Monday, July 9, 2018

Central Division – the 10 Greatest Baseball Teams

The 1984 Tigers' line-up is the best ever against left-handed pitchers with Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, Barbaro Garbey and Larry Herndon destroying lefties. However, I started them with their toughest possible opponent in the 1906 Cubs Mordecai Brown (26-6, 1.04 righty) who managed to strand 10 tigers including Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker 5 times. Despite Kirk Gibson gunning one runner out at home the Evers to Tinker to Chance defense held up for a 1-0 win.
  1. Detroit Tigers, 1984, I rank this team the best to come out of my "Central" on the strength of how dominant they showed they were with a 35-5 start to the season that let them cruise, and thus not rack up the stats and run deferential I they would have if they had to fight all year to make the playoffs. By the time K. Gibson blasted Goose Gossage's pitch into the upper level to clinch a 4-1 World Series win it was clear this team was an all-time great, as A. Trammell took MVP on a loaded team. Of course, fans could choose to include instead C. Gehringer's 1935 champs or D. McLain's 1968 champs - both of whom put up even better run differentials - but the overall record and eye test make this team the best Tigers' squad and best out of my "Central" region ever.
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1902, H.Wagner's 1902 Pirates may have been the greatest to ever come out of my "Central," as they went 103-36 - unfortunately just before the World Series was invented. There 5.5 to 3.1 average score projects a 76% winning percentage, the best except for the 1906 Cubs, who then lost the World Series. You could also choose K. Cuyler's 1925 squad or Willie Stargell's 1971 squad that both won World Series 4 games to 3.
  3. Cleveland Indians, 1948, L.Boudreau's last Indians World Series champs actually came in 2nd to the New York Yankees when I played off all 40 teams and averaging winning games 5.4 to 3.6 is the most dominant mark ever, and six years later the Indians put up what is still the best winning percentage since 1910 before falling in the World Series. The heartbreaking loss for Albert Belle's 1995 team and Corey Kluber's team last year are two of the most dominant teams ever not to win a title.
  4. Chicago Cubs, 1907, O.Overall's Cubs followed up the disappointment of losing the 1906 World Series after the best record and run differential ever with a 1907 World Series sweep. I will actually use the 1906 advanced cards that were already produced. These actually are the stronger cards since that team had the greatest run differential in history - so while I try to go for actually championship years like 1907, the 1906 has the best chance to beat the Tigers and others.
  5. Chicago White Sox, 1917, E.Cicotte's squad put together one of the great champions ever just two years before the Black Sox scandal. While M. Buerhle's 2005 World Series title was a great scrappy win, it honestly featured two of the weakest World Series teams in history.
  6. Minnesota Twins, 1965, Z.Versalles Twins team that lost to the Dodgers in seven games is actually stronger than the teams that pulled off surprising World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. The Twins lost only because Sandy Koufax pitched The Twins scored 18 runs in the 34 innings Sandy Koufax was NOT on the mound - but Koufax had an 0.38 ERA in his three starts. You could try your hand with Frank Viola's team - the only team to win a World Series despite being outscored during the regular season as a very marginal, but clutch team in a very weak division.
  7. Kansas City Royals, 1977, G.Brett's Hall of Fame dominance made this the best overall Royals team ever, though you could certainly choose to play the 2015 World Series' champs led by L. Cain instead.
  8. Milwaukee Braves, 1957, H.Aaron's one World Series champion before the Braves headed to Atlanta and he went on to become the Home Run King makes this the best team from Milwaukee, by a hair.
  9. Milwaukee Brewers, 1982, R.Yount did enough to give the Brewers the World Series in the all-time power vs. speed (Cardinals) series - and if Rollie Fingers was not injured one must suspect this team would have also pulled out the exciting World Series. However, I need to give the 1957 Milwaukee Braves the edge because they did have a better overall record (0.617 to 0.586) in addition to pulling off the World Series.
  10. Kansas City Athletics, 1958, B.Cerv led the Kansas City Athletics their one decent team in between the great years in Philadelphia and Oakland. They did not play .500 even in this, their best year, thus ranking last in my "Central" region but rounding out a 10-team all-time division.

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