MLB History

MLB Power Rankings: Ranking the 1927 Yankees and Every Franchise's Best Team

Jeffrey BeckmannCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: Ranking the 1927 Yankees and Every Franchise's Best Team

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    25 Oct 1993: Joe Carter is held aloft after hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series, four games to two, against the Philadelphia Phillies.
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    MLB has had many great teams throughout its storied history, with each individual franchise finding some level of success along the way.

    The first thing I had to do was find the best team in each individual franchise's history—which was a daunting task, to say the least.

    I did not judge solely on winning a World Series or having the best record. When you have a 162-game season and the World Series boils down to seven games, obviously the best team doesn't always win. Just ask the Florida Marlins.

    After determining the greatest teams in each respective franchise, I tried my best to rank them against one another. Another tough task, but I think the results turned out pretty well.

    Enjoy! 

30. 1995 Colorado Rockies

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    Season Record: 77-67 (Lost in Wild Card round)

    Notable Players: Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, Andres Galarraga, Eric Young

    It was pretty much a toss up between the Rockies teams of 1995, 2007 and 2009, but a lack of pitching is the only thing that separated the 1995 Colorado Rockies from a World Series title.

    Four Rockies sluggers each hit 30-plus homers—combining for 139 HR with 425 RBI.

    In the franchise's first ever playoff appearance, they were taken out in five games by the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves

29. 1979 Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos)

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    Season Record: 95-65 (Missed Playoffs)

    Notable Players: Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Larry Parrish, Steve Rogers, Tony Perez

    The late-70s and early-80s were the glory days for the Montreal Expos, with Andre "The Hawk" Dawson and Gary "Kid" Carter leading the way.

    While Dawson was the team's best player, Larry Parrish led the Expos in both home runs and batting average. It was a very young team that benefited largely from the veteran presence of Tony Perez.

    Even though the Expos missed the playoffs in 1979, this was still the best season in the franchise's history. Their only playoff appearance was during the shortened 1981 season, and even that team didn't have as much talent as the 1979 squad.

28. 1998 San Diego Padres

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    Season Record: 98-64 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Tony Gwynn, Greg Vaughn, Kevin Brown, Andy Ashby, Trevor Hoffman

    The San Diego Padres were top-heavy with both batting and pitching, but they were efficient enough to ensure "Hell's Bells" was played frequently throughout the season.

    Greg Vaughn hit 50 HR while Tony Gwynn had the usual .321 batting average to lead the Padres on offense.

    Kevin Brown was in the league's top five in every pitching category and Trevor Hoffman had a career-high 53 saves.

    After taking down the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, the Padres were swept by the New York Yankees in the World Series. 

27. 1997 Florida Marlins

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    Season Record: 92-70 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, Rob Nen

    While comparable in every fashion, I had to give the edge to the 1997 Marlins over the 2003 squad.

    It's amazing how the Marlins franchise has been able to throw teams together—winning two World Series in their first 11 seasons as an organization. Of course, on both occasions the team was ripped apart immediately after the season

    The 1997 squad also included guys like Edgar Renteria, Luis Castillo, Devon White and Charles Johnson along with pitchers Livan Hernandez and Al Leiter.

    After knocking out the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves, the Marlins had a showdown with the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. The Marlins won in seven games—with Livan Hernandez going 2-0 and winning the MVP.

26. 2008 Tampa Bay Rays

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    Season Record: 97-65 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, James Shields, Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton

    In one of the most surprising seasons in MLB history, the Tampa Bay Rays went from 66 wins in 2007 all the way to 97 wins and an AL East title in 2008.

    The Rays literally came out of nowhere to dethrone the Yankees and Red Sox atop the AL East—led by AL Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria. 

    The Rays put up a lot of runs and got consistent pitching out of James Shields, Scott Kazmir and Matt Garza along the way.

    After taking down the White Sox in the ALDS, the Rays pulled out a victory in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Red Sox to head to their first World Series in franchise history.

    Although the Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games to end their season without a title, they have proven in years since that the 2008 season was no fluke.

