List of best Major League Baseball season won-loss records
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2012)|
Listed below are the Major League Baseball teams with the best season won-lost records in history, as determined by winning percentage (.700 or better), minimum 120 games played.
The following teams finished the season with a .700 winning percentage or higher.
|1906||Chicago Cubs||NL||116||36||.763||Lost 1906 World Series|
|1902||Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||103||36||.741||National League Champions|
|1886||Chicago White Stockings||NL||90||34||.726||Lost 1886 World Series|
|1909||Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||110||42||.724||Won 1909 World Series|
|1954||Cleveland Indians||AL||111||43||.721||Lost 1954 World Series|
|2001||Seattle Mariners||AL||116||46||.716||Lost 2001 ALCS|
|1927||New York Yankees||AL||110||44||.714||Won 1927 World Series|
|1886||Detroit Wolverines||NL||87||36||.707||2nd place in National League|
|1897||Boston Beaneaters||NL||93||39||.705||Lost 1897 Temple Cup|
|1998||New York Yankees||AL||114||48||.704||Won 1998 World Series|
|1907||Chicago Cubs||NL||107||45||.704||Won 1907 World Series|
|1931||Philadelphia Athletics||AL||107||45||.704||Lost 1931 World Series|
|1887||St. Louis Browns||AA||95||40||.704||Lost 1887 World Series|
|1939||New York Yankees||AL||106||45||.702||Won 1939 World Series|
Several 19th century teams played .700 ball or better over shorter schedules, where there is much less of the "evening out" effect of a lengthier season. For example, the 1876 Chicago White Stockings won the National League's first pennant with a 52-14 record (.788), and the 1880 NL pennant with a record of 67-17 (.798), which stands as the overall percentage record between the National or the American League. The White Stockings' 1880 record would project to a record of 129-33 under the modern schedule of 162 games, while Pythagorean expectation based on the White Stockings' results (529 runs scored, 311 runs allowed) and a 162-game schedule would translate to a record of 120-42.
The all-time best single season record belongs to the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who posted baseball's only perfect record at 67-0 (57-0 against National Association of Base Ball Players clubs) in 1869. Their record would stretch to 81-0 across the 1870 season before losing 8-7 in eleven innings to the Brooklyn Atlantics in Brooklyn on June 14. While this record is considered by many to be pre-MLB, the MLB (professional baseball's current official organization) has officially recognized this year the beginning of professional baseball.
The second-best record belongs to the 1875 Boston Red Stockings of the National Association, who finished with a record of 71-8 (.899), but the status of the National Association as a major league has long been disputed. The Red Stockings record would project to 146-16 under the modern schedule of 162 games, while Pythagorean expectation based on the Red Stockings results (831 runs scored, 343 runs allowed) and the modern 162-game schedule would translate to a record of 138-24.
The National Association folded at the end of 1875, and the Red Stockings joined the National League for 1876, being renamed the Red Caps; the team went 39-31 in 1876 before winning the 1876 and 1877 pennants with records of 42-18 and 41-19.
The third-best record belongs to the St. Louis Maroons of the 1884 Union Association, who finished with a record of 94-19 (.832), but the Union Association was quite lopsided in talent distribution (team owner Henry Lucas was also league president, an obvious conflict-of-interest situation which is now banned, and bought all the best available players for his franchise), generally disorganized (six teams played close to full schedules, another four teams folded and one relocated during the course of the season), and poorly scheduled. The Maroons' record would project to 135-27 under the modern schedule of 162 games, while Pythagorean expectation based on the Maroons' results (887 runs scored, 429 runs allowed) and a 162-game schedule would translate to a record of 131-31, but these results are of questionable merit.
The Union Association folded at the end of 1884, and the Maroons joined the National League for 1885; playing against stiffer competition, they went 36-72 in 1885, and 43-79 in 1886, finishing in last and sixth in both seasons. In 1887, the Maroons relocated to Indianapolis and became the Indianapolis Hoosiers, playing three more seasons below .500 before folding.
- ^ History: Legend of the Cincinnati Red Stockings webpage. 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Vintage Base Ball Team website (2007). Cincinnati Vintage Base Ball Club. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- Reds Timeline. Cincinnati Reds webpage. http://mlb.mlb.com/cin/history/timeline.jsp. Retrieved September 1, 2013
- In conjunction with MLB's celebration in 1969 of the 100th anniversary of professional baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies conducted a fan vote to determine their all-time team. The players were honored on August 5, 1969, at Connie Mack Stadium before the Phillies' game against the San Francisco Giants. Although the Phillies were founded in 1883, MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn presented to each all-time team player a framed picture of the "Greatest Phillies Team / 1869--1969". To see a photo of Kuhn and the framed picture, go to the following archived webpage and use the left click on the mouse to move the page upwards. Paul Lukas (August 6, 1969). "A Night to Remember". Reading Eagle. p. 48. Retrieved 2011-11-27. "Lending a big hand for the memorable occasion was baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn who presented the individual awards to each all-time team member]."