Top 25 MLB Teams of All-Time
Narrowing down the top 25 MLB teams of all-time is mainly made up World Series winners, but a few teams put together strong seasons and fell short. We dig back 100 years into baseball history, and a lot of teams are going to miss the cut. We also have a lot of dynasties where teams were great for long stretches of time, yet to diversify a bit we will break those teams up a bit. Wins, offensive stats, and pitching stats dictate how we rank teams, and also some added star power for bonus. The Murderers Row Yankees is obviously going to get a huge bump, and the same goes for the 90s Braves with that pitching staff. Boston just recently won 108 games and dominated in a postseason against the league’s best. Seattle and Oakland both topped well over 100 games in the early 2000s. The curse breaking Cubs won 103 games before they eventually won the World Series. See if these teams cracked the list.
1. 1998 New York Yankees
You could name plenty of Yankees teams going through their franchise, and they are even a tossup between their very own for the number one spot. The 1998 Yankees was something special, and this core of players were dominant for many years. They hit .288 as a team, and ranked first in runs in the AL. This probably wasn’t the best pitching staff they had talent wise, but had a 3.82 ERA, also ranking first in the AL. The Yankees also had one of the most dominant closers the game has ever seen, as Mariano Rivera locked down 36 saves. They had a +309 run differential, and went 11-2 in the postseason. This was an unfair year for the rest of the league.
2. 1939 New York Yankees
The 1939 Yankees won 106 games, and swept the Reds in the World Series. They had an insane +411 run differential, and a 3.31 ERA as a team. The offense posted a slashing line of .287/.374/.451. This was the Joe DiMaggio era now, but Bill Dickey and Joe Gordon were also standout players. Red Riffing and Lefty Gomez led the staff. DiMaggio hit .381 this season, with 30 HR and 126 RBI. Dickey 24 HR and 105 RBI, while Gordon finished with a .876 OPS. Ruffing won 21 games with a 2.91 ERA and Gomez had a 3.41 ERA. Both went onto be Hall of Famers. With the highest run differential in history, the 39′ Yankees might be the best of all-time.
3. 1961 New York Yankees
Once again take any of the Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Marris years and add them to the list for this Yankees bunch, but in 1961 they went 109-53, and beat the Reds in five. Mantle hit .317 this season, with 54 home runs, while Maris had his infamous 61 HR season. Of course they finished first in the AL in HR that season, and produced the second most runs in the AL. They had an excellent staff that started with Whitey Ford, who had over 200 strikeouts, and a 25-4 record. Bill Stafford, Ralph Terry, and Rollie Sheldon all boasted ERAs under four, and had double-digit wins. Nobody stood a chance against this years Yankees team.
4. 1975 Cincinnati Reds
The Big Red Machine era was special, and the 1975 team was smack dab in the middle of an incredible run. They won six National League West Division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series titles. They scored 840 runs that season, and would go onto win over Boston in seven games. You had many Hall of Fame and All-Star names on this team. Joe Morgan hit .327 and stole 67 bases, while Pete Rose was collecting himself another 200+ hit season. Ken Griffey, Tony Perez, and Johnny Bench all made this an unappealing lineup to get through for opposing pitchers. The staff wasn’t bad either, headlined by Gary Nolan and Jack Billingham.
5. 1970 Baltimore Orioles
The 1970 Orioles demolished the league, with 108 wins, and a a +218 run differential. The pitching staff was also very good, and overall they had a 3.15 team ERA. Brooks and Frank Robinson led the offense, while Jim Palmer was their dominating ace. Palmer went 20-10 with a 2.71 ERA, but it didn’t end there. Mike Cuellar won 24 games with a 3.48 ERA and Dave McNally had 24 wins with a 3.22 ERA. This was quite the trio of arms to kick off a rotation, and Baltimore leaned on them heavily. Frank Robinson hit 25 HR and had a .918 OPS, while Brooks was a defensive wizard, but had a .764 as well. Boog Powell led the team with 35 HR and a .962 OPS.
