (20-7, 3.55 ERA) and David Wells (18-4, 3.49 ERA) led the way on the mound, while Mariano Rivera and Ramiro Mendoza formed a one-two punch at the back end of the staff.

    (8) 2005 Chicago White Sox (99-63)

    On the strength of their starting pitching, the White Sox rolled through the the postseason going 11-1 and sweeping the Astros in the World Series.

    Paul Konerko led an offense that ranked in the middle of the pack, hitting 40 home runs and driving in 100, but the real story was the pitching.

    Mark Buehrle (16-8, 3.12 ERA), Freddy Garcia (14-8, 3.87 ERA), Jon Garland (18-10, 3.50 ERA) and Jose Contreras (15-7, 3.61 ERA) gave the team four workhorse arms and they carried the team through the postseason.

    Winner: 1998 Yankees

    Another one that could wind up being a low-scoring affair, as neither team really had a superstar offensive player on their roster. The 1998 Yankees were rolling like few other teams have entering October, though, and Cone matches Buehrle pitch for pitch before the Yankees finally break through against the White Sox bullpen and slam the door with their relief duo.

First Round: (2) 1939 New York Yankees vs. (7) 1967 St. Louis Cardinals

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    (2) 1939 New York Yankees (106-45)

    Led by MVP Joe DiMaggio (.381 BA, 30 HR, 126 RBI) and fellow future Hall of Famers Red Ruffing, Bill Dickey, Joe Gordon and Lefty Gomez, the 1939 Yankees were chock full of star power.

    As a result, they put up an incredible plus-411 run differential on the season, scoring 967 runs and allowing just 556 on the mound.

    It wasn't all good, as the season marked the last of Lou Gehrig's career and he played just eight games, but the team rallied around that for a terrific season that ended in a World Series sweep of the Reds.

    (7) 1967 St. Louis Cardinals (101-60)

    With Lou Brock and Orlando Cepeda leading the offense, and Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton pacing the rotation, the Cardinals had plenty of star power of their own.

    Cepeda (.923 OPS, 111 RBI) took home NL MVP honors, while catcher Tim McCarver (.822 OPS, 14 HR) finished second and Brock (21 HR, 52 SB) finished seventh.

    Carlton (14-9, 2.98 ERA) was just getting started at 22, and Gibson (13-7, 2.98 ERA) was past his prime at 31, but they were still terrific arms. That said, it was Dick Hughes (16-6, 2.67 ERA) who led the staff. 

    Winner: 1939 Yankees

    In a game that features eight future Hall of Famers with a ninth in Gomez waiting to take the ball in Game 2 for the Yankees, it's New York that comes out on top, as they simply have the deeper roster top to bottom.

First Round: (3) 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates vs. (6) 1995 Atlanta Braves

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    (3) 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110-42)

    After rolling through the National League during the regular season, the Pirates bested the Tigers in seven games for the franchise's first World Series title.

    Honus Wagner was the face of the team, and he hit .339/.420/.489 while driving in 100 runs and swiping 35 bases.

    The pitching staff was solid as well, led by Vic Willis (22-11, 2.24 ERA) and Howie Camnitz (25-6, 1.62 ERA), who paced a group that ranked second in the NL in ERA at 2.07.

    (6) 1995 Atlanta Braves (90-54)

    Coming off of the strike-shortened 1994 season, the Braves captured what would be their only World Series title during their run of 14 straight division titles.

    The trio of Greg Maddux (19-2, 1.63 ERA), Tom Glavine (16-7, 3.08 ERA) and John Smoltz (12-7, 3.18 ERA) were the driving force behind the team's success, and Maddux's season ranks as one of the best of all time by a pitcher.

    The offense was solid as well, with David Justice, Fred McGriff, Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko all topping the 20-home-run mark and Marquis Grissom serving as a table-setter.

    Winner: 1995 Braves

    While he had his ups and downs during the postseason, Maddux was in rare form in 1995, and he silences Wagner and the Pirates.

First Round: (4) 1986 New York Mets vs. (5) 1968 Detroit Tigers

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    (4) 1986 New York Mets (108-54)

    After a dominant regular season, it took the legendary Bill Buckner error and a Game 7 win for the Mets to come away with their first and only World Series title since the 1969 Miracle Mets.

