2012 World Series: Ranking MLB's 25 Most Dominant Postseason Teams of All Time

Ely Sussman@@MrElyminatorCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2012

2012 World Series: Ranking MLB's 25 Most Dominant Postseason Teams of All Time

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    Clinching the 2012 World Series has made the San Francisco Giants MLB's latest champion. They hardly compare, however, to the most dominant postseason teams of all time.

    The sport has experimented with several postseason formats through the years, yet winners continue to find ways to belittle their formidable competition.

    October's finest prove their superiority in the following ways:

    — amazing individual performances

    — leading early and often

    — sizable margins of victory

    — excellent win-loss record

    These rankings reveal which teams did it most convincingly.

25. 1960 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 3-4

    Let's begin with the exception—the lone "dominant" team to end its title quest in disappointment.

    Despite outscoring the Pittsburgh Pirates, 55-27, and thrice driving in double-digit runs, the New York Yankees fell in seven games. Bill Mazeroski ushered in the offseason with a series-ending walk-off homer.

    N.Y.'s Bobby Richardson received MVP honors for his 12 RBI.

24. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Postseason record: 11-6

    Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling couldn't be touched during the 2001 postseason. Appropriately, they shared the Babe Ruth Award that fall.

    The Arizona Diamondbacks put Games 1 and 6 of the World Series out of reach within the first few innings. But otherwise, there were plenty of nail-biters in their matchup against the Yankees, including Luis Gonzalez's series-winning RBI single in the ninth inning of Game 7. 

23. 2012 San Francisco Giants

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    Postseason record: 11-5

    The most recent MLB champions overcame daunting deficits in the NLDS and NLCS. But losing control of those series in the first place costs them serious style points.

    Jeremy Affeldt (0.00 ERA, 10 SO), Sergio Romo (4 SV in 10 G) and Ryan Vogelsong (3-0, 1.09 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) excelled throughout the postseason. Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito had shining moments of their own.

    The bats deserve some credit as well. Veteran Marco Scutaro earned NLCS honors with a .500 batting average. World Series hero Pablo Sandoval went deep in three straight plate appearances to give the Giants a Game 1 advantage.

    Nearly half of San Francisco's 11 victories were by five runs or more.

22. 1929 Philadelphia Athletics

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    Postseason record: 4-1

    Philadelphia Athletics pitchers struck out more than a batter per inning during the five games. Relievers Lefty Grove (6.1 IP, 0 R, 10 SO) and Rube Walberg (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.47 WHIP) were both tremendous.

    Future Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx went deep two times and maintained a 1.081 OPS in his first postseason appearance.

21. 2002 Anaheim Angels

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    Postseason record: 11-5

    A 20-year-old Francisco Rodriguez tallied 28 strikeouts (11 G)—the most all time for a relief pitcher in the postseason. Troy Percival was solid as well with seven saves.

    The other Anaheim Angels stars were all batters. Troy Glaus, for example, mashed seven home runs during the World Series run.

    These Halos have the distinction of being the only team to ever score 100-plus runs in the playoffs.

20. 1961 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 4-1

    Sluggers Roger Maris (.105/.261/.316) and Mickey Mantle (.167/.167/.167) were practically invisible, but their New York Yankees teammates picked up the slack. They put the Fall Classic out of reach with 20 total runs in Games 4 and 5.

    Whitey Ford (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 1 CG) took home the Series MVP hardware.

19. 1950 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    The New York Yankees swept the World Series despite an anemic offensive effort (team triple-slash line of .222/.295/.304). They failed to score more than five runs in any game and twice sealed victories in the ninth inning or later.

    Also, the NL pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies weren't at full strength. No. 2 starter Curt Simmons had been called to military duty the month before, and ace Robin Roberts constantly pitched on short rest down the stretch.

18. 1984 Detroit Tigers

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    Postseason record: 7-1

    The Detroit Tigers led for nearly every moment of the 1984 ALCS, and they controlled the San Diego Padres throughout the Fall Classic as well.

    Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell each hit three home runs apiece.

17. 1907 Chicago Cubs

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    Ninth-inning heroics from Frank Schulte forced Game 1 into extra innings, where it ended in a tie.

    Chicago Cubs pitching took over from there, limiting the Detroit Tigers to three total runs in four Cubs victories.

16. 1938 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    New York Yankees right-hander Red Ruffing had two complete games and even drove home a teammate with a base hit.

    The Chicago Cubs sent Dizzy Dean to the mound for Game 2. In an injury-shortened season, he had stifled the National League with finesse (7-1, 1.81 ERA, 0.95 WHIP). But Dean's tricks didn't fool the Yankees. Though he lasted into the ninth inning, Dean surrendered six runs.

15. 1990 Cincinnati Reds

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    Postseason record: 8-2

    Oakland Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley surrendered only five earned runs in 1990 en route to setting the all-time record for lowest single-season ERA.

    That didn't intimidate these Cincinnati Reds. They broke through against him in Game 2 to take a commanding 2-0 World Series lead.

    Cincy's bullpen guided the club through two playoff rounds. Six relievers were Eckersley-esque, dominant in 23 combined appearances (0.29 ERA, 33 SO in 31.1 IP).

14. 1954 New York Giants

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    Pitching led the New York Giants to a championship. Their arms left the 111-win Cleveland Indians completely impotent.

    Pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes also had a huge impact (2 HR, 7 RBI in 6 AB).

    Game 1 could've gone either way, as the teams remained tied for much of the evening. Willie Mays' iconic catch kept the score even until Rhodes delivered the walk-off blow in extra frames.

