It's the most coveted trophy in baseball. For this past decade we have seen some of the most memorable postseasons ever, from Arizona's first title for its franchise, to the Rally Monkey, Steve Bartman, the Greatest Comeback Ever, breaking the curse of the Bambino, Chicago's first World Series, a Boston repeat, and—finally—a Yankee World Series.
Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the best of the best: the ranking of the World Series Champions from the last decade.
This was the end of the dynasty that was the 1990s' New York Yankees.
The Yankees managed to win the AL East by just 2.5 games, and even with just the fifth best record in the AL, the Yankees were out to prove that they could still win one more.
They had a great three-man rotation with Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. Of course, the game was almost always a sure thing with Mariano Rivera as your closer. They had just two hitters above .300 and one player with 30 HRs.
However, when the postseason came, the experience came in handy, as the Yanks took down Oakland 3-2 in the ALDS, then knocked off the Seattle Mariners 4-2 in the ALCS.
This set up the Subway Series between the Yankees and NL Champion Mets. The Yankees muscled their way over the Mets, winning easily 4-1 and clinching their 26th World Series.
The Cardinals "snuck" into the playoffs with a modest 83-78 record, winning the lackluster NL Central by 1.5 games.
They were matched up against the NL West champion San Diego Padres and shocked them by winning the series 3-1.
They were matched up with the NL East champion NY Mets in the NLCS, a team that had won 95 games in the regular season.
The teams traded wins every game, and Game Seven brought on drama. It was a pitchers' duel for eight innings, and the Cardinals opened up the top of the ninth with a Jim Edmonds strike out and a Scott Rolen basehit.
Then, the dagger was driven into the heart of the NY Met fans by Yadier Molina. His two-run homer was the deciding factor in Game Seven.
Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded in the ninth to send the Cardinals to a date with the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers.
After winning in Game One and stumbling in Game Two, the Cardinals managed to win three straight in St. Louis to bring home the World Series Trophy.
The Game Five score was 4-2, with pair of RBI from David Eckstein, who went on to win the World Series MVP. He hit .364 with four doubles and eight RBI.
The Cardinals got a great all-around team effort in the Series.
The Marlins finished the regular season 91-71 and won the NL Wild Card, 10 games behind division winner Atlanta.
A team that was six years removed from its first World Series ring, the Marlins were hungry for another and had a load of young talent.
This roster was chock full of talent: Ivan Rodriguez, Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, Miguel Cabrera, Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, A.J. Burnett, Ugueth Urbina, Braden Looper.
This team had so much talent and had a solid five-man rotation that would be extremely helpful during the playoffs.
In the NLDS, the Marlins took down the defending NL champion Giants in four games despite just one home run, but good pitching and defense. The Marlins also limited Barry Bonds and Rich Aurilia to batting averages of .222 and .133, respectively.
After the Cubs took down the Braves, it set up a Cinderella matchup.
After taking the opening game, the Marlins dropped the next 3 games to the Cubs and found themselves against a wall.
A young ace named Josh Beckett stepped up in Game Five, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out 11. A 4-0 win would send the series back to Chicago.
The Chicago Cubs were five outs from going to the World Series for the first time in 95 years. Young ace Mark Prior was having his way with the Marlin hitters and had a 3-0 lead in the eighth. Luis Castillo fouled off a pitch to the left field foul line, and what happened next is one of the most memorable moment in baseball history.
Moises Alou attempted to go for the ball and make a spectacular play, but a fan going for the ball got in the way right before Alou could. Furious, Alou tried to argue that it was fan interference, but since it was already in the bleachers, there was no controlling the situation.
Prior ended up walking Castillo, and the Great Chicago Collapse started. The Marlins scored eight unanswered runs in the top of the eighth, winning 8-3.
The next game, the Marlins would rally again. Josh Beckett pitched four innings of relief, and the Marlins secured their second NL pennant in team history with a 9-6 win.
The Yankees took a 2-1 lead on the Marlins in the World Series.
But the Fish managed to pull off another great feat, winning the final three games of the World Series—including Game Six in New York—to win their second World Series in just 11 years of existence.
A tumultuous year could not ruin the great game of baseball, and for the first time in the game's great history, we saw a World Series game in November. This series also signaled the end of a dynasty.