25. 1999 Texas Rangers

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    Season Record: 95-67 (Lost in ALDS)

    Notable Players: Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Rusty Greer, Lee Stevens

    The 1999 Texas Rangers were built on one thing and one thing only—offense.

    The Rangers had six players hit 20 HR or more while five players had at least 98 RBI. They were led by a 47 HR, 147 RBI season from Rafael Palmeiro and an AL MVP season from Ivan Rodriguez.

    Aaron Sele had the lowest ERA among their starting pitchers at a paltry 4.79—proving just how good their offense was. 

    The Yankees easily swept the Rangers in the ALDS, allowing Texas to score only one run total in the three games—showing once again that offense will win you games but pitching will win you championships. 

24. 1991 Minnesota Twins

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    Season Record: 95-67 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Kirby Puckett, Kent Krbek, Chuck Knoblach, Jack Morris, Kevin Tapani

    Four seasons removed from a World Series win in 1987, the Twins came back with more experience and some new young studs to capture another title during the 1991 season.

    The Twins were by no means an entertaining team, but they were a very good team that played efficient baseball and received contributions from everyone.

    Chili Davis led the team in homers with 29, while four other players had between 10 and 20, and no player had more than 93 RBI.

    Jack Morris, Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson anchored the rotation by going 54-29, while all had sub-3.50 ERAs.

    The Twins beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series in what has been dubbed one of the greatest of all time—where the home team won all seven games with five of them being decided by one run and three going into extra innings.

23. 1985 Kansas City Royals

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    Season Record: 91-71 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Frank White, Steve Balboni, Charlie Leibrandt

    While the 1977 Royals team won 102 games, they didn't have the same level of talent as the 1985 World Series championship team.

    Bret Saberhagen went 20-6 en route to the AL Cy Young award and George Brett put up an MVP-caliber season as the Royals were determined to finally get their first World Series title.

    After falling behind to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in the ALCS, the Royals won three straight to set up a meeting with the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

    The Royals again fell behind 3-1 before rallying off three straight victories to secure the championship.

22. 1968 Detroit Tigers

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    Season Record: 103-59 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Willie Horton, Al Kaline, Denny McLain, Norm Cash, Bill Freehan

    While I could have gone with the 1909 or 1934 Tigers as well, at least to me, the 1968 squad seemed to be more dominant with much more depth.

    1968 has long been dubbed the "Year of the Pitcher," and it was fitting that the eventual World Series champions had the AL MVP and Cy Young winner in Denny McLain.

    McLain went 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA to run away with the award that season and the Tigers had one of the most well-rounded lineups in MLB history. They certainly weren't the flashiest of teams, but everyone in the lineup was consistent.

    The Tigers eventually took down Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh game of the World Series.

21. 1998 Houston Astros

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    Season Record: 102-60 (Lost in NLDS)

    Notable Players: Randy Johnson, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Moises Alou, Shane Reynolds

    The Houston Astros set their club-record for wins in 1998 while capturing their second straight NL Central division crown.

    The Astros were bolstered by the addition of Randy Johnson—acquired from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline—who went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA down the stretch.

    Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou combined for 72 HR while Craig Biggio and Derek Bell each garnered 20-plus of their own.

    The Astros fell apart in the playoffs—losing to the San Diego Padres in four games in the NLDS.

20. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Season Record: 92-70 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders

    The Arizona Diamondbacks had a dominant pitching staff in 2001 led by Schilling and Johnson—who combined to go 43-12 with an absurd 665 strikeouts. 

    The D-Backs didn't lack for power, either, as Gonzalez and Sanders combined for 90 HR and 232 RBI that season to bolster the offense.

    After taking a 2-0 lead in the World Series over the New York Yankees, the Yanks' stormed back to take a 3-2 series lead. After forcing a seventh game, the D-Backs scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth off of Mariano Rivera to win their first World Series in franchise history.

19. 1982 Milwaukee Brewers

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    Season Record: 95-67 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Cecil Cooper, Rollie Fingers, Gorman Thomas

    The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers made it to their first and only World Series in the franchise's history.