    Catcher Gary Carter (24 HR, 105 RBI), first baseman Keith Hernandez (.310 BA, 83 RBI) and outfielder Darryl Strawberry (27 HR, 28 SB) led the NL's highest-scoring offense.

    Meanwhile, 21-year-old Dwight Gooden (17-6, 2.84 ERA) was the ace of a staff that also included Sid Fernandez (16-6, 3.52 ERA), Ron Darling (15-6, 2.81 ERA) and Bob Ojeda (18-5, 2.57 ERA).

    (5) 1968 Detroit Tigers (103-59)

    In the World Series for the first time since 1945, the Tigers bested the Cardinals in what was a seven-game battle to take home the title.

    The regular season was highlighted by the pitching of Denny McLain (31-6, 1.96 ERA), as he won Cy Young and MVP honors and is the last player to win 30 games.

    It was Mickey Lolich who carried the team in the World Series, though, going 3-0 and allowing just five runs in three complete games, including a Game 7 win in which he out-dueled Bob Gibson.

    Winner: 1968 Tigers

    These two teams match up as well as any of the first-round matchups, and both took seven games to win their World Series titles. A McLain vs. Gooden matchup would be a great one, and the Tigers offense puts them over the top led by Willie Horton, Norm Cash and Bill Freehan. 

Second Round: (1) 1998 New York Yankees vs. (5) 1968 Detroit Tigers

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    (1) 1998 New York Yankees vs. (5) 1968 Detroit Tigers

    In a matchup of left-handers, Mickey Lolich takes the ball for the Tigers against Andy Pettitte in what has all the makings of a terrific pitcher's duel.

    Lolich was a stud during the Tigers' World Series run, while Pettitte threw a gem of his own (7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER) in his lone World Series start in 1998.

    Production would continue to come from anywhere and everywhere for the Yankees offensively, as they had a group of veterans who proved time and again that they could step up on the biggest stage.

    Winner: 1998 Yankees

    A Scott Brosius home run in the ninth gives the Yankees a 2-1 lead, and Rivera slams the door with a 1-2-3 ninth as the Yankees advance to the Elite Eight.

Second Round: (2) 1939 New York Yankees vs. (6) 1995 Atlanta Braves

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    (2) 1939 New York Yankees vs. (6) 1995 Atlanta Braves

    In another battle of left-handers, Lefty Gomez takes the ball for the Yankees against another future Hall of Famer in Tom Glavine.

    Gomez was at the tail end of his short but impressive run of dominance, but the 30-year-old was still an All-Star in 1939, while a 29-year-old Glavine was coming off of a third-place Cy Young finish.

    In the end, the Yankees' stacked offense would be the difference, as they simply had more talent in their lineup at nearly every position.

    Winner: 1939 Yankees

    Glavine gets chased early when DiMaggio hits a three-run home run to put the Yankees up 5-0. They continue to pile on from there and come away with a big win.

Region Three

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    Region 3 Teams

    No. 1 Seed: 1970 Baltimore Orioles

    No. 2 Seed: 1961 New York Yankees

    No. 3 Seed: 1976 Cincinnati Reds

    No. 4 Seed: 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

    No. 5 Seed: 1954 Cleveland Indians

    No. 6 Seed: 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers

    No. 7 Seed: 1934 St. Louis Cardinals

    No. 8 Seed: 2008 Philadelphia Phillies

First Round: (1) 1970 Baltimore Orioles vs. (8) 2008 Philadelphia Phillies

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    (1) 1970 Baltimore Orioles (108-54)

    Led by a rotation that featured a trio of 20-game winners and a lineup that was built by manager Earl Weaver to hit the three-run home run he loved so much, the Orioles went 7-1 in the playoffs and bested the Reds for the title.

    Jim Palmer (20-10, 2.71 ERA), Mike Cuellar (24-8, 3.48 ERA) and Dave McNally (24-9, 3.22 ERA) made 119 combined starts and led the team on the hill.

    Frank Robinson (.918 OPS, 25 HR) and Boog Powell (.962 OPS, 35 HR, 114 RBI) led the offense, while Brooks Robinson played his usual phenomenal defense at third base and provided some punch (18 HR, 94 RBI) as well.

    (8) 2008 Philadelphia Phillies (92-70)

    While the team fronted by a trio of aces a few years later got far more attention, it was the 2008 Phillies who brought the first and only title to Philadelphia since 1980.