The Diamondbacks won the NL West with a 92-70 mark and earned the right to play the Wild Card champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The D'Backs had the best pair of arms in the league with veterans Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, who combined for a mind-boggling 43-12 record during the regular season.
Also, the emergence of Byung-Hyun Kim as a closer had Arizona thinking World Series.
Every starting position player was over the age of 30. They were led on offense by Luis Gonzalez, who hit .325 with 57 HR and 142 RBIs.
The biggest question coming into the playoffs was, "How much gas did these 'old guys' have left in the tank?"
Curt Schilling pitched outstanding during the NLDS, giving up just one run over 18 innings. His complete game performance in Game Five was not wasted when Tony Womack drove in pinch-runner Danny Bautista in the bottom of the ninth, and the D'Backs moved on to the LCS to take on the Braves.
In the NLCS, it was Randy Johnson's turn to create some magic. He pitched 16 innings, giving up just two earned runs and fanning 19. Craig Counsell won the Series MVP, collecting eight hits and driving in four runs.
Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley also drove in four and five runs, respectively. Byung-Hyun Kim worked five scoreless innings, walking just one batter and picking up two saves.
The D'Backs won the series in five games and set themselves up with the monster that was the New York Yankees.
To say there was a home-field advantage in the World Series was an understatement. The D'Backs took care of Games One and Two at home, and headed to New York for the next three.
After a close Game Three, the Yankees rallied back in Game Four with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 3-3 thanks to a Tino Martinez HR.
Derek Jeter hit a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the 10th to guarantee a Game Six and brought in the first moments of November baseball.
The Yankees won Game Five in 12 innings, and put the Diamondbacks on the brink of elimination heading home for Game Six.
The D'Backs didn't waste anytime once Game Six started, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings. They ended up winning 15-2, with 22 hits and not a single home run.
The Big Unit went seven strong for the win. The stage was set for Game Seven: Roger Clemens vs. Curt Schilling.
Danny Bautista's double in the sixth broke a scoreless tie, and the D'Backs took a 1-0 lead. Curt Schilling, fresh off his Game Six heroics, came in to pitch the top of eighth. On a 1-1 count to Alfonso Soriano, the young phenom belted a home run and dashed the hopes of the Arizona fans.
Mariano Rivera had already pitched the eighth and was coming on for a six-out save. After a single, error, and sacrifice bunt, Tony Womack smacked a double into right field, scoring the tying run and putting runners at second and third.
After hitting Craig Counsell, the bases were loaded for Luis Gonzalez. On an 0-1 pitch right on the hands, the lefty Gonzalez blooped a single over Derek Jeter's head, scoring the winning run in what was one of the most entertaining World Series this decade.
The Angels finished four games behind the A's in the West, but still managed to hang on to the Wild Card with a 99-63 record. Boston and Seattle each had 93 wins.
A young plethora of talent was developing quickly on the West Coast, with Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon, and Garrett Anderson leading the Angels' offense.
Jarrod Washburn, John Lackey, and Ramon Ortiz were the young stars of the pitching staff, and veteran Troy Percival was one of the best closers in the biz. Plus, the Angels had the "Rally Monkey" on their side whenever they were losing.
The Angels met with the Yankees in the LDS, who were runners-up from the year before. After falling in Game One, the Angels never looked back. They won the next three games, scoring at least eight runs in each game, and took the ALDS 3-1 to set up a date with the Twins.
Just like in the LDS, the Angels lost Game One. And, again, they won the final four games to win the ALCS. Adam Kennedy hit three HR in the series and was named ALCS MVP.
Francisco Rodriguez, a talented, young reliever, pitched 4.1 shutout innings and picked up two wins. The Angels would meet up with the Giants, setting up an all-West Coast World Series (the East Coast was livid!).
The Giants built a 3-2 lead after Game Five, but the Angels used their Rally Monkey to battle back in the series at home.
The Angels scored six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to win Game six, 6-5 and force a Game Seven.
John Lackey pitched a superb game, and the Angels' relievers combined for four shutout innings. Garret Anderson's bases-clearing double in the bottom of the third was the deciding factor, and Troy Percival got Kenny Lofton to fly out to center field for the deciding out.
World Series MVP Troy Glaus hit .385 with three HR and eight RBI.