6. 1986 New York Mets
A lot of us remember Buckner with the ball rolling behind him, and that certainly is a big part of the Mets winning the World Series, but so is the 108 regular seasons wins and stacked lineup. The Mets hit .263 as a team, which was first in the NL that season, and led the league in runs and hits. Keith Hernandez and a young Darryl Strawberry were the highlight offensive players from this team. The pitching staff was incredibly special, and all under the age of 30, they were geared for quite some time. Dwight Gooden was 21 years old, and went 17-6 with a 2.84 ERA. Ron Darling and Bob Ojeda both posted ERAs under three, and this team was top three in the NL in every pitching category. While they had some close calls in the playoffs, this was one of the best Mets teams of all-time.
7. 1984 Detroit Tigers
The 1984 Tigers were loaded with offense, and had a +186 run differential on their way to winning 104 games, including a World Series. They went 7-1 in the postseason. Lance Parrish hit 33 HR from behind the dish, and Alan Trammell led the team with a .314 average. Kirk Gibson rocked 27 HR and 91 RBI this year as well. The pitching staff featured Jack Morris, Dan Petry, and Milt Wilcox, who all went onto win over 15 games. They had a team ERA at 3.49, which was good enough for first in the AL. Willie Hernandez was their lethal closer at the end of games, racking up 32 saves, and had a 1.92 ERA.
8. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
Back-to-back World Series is a tough task to ask, and the Reds did it in 1975 and 1976. This time was a little easier, as they swept the Phillies and Yankees with ease. They finished with 102 wins on the year, and while this was basically the same roster as the prior season, this core will go down as one of the greatest of all-time. Morgan had another excellent season with 60 SB and hit .320. George Foster led the team in home runs, with 29. This was actually a down year for Bench, who hit just .234. It didn’t matter, but Pat Zachry was new to the rotation this season, and posted a 2.74 ERA and a 14-7 record.
9. 1967 St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are a historic franchise, and have had several teams that could have wound him on this list. The 1967 team was special. You had iconic Cardinals legends like Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. The MVP of that season for the NL was Orlando Cepeda, who had a .923 OPS and 25 HR. Brock posted a .799 OPS with 52 SB and 21 HR. The staff was tremendous, as Dick Hughes led the team in wins with 16, and posted a 2.67 ERA. Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton both posted an identical 2.98 ERA. They had a +138 run differential and won in seven games against the Boston Red Sox, which was also a very strong team.
10. 1968 Detroit Tigers
Denny McLain went 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA on this Tiger team. He took home the MVP and AL Cy Young this season, and we will likely never see another 30 game winner again. This Tigers team won 103 games, and the pitching staff once again was the key part of this team. Earl Wilson and Mickey Lolich logged over 220 innings pitched, and had a sub 3.50 ERA. The team had a 2.71 ERA combined, and ranked second in the American League in strikeouts. The offense had a ton of power, hitting a combined 185 home runs, which ranked first in the AL. Willie Horton led the team with 36 HR, but they had three others hit over 20 bombs.
11. 1995 Atlanta Braves
The Braves during the mid to late 90s were something special, and the rotation gives me goosebumps just talking about them. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz all in their prime. This is just an unreal staff, and my favorite ever. Maddux went 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA, and posted 181 strikeouts. Both Glavine and Smoltz had under a 3.50 ERA, and had double-digit wins. This team also had a very good offense with Javy Lopez behind the dish and Ryan Klesko sporting a 1.004 OPS. Chipper Jones and Fred McGriff also brought their source of power to the table, and made it a lethal offensive lineup to get through. They went 11-3 in the postseason, and likely should have had more World Series wins with this roster.
12. 1969 New York Mets
The 1969 Mets won 100 games, and this team was build more around their pitching than anything else. The staff featured a 24-year-old Tom Seaver, who went 25-7 with a 2.21 ERA and 202 strikeouts. Jerry Kossman and Gary Gentry both were excellent as well. The Mets had the second best ERA in the NL, and the bullpen was something that added to the dominance of this bunch. A 22-year-old Nolan Ryan was also on this team. The Mets won just 73 games the year before, and were ten games down in the NL East in August. There storylines were there for this underdog bunch, and while the offense wasn’t anything to write home about, this was still a solid overall team.
