WHY NO LONGER GREAT TEAMS IN BASEBALL? NO 100-GAME WINNERS SINCE 2001.
Top 100-Game Winning Teams:
1928 New York Yankees 101-53 (154 game seasons)
1929 Philadelphia Athletics 104-46
1927 New York Yankees 110-44
1932 New York Yankees 107-47
1939 New York Yankees 106-45
1941 New York Yankees 101-53
1954 Cleveland Indians 111-43
1942 St. Louis Cardinals 106-48
-teams only played 154 games prior to 1960-
1961 New York Yankees 109-53 (162 game seasons)
1968 Detroit Tigers 103-59
1969 New York Mets 100-62
1967 St. Louis Cardinals 101-60
1970 Baltimore Orioles 108-54
1975 Cincinnati Reds 108-74
1976 Cincinnati Reds 102-60
1984 Detroit Tigers 104-58
1995 Cleveland indians 100-44
2001 Seattle Mariners 116-46
(above courtesy of Bleacher Report's 50 Greatest Teams)
Bleacher Report has ranked the top 50 teams including ones winning less than
100 games. Not surprising they don't include either of the 2010 or 2012 Giants
teams but they do include some, like the 1989 Oakland Athletics, for, which we would NOT include or give a PED-aided askerisk
Interesting to note the dearth of great teams today. Sure, it's great to have competitive races but this is ridiculous. Only one team, the Los Angeles Angels currently has a record
over .600 on a pace to win 100 games - and that could change in a flash, just as have teams' records this year. If it does, it would be the first team since 2009 to win 100 games. What's even more shocking is that teams play more games now (162 per year) vs. 154 prior to the mid- 1960s. This makes all the pre-1960s 100-game teams that much more amazing. In the prior 4 decades before 2009 (1969-2009) 45 teams have won 100 games but in the last five years NONE have won 100 games
Since 2009, no teams have won 100 games, yet prior to that 45 teams had 100 wins in the four decades prior - that's over 10 teams per decade. There have been no dominant teams since then, only sporadically effective ones during seasonal streaks. Even those that have won over 100 were usually by one or two games. Why such a drop-off in quality teams, despite
the advantages of free agency and no salary cap?
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If anything , one would think there would be more disparity among teams since free agency. When wealthier teams today CAN PAY - as we have seen most recently in the Los Angeles Dodgers and its $220 million payroll faring less well than, say, the Oakland Athletics with a payroll in the low $100 millions.
In recent years we've never seen such mediocrity,or , shall we say, ups and downs, in baseball,
where teams will have great streaks only to suddenly drop off to bad losing streaks, ending up
with so-so records - no longer any 100 game winners. This is especially surprising that even
since free agency in 1975 the richer teams and lack of salary cap are not necessarily performing better. Richer teams are not necessarily faring better than than lower salaried teams.
One might expect just the opposite, that there would be a much greater discrepancy than pre-free agency baseball.
So, again, why no great baseball teams in over a decade?
The only theory we can come up with focuses on the steroid or PED era.
Since the 1990s - or even the late '80s - estimates of up to 50% of major leagues players have
been using performance enhancing drugs. (We saw 20 players CAUGHT through the Biogenesis leak last year, without
benefit of effective MLB drug testing - no major leaguers have been caught in years to our knowledge, not due to a lack of tainted players.) Players must go off and on the drugs around
testing times, resulting in spikes of lower performance . With slightly more frequent testing and stronger penalties today, players must be more careful and when they temporarily go off the drugs, the performance drops. The drug tests are - for whatever reasons - usUally announced ahead, and this is likely why we may see mass drop-offs by teams weeks before and after testing. It may take some time for a player to get back to his 'enhancement' , thus, the prolonged drop-offs of sometimes 2-4 weeks or even months - as we saw with the Giants.
With new baseball rules, testing is required a minimum of two times during a baseball
season (to our knowledge) - it used to be only required in spring training. So, once
tests are given , say, for example early and mid-season, players can go back on
the juice knowing they probably won't be tested again and, if they are they'll usually
be given advanced notice, anyway. This is how we see the Giants go on their late season
surges with even the weakest players hitting 30-80 points above their non-enhanced
The trend has never been more apparent this year than with the San Francisco Giants. People actually thought the Giants had the NL West wrapped up after the first two months of 2014
with a better than .650 record and eight games ahead of the second place Los Angeles Dodgers.
But as quick as they could do no wrong, the team could do no write, finishing with
the worst losing streak in baseball over most of June and July. Once again,
the Giants turned this around with one of the best records during late August and
early September as they closed the gap to two games behind the Dogers as of September 7.
The Giants have done similarly in recent years they won the World Series, 2010 and 2012
finishing with majors' best win loss records in September both years.
Other streaky teams have included the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, BalTimore Orioles,and Washington -depending upon what you call a streak.The San Francisco Giants have had the longest overall streaks of any team as described above.
What happened to consistency by teams? A good team should stay generally 'good'
through the season without drastic ups and downs. Even a blockbuster trade or
acquisition shouldn't make that much difference in baseball where you have teams
of 25 players including strong backups. Nor should injuries make that much difference - all
teams have injuries - and with good backup players it shouldn't be a problem. And, we see similar trends happen year after year as described elsewhere.
Now with numbers of KNOWN PED users allowed back in the game after their 50 (now 80) game suspensions, we've seen most of teams with 'PED' players making the playoffs, perhaps thanks to at one or two of those players. It's not to say they're all still 'using,' but one doesn't have to be blind or 'dumb or dumber' (to quote Balco's Victor Conte)
to see some of these players continue to hit well above their career averages - and getting
away with it, propelling their teams often to playoffs and World Series victories. So, PEDs not only make for an uneven playing field , they pose a threat to player health and now, also seem to be bringing mediocrity to the game.(Perhaps the powers that be and others like the more even distribution we're now seeing but baseball without great teams - or real weak ones, for that matter - is NOT baseball. It's ARTIFICIAL baseball - in more ways than one, in our opinion.
GOLDEN YEARS OF BASEBALL - Which were the truly greatest teams
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WHY NO LONGER GREAT TEAMS IN BASEBALL? NO 100-GAME WINNERS SINCE 2001.