Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals Vie for Team of the Decade

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Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals Vie for Team of the Decade
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The 2000s are coming to an end. Could there be the ninth World Series champion in this decade? Will the Red Sox win their third championship and build a dynasty? Or will the Yankees or Cardinals win their second and solidify their place in history?

I used a mathematical formula, but it wasn't easy. I had to assign arbitrary point values to each category. I like to think of this as mostly objective amalgamated with a hint of subjectivity.

I used seven categories to figure out each team's place in this decade. I used World Series championships, pennants, regular season record, playoff appearances, playoff series wins, winning seasons, and losing seasons.

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section. I would love to hear what other people think.

 

1. New York Yankees

Regular season: 862-592 (.593)
Playoff series won: 8
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/3
Playoff appearances: 8
Winning seasons: 9
Losing seasons: 0

No team in the decade has had more playoff appearances than the Bronx Bombers. Also, no team has had a better winning percentage. They only have one title to show for it, though, and that was during the first year of this decade during the Subway Series.

The Yankees would be without a doubt the No. 1 team had it not been for a Luis Gonzalez single off of the greatest closer is postseason history during the November series.

 

2. Boston Red Sox

Regular season: 825-632 (.566)
Playoff series won: 8
World Series won/Pennants won: 2/2
Playoff appearances: 5
Winning seasons: 9
Losing seasons: 0

The Red Sox are the only team in this decade to have won two World Series championships. Also, like the Yankees, they have yet to have a losing season in this decade.

There's going to be a big debate that the Red Sox deserve to be No. 1, but they have three less playoff appearances, one less pennant, and are second to the Yankees in regular season winning percentage.

With two AL East teams at the top, it's hard to disagree that it's the division of the decade.

 

3. St. Louis Cardinals

Regular season: 822-635 (.564)
Playoff series won: 8
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/2
Playoff appearances: 6
Winning seasons: 8
Losing seasons: 1

Who would have thought that David Eckstein could propel a team to a World Series championship? He played out of his mind en route to the Cardinals' 2006 championship victory.

They could easily be second if the team in the No. 2 slot didn't destroy them in the 2004 World Series. The Red Birds had the best record in all of baseball for back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005.

 

4. Los Angeles Angels

Regular season: 803-655 (.551)
Playoff series won: 4
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/1
Playoff appearances: 5
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

All hail the Rally Monkey! The 2002 World Series was one of the more exciting series of the decade, probably coming second to the 2001 championship series.

The Angels mounted one of the biggest rallies of the decade behind clutch play of Troy Glaus and Scott Spiezio.

There was also the dropped-third strike incident with A.J. Pierzysnki, but in all fairness, the Angels lost the series anyways.

 

5. Chicago White Sox

Regular season: 778-681 (.533)
Playoff series won: 3
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/1
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 1

Despite being the second team in the Second City, the White Sox have only had one losing season this decade. They also have had seven winning seasons, which makes them one of the best. They had a great run in 2005, only dropping a total of one game in the playoffs.

They were the best AL team in 2000, but blew it against the Mariners. They also stumbled into the 2008 playoffs by winning the 163rd game of the season.

 

6. Philadelphia Phillies

Regular season: 757-700 (.520)
Playoff series won: 3
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/1
Playoff appearances: 2
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

The Phillies could easily be out of the top ten had it not been for back-to-back late season collapses by the New York Mets.

The Phillies capped off their 2008 magical run in a championship series that included two games that ended on the same calendar day and another game that lasted over multiple days. They have an impressive seven winning seasons.

 

7. Arizona Diamondbacks

Regular season: 735-723 (.504)
Playoff series won: 4
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/1
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 6
Losing seasons: 3

Recent struggles have made people forget how good the Diamondbacks used to be. They won a World Series championship in their third year of existence, becoming one of the fastest professional sports teams to attain glory.

They won a World Series in 2001 off of arguably the best postseason closer with a great group of players. They also had one of the greatest pitching duos (Johnson, Schilling) of all time.

 

8. Atlanta Braves

Regular season: 806-650 (.554)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 6
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

Wait...shouldn't the Braves be higher with their 14 straight division titles? No.

A team is judged based on how far they get in the playoffs. The Braves have only won one playoff series this decade, and that was in the 2001 National League Division Series. The Braves were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs five times this decade, including four consecutive times.

 

9. Houston Astros

Regular season: 758-699 (.520)
Playoff series won: 3
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

The Astros made the playoffs three times during this decade. Each time they made it, they progressed. In 2001, they got knocked in the National League Division Series. In 2004, they got knocked in the National League Championship Series. In 2005, they got knocked out in the World Series.

