The 10 Worst MLB Teams Ever to Win the World Series
Let's get something straight: Bad teams do not win the World Series.
This slideshow will take a look at the "worst" teams to ever win a World Series, but that doesn't mean for a second that these are bad teams. It's just not possible.
Baseball's regular season is a long one—162 games. Over that span of time, things have a tendency to straighten themselves out. Fringe teams fizzle out and baseball's good teams compete for the highest honor in the sport.
On the flip side of that token, we also know that the best team does not always win the World Series. In fact, more often than not, the team with the regular season's best record is often left on the outside looking in, leaving the door open for a different team to complete the task.
And that's what this slideshow is really about—teams that we thought had no chance of winning it all, only to go ahead and get the job done. They're the "worst of the best," if you will, but better than almost every team to have ever been assembled.
That's what makes them champions.
10. 2010 San Francisco Giants
If the San Francisco Giants were going to win the World Series in 2010, they were going to do it on the strength of their pitching because there were times during the regular season where they couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag.
But boy, could they pitch. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez gave them a very solid starting rotation and guys like Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla finished the game off out of the bullpen.
The lineup was a different story. Outside of Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff, they struggled, and Bruce Bochy tried just about everything to get that lineup going.
In the end, however, they rode some timely hitting and excellent pitching all the way to the World Series.
9. 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers
Personally, I like the chances of any roster that features names like Duke Snider and Sandy Koufax, but the 1959 version of the Los Angeles Dodgers was a bit of a different story.
Then just 23 years old, Koufax didn't have his best season, but guys like Don Drysdale and Roger Craig helped carry the starting rotation, which featured five very solid members throughout the season.
Would that be enough to hold an average offense together? They certainly were not a consensus pick, especially after we learned that they would face the 94-win Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
But with guys like Snider, Wally Moon and Gil Hodges on board, if this team got hot at the right time, they would be dangers, and they certainly did. They beat the White Sox in six games.
8. 2003 Florida Marlins
It's a crude estimate, but I would say that five players really kept the then-Florida Marlins from flopping around like fish out of water in 2003.
The truth of the matter was that no one was expecting this team to win the World Series. Offensively, they didn't seem to have enough firepower. However, Ivan Rodriguez, Derek Lee and Mike Lowell did their best to make sure they put runs on the board.
But how did they keep them off? They didn't have an abundance of pitching either, but a pair of youngsters in Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett certainly helped.
The rest of the players were just about average. The Marlins got help during the year from a 20-year-old "utility man" by the name of Miguel Cabrera, and Braden Looper had a solid year as the closer.
But World Champions? That was a bit of a stretch and even more of a surprise when it happened.
7. 1987 Minnesota Twins
I hate to call a whole team of baseball players (or any player, for that matter) "gritty," but the 1987 Minnesota Twins were a gritty team.
Just look at some of the players on this roster. The starting rotation was anchored by a pair of workhorses in Bert Blyleven and Frank Viola.
What they really needed to do was find a way to score runs, and a few players stepped up in a big way during the 1987 season. Kent Hrbek had one of the best seasons of his career and paced players like Gary Gaetti, Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky.
At the outset of the season, I wouldn't have given this team much of a chance, but they got hot at the right time and willed their way to a World Series title.
6. 2000 New York Yankees
When you look through the elaborate history of the New York Yankees, you will find that more often than not, when this team wins the World Series, it is because they were a Goliath during the regular season.
The lone exception I found was in 2000.
The new millennium was something of a turning point for the Yankees. They were phasing out some of the heroes of the 1990s and bringing in a new bunch of faces, and yet still managed to win the World Series.
So who were the major players? Well, they were the usual suspects.
The offense was led by Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams. The rest of the cast had a below-average offensive season as a whole.
These Yankees could pitch, though. Guys like Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Orlando Hernandez and Mariano Rivera made sure that the runs they did get counted.