    A 24-year-old Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA) and a 45-year-old Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA) gave the team an unlikely duo atop the rotation.

    The lineup was the real strength, though, as the team got All-Star-caliber production from everywhere but catcher and third base. Ryan Howard (48 HR, 146 RBI), Chase Utley (33 HR, 104 RBI) and Pat Burrell (33 HR, 86 RBI) formed a fearsome middle of the order.

    Winner: 1970 Orioles

    As good as the Phillies lineup was, the Orioles pitching and defense was better, and with Jim Palmer dealing on the mound, they are able to put together just enough offense to come away with the win.

First Round: (2) 1961 New York Yankees vs. (7) 1934 St. Louis Cardinals

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    (2) 1961 New York Yankees (109-53)

    Highlighted by the home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the 1961 Yankees steamrolled their way to the AL pennant with an eight-game lead over the Tigers.

    The MVP Maris (61 HR, 141 RBI) and Mantle (54 HR, 128 RBI) led the charge, but the team also had Elston Howard, Bill Skowron and a 36-year-old Yogi Berra.

    On the mound, Whitey Ford (25-4, 3.21 ERA) won the only Cy Young of his Hall of Fame career, while Ralph Terry (16-3, 3.15 ERA) and Bill Stafford (14-9, 2.68 ERA) were solid as well.

    (7) 1934 St. Louis Cardinals (95-58)

    The club known as the "Gas House Gang," the 1934 Cardinals needed a late-season push to claim the NL pennant, as they didn't move into first place until there were three games left in the season.

    Led by player-manager Frankie Frisch (.305 BA) and slugging first baseman Ripper Collins (1.008 OPS, 35 HR, 128 RBI), the team led the league in nearly every offensive category.

    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. Dizzy's 30-win season is the last in the National League.

    Winner: 1961 Yankees

    Dizzy Dean was a stud during the 1934 season, but the Yankees lineup is simply too much for him to overcome. Yankees' manager Ralph Houk takes a chance in giving the opening-round start to Stafford to save his top two arms moving forward, and it works to perfection.

First Round: (3) 1976 Cincinnati Reds vs. (6) 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers

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    (3) 1976 Cincinnati Reds (102-60)

    While they had nearly the same roster as the No. 1 seed 1975 team and they too won the World Series, the 1976 Reds come in as a No. 3 seed here.

    Stars Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and George Foster were all still there, but the team didn't pitch as well as they did the previous year.

    Morgan did enjoy the best season of his career in 1976, posting a 1.020 OPS with career-highs of 27 home runs and 111 RBI, and he took home his second straight NL MVP award.

    (6) 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers (99-63)

    The 1963 Dodgers were all about the one-two punch of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale atop the rotation, as their offense was actually average at best.

    Koufax (25-5, 1.88 ERA, 306 K) was just starting his tremendous five-year run, while Drysdale (19-17, 2.63 ERA) was his usual steady self as a second ace. Closer Ron Perranoski (16-3, 21 SV, 1.67 ERA) had a fantastic year as well.

    Winner: 1963 Dodgers

    No sense betting against Koufax, who went 2-0 with just 12 hits allowed and 23 strikeouts during two complete-game efforts during the team's World Series title run, and seeing Koufax against the Big Red Machine would be one of the best matchups of the entire tournament.

First Round: (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates vs. (5) 1954 Cleveland Indians

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    (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (103-36)

    Just the fourth team in baseball history to win 100 games at the time, the 1902 Pirates rank as perhaps the best dead-ball era team of all time.

    Hall of Famers Fred Clarke and Honus Wagner highlighted a roster in which four players hit over .300 and batted .286 as a group. In classic dead-ball fashion, they managed just 18 home runs as a group but laced 189 doubles and 95 triples to pace the league in both categories.

    Jack Chesbro (28-6, 2.17 ERA), also a Hall of Famer, fronted a rotation that also featured Deacon Phillippe (20-9, 2.05 ERA) and Jesse Tannehill (20-6, 1.95 ERA).

    (5) 1954 Cleveland Indians (111-43)

    The 1954 Indians rank as one of the more disappointing postseason performers in baseball history, as they were swept by the Giants in the World Series after piling up 111 wins during the regular season.

    The rotation feature a trio of future Hall of Famers in Early Wynn (23-11, 2.73 ERA), Bob Lemon (23-7, 2.72 ERA) and Bob Feller (13-3, 3.09 ERA).

