World Series 2010: Power Ranking the Worst Teams in Fall Classic History
Making it to the World Series is the goal of every player and team. But not all World Series participants are created equal.
Whether it be a team peaking at just the right time, or simply a down year in the league, there have been plenty of teams in the fall classic that seemingly shouldn't have made it.
So, in light of the underdog Rangers and Giants making the World Series, let's take a look at the worst teams of all time to have played in the World Series.
13. 1998 San Diego Padres
The Padres lost, 4-1, to the Yankees in the Fall Classic.
They had great pitching, led by starter Kevin Brown and closer Trevor Hoffman. But the offense wasn't World Series-worthy.
The lineup featured Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti and nobody else. Carlos Hernandez, anyone?
12. 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers
Kirk Gibson hit his famous home run off Dennis Eckersley, but the team itself was not that great.
Of course, they had Orel Hershiser and his 23 wins and the team ERA was under three. But that lineup, well...Mike Scioscia and Steve Sax weren't exactly world-beaters.
If their pitching were just average, you could probably reverse their 94-67 record.
Fernando Valenzuela, Don Sutton and Tim Belcher headlined their stellar staff.
11. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
Here's a hint. Craig Counsell. Tony Womack. Junior Spivey. Rod Barajas. Damian Miller. Miguel Batista. Greg Colbrunn.
Has a team ever been carried by two pitchers to a championship more than the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks?
Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling were masterful in the '01 fall classic. The tandem had a 4-0 record and a 1.40 ERA while striking out 45 Yankees in 39.1 innings in the World Series.
The duo were named co-MVPs.
10. 2005 Houston Astros
The 2005 Astros are an example of the old adage that pitching wins in the playoffs.
After sneaking into the playoffs, the Astros rode their outstanding rotation before being swept in the World Series by the White Sox.
Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte were a killer combo at the top of the rotation. And a young Brad Lidge was the closer.
Based on big names alone, the '05 Astros offense looked pretty mediocre. Morgan Ensberg (36 home runs) and Jason Lane (26 home runs) both had great seasons, but neither was exactly intimidating.
9. 1981 New York Yankees
In a year where there was a two-month strike, the Yanks emerged with a 59-48 record to represent the American League. They held a pedestrian 25-26 record in the second half.
After signing an insanely large $21 million contract, Dave Winfield went on to hit .298 with 68 RBI. Other than that, the Yankees lineup was awful. Willie Randolph, Bob Watson, Bucky Dent and Reggie Jackson all hit under .240.
They lost to the LA Dodgers, four games to two.
8. 1987 Minnesota Twins
The Twins were 29-52 on the road, winning just seven games while away from Rachael Leigh Cook's home state after the All-Star Game.
In the World Series, they let someone named Les Straker (career record: 10-15) make two starts.
They won two fewer games than the Yankees, a team that finished in fourth place in the AL East.
The Twins had home-field advantage for both playoff rounds, and they drew great match-ups—the Detroit Tigers were drained from a memorable pennant race against the Blue Jays.
In the World Series, the Twins played a banged-up St. Louis team that was missing sluggers Jack Clark and Terry Pendleton, who had hit half the Cardinals homers that year.
To this day, the ’87 Twins remain one of the worst teams to ever win the World Series. They’re still going to hold that distinction after this year's Giants and Rangers series.
7. 2006 Detroit Tigers
The '06 World Series offered two of the worst World Series participants in recent memory. The two managers (Jim Leyland and Tony La Russa) were the stars of the show.
The Tigers made it as a Wild Card team, and stunned the rest of the American League by making it to the World Series. But they were only able to pull out one win against the champion St. Louis Cardinals.
The 2006 Tigers hit a lot of home runs and relied on getting production from every spot in the order, 1-9.
They weren’t an offensive force, but there were no easy outs in their lineup. Their rotation was solid with a young Justin Verlander and heady veteran Kenny Rodgers, but lacked a shutdown ace.