If the Astros make the playoffs again, logic tells us that they'll win a championship.

 

10. Oakland Athletics

Regular season: 815-641 (.560)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 5
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

The Athletics were successful in the regular season during the early part of this decade. However, from 2000 to 2003, the A's got knocked out in the American League Division Series.

An interesting tidbit is that in each Division Series, the A's stretched the series to five games. We all recall Derek Jeter's flip save that knocked out the A's in the 2001 playoffs.

 

11. Los Angeles Dodgers

Regular season: 767-691 (.526)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 8
Losing seasons: 1

The Dodgers are consistent winners during the regular season. Eight out of the nine seasons had a winning record. They haven't gone deep in the playoffs.

They lost in the National League Division Series in 2004 and again in 2006, as they were swept by the Mets. The 2008 season showed a role-reversal, as they swept the Cubs out of the playoffs, but then got knocked out in the Championship Series.

 

12. Minnesota Twins

Regular season: 776-682 (.532)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 4
Winning seasons: 7
Losing seasons: 2

The Twins have been a model of consistency during the regular season this decade, having had seven winning seasons.

They have only advanced in the playoffs only once, in four opportunities, but got knocked out by the Angels in the 2002 American League Championship Series.

They then proceeded to lose in the Division Series three of the next four years. Gardenhire has turned this franchise around.

 

13. New York Mets

Regular season: 745-711 (.512)
Playoff series won: 3
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 2
Winning seasons: 6
Losing seasons: 3

That the Mets have had four different managers this decade proves that their inconsistency will not be tolerated.

The Mets lost the 2000 World Subway Series and have only made the playoffs one other time this decade. We all remember Endy Chavez's spectacular catch, but the Mets succumbed to the eventual champion Cardinals during the 2006 National League Championship Series.

 

14. San Francisco Giants

Regular season: 767-688 (.527)
Playoff series won: 2
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 5
Losing seasons: 4

The Giants were six outs away from winning their championship in the city of San Francisco. Robb Nen gave up the winning runs in Game Six and the Giants proceeded to lose the series.

The Giants have fallen off since 2004, but were good during the first part of the decade, having made the playoffs three out of four years. They were knocked out of the NLDS twice in 2000 and 2003 when they were the top seed.

 

15. Florida Marlins

Regular season: 724-732 (.497)
Playoff series won: 3
World Series won/Pennants won: 1/1
Playoff appearances: 1
Winning seasons: 4
Losing seasons: 5

The Marlins are the worst team of the decade that has won the World Series. 2003 was a magical year for the Fish as Josh Beckett propelled them to victory. However, they have had more losing seasons than winning seasons during the decade.

They have also only made the playoffs once this decade and that was as the Wild Card. Maybe they would be higher if they hadn't traded away a lot of talent.

 

16. Seattle Mariners

Regular season: 752-706 (.516)
Playoff series won: 2
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 2
Winning seasons: 5
Losing seasons: 4

The Mariners have had six different managers in now their tenth year. The glory days were early in the decade. Winning the Wild Card in 2000 and knocking out the No. 1 seed and putting up one of the best seasons in the history of baseball in 2001.

Both seasons, they proceeded to get knocked out in the Championship Series by the Yankees. It hasn't been pretty since then.

 

17. Chicago Cubs

Regular season: 724-733 (.497)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 3
Winning seasons: 5
Losing seasons: 4

Are you as surprised as I was to see that the Cubs do not even have a winning record so far this decade? Blame it on the Billy Goat curse, but the Cubs haven't succeeded in the postseason.

2003 was the year of the Bartman scapegoat. They also proceeded to get swept of the National League Division Series in 2007 and 2008 by the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, respectively.

 

18. Cleveland Indians

Regular season: 751-707 (.515)
Playoff series won: 1
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 2
Winning seasons: 4
Losing seasons: 4

The Tribe was one of the best teams in the late 1990s, but that has translated into only two playoff appearances this decade.

In 2001, they pushed the Mariners to the brink in the ALDS, but fell short. In 2007, they pushed the Red Sox to the brink in the ALCS, but once again fell short.

The Indians have had four winning seasons, four losing seasons, and one season at .500 this decade.

 

19. San Diego Padres

Regular season: 694-765 (.476)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 2
Winning seasons: 4
Losing seasons: 5

In 2007, the Padres collapsed and let a late hot streak by the Colorado Rockies knock them out of the playoffs. It continued a string of below average performances by the Friars this decade.