13. 2018 Boston Red Sox
Is it crazy to put a team that just won the World Series and played last year into the top 25 of all-time? No. This team won 108 games, and ran through the Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees in the postseason, who all were atop of the league. The core of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez made this offense go, but the outfield defense was also something special. David Price found his form in 2018, and Chris Sale was his usual self. They also made a sneaky acquisition to sign Nathan Eovaldi, and that paid off nicely. Boston topped top three in most pitching categories, and of course offensively they were among the best. Betts was MVP this year, and the addition of Martinez was huge for a team that needed power compared to the 2017 team.
14. 1927 New York Yankees
The 1927 Yankees are not only a top team, but an iconic bunch. These were of course the the Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig years. You also had Earle Combs and Tony Lazzeri rounding out one of the best lineups of all-time. This was the Murderers’ Row Yankees, and Ruth had 60 HR and over 150 RBI. Gehrig had 47 HR and 175 RBI. The rotation featured two future Hall of famers, Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock. Their pitching staff had a 3.20 ERA, and relied upon a good staff as the bullpen was somewhat the weak spot of this group. A +376 run differential was incredible, and a .488 team slugging will go down as one of the best of all-time.
15. 1989 Oakland Athletics
The 1989 Athletics were loaded with studs, such as Ricky Henderson, Jose Conseco, Dave Parker, and Mark McGwire. Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart, and Bob Welch were big named arms. The A’s had a 3.09 ERA, and won 99 games. There were a lot of great A’s team that fell short of the prize, but Oakland had it all sweeping the Giants. McGwire hit 33 HR, while Henderson stole 52 bases. The +136 run differential is another strong aspect to this team. From power to speed, this offense was complete. They stole 157 bases as a team, which was second in the AL that season. The pitching staff allowed the fewest earned runs in the AL, and were 4th in strikeouts.
16. 2016 Chicago Cubs
The curse breakers are certainly going to crack the list, because it does take something special to do it. This Cubs team was also loaded with talent, and was a complete team all-around. They won 103 games under Joe Maddon, and had a shade under a +300 run differential. It was a very young core with Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Kris Bryant being all under the age of 27. Bryant had a career year with 39 HR and 102 RBI, while his partner in crime, Rizzo, had 32 HR and 109 RBI. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, and Kyle Hendricks all hit their peak for the Cubs at the right time, posting under a 3.25 ERA each, and all won over 15 games a piece. They also traded for Aroldis Chapman mid-year, giving them that electric arm at the end of ballgames.
17. 2002 Oakland Athletics
The Money Ball era was alive and well during this era for Oakland, and this team won 103 games. Unfortunately this was a part of very good seasons for Oakland that ended in disappointment. The left side of the infield was strong, as Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez both hit 34 home runs. The offense was rather timely, and were a slightly above average offense when you compare them to the rest of the list here. Oakland had another terrific staff, featuring Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson. They were in the prime of their careers, and a lethal rotation that lasted a few seasons. The rotation was also a strong point for this team, and the disappointing end to their season is the reason they sit a little lower.
18. 1972 Oakland Athletics
The 1972 A’s were another World Series team, winning 93 games under Dick Williams. They won in seven games against a very good Reds team. Oakland ranked first in the AL for home runs, and relief on that power for offense. The pitching staff is what made this team truly great. All five starters had under a three ERA. Catfish Hunter had a 2.04 ERA and led this rotation that consisted of Ken Holtzman and Blue Moon Odom. Rollie Fingers also was at the backend of the bullpen, so you can see how loaded this pitching staff was. They ranked top two or three in each pitching category across the AL.
19. 1978 New York Yankees
This was a different era of New York Yankees, but enjoyed the same outcome as many others, which was a World Series ring. The Yankees won 100 games this season, and beat the Dodgers in six games. Maybe not the most iconic Yankees team on the list, as you had aging stars like Thurman Munson and Lou Piniella, but this team was strong. They had two 20-game winners, as Ron Guidry and Ed Figueroa both won 20 games. Rich Gossage was also their star closer. Reggie Jackson was 32 this season, and hit 27 HR and 97 RBI. Jackson of course had many big postseasons adding to his nickname of Mr. October.
