After five rounds of voting and a few close calls, you guys have determined the winner of our Best Seasons bracket. With 62.5 percent of the vote in the championship round, the 1975 Cincinnati Reds are the bracket champions!
The 1975 Reds are widely considered to be one of the best teams in MLB history, and it was really no surprise that they ended up in the championship round against the 1927 Yankees. They finished the season 108-54, swept the NLCS against Pittsburgh and won the World Series 4-3 against Boston.
As a team, they were among the league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The team had three Hall of Famers on the roster, plus Pete Rose (who really should be in the Hall of Fame, but that's a whole other story).
You can read our full post on the 1975 Reds and why they were the best season in Cincinnati history here.
Thank you all for voting in our Best Seasons Bracket and reading along with our Best Seasons series over the last month.
Round one of the Best Seasons bracket was a good one, and some of the votes came down to the wire. Now it's time to move on to round two, and that means it's time to bring in the top 2 seeds, which each got byes in the first round. Take a look at the bracket, make your choices, and we'll see who moves on.
The Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning a World Series, twice one out away in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. But, as we know, David Freese had a legendary night that included tying that the game in the 9th and the walk-off in the 11th. The Rangers would, of course, go on to lose in Game 7, the Rangers now have dropped back to back world series losing to the Giants in 2010.
However, the 2011 Rangers still made the cut for their best season in franchise history.
After making it into the World Series in 2010, the 2011 Texas Rangers bounced back with an even more impressive season, going 95-66 to win the AL West by ten games. In the postseason, the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in four games in the ALDS. Then they won in six games over the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS to advance to their second straight World Series.
As a team, they led the league in batting average with .283, fourth in on-base percentage at .340, second in slugging at .460 and second in home runs with 210. They were led by Michael Young, who finished 8th in the MVP race, hitting .338 with 106 RBIs.
Their pitching staff had all five starters hit the double-digit win mark during the season, including CJ Wilson, who went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA and 206 strikeouts.
A team that was the closest you possibly can be from winning the whole thing, the 2011 Rangers are probably one of the most bittersweet seasons in Rangers history. Despite not winning it all, the 2011 Rangers still made a significant impact making its mark as the best season in franchise history.
Founded in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics, the A’s have enjoyed some success, especially in the beginning of their franchise. They've won nine World Series titles, five of which came before 1930 while the team was in Philly. The team moved to Kansas City in 1955 before moving to Oakland in 1968. But for the team’s best season, we go back to Philadelphia.
The 1930 Philadelphia Athletics are the best team in franchise history.
After winning the World Series in 1929, the team followed it up by going 102-52 in the regular season, winning the American League by eight games, then going on to beat the Cardinals in 6 games to claim the team’s 5th championship.
A team with six Hall of Famers in Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Eddie Collins, Al Simmons and manager Connie Mack, the A’s proved to be one of the most loaded and talented teams in the game’s history. As a group, this team won back to back World Series and won the pennant again in 1931.
At the plate, the team was fourth in RBIs with 985 and fifth in home runs with 125.
However, the team was built through great pitching, posting a 4.28 ERA, which was third-best and a league-best 672 strikeouts. The staff was led by Grove, who posted a record of 28-5 with a 2.54 ERA, and 209 strikeouts, all best in the league. Grove would have probably won MVP if there wasn’t a financial issue going on that season, so no MVP award was handed out, but he did win it in 1931 when it came back.
A team that won 100 games the previous season and a World Series comes back and does it again. Unheard of in the game of baseball. It made the 1930 A’s a legendary team and their best season in franchise history.
By Trey Lyle
You learn a lot when doing research for the Best Season series about different teams and their history. But maybe the most interesting thing I have found so far is that the Los Angeles Angels were owned by Disney, yes Disney, from 1997-2003. It was during that period the team won its only World Series in franchise history.
The 2002 Los Angeles Angels, then called the Anaheim Angels, went 99-63, which was at the time the best in franchise history till the 2007 team went 100-62. However, the 2002 team didn’t win the division, they actually got the Wild Card, due the A’s going 103-59 (it was the Moneyball season). It was the team’s first Wild Card berth and they took full advantage of it, beating the Yankees in four games in the ALDS and the Twins in five games in the ALCS to win their first pennant in franchise history.
In the 2002 World Series, the Angels went on to win an epic seven-game series over the San Francisco Giants. The highlight, of course, was the team overcoming a five run deficit in the late innings of game 6 to force a game 7 which then went on to win the team's first and only World Series in franchise history.
The team was first in hits (1,603), batting average (.282), fifth in stolen bases (117), third in RBIs (857) and sixth in on-base percentage (.341). The team showed its ability to play great small ball baseball which played into the strengths of the team at that time.
The team could pitch as well, tied for fourth in ERA with 3.69, led by Jarrod Washburn, who went 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA.
A team that was a really good team that nearly won 100 games as a wild card team, plus winning one of the best world series of the 2000s makes the 2002 Angels their best season in franchise history.
By Trey Lyle
So the Seattle Mariners have never won the World Series and have never won the American League pennant. They also haven’t made the postseason since 2001, which is the longest active postseason drought in the four major North American professional sports.
However, that 2001 team was one of the best teams ever to not win the World Series in the history of baseball and lands its place as the best season in Seattle Mariners history.