The Phillies won the East with a 92-70 record and finished second in the National League.
Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley were the offensive firepower the Phillies would unleash on teams, and Jayson Werth was a young talent who still hit 24 HR.
The pitching staff was solid, led by long-time vet Jamie Moyer, young-guns Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, Brett Myers, and Brad Lidge, who was perfect in save opportunities over the season.
The Phillies made quick work of the Milwaukee Brewers and the hot-handed CC Sabathia. The Phillies beat the ace in Game Two with a five-run second and would go on to win in four games.
They would now face the red-hot Dodgers, who just swept the Cubs, who had the best record in the regular season.
Cole Hamels picked up two wins and Brad Lidge recorded three saves as the Phillies were able to shut down the Dodgers minus Manny. Shane Victorino had six RBI in the series.
The Phillies met with the Cinderella Story of the Year, the Tampa Bay Rays. Cole Hamels continued his brilliant postseason performance, pitching 13 innings and having a 2.77 ERA.
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley combined for five HR and 10 RBI as the Philadelphia Phillies took down the Rays in five games.
The 2007 Red Sox were the only team to win multiple championships during the decade. The BoSox dethroned the Yankees from atop the East by going 96-66 during the regular season.
A mix of veterans like Manny Rameriz, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, and Mike Lowell, plus the youth of Jonathon Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Dice-K, and Jon Lester made the BoSox a legitimate threat.
The Red Sox met with the Angels in the ALDS and became one of only four world champs to sweep the ALDS.
The Red Sox allowed just four runs, and David Ortiz and Manny Rameriz each hit two HR.
However, the momentum of a sweep did not carry over to the ALCS, where the Cleveland Indians built a 3-1 lead on the BoSox.
Known for their ability to come back, the Red Sox did just that, winning Game Five 7-1 behind Josh Beckett. Game Six was a beat down, as the Red Sox won 12-2 behind the gutsy performance of veteran Curt Schilling.
Game Seven was led by Dice-K's solid performance, and the Red Sox scored eight runs in the final two innings to win 11-2 and steal a World Series berth from the Indians.
The BoSox met the red-hot Colorado Rockies in the World Series and put them in their place. More strong pitching and timely hitting were the keys for the Red Sox, as they swept the Rockies.
MVP Mike Lowell hit .400 with one HR and four RBI. The Red Sox pitching staff had a 2.50 ERA and 36 K's. The Red Sox were just the third team to pull off two sweeps in the same postseason.
Who says money can't buy happiness—or, at least a World Series?
The Yankees spent big money on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J Burnett to boost this team, and it worked—this year.
The Yankees won 103 games during the regular season, the most by any World Series champ this decade. The Yankees had seven players with at least 20 HR, led by Mark Teixeira.
Their best player, Alex Rodriguez, missed about 30 games with hip surgery, and still hit 30 HR.
Sabathia and Burnett were great on the hill, as were Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte. The fifth spot in the rotation was never consistent for the Yanks, but the closer was.
Mariano Rivera had another big year, with 44 saves during the regular season.
The Yankees first faced the Twins, who won a playoff against Detroit to secure a playoff spot. The pitching was fantastic for the Yankees in the first round, and A-Rod's two HR were sparks for a Yankee run at a title, eliminating the Twins in three games.
The Angels were next for the Yanks. After three close games and a 2-1 lead, the Yankees decided to bust out the lumber in Game Four. A-Rod had three hits, including a HR, and Johnny Damon went yard as well.
CC Sabathia pitched eight solid innings for his third win of the postseason. The Yankees trailed early in Game Five, but a comeback in the seventh inning with six runs gave the Yanks a two-run lead.
But a bullpen blowup in the seventh prevented the Yanks from winning Game Five and forced a Game Six. Andy Pettitte gave another outstanding pitching performance, and Johnny Damon had a two-run single in the 4th, which propelled the Yankees to a 5-2 win and a trip to the World Series, their first since '03.
In a World Series that feature great pitchers and Cy Young winners, the offenses really dictated the pace of this series.
Two of the biggest sluggers, Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira, were hitting in the low .100s. The Yankees, despite being homer-happy in the regular season, had just six HR in the World Series, three of them coming from MVP Hideki Matsui.