20. 2001 Seattle Mariners
While the Mariners did not close out what could have been the perfect season, they won 116 games and are a team to be celebrated. Ichiro Suzuki was in his prime, and had 242 hits that season, stealing 56 bases, and hitting for a .350 average. Bret Boone hit 37 HR with a .331 average. Even at age 38, Edgar Martinez hit .306 with 116 RBI. They had a +300 run differential, and a 3.54 team ERA. The crazy part of this is that they may not eve had had their best rotation in history this season. It was names like Freddy Garcia, Aaron Sele, Paul Abbot, and a 38-year-old Jamie Moyer All won 15 plus games as you could imagine. While they fell short to the Yankees in the ALCS, this was one of the best teams of all-time.
21. 2004 Boston Red Sox
The 2004 Red Sox were a special group, and 98 wins that season was only good enough for second in the division, of course to the New York Yankees. This was a historic year because they broke the curse, but the 3-0 series comeback against the Yankees was also the first in baseball history. Outside of that series, they swept the other two playoff rounds. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were one of the best 3-4 hitters in the game at the time, and the group hit .282 overall scoring 949 runs. Both ranked first in the AL. Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez both had over 200 strikeouts that season, and locked down a very good staff with Derek Lowe and Tim Wakefield behind them. This group was deemed the lovable losers, but don’t get that twisted with being one of the best teams in history.
22. 1993 Toronto Blue Jays
The 1993 World Series Champions were north of the border, as Toronto took him a thrilling World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Jays won both their playoff series in six, and won 95 games that season. They had a +105 run differential, which isn’t as high as some of the other teams on the list, but the Jays offense was loaded with power. This was also a team that banked on a lot of guys towards the end of their career. Paul Molitor was 36 years old, and hit 22 HR with a .332 average. Joe Carter was 33 years hold, and blasted 33 HR and 121 RBIs. Their pitching staff had two young guns of Juan Guzman and Patt Hentgen, both post under a four ERA, and combined for 33 wins. Dave Stewart and Jack Morris didn’t have much in the tank, but provided some relief.
23. 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
Not only did the Pirates have a stellar baseball team this year, this was 70s baseball and the uniforms were some of the best in the league. The Pirates won 98 games this season, and won over a very good Baltimore team in the World Series. They also swept a Cincinnati Reds team that was closing out their dynasty years. Willie Stargell wasn’t in his prime this year, but hit 32 HR at the age of 39. Bill Madlock and Dave Parker both had the highest averages on the team, and Omar Moreno had a whopping 77 stolen bases. The Pirates had the third best ERA in the NL, and were second in the NL in strikeouts.
24. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
The 1999 team actually won more games than the 2001 team, but didn’t win the World Series. It was also impressive that the Diamondbacks had barely been in Arizona for a few seasons before gifting the city with a championship. When you have Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson both winning 20+ games in a season, you know things are going good. They led what was actually a rather poor rotation, as two of their backend starters had over a dive ERA. Luis Gonzalez had a monster season, hitting .325 with 57 HR and 142 RBI. Reggie Sanders also was a powerhouse with 33 HR. Mark Grace, Matt Williams, and Steve Finley were some other names here that did a lot of damage and rounded out a very good lineup. The game 7 of the World Series was an iconic moment in MLB history with the jam shot over Jeter to win.
25. 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers
The 1963 Dodgers won 99 games, and swept the Yankees in the postseason. They had a +90 run differential, and while the Dodgers offense was rather lackluster in consideration to some of these other teams, they didn’t need to do much with the pitching staff that they had. Sandy Koufax went 25-5 this season, with a 1.88 ERA and 306 strikeouts. Don Drysdale won 19 games, with a 2.63 ERA. Koufax would through two complete games against the Yankees in the World Series. Frank Howard and Tommy Davis both had an OPS over .800 and are the honorable mentions on the offensive side.