    Sluggers Larry Doby (32 HR, 126 RBI) and Al Rosen (24 HR, 102 RBI) paced the offense as seven of the team's eight starters reached double digits in home runs.

    Winner: 1902 Pirates

    The matchup of Chesbro and Wynn here would be a good one, but the Pirates offense proves to be the difference after they scored 142 more runs than the second-highest NL team during the regular season.

Second Round: (1) 1970 Baltimore Orioles vs. (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

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    (1) 1970 Baltimore Orioles vs. (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

    Mike Cuellar gets the ball in Game 2 for the Orioles against Deacon Phillippe in a battle of two of the more underrated pitchers of their time.

    The Pirates offense proves to be the difference once again, as they jump on Cuellar much like the Twins did when they struck for six runs on 10 hits over 4.1 innings of work during his ALCS start that season.

    A contract dispute between the AL and NL over player contracts led to the World Series not being played in 1902, so the Pirates are out to claim the title they never had a chance to win.

    Winner: 1902 Pirates

    Tommy Leach hits a rare home run for the Pirates after pacing the league with six, as well as 22 triples during the regular season. The team manufactures runs from there and comes away with a big win.

Second Round: (2) 1961 New York Yankees vs. (6) 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers

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    (2) 1961 New York Yankees vs. (6) 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers

    With Whitey Ford getting the Game 2 start for the Yankees against Don Drysdale, the Yankees have the upper hand on the mound to go along with their vastly superior offense.

    Frank Howard (28 HR) was the only Dodgers player to top 20 home runs, as the team ranked just sixth in the NL in runs scored and fourth in batting average.

    This has the makings of one of the more lopsided matchups of the tournament, as the Dodgers would essentially need a shutout from Drysdale to get the win.

    Winner: 1961 Yankees

    Drysdale threw a three-hit shutout during his lone World Series start in 1963, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could do that here. However, he was facing a significantly different Yankees team that year, even if they did have most of the same personnel.

Region Four

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    Region 4 Teams

    No. 1 Seed: 1975 Cincinnati Reds

    No. 2 Seed: 1929 Philadelphia A's

    No. 3 Seed: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

    No. 4 Seed: 1932 New York Yankees

    No. 5 Seed: 1993 Toronto Blue Jays

    No. 6 Seed: 1973 Oakland A's

    No. 7 Seed: 1957 Milwaukee Braves

    No. 8 Seed: 1989 Oakland A's 

First Round: (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds vs. (8) 1989 Oakland A's

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    (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds (108-54)

    The marquee team of the "Big Red Machine" era in Cincinnati, the 1975 team won the title in seven games over the Red Sox in what very well may be the greatest series ever played.

    Joe Morgan (.974 OPS, 67 SB) won NL MVP honors, while Johnny Bench (28 HR, 110 RBI), Tony Perez (20 HR, 109 RBI), Pete Rose (210 H, 112 R) and George Foster (.300 BA, 23 HR) were all solid as well.

    Pitching was the real difference for the 1975 team, as their 3.37 ERA ranked third in the league and the staff was a legitimate weapon alongside the high-powered offense. Gary Nolan, Jack Billingham and Don Gullett all won 15 games.

    (8) 1989 Oakland A's (99-63)

    It was the Loma Prieta earthquake that stole the show during the 1989 World Series, but the A's turned in a dominant performance in their sweep of the Giants.

    A rotation of Dave Stewart (21-9, 3.32 ERA), Bob Welch (17-8, 3.00 ERA), Mike Moore (19-11, 2.61 ERA) and closer Dennis Eckersley (33 SV, 1.88 ERA) gave the team a formidable staff.

    Mark McGwire (33 HR, 95 RBI) and Rickey Henderson (52 SB) led the offense, but this was a team built around pitching, as they were just fourth in the league in runs scored.

    Winner: 1975 Reds

    The A's staff may have been able to dominate the Giants lineup for four games, but they'd have a significantly more daunting task going up against the Big Red Machine. The 1989 A's are an underrated unit, but they're not pulling off the upset here.

First Round: (2) 1929 Philadelphia A's vs. (7) 1957 Milwaukee Braves

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    (2) 1929 Philadelphia A's (104-46)

    The A's teams of the '20s and '30s are often largely overlooked thanks to the Yankees' dominance of that era, but they were able to come away with a title in 1929 with a 4-1 series win over the Cubs.