Alex Rodriguez can now say he has his ring, along with all the big-name free agents that signed on. Andy Pettitte had two wins, Rivera had two saves, and he and three other relievers combined for 0.00 ERA in 12.1 innings.
Of course, my personal favorite, but I just couldn't put them at No. 1, no matter how hard I tried. But, honestly, this was probably the second best story of the decade for a champion.
Here's a team that went 88 years without a championship. The last time they won it was in 1917. The last time they played in a World Series? 1959, losing 4-2 against the L.A Dodgers.
Their offseason consisted of losing their two best offensive players and getting a speedy leadoff man. Their season started out fantastic—the team held a lead in its first 37 games, a Major League record.
Scott Podsednik, who was acquired for slugger Carlos Lee, was the major catalyst for the White Sox offense. Ozzie Guillen described his team as a bunch of "grinders"—guys that just go out and play everyday.
They also held a 15 game lead at the beginning of August and saw it dwindle to one-and-a-half games in the middle of September, but Joe Crede's walk-off home run on Sept. 20 gave the Sox a second chance.
The Sox would end the regular season 8-4, winning the AL Central wire-to-wire with a record of 99-63.
The White Sox hosted the defending champion Red Sox in the ALCS. In Game 1, the White Sox brought out the whooping sticks. Chicago demolished them 14-2 in Game 1, with HR by Paul Konerko, Juan Uribe, A.J Pierzynski, with two, and Scott Podsednik, who had not hit a HR all season in 568 plate appearances.
In Game Two, the BoSox jumped to a 4-0 lead early. However, in the bottom of the 5th, former White Sox Tony Graffanino and David Wells coughed up the lead, and Tadahito Iguchi hit a three-run bomb to take a 5-4 lead and send the White Sox to Boston up 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Red Sox trailed 4-3 and had the bases loaded with nobody out. Ozzie Guillen brought in postseason reliever and veteran Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. El Duque forced 2 popouts and a 3-2 strikeout to get out of the jam.
With an insurance run in the ninth, Bobby Jenks pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to win the ALCS.
The White Sox hosted the L.A. Angels in the ALCS. The Sox wasted a great pitching performance from Jose Contreras and lost 3-2. In Game 2, Mark Buehrle pitched the full nine innings and left with a 1-1 tie.
On another bizarre play, A.J. Pierzynski swung at a low 3-2 pitch for strike three to end the inning. However, convinced the ball bounced on the ground, Pierzynski took off for first and is aboard after a dropped third strike.
After initially signaling Pierzynski out, the home plate umpire said the ball hit the dirt and it was a drop. Instant replay could not confirm nor deny it.
Pinch runner Pablo Ozuna ran for A.J. and immediately stole second. Joe Crede hit a liner to the corner in left field, and the White Sox won 2-1 and evened up the series.
When the Sox left for Anaheim, little did they know that one of the greatest pitching performances in playoff history was about to happen. Paul Konerko hit two HR in the next two games, the White Sox got three more complete game victories, and it sent them to the World Series.
They pitched four straight complete games, the first to do so since the 1956 Yankees. In total, White Sox starters pitched 44.1 of the 45 innings from the ALCS.
The White Sox ended up meeting with the Houston Astros, who were playing in their first World Series in team history.
The White Sox hosted Game One and went right after Roger Clemens. Joe Crede's HR broke the tie and Podsednik added an RBI triple in the 8th.
Bobby Jenks made a dramatic four-out, three-strikeout save to put the Sox up 1-0.
Game Two was another slugfest.
Paul Konerko's grand slam put the Sox up 6-4, but a blown save in the ninth by Jenks tied the game back up. He was bailed out by Scott Podsednik, who hit his second HR of the postseason in walk-off fashion to send the Sox to Houston up 2-0.
The Sox battled back in Game Three with a five-run fifth inning. However, the Astros tied the game back up at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth.
Another run wouldn't be scored until the 14th inning, when Geoff Blum—picked up in a minor deadline trade—sent a screaming liner down the right field line, over the fence for a home run. The Sox added another, and Mark Buehrle came in to record the save as the Sox won 7-5 in 14 innings and had a 3-0 lead.
Game Four was all about who would crack first. The pitching matchup between Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe was electrifying. Neither pitcher budged. The two combined for 14 innings, nine hits, three walks—all by Garcia, and 14 K's.