    Robin Yount was named the AL MVP after slugging 29 HR and becoming the first shortstop in MLB history to lead the league in slugging percentage. Three other players slugged 30-plus HR for the Brewers, who earned the nickname "Harvey's Wallbanger's" (named after manager Harvey Kuenn).

    The Brewers climbed out of an 0-2 deficit to beat the California Angels in the ALCS before falling in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

18. 1993 Toronto Blue Jays

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    Season Record: 95-67 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Joe Carter, John Olerud, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Pat Hentgen

    The 1993 team got the nod over the 1992 champs due to superior pitching and a slew a veterans who came to Toronto that season.

    The Blue Jays added Paul Molitor and Rickey Henderson to the mix on offense after winning the World Series the year before.

    They also had Pat Hentgen and Juan Guzman to anchor the front end of the rotation in 1993, which also included Jack Morris and Dave Stewart.

    The Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS before playing the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. In one of the most dramatic endings in MLB history, Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 to win the World Series.

17. 2001 Seattle Mariners

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    Season Record: 116-46 (Lost in ALCS)

    Notable Players: Ichiro Suzuki, Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez, Freddie Garcia, John Olerud

    When you look at the roster of the 2001 Seattle Mariners—who set the AL record for most victories in a season—you can't help but wonder how they accomplished the feat.

    Bret Boone led the way on offense with 37 HR and 141 RBI while Ichiro won the Rookie of the Year and AL MVP awards. 

    Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Jamie Moyer and Paul Abbot combined to go 70-21 in a season which, in hindsight, appears that every player on the team (aside from Ichiro) had the best seasons of their careers.

    After defeating the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, the Mariners were beat in five games in the ALCS versus the Yankees.

16. 1982 Los Angeles (California) Angels

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    Season Record: 93-69 (Lost in ALCS)

    Notable Players: Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Fred Lynn, Don Baylor, Mike Witt

    With all due respect to the 2002 Angels championship team, the 1982 California Angels were by far the best team in franchise history.

    Fresh off of signing Reggie Jackson as a free agent—who would lead the league in home runs in 1982—the Angels had an absolutely dominant lineup.

    The Angels had six players hit at least 19 home runs—including Brian Downing and Doug DeCinces combining for 58.

    After taking a 2-0 lead in the ALCS over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Angels pitching fell apart and they lost the next three games to end their season prematurely.

15. 1986 New York Mets

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    Season Record: 108-54 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Keith Hernandez, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Ron Darling

    The New York Mets opened the 1986 season with very high expectations. It's safe to say that after winning a club-record 108 games and winning the World Series, they easily met those expectations.

    The Mets could hit for average, hit for power and they had speed—making the team very versatile. They also had three top pitchers at the front end of their rotation with Gooden, Darling and Sid Fernandez.

    They would end up facing a great Boston Red Sox team in the World Series, and were quickly in an 0-2 hole. Later in Game 6—down 3-2 in the series—they were down two runs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning and no one on base. They scored three runs to win the game, and eventually downed the Red Sox to win their second World Series title in team history.

14. 1957 Atlanta (Milwaukee) Braves

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    Season Record: 95-59 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Wes Covington

    As much as I wanted to go with one of the Braves teams of the mid-90s, how could I not take the team with Aaron, Mathews and Spahn?

    The great Hank Aaron was the NL MVP that season—hitting 44 HR with 132 RBI. Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn also became the first left-hander to win the Cy Young award that season after going 21-11 with a 2.69 ERA.

    The Braves beat the Yankees in seven games in the World Series, where Lew Burdette won three games and was named MVP.

     

    (Fun Fact: The winning players' share for the 1957 World Series was $8,924.) 

13. 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

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    Season Record: TBD

    Notable Players: Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt

    The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies are absolutely loaded.

    They have arguably the best four-man pitching rotation in MLB history—two of which have Cy Young Awards on the mantle while the other two have come close to getting one themselves.

    The Phillies also have two former MVP winners in Howard and Jimmy Rollins. From top to bottom and inside to outside, the 2011 Phillies have a chance to go down as one of the best teams in the history of MLB.