5. 1985 Kansas City Royals
Everyone loves a good comeback, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals are no exception. They took on the 101-win, overpowering St. Louis Cardinals and walked away with a World Series title. So how did they do it?
The Royals were a Cinderella team if there ever was one. They broke spring training leaving pundits wondering whether or not they'd be able to score enough runs, and they barely did.
George Brett was terrific, as usual, but barely had a supporting cast. The only members of that offense to have anything more than an average campaign were Steve Balboni and Hal McRae.
So they were going to need big-time pitching in all of the right moments, and they got it. Charlie Leibrandt was incredible in '85 and supported by Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and electric closer Dan Quisenberry.
4. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
I don't want to call the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks a "fluke" because that wouldn't be fair. This was a roster that had a couple of nice hitters and two of the greatest starting pitchers of all-time. But when you win a postseason game with a walkoff hit against Mariano Rivera...
Anyway, the Diamondbacks certainly weren't a favorite to win the World Series at the outset of the regular season. They could have used a bit more offense and pitching, but in hindsight, that's irrelevant.
The fact of the matter is that this club needed to find a way to get Luis Gonzalez to the plate. He was their best hitter by far, and Mark Grace and Reggie Sanders made it happen.
But if it could get its pitching some run support, this team would win some games. And that's not because it had a deep pitching staff. It's because it had Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, who combined to go 43-12 on the season.
Without those three guys (Gonzalez, Schilling and Johnson), this team would have been dead in the water.
3. 1918 Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox were a very good, very dangerous team during the early 1900s. The 1918 bunch wasn't even the best roster they put on the field during that time and yet managed to win a World Series.
I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "But wait. Wasn't Babe Ruth on that team?"
He sure was. Ruth was still pitching full-time, however. He started 19 games and posted an ERA of 2.22.
In fact, pitching was this team's strength. Guys like Carl Mays, Sad Sam Jones and Bullet Joe Bush made them a force (and gave them some of the best names in all of baseball).
But could they score enough runs to win a World Series? The answer is barely. Harry Hooper was the only player to have a remarkable season offensively, while the rest of the lineup barely made a whimper.
2. 1945 Detroit Tigers
How does a team that, realistically, only had three players on the entire roster have an above-average season wind up winning the World Series?
I mean, let's think about this for a second. When teams win the World Series, it's because they have more than three players that are contributing at a very high level. So when the 1945 Detroit Tigers won the World Series, it was a surprise.
The Tigers' best hitter that season was a switch-hitting outfielder by the name of Roy Cullenbine. Their best pitchers went by the names of Hal Newhouser (who was sensational in '45) and Al Benton.
The rest of this roster was average to well below-average, and on paper, probably wasn't worth much consideration for a World Series title.
I guess luck and getting hot at the right time goes a long way.
1. 2006 St. Louis Cardinals
To this day, it baffles me that a team that won 83 regular season games could win the World Series.
And that's not because I think that regular season wins are all that relevant in the postseason, because they're not. You have to wonder how a team with a record that suggests it should be in third place wins the Fall Classic, though.
For the St. Louis Cardinals, the honest answer is that the rest of the National League Central was putrid. Four of the six clubs finished with records below .500, and the second-place Houston Astros were 82-80.
So now, let the debate begin. Did the Cardinals even deserve to be in the postseason? The answer is probably "yes" considering that the only team while a real gripe would be the Philadelphia Phillies, who won 85 games that year and finished with a better overall record.
OK. So now the question is this: How in the world did they win?
The obvious answer is that they upset the San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers, but you have to tip your cap to manager Tony La Russa too.
He made himself look brilliant by adding a young Adam Wainwright to the bullpen for the postseason, and it gave the Cardinals a deep staff that also included guys like Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan in the rotation and Jason Isringhausen in the bullpen.
But he was going to have to work his magic to coax some run support out of his lineup, and he did. The only players to have above-average seasons were Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen.