List of best Major League Baseball season win-loss records
Listed below are the Major League Baseball teams with the best season win-loss 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.
Since the season was expanded to 162 games in 1961, only two teams have managed a winning percentage of .700 or higher (which requires 114 or more wins): the 1998 New York Yankees and the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
|1906||Chicago Cubs||NL||116||36||.763||152||Lost 1906 World Series|
|1902||Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||103||36||.741||139||National League Champions|
|1886||Chicago White Stockings||NL||90||34||.726||124||Lost 1886 World Series|
|1909||Pittsburgh Pirates||NL||110||42||.724||152||Won 1909 World Series|
|1954||Cleveland Indians||AL||111||43||.721||154||Lost 1954 World Series|
|2001||Seattle Mariners||AL||116||46||.716||162||Lost 2001 ALCS|
|1927||New York Yankees||AL||110||44||.714||154||Won 1927 World Series|
|1886||Detroit Wolverines||NL||87||36||.707||123||2nd place in National League|
|1897||Boston Beaneaters||NL||93||39||.705||132||Lost 1897 Temple Cup|
|1907||Chicago Cubs||NL||107||45||.704||152||Won 1907 World Series|
|1931||Philadelphia Athletics||AL||107||45||.704||152||Lost 1931 World Series|
|1998||New York Yankees||AL||114||48||.704||162||Won 1998 World Series|
|1887||St. Louis Browns||AA||95||40||.704||135||Lost 1887 World Series|
|1939||New York Yankees||AL||106||45||.702||152||Won 1939 World Series|
For example, the Chicago White Stockings won the National League's first pennant in 1876 with a 52–14 record (.788), and won the 1880 NL pennant with a 67–17 record (.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 (538 runs scored, 317 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.
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, who had won the last four pennants, joined the National League for 1876, being renamed the Red Caps. The team went 39–31 for a fourth-place finish in 1876 before winning the 1877 and 1878 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. Retrieved 2018-09-20.