MLB Power Rankings:The 2011 Phillies and the 10 Biggest Preseason Favorites Ever
Offseason transactions through the history of baseball has often caused a hype for a team's favor before the season even starts.
Sometimes this hype over a team is created by these transactions, and sometimes this hype can come just from the team's performance the year before. Sometime it is the combination of both these factors that lead to a mania in favor of one team winning the World Series. We have seen that beginning this year with the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies who acquired Cliff Lee this offseason.
10. 1988 Oakland Athletics
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The 1988 A's made many transactions in their offseason preceding that season.
With a roster containing names like Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, the As' went 104-58 in 1988, beating the Red Sox in the ALCS but lost to the Dodgers in the World Series in five games.
9. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
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The 1975 Reds went 108-54 in the regular season and won the World Series in seven games over the Boston Red Sox.
The first half of the 1970s was the era where the Reds were known as the Big Red Machine and when the Reds dominated the National League, where they won five NL West Division titles, four NL pennants and two World Series titles.
The 1976 Reds were led by Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan to win the World Series. They were the first, and still only, team to win the playoffs without a loss since the addition of the League Championship Series in 1969.
8. 1970 Baltimore Orioles
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The 1969 Orioles won the American League Championship Series but lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers, even with a record of 109-53.
The 1970 Orioles went to the ALCS again on a 108-54 record and won the World Series. The seasons were supported by one of the best rotations of all time containing players like Jim Palmer.
7. 1965 LA Dodgers
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The Dodgers, during the 1960s, saw some of the best pitchers known to baseball, while ranking among the top five rotations of all time led by Sandy Koufax. In the 1965 season, the Dodgers went 97-65, winning the World Series against the Minnesota Twins.
6. 1967 St. Louis Cardinals
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Although the 1966 Cardinals suffered from a poor season, finishing just above .500 at 83-79 games, they were a favorite for the 1967 World Series.
In the offseason, the Cardinals had acquired Roger Maris, and the team had the likes of Steve Carlton to help them go 101-61 in the 1967 season and win the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in seven games.
5. 2011 Philadelphia Phillies
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In the 2009-2010 offseason, the Phillies traded Cliff Lee to Seattle and got Roy Halladay from Toronto.
A lot of people in Philadelphia were very unhappy about getting rid of Lee, so the Phillies signed Roy Oswalt in a July trade with the Houston Astros. With Halladay, Oswalt and Cole Hamels leading their rotation, the Phillies were the best team in the regular season with a record of 97-65.
During this offseason, the Phillies reacquired Cliff Lee from free agency. The Phillies now have the best rotation in baseball and a certainly a favorite for the 2011 season.
4. 1996 Atlanta Braves
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The 1995 Atlanta Braves won the World Series and awarded Greg Maddux his fourth straight Cy Young Award.
This was the first year of eleven straight NL East titles for the Braves. The Braves had the best pitching rotation of their time and is ranked among the top five pitching rotations in baseball history.
Although the Braves won eleven straight NL East Titles, 1995 was the only season they also won the World Series.
3. 1999 New York Yankees
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The 1998 Yankees set a record that stood until 2001—the number of wins by an American League team.
The Yankees had a record of 114-48 in 1998. During the offseason, the Yankees acquired Roger Clemens, making them a definite favorite for the World Series in the 1999 season. Although their season only led to a record of 98-64, they did end up beating the Atlanta Braves in the World Series that year.
2. 1951 New York Yankees
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The 1950 Yankees won the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in four games.
They had a record of 98-56 in 1951 and had some of the best known names in baseball, including Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
The Yankees were a definite favorite following the 1950 World Series win, winning against the New York Giants in six games.
1. 1928 New York Yankees
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Following the 1927 Murderer's Row season, where the Yankees went 110-44, they were greatly favored to win the World Series in 1928, which they did do against the St. Louis Cardinals. The 1928 Yankees went 101-53 before sweeping the Cardinals. Nine of the players on the 1928 team were inducted into the Hall of Fame.