6. 1997 Cleveland Indians
The Indians were a less than impressive 86-75 in the regular season before getting hot in the playoffs.
A rather mediocre World Series through six games, the '97 Indians lost an absolute heartbreaker in the now-infamous Game 7 against the Florida Marlins.
The offense was stellar with Matt Williams, a very young Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome, David Justice and Sandy Alomar.
The pitching staff, on the other hand, was certainly not World Series-worthy. Charles Nagy or Jaret Wright, anyone? They had an over-the-hill Orel Hershiser and closer Jose Mesa, who gave up the game-winning hit in Game 7 and is now despised by the whole city of Cleveland.
5. 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates
The 1960 World Series was most notable for the Game 7, ninth-inning home run hit by Bill Mazeroski, winning the game for the Pirates, 10-9, and their third World Championship, their first since 1925.
The Pirates were severely overmatched against the Yankees, who had won their 10th pennant in 12 years in 1960.
The Yankees outscored the Pirates, 55–27, in this Series, outhit them 91–60, outbatted them .338 to .256, hit 10 home runs to Pittsburgh's four (three of which came in Game 7), got two complete game shutouts from Whitey Ford—and lost.
Clearly the Pirates stole another championship from the Yanks.
4. 2000 New York Mets
The Mets won the Wild Card and sneaked by the Giants and Cardinals on their way to the infamous "Subway Series."
They were the underdog in each of the series they played.
The offense was decent, led by Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo, and the duo of Mike Hampton and Al Leiter at the top of the rotation got them there, but the Mets had little else to work with.
This World Series will always be remembered for the infamous broken bat that Yankees Roger Clemens threw at Mike Piazza. Knowing now what we do about Clemens, it must have been 'roid rage.
The Mets were humbled in the end by their crosstown rivals, but are remembered for pulling off some upsets on their way to a Subway Series beatdown.
3. 2006 St. Louis Cardinals
Catcher Yadier Molina hit .216. Starting pitcher Jason Marquis sported a 6.02 ERA. Closer Jason Isringhausen blew 10 saves before undergoing season-ending hip surgery in September.
All this led to a difficult season, one that included two eight-game losing streaks (the longest such streaks for the franchise since 1988) and another seven-game losing streak.
They had losing months in June, August and September, and an 83-78 record, the worst for the Cardinals since the 1999 team finished 75-86.
The offense was led by the superb Albert Pujols, with Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen contributing heavily as well. But much like the Cardinals of today, the rest of the lineup left a lot to be desired. The pitching staff featured ace Chris Carpenter and a bunch of spare parts.
Rookie Anthony Reyes and his 5.06 ERA started Game 1 of the World Series!
Luckily for the Cards, they ran into an even less worthy opponent in the Tigers. St. Louis ended up winning the Series, 4-1.
Worst World Series winner of all time, in my book.
2. 1944 St. Louis Browns
In the middle of World War II, the vast majority of good players were overseas. The perennially awful Browns took advantage, winning their only pennant with a starting infield who had all been declared medically unfit for military service.
Led by shortstop Vern Stephens' 109 RBI season, the Browns beat out the Tigers for the pennant.
That put the Browns into a World Series against the Cardinals. The Browns were unable to overcome a record 10 errors, though, and the Cards prevailed in six games.
1. 1973 New York Mets
The Mets somehow won the National League pennant with a record of 82-79. They were in last place on the Fourth of July, 12.5 games behind the Cubs. Though the Mets made ground over the next 10 weeks, they were still below .500 and in fourth place on Sept. 17.
Their .509 winning percentage was the lowest of any pennant-winner in major league history.
This team was defined by Tug McGraw's now-infamous catchphrase, "You Gotta Believe!!"
The team was led by star pitcher Tom Seaver. He helped the Mets earn the upset over the soon-to-be "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds before losing in seven games to the Oakland A's in the World Series.