Every Baseball Team’s Best Season

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Source: Jed Jacobsohn / ALLSPORT / Getty Images

1. Arizona Diamondbacks
> Best season: 2001
> Record: 92-70
> Result: Won World Series (4-3)
> Best player: Randy Johnson
> Manager: Bob Brenly

In just their fourth season, the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in a dramatic seven-game World Series to become the fastest expansion franchise in MLB history to win the title. The Yankees won three of the first five games, then Arizona came back with a 15-2 win in Game 6 and a 3-2 victory in Game 7 with pitcher Randy Johnson picking up both wins. They won 92 games with the MLB’s best pair of starting pitchers — Curt Schilling and Johnson, who combined for 43 wins in the regular seasons.

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2. Atlanta Braves
> Best season: 1995
> Record: 90-54
> Result: Won World Series (4-2)
> Best player: Greg Maddux
> Manager: Bobby Cox

The Braves franchise has the rare distinction of winning the World Series at least once while playing for three cities (Boston and Milwaukee were the other two). But 1995 in Atlanta was clearly the team’s best year. Paced by a trio of Hall of Fame pitchers — Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz — Atlanta won 90 games in a strike-shortened season and cruised to a World Series title.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Baltimore Orioles
> Best season: 1970
> Record: 108-54
> Result: Won World Series (4-1)
> Best player: Jim Palmer
> Manager: Earl Weaver

After the Mets upset them in the 1969 World Series, the Orioles bounced back the next season to capture manager Earl Weaver’s only World series title. With three pitchers winning 20 or more games — Mike Cuellar (24), Dave McNally (24) and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer (20) — the Orioles won the AL East, winning 19 of their final 22 games. Third baseman Brooks Robinson’s glove helped him win World Series MVP, but the Hall of Famer also batted .429 and had nine hits in the 5-game series. First baseman Boog Powell was named AL MVP.

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4. Boston Red Sox
> Best season: 1912
> Record: 105-47-2
> Result: Won World Series (4-3-1)
> Best player: Smoky Joe Wood
> Manager: Jake Stahl

In the first season at Fenway Park, the Red Sox set a franchise record for wins (105), which stood until the 2018 season. Centerfielder Tris Speaker, the AL MVP, and pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, who won 34 games, were the backbone of the bunch that beat the New York Giants in eight games — this was an era before ballparks had lights, so the second game ended in a tie after 11 innings due to darkness. Giants outfielder Fred Snodgrass dropped an easy pop-up in the 10th inning of the tie-breaking eighth game in the series to give the Red Sox the title. It was their second of eight World Series championships.

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5. Chicago Cubs
> Best season: 1907
> Record: 107-45-3
> Result: Won World Series (4-0-1)
> Best player: Orval Overall
> Manager: Frank Chance

The Chicago Cubs won the first of two straight World Series titles in 1907. Pitcher Orval Overall (23 wins in regular season) started two games in the World Series, winning Game 4 and settling for a 12-inning tie in Game 1 over the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers were held to three runs in the four games won by the Cubs. Infielders Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance (who was also the manager) earned fame for their double-play combination. The Cubs won another World Series the next season, then Cubs fans had to wait until 2016 for the next title.