    Sluggers Jimmie Foxx (33 HR, 118 RBI) and Al Simmons (34 HR, 157 RBI) paced the offense alongside Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane (.331 BA, 95 RBI).

    Lefty Grove (20-6, 2.81 ERA) was the ace of a staff that also featured Rube Walberg (18-11, 3.60 ERA) and George Earnshaw (24-8, 3.29 ERA).

    (7) 1957 Milwaukee Braves (95-59)

    After losing the World Series in 1948, the 1957 Braves captured the team's first title since they were still the Boston Braves back in 1914.

    Hall of Fame boppers Hank Aaron (44 HR, 132 RBI) and Eddie Mathews (32 HR, 94 RBI) led a Braves offense that was the highest scoring in the NL.

    Left-hander Warren Spahn (21-11, 2.69 ERA) was the ace of the staff, and he won his lone Cy Young award that season. He was joined by Lew Burdette (17-9, 3.72 ERA) and Bob Buhl (18-7, 2.74 ERA).

    Winner: 1957 Braves

    In a game that features some of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, this would likely wind up being a low-scoring affair with two of the best left-handers of all time getting the start for their respective teams in Spahn and Grove. In end, the Braves come away with the upset thanks to a gem from Spahn and a big home run from Mathews.

First Round: (3) 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. (6) 1973 Oakland A's

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    (3) 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers (98-55)

    After losing four World Series over the span of eight years, the 1955 Dodgers finally broke through with a title, beating the rival Yankees in seven games.

    Their lineup was loaded with stars; Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese would all go on to make the Hall of Fame, and Gil Hodges likely belongs there as well.

    The pitching staff had a bona fide ace in Don Newcombe (20-5, 3.20 ERA) and finished the season with an NL-best 3.68 ERA.

    (6) 1973 Oakland A's (94-68)

    The A's won three straight titles from 1972-1974, but it is the 1973 team that is widely considered to be their best of the era.

    Reggie Jackson (32 HR, 117 RBI, 22 SB) captured AL MVP honors, and the lineup also featured the likes of Sal Bando (29 HR, 98 RBI) and Gene Tenace (.830 OPS, 24 HR).

    The rotation had three ace-caliber arms in Vida Blue (20-9, 3.28 ERA), Ken Holtzman (21-13, 2.97 ERA) and Catfish Hunter (21-5, 3.34 ERA) along with a Hall of Fame closer in Rollie Fingers (22 SV, 1.92 ERA).

    Winner: 1955 Dodgers

    The Dodgers' star-studded lineup proves to be too much for Vida Blue, and the A's get knocked out in the first round despite a pair of home runs from Jackson.

First Round: (4) 1932 New York Yankees vs. (5) 1993 Toronto Blue Jays

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    (4) 1932 New York Yankees (107-47)

    With many of the same characters we know and love from the 1927 version of the Yankees, the 1932 team again dominated on their way to a World Series title.

    Babe Ruth (41 HR, 137 RBI) and Lou Gehrig (34 HR, 151 RBI) again led the charge, while Tony Lazzeri (.300 BA, 113 RBI) and Ben Chapman (38 SB, 107 RBI) were solid as well.

    Hall of Famers Lefty Gomez (24-7, 4.21 ERA) and Red Ruffing (18-7, 3.09 ERA) led the rotation, as they posted a 3.98 ERA as a group, good for tops in the American League during what was an offensive boom.

    (5) 1993 Toronto Blue Jays (95-67)

    The Blue Jays repeated as World Series champions in 1993, topping the Phillies in six games and wrapping up the series with Joe Carter's infamous walk-off home run.

    Carter (33 HR, 121 RBI) led the offense during the regular season as well, and John Olerud (.363 BA, 24 HR), Paul Molitor (.332 BA, 22 HR) and Roberto Alomar (.326 BA, 17 HR) all enjoyed terrific seasons as well. 

    The pitching staff posted a 4.21 ERA, good for fifth in the American League. Juan Guzman (14-3, 3.99 ERA) and Pat Hentgen (19-9, 3.87 ERA) led a staff that also included Jack Morris, Dave Stewart, Todd Stottlemyre and Al Leiter.

    Winner: 1932 Yankees

    Gomez, who had just a 97 ERA+ during the season, again does enough on the mound to come away with the win as the stacked Yankees offense lights up the scoreboard against Juan Guzman.