The 2001 Mariners went 116-46, which tied the Major League record with 1906 Chicago Cubs for most wins by a team in a season. The team was dominant during the regular season, winning 59 of their games by four runs or more, which is a Major League record. The Mariners also led the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed.
As for the postseason, the Mariners went on to beat the Indians in five games in the ALDS and then lose to the New York Yankees in five games in the ALCS.
A big part of the 2001 season was the debut of Ichiro Suzuki from Japan, who went on to win both the AL Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP award in that season. Ichiro led the league in batting average hitting .350, and was also first in stolen bases with 56. He also had 242 hits that season.
Bret Boone set the record for most RBIs in a season for a second baseman with 141. As a team, they were first in hits (1,637), stolen bases (174), batting average (.288), and on-base percentage (.360). They were the embodiment of playing small ball to win games.
The pitching staff was elite as well, led by Freddy Garcia, who led the league in ERA with 3.05. As a team, they led the league in ERA (3.54) and were fifth in strikeouts (1,051).
One of the best teams ever to not win the World Series, let alone make it there, the 2001 Seattle Mariners had a regular season for the ages that might never be matched again. Winning 116 games is unmatched, especially when it was in a modern time of baseball. This historic season in Major League history and maybe the best regular season of all-time puts the 2001 Mariners in a place of their own and is best season in franchise history.
Well, time now to complete the journey of AL Central teams, with now my new local team, the Kansas City Royals.
A team that has won two World Series, one in 1985 and 2015, and since I could get a sample size of Royals fans at my current employer, I did that to see what fans thought was the best season and what did I get?
It was roughly an even split between 1985 and 2015. So, that didn’t help much. But, after some more research, it became apparent what season to choose from as the Royals’ best season.
It is 2015.
After losing in seven games in the World Series the previous season to the Giants, the Royals respond by having a 95-67 record, winning their first division title since 1985, going on to beat the Astros in 5 games in the ALDS and the Blue Jays in the ALCS in 6 games. They then beat the New York Mets in the World Series in five games to claim their second championship in franchise history.
It was a team that played very well on their strengths as a team that wanted to get on base and use its speed around the base path. The team was fifth in stolen bases with 104, second in hits with 1,497, and 7th in RBIs with 689. The team also struck out very rarely, only 973 times, which was the best in the league.
Their defense was great as well, with the third-best defensive efficiency with .701.
The team had a reliable pitching staff boasting a 3.73 ERA, which was in the top 10 in the league.
The major key for the Royals in 2015 was consistency; they played to their strengths and went against the trend at the time, the long ball. That is the reason why the 2015 Royals was the best season in franchise history.
By Trey Lyle
Our Best Seasons series continues with the Detroit Tigers, a team that has won four World Series championships.
In two of those seasons, the team won over 100 games; one was in 1968 with 103 wins. The other time was the best season in franchise history.
The 1984 Detroit Tigers posted the best season the team has ever had. The team went 104-58, which is the best record in franchise history.
A team that had one of the most impressive starts to a season, the Tigers started the season by winning their first nine games and were 35-5 after forty games. This helped the team to lead the AL East from wire to wire during the season, winning the division by 15 games.
In the playoffs, the team only lost one game after a sweep of the Royals in the ALCS and defeated the Padres in five games in the World Series.
The team was led by AL Cy Young Winner and MVP Willie Hernandez, the closer for the team who had 32 saves, a 1.92 ERA and 112 strikeouts.
As a pitching staff, they were first in ERA with 3.49 and fourth in strikeouts with 914 Ks during the season.
The team could hit as well, leading the league in home runs with 187, on-base percentage at .342, second in slugging at .342, and fourth in batting average with .271.
A team that had four players in the top 16 of AL MVP voting and two in the top 7 for the CY Young showed how not only were the 1984 Tigers the franchise's best season, but also one of the most talented teams in the history of baseball.
By Trey Lyle
The Twins were founded as the Washington Senators in 1901, but when they relocated to Minnesota before 1961, the team changed their name to the Twins, which remains today.
The Twins have won two World Series, one in 1987 and the season that is the best in franchise history: 1991.
The 1991 team slightly edges out the 1987 team based on wins during the regular season; the ‘87 team went 85-77 and was able to win the AL West by two games.
The 1991 team won 10 more games, finishing with a record of 95-67, 8 games better than any other team in the division, which was also the best record in the American League. This was quite the turnaround for a team that went 74-88 the previous season making them the first to go from last to first and win the World Series.
The 1991 Minnesota Twins went on to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS and then go on to beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series in a seven-game epic series, one of the best World Series of all time.
A big part of their season was a 15-game winning streak the team went on to propel them from fifth place in the division to first place, a position they never gave up after that. The winning streak remains a club record.
The team had a great pitching staff headlined by Scott Erickson. Erickson went 20-8 that year with a 3.18 ERA and 108 strikeouts. Erickson was joined by Jack Morris, who went 18-12 with 3.43 ERA and 163 strikeouts and Kevin Tapani, who went 16-9 with a 2.99 ERA and 135 strikeouts.
The team was formidable at the plate as well, leading the American League in hits with 1,557, first in batting average with .280, and on-base percentage with .344.
1991 was a dream season for this Minnesota franchise that included an unprecedented turnaround at that time led to the 1991 Twins being the best in the franchise history.