The best indicators of truly great baseball teams, of course, are the number of games they’ve won. Nearly forty clubs have won over 100 games in a season since 1900, but only nine of them managed to win 108. Those nine teams are automatically included in our survey of baseball’s best teams.
There are, however, a number of great teams that didn’t reach the 108-win plateau — namely, those that played fewer than the 154- or 162-game standard seasons. For those clubs, we’ve set a .700 winning percentage as the benchmark: the 1909 Pirates , 1931 Athletics , and 1939 Yankees all fall into this category. (The 1907 Cubs and 1970 Orioles would also, but we’ve chosen the superior 1906 and 1969 editions to represent their respective dynasties.)
These twelve clubs, as demonstrated by their season-long dominance and remarkable records, have earned the right to be considered as “the best of the best.”
Editor’s Note: For good measure, we’ve included a capsule on the 1987 Twins created in a different context for MLB.com (obviously not on a par with the other teams listed here) and a profile of the 1942 Cardinals originally produced for a 1998 feature titled Run For Glory.
Also: Teams are listed in reverse chronological order.