13. 2010 San Francisco Giants

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    Postseason record: 11-4

    Matt Cain (3 GS, 0 ER), Tim Lincecum (4-1, 2.43 ERA, 43 SO) and Cody Ross (5 HR, 10 RBI, 1.076 OPS) starred for the San Francisco Giants. And Brian Wilson's beard became more marketable than most MLB players, as he saved six postseason games and made 10 scoreless appearances overall.

    The Giants never fell behind in any of their three series.

    They convincingly outscored the Texas Rangers 29-12 to clinch the 2010 championship—the franchise's first since moving west.

12. 1932 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    An offensive barrage of eight homers and 37 total runs propelled the New York Yankees to a sweep. Each of their starting position players contributed at least one extra-base hit.

    It all became too easy, and in Game 3, Babe Ruth allegedly called his own solo blast.

11. 2007 Boston Red Sox

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    Postseason record: 11-3

    The Boston Red Sox had their backs against the wall in the American League Championship Series, trailing 3-1.

    However, Josh Beckett righted the ship with eight innings of one-run ball. From then on, Boston obliterated its opponents, 59-15.

    Beckett's 1.20 ERA and 0.70 WHIP rank among the best ever for pitchers with four-plus starts in a single postseason. Mike Lowell (.353/.410/.608 with 15 RBI) and David Ortiz (.370/.508/.696 with 10 RBI) also enjoyed off-the-charts success.

10. 1914 Boston Braves

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    Without any context, Boston's 1.15 ERA in the World Series seems impressive.

    But realize that the Philadelphia Athletics were Major League Baseball's offensive juggernaut in 1914. They had scored 749 runs in a season where the next-best AL club brought home 615!

    In this matchup, league MVP Eddie Collins batted just .214. He'd posted a .344 average during the season.

9. 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    Los Angeles Dodgers starters pitched all but two outs of these four games. An experienced New York Yankees lineup looked sluggish against them with a .207 OBP.

    Also, this is the only instance of World Series legend Whitey Ford losing twice in the same postseason. John Roseboro and Frank Howard took him deep in Games 1 and 4, respectively.

8. 1969 New York Mets

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    Postseason record: 7-1

    The 1969 "Miracle Mets" pounded out 27 runs and 37 hits in an NLCS sweep of the Atlanta Braves.

    But their greatest feat was out-playing the Baltimore Orioles with the world title up for grabs.

    Consider that the O's had set a divisional-era record with 109 regular season wins. Their lineup, which entered these playoffs as baseball's strongest, mustered a mere 23 hits in five World Series games (.146 AVG).

7. 1976 Cincinnati Reds

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    Postseason record: 7-0

    The Cincinnati Reds scored in bunches. In six of seven games, the offense turned deficits into leads or slim advantages into sizable ones with three-run innings.

    Catcher Johnny Bench awoke in October following a forgettable regular season. He batted in five runs during the World Series finale and slugged a robust .926 through the two rounds.

6. 1998 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 11-2

    Third baseman Scott Brosius capped off his epic comeback year with four home runs and 15 RBI in the 1998 postseason. In 11 short months, he had transformed from a "player to be named later" to World Series MVP.

    The New York Yankees started out strong as winners of their first four playoff games. Following two straight ALCS defeats, they rode a seven-game streak all the way to immortality.

    New York's pitchers set a Division Series record that still stands by limiting the Texas Rangers to one run.

5. 1905 New York Giants

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    Postseason record: 4-1

    Christy Mathewson overwhelmed the Philadelphia Athletics. He tossed three shutouts, including a series-clinching five-hitter on one days' rest!

    No player on the A's totaled more than one extra-base hit in this matchup. The team's triple-slash line? An abysmal .155/.186/.187.

4. 1999 New York Yankees

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    Postseason record: 11-1

    Aside from a mid-October blowout at Fenway Park, the New York Yankees were flawless.

    Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton formed a steady bridge to Mariano Rivera. "The Sandman" sealed nine of the postseason victories.

    Derek Jeter's .375 batting average in 1999 remains his best throughout any multi-round playoff run.

3. 1989 Oakland Athletics

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    Postseason record: 8-1

    The Oakland Athletics flaunted their power and speed in nine postseason games (16 HR, 17 SB). Rickey Henderson (.441/.568/.941 with 3 HR and 11 SB) did much of the heavy lifting on his own.

    An Oct. 17 earthquake didn't break their rhythm. The World Series resumed the following week, and the A's scored 22 total runs in Games 3 and 4 to clinch the championship.

2. 2005 Chicago White Sox

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    Postseason record: 11-1

    In this era of excessive bullpen usage, it's rare to see complete games in the postseason. But during the 2005 ALCS, every member of the Chicago White Sox rotation threw one.

    The team suffered a 3-2 loss in Game 1 of the series, despite putting the potential winning run on base in the eighth inning. Chicago came painfully close to an immaculate playoff record.

    Nonetheless, these White Sox joined the 1999 New York Yankees as the only clubs of the wild-card era to go 11-1.

1. 1966 Baltimore Orioles

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    Postseason record: 4-0

    Dave McNally allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to score in the 1966 World Series. That alone made him the weak link on Baltimore's pitching staff, which tossed three consecutive shutouts following his "sloppy" three-hitter.

    Series MVP Frank Robinson single-handedly drove in more runs than the National League enemy.

    The O's defeated future Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax three times combined. Prior to this, the two had combined for as many losses in their entire postseason careers.

    Considering what the Baltimore Orioles were up against, their postseason performance ought to go down as the most dominant in MLB history.


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