The top of the ninth started with Willie Harris singling, then Scott Podsednik bunting him over. Then he advanced to third on Carl Everett's ground out.
The stage was set for Jermaine Dye, who roped a single up the middle to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Bobbie Jenks came on to finish the ninth, and gave up a leadoff single to Jason Lane.
Brad Ausmus bunted him over, and the next two plays may be the best defensive plays in World Series history. Chris Burke hit a pop foul by third base. Juan Uribe, the SS, ran all the way over, leaned three rows over, and made the catch.
The next play, the speedy Orlando Palmeiro hit a chopper over Jenks' head. Uribe gloved it and threw as quickly as he could and made a spectacular play.
The White Sox won the game and the World Series for the first time in 88 years. It was truly magical and one of the best moments in Chicago sports history.
The only choice left...and it was the best. In case you hadn't known, the Red Sox had been cursed ever since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
It had been 86 years since they last won a World Series, and they had been so close before (remember Bill Buckner?)
The Red Sox finished second behind the Yankees in the East with a 98-64 record, which is incredible to have and NOT win your division.
Manny and Big Papi were the sluggers, and Pedro, Schilling, Lowe, and Wakefield were the pitchers.
Boston drew Anaheim in the ALDS and took care of business against the Angels, sweeping them in three games. Manny and Big Papi combined for 11 RBI.
The Sox were matched up with the Yankees, the team who won the East that year with a 101-61 record. The ALCS went as expected for the Yankees, winning the first two at home. Game three was when everything was falling into place for the Yankees.
Tied 6-6 after three innings, the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 13-2 in route to winning 19-8. Down 3-0 to the mighty Yankees, a comeback seemed almost impossible...right?
Boston was fighting and scrapping again in Game Four, when it trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth against one of the best closers ever.
After a walk and stolen base, Bill Mueller singled home the tying run and kept the Sox's hopes alive. It wasn't until the 12th when magic really struck. After a Manny single, Big Papi drove a 2-1 pitch out of the park to give Boston a win—and a second life.
The drama of Game Four ran to Game Five. Big Papi's solo HR and Varitek's sac fly tied the game up in the bottom of the eighth to 4-4.
The score would remain that way until the bottom of the 14th, when David Ortiz's line drive single brought home Johnny Damon to win Game Five and send the series back to New York.
Game 6 was known more for the bloody sock of Curt Schilling than anything else. Coming back from ankle surgery and wanting to win another World Series, Schilling pitched a gutsy seven innings and got a three-run HR from Mark Bellhorn. The ALCS was all of a sudden tied up at 3-3.
In Game Seven, what was going to happen now?
Derek Lowe came in and took care of business, and Johnny Damon hit two HR and drove in six—from the lead-off spot.
The Yankees blew the biggest lead and could not hold on for dear life. The Red Sox, by some divine miracle, were heading to the World Series.
After conquering New York, who knew if St. Louis would be a challenge? The Red Sox busted out the big bats in Game One, as did St. Louis, as it ended in a 11-9 win for Boston.
Game Two was more civil, except for Curt Schilling continuing to pitch amazing, with the Red Sox winning 6-2.
Schilling pitched six innings and struck out four.
Pedro's turn to dominate the Cardinals was up, and he did just that: seven innings of three-hit ball with no runs.
Manny's solo HR in the first got things started, and he added an RBI single in the fifth as the Red Sox won 4-1 and had a commanding 3-0 lead in the World Series.
The question was, "Could Boston hold the lead?" It was Derek Lowe vs. Jason Marquis. It helped that Johnny Damon hit the fourth pitch of the game out of the park and gave the Sox an immediate 1-0 lead.
Trot Nixon's two-run double in the third was all that was needed. Derek Lowe, meanwhile, just had to make enough pitches to make it to the seventh. He gave up three hits, one walk, and four Ks.
Keith Foulke gave up a hit in the ninth, but caught Edgar Renteria's groundball and flipped it to first, and the long-anticipated celebration began.
The Red Sox swept the Cardinals and won for the first time since 1918.
So why did I have the Red Sox ahead of the White Sox?
Well, their wins in the regular season were similar, and they both had curses to get off their backs. But the fact that the Red Sox muscled their way back from 3-0 is what makes them the No. 1 champion of the past decade.