They made the playoffs in the back-to-back campaigns of 2005 and 2006, but lost in the National League Division Series both times at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

20. Toronto Blue Jays

Regular season: 730-727 (.501)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 5
Losing seasons: 4

The Blue Jays have a mediocre winning percentage during the regular season. Mediocrity is not going to cut it in the American League East during this decade.

The Blue Jays have not advanced to the postseason since their glory days of 1993. Five different managers haven't gotten the job done, but 2009 shows that the Blue Birds have some potential. 

 

21. Colorado Rockies

Regular season: 677-782 (.464)
Playoff series won: 2
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 1
Winning seasons: 2
Losing seasons: 7

The Rockies had one of the most spectacular runs to the World Series during their 2007 campaign. They got swept by the Red Sox, but had a memorable September. That's about all that they have during this decade.

Seven of their nine seasons have been with losing records and they have only made the playoffs once, which was the aforementioned lucky stint.

 

22. Detroit Tigers

Regular season: 643-814 (.441)
Playoff series won: 2
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 1
Winning seasons: 2
Losing seasons: 7

The 2006 season was the best that the Tigers had this decade. The took the baseball world by surprise. They failed to maintain the division lead, but still made it to the World Series via the Wild Card.

The rest of the decade, they have less than impressive, having lost more than 100 games twice, including a 119-loss season. Four different managers haven't gotten the job done, but Leyland has been good for the franchise.

 

23. Tampa Bay Rays

Regular season: 610-845 (.419)
Playoff series won: 2
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/1
Playoff appearances: 1
Winning seasons: 1
Losing seasons: 8

Take the Devil out of Devil Rays and you get the team's best season, after bottom-dwelling the American League East nine of the previous 10 years. The Rays had a magical 2008 season, capped off by a loss to the Phillies in the World Series.

The Rays have endured more than enough awful seasons, including four seasons with 99 or more losses. Can Joe Maddon turn this franchise around?

 

24. Milwaukee Brewers

Regular season: 661-796 (.454)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 1
Winning seasons: 2
Losing seasons: 6

The Brew Crew were bottom-dwellers in the National League Central division for three consecutive years this decade.

In 2008, they made the playoffs for the first time since switching over to the National League, but got knocked out in the Division Series by the eventual champion Phillies.

Their amount of losing seasons overwhelms their amount of winning seasons, but two young sluggers could be saving this franchise.

 

25. Washington Nationals

Regular season: 652-805 (.447)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 2
Losing seasons: 6

This team was once the Montreal Expos, when they had back-to-back winning seasons in 2002 and 2003.

The Expos moved to Washington in 2005, and started the season on-fire. They were in the National League East division race at the All-Star break but then collapsed and finished as the bottom-dwellers of the division, a trend that would continue during the rest of the decade.

 

26. Texas Rangers

Regular season: 689-769 (.473)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 1
Losing seasons: 8

The Rangers have finished last place in the American League West for half of this decade. They have had one winning season which was in 2004; too bad they played in a competitive division that year.

The Rangers haven't advanced to the postseason since being swept out of the American League Division Series in 1998 and 1999 by the New York Yankees.

 

27. Cincinnati Reds

Regular season: 673-785 (.462)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 1
Losing seasons: 8

The Reds looked like they were going to end an abysmal decade on a high note, but that doesn't look like the case any more. The Reds haven't finished at either extreme of the National League Central this decade, but have finished fifth five times.

The Reds have had six different managers during the decade, and not one of them has found a way to make this franchise a successful one.

 

28. Kansas City Royals

Regular season: 607-851 (.416)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 1
Losing seasons: 8

No team has had a worse regular season winning percentage this decade than the Royals. The Royals had looked promising in 2003, with their We Believe slogan, but finished in third place with their first and only above-.500 record of the decade.

The Royals haven't made the playoffs since their 1985 championship and 2009 was an accelerated collapse like 2003.

29. Baltimore Orioles

Regular season: 634-822 (.435)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 0
Losing seasons: 9

The Orioles are one of two teams in this decade that has yet to have a winning season. The start of the 2005 season looked promising, as they lead the American League East deep into May. However, they couldn't sustain it and finished fourth in the division.

The Orioles have some nice, young talent that they hope can change the landscape of their division.

 

30. Pittsburgh Pirates

Regular season: 619-837 (.425)
Playoff series won: 0
World Series won/Pennants won: 0/0
Playoff appearances: 0
Winning seasons: 0
Losing seasons: 9

Was there any doubt that the Pirates would finish as the worst team of the decade?

They streak of consecutive losing seasons has reached 16 during this decade. They haven't finished better than fourth in the division and have lost 95 or more games four times this decade.

They complement the Orioles in being the other team that hasn't had a winning season this decade.

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