    It appears at this point that injuries are the only thing that could slow them down. Yet, if I were a betting man, I would bet my mortgage that we will be seeing the Phillies in the World Series this season. 

12. 1986 Boston Red Sox

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    Season Record: 95-66 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Don Baylor, Bill Buckner

    The 1986 Boston Red Sox were a team built to win—they had pitching, they had power and they had depth. The 2004 Red Sox were great, but man for man they didn't compare to the 1986 squad.

    A 23-year-old Roger Clemens put together one of the most dominant single-season pitching performances—going 24-4 en route to winning both the AL MVP and AL Cy Young awards—while a 41-year-old Tom Seaver anchored the back end of the rotation.

    After getting by the California Angels in the ALCS, the Red Sox fell to the New York Mets in seven games to lose the World Series. It was the series where the "Curse of the Bambino" led to Buckner's dramatic error in Game 6.

11. 1962 San Francisco Giants

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    Season Record: 103-62 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Felipe Alou, Jack Sanford

    The 1962 San Francisco Giants were the greatest team that Willie Mays—the best player in MLB history—ever played for. It was only right to choose this team over the 1905 New York Giants.

    Willie Mays slugged a typical 49 HR that season to go with superb defense in center field.

    The Giants and Dodgers tied for the NL pennant to force a three-game playoff. The Giants ultimately won to earn the right to face the Yankees in the World Series.

    After forcing a seventh game in the World Series, the Giants lost 1-0 thanks to a gem pitched by Ralph Terry and the Yanks'. 

10. 1942 St. Louis Cardinals

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    Season Record: 106-48 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Mort Cooper, Marty Marion, Terry Moore

    The St. Louis Cardinals have had many great teams over the franchise's storied history, but none match the talent of the 1942 squad.

    The greatest Cardinal of all time—Stan Musial—had just turned 21 years old and Enos Slaughter was just reaching his prime while leading the Cards' in every offensive category.

    Mort Cooper won the NL MVP that season after going 22-7 with a 1.78 ERA.

    The Cardinals easily took down the Yankees in five games in the World Series—which was the first of three championships in the next five years.

9. 1955 Los Angeles (Brooklyn) Dodgers

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    Season Record: 98-55 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe

    Many will argue that the Sandy Koufax-Don Drysdale team of 1966 is the best in franchise history, but I tend to disagree. While they had two of the best pitchers in MLB history, they didn't have any great hitters and the weight was solely on their shoulders.

    The 1955 squad finally won the first World Series in team history and were absolutely loaded. You can't argue against the likes of Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Jackie Robinson. Sandy Koufak was actually on the team that year as well, he just wasn't the stud he was 11 years later.

    Duke Snider won the TSN Player of the Year award while Roy Campanella was the NL MVP before the Dodgers beat Whitey Ford and the New York Yankees in seven games to win their first World Series.

8. 1919 Chicago White (Black) Sox

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    Season Record: 88-62 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Joe Jackson, Eddie Collins, Buck Weaver, Red Faber, Eddie Cicotte

    The 1919 Chicago White Sox could have gone down as one of the best teams in MLB history—instead setting the franchise back years after it was discovered that some of the players intentionally threw the World Series.

    The 1919 team—who scored the most runs in MLB—became known as the "Black Sox" from that point on, and the eight players involved were banned from playing in MLB ever again.

    Some of the the best players to ever play the game were involved in the scandal. The events were eventually captured and made into a movie titled Eight Men Out—recently being ranked fourth on The 25 Best Baseball Movies of All Time. 

7. 1995 Cleveland Indians

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    Season Record: 100-44 (Lost in World Series)

    Notable Players: Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Orel Hershiser, Jim Thome, Eddie Murray

    On paper, the 1995 Cleveland Indians were one of the best offensive teams in MLB history. They were truly dominant.

    Five Indians players hit 20-plus home runs that season while six batted over .300. Hershiser, Charles Nagy and Dennis Martinez carried the pitching staff, combining to go 44-17. 