Second Round: (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds vs. (4) 1932 New York Yankees

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    (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds vs. (4) 1932 New York Yankees

    Red Ruffing gets the ball in Game 2 for the Yankees with the task of slowing down the Big Red Machine, while Don Gullett takes the ball for the Reds against a lineup of Yankees legends.

    One of the most underrated pitchers of the 1970s, Gullett pitched just nine seasons in the big leagues, but went 109-50 with a 3.11 ERA (113 ERA+), and the 1975 season was the best of his career.

    Ruffing, a Hall of Famer, was 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 10 postseason starts, so he was no stranger to the big moment either.

    Winner: 1975 Reds

    Gullett throws the game of his life, and the Reds offense gives him more than enough support as the Reds oust a roster full of legends and advance on to the Elite Eight.

Second Round: (3) 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. (7) 1957 Milwaukee Braves

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    (3) 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. (7) 1957 Milwaukee Braves

    Both of these teams boast clear aces but have a relatively average rotation behind them in comparison to the rest of the teams in this tournament.

    As a result, this one would come down to which team can outscore the other, and with so many future Hall of Famers in the lineup runs, would pile up on both sides.

    Both starters would likely be chased relatively early, so it would come down to a chess match with both teams utilizing a number of guys out of the bullpen.

    Winner: 1955 Dodgers

    The Dodgers have an ace in the hole in 19-year-old Sandy Koufax, who silences the Braves lineup in relief of Carl Erskine and allows the Dodgers to run away with this one.

Elite Eight

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    Region One

    (1) 1927 New York Yankees vs. (2) 1907 Chicago Cubs

    The most revered lineup in baseball history against the best pitching staff of all time, this one could very easily be the title game if the brackets were lined up differently.

    In the end, the Yankees lineup prevails, but it takes extra innings and a tiring Mordecai Brown to pull it off.

    Winner: 1927 Yankees

    Region Two

    (1) 1998 New York Yankees vs. (2) 1939 New York Yankees

    The first instance of a team playing itself has legends Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio sharing a field and the entire city of New York on the edge of its seat.

    There may be more star power on the 1939 team, but the 1998 team continues to dominate with David Cone taking the ball and throwing a gem. Paul O'Neill comes through with a big home run, and the Yankees bullpen again slams the door.

    Winner: 1998 Yankees

    Region Three

    (2) 1961 New York Yankees vs. (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

    Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle combined for 115 home runs in 1961, while the 1902 Pirates hit all of 18 as a team.

    That doesn't prove to be an issue, though, as the Pirates bang out double-digit hits against Whitey Ford and a bases-clearing triple from Honus Wagner chases the left-hander and puts the Pirates up for good.

    Winner: 1902 Pirates

    Region Four

    (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds vs. (3) 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers

    If there is one team in this tournament that can match the offensive firepower of the Big Red Machine, it's the 1955 Dodgers.

    Still, the Reds prove to be the superior team as they get to Dodgers ace Don Newcombe early and pour it on from there. Gary Nolan does just enough to win for the Reds, settling in after some early struggles to earn the win.

    Winner: 1975 Reds

Final Four

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    Matchup One

    (1) 1927 New York Yankees vs. (4) 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

    The matchup of the best the dead-ball era had to offer against the team that officially signaled the end of the era, the Yankees show that change is good and come away with an easy win here.

    A pitching staff that has been backed by a strong offensive showing all tournament struggles to keep the Yankees lineup in check. Ruth homers three times, and things get out of hand early.

    Winner: 1927 Yankees

    Matchup Two

    (1) 1998 New York Yankees vs. (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds

    The Reds jump all over Andy Pettitte, chasing him in the third inning before David Wells quiets them in relief and keeps the Yankees in it.

    The Yankees rally late, but come up just short as the Big Red Machine advances to the finals where they will take on the vaunted 1927 Yankees.

    Winner: 1975 Reds


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    (1) 1927 New York Yankees vs. (1) 1975 Cincinnati Reds

    After gutting out a big win against the 1932 Yankees, the Reds aren't able to do the same against what is essentially the same group of guys, only five years younger.

    Ruth hits a three-run home run in the first inning and the Yankees never trail from there, with the Bambino capturing tournament MVP honors as a result.

    Winner: 1927 Yankees