    Other notable players on the roster were Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel.

    The 1995 Indians—who had six All-Stars—won their division by 30 games and ran through the playoffs before falling to the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

6. 1976 Cincinnati Reds

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    Season Record: 102-60 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, George Foster, Tony Perez

    While the 1976 Cincinnati Reds had good enough pitching to keep them in games, it was a team better known for a stacked lineup from top to bottom.

    Pete Rose won the Roberto Clemente Award that season (ironic?) and the Reds had five position players start in the All-Star game.

    "The Big Red Machine" dominated everyone in their sites en route to their second straight World Series title—becoming the first team in MLB history to not lose a game in the playoffs.

5. 1907 Chicago Cubs

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    Season Record: 107-45 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Jimmy Sheckard, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers

    The 1907 season was the first of back-to-back World Series titles for the Chicago Cubs—the last time the franchise has won the World Series.

    The Cubs pitching was dominant throughout the entire season, where they eventually met batting champion Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

    The pitchers held Cobb in check—outscoring the Tigers 16-3 in a four-game sweep after the first game was called at 3-3 after 12 innings.

     

    (Fun Fact: The average attendance over the four games was a mere 15,614.)

4. 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Season Record: 103-36 (Won NL Pennant)

    Notable Players: Honus Wagner, Tommy Leach, Jack Chesbro, Deacon Phillipe, Ginger Beaumont

    The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates may be one of the most overlooked teams in professional sports history, simply because today's generations will look solely for the World Series stitching to determine who the best team was.

    Unfortunately for the Pirates, the World Series began in 1903. That means in 1902 there was only the NL pennant—which the Pirates won by an astounding 27.5 games.

    Honus Wagner—one of baseball's all-time greats—led the charge for the Pirates with a .330 batting average and 91 RBI.

    Jack Chesbro, Deacon Phillipe and Jesse Tannehill combined to go 68-21, while the highest ERA of the bunch was 2.17.

    This team was truly dominant, and it's time we stop overlooking their greatness. 

3. 1970 Baltimore Orioles

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    Season Record: 108-54 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Paul Blair

    The Baltimore Orioles lost to the New York Mets in the 1969 World Series before coming back in 1970 with a vengeance. 

    Boog Powell was their big offensive threat that season with 35 HR, but the real story was the Orioles pitching.

    Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Mark Cueller combined to win 68 games in one of the most dominant team pitching performances in MLB history.

    Baltimore won their division by 15 games before going 7-1 in the playoffs to secure the franchise's second World Series championship.

2. 1929 Oakland (Philadelphia) Athletics

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    Season Record: 104-46 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Lefty Grove, Al Simmons, George Earnshaw

    The Philadelphia Athletics of the late 1920s are often overlooked due to the New York Yankees teams of the era—who they lost the pennant to in both 1927 and 1928.

    During the 1929 season, a 21-year-old Jimmie Foxx slugged 33 HR while Al Simmons hit 34 HR of his own. The Athletics also had two other offensive contributors in Jimmy Dykes and Mule Haas

    Lefty Grove went 20-6 to anchor a strong starting rotation and also led the league in strikeouts.

    After winning the pennant by 18 games, the Athletics rolled over the Chicago Cubs in the World Series to secure the title.

1. 1927 New York Yankees

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    Season Record: 110-44 (World Series Champions)

    Notable Players: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Waite Hoyt, Tony Lazzeri, Bob Meusal, Earl Combs

    The 1927 New York Yankees weren't nicknamed "Murderer's Row" for nothing. These Yankees formed, without a doubt, the greatest team in the history of MLB.

    With credit also going to the 1998 New York Yankees team—who themselves formed one of baseball's greatest teams of all time. In the end, there is just no comparison to Murderer's Row.

    Lou Gehrig won the AL MVP award that season with 47 HR and 175 RBI—although it should have gone to Ruth, who set the MLB home run record by hitting 60 that season. However, there was still a rule in place preventing it from going to the same player two years in a row.

    The Yanks' easily swept the Pittsburgh Pirates to win their fifth World Series title.

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