MLB Network has unveiled its top 25 teams of Major League Baseball's expansion era -- and it's a star-studded list.These aren't just 25 great clubs. They're some of the most transcendent squads to set foot on the field.The teams on this list have treated baseball fans to some of the
MLB Network has unveiled its top 25 teams of Major League Baseball's expansion era -- and it's a star-studded list.
These aren't just 25 great clubs. They're some of the most transcendent squads to set foot on the field.
The teams on this list have treated baseball fans to some of the most indelible moments in the history of America's national pastime. They've been behind some of the most memorable pennant races, postseason clashes and World Series in the decades since MLB expanded in 1961.
Which team was named the best? Read on. Here are MLB Network's 25 greatest teams of the expansion era:
25. 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers
This was Sandy Koufax in his prime. Koufax won his first Cy Young Award and the National League Most Valuable Player Award, as he went 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA, 306 strikeouts and a no-hitter. The Dodgers swept the rival Yankees in the World Series, and Koufax was named MVP of the Fall Classic, too.
24. 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
Willie Stargell was 39 and in the latter stages of his career, but that didn't stop the future Hall of Famer from winning the NL MVP Award. Pittsburgh rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series to beat the Orioles in seven games, as Stargell was named series MVP after batting .400 with three homers.
23. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
The D-backs, who had one of the most dominant pitching duos of all time in Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, gave fans one of the greatest World Series in memory. They faced a Yankees team that had won three straight Fall Classics and trailed, 2-1, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 with legendary closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. And they came back. Luis Gonzalez, who hit 57 homers in the regular season, won the Series with a walk-off bloop single to center field.
22. 1993 Toronto Blue Jays
The powerhouse Blue Jays won their second straight World Series in dramatic fashion, on one of the most famous hits in the history of the Fall Classic. Joe Carter's walk-off homer in Game 6 that gave Toronto the title is one of only two World Series-ending home runs.
21. 1962 New York Yankees
The franchise that has won a record 27 World Series titles has, of course, had its share of historically great teams -- and this was one of them. The 20th World Series title in team history was the last in the era of Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris.
20. 2001 Seattle Mariners
The 2001 Mariners tied the MLB record with 116 regular-season wins. Ichiro Suzuki made his grand entrance into the Major Leagues, winning the American League Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP Award after leading the league with a .350 batting average, 242 hits and 56 stolen bases.
19. 2007 Boston Red Sox
The "Curse of the Bambino" was already shattered, but the Red Sox weren't waiting another 86 years for their next title. With the likes of AL Rookie of the Year Award winner Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz in his prime and Manny Ramirez in his last full year in Boston, the Sox swept the Rockies in the Fall Classic.
18. 1972 Oakland Athletics
The 1972 A's had a Hall of Fame trio filling key roles -- Reggie Jackson in the lineup, Catfish Hunter in the rotation and Rollie Fingers in the bullpen. Even playing the World Series without an injured Jackson, the A's were too much for the Big Red Machine, as they bested the Reds in seven games.
17. 1978 New York Yankees
The Yankees were the defending World Series champions, and pulled off a repeat against the Dodgers. Jackson added to his "Mr. October" legacy with two homers in the Fall Classic, while AL Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry and Hall of Famer Goose Gossage led the pitching staff.
16. 1989 Oakland Athletics
The 1989 A's had Dennis Eckersley closing games and a dangerous lineup with Rickey Henderson at the top and Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Dave Parker in the middle. They steamrolled the Giants in a "Battle of the Bay" World Series.
15. 1999 New York Yankees
This was the second of three straight World Series-winning Yankees teams, and it didn't matter that they were facing arguably the greatest starting-pitching trio ever assembled in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. The Bronx Bombers swept the Braves in the Fall Classic.
14. 2009 New York Yankees
The 2009 Yankees brought home World Series title No. 27. The last New York team to win the Fall Classic had an exceptionally deep lineup, including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, and a starting rotation fronted by a bulldog Carsten Sabathia, at the top of his game.
13. 1969 New York Mets
Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and the Miracle Mets stunned the heavily-favored Orioles to win the franchise's first World Series title, and they did it in convincing fashion. New York dispatched Baltimore in five games -- and when Cleon Jones caught the final out and dropped to a knee, the fans poured onto the field at Shea Stadium.
12. 2004 Boston Red Sox
The team that buried the "Curse of the Bambino" was as memorable as they come. The 2004 Red Sox are the only team in MLB history to come back to win a postseason series after trailing, 3-0, and they did it against the rival Yankees. Ortiz's heroics in the AL Championship Series made him a legend in Boston, forever one of the city's most beloved sports figures.
11. 1995 Atlanta Braves
This was the one World Series title for the Braves teams that had a stranglehold on the NL East for nearly a decade and a half. Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz were sensational -- Maddux won his fourth straight NL Cy Young Award -- and Chipper Jones, Fred McGriff and Co. helped Atlanta push past the Indians in the Fall Classic.
10. 1967 St. Louis Cardinals
Bob Gibson put on a display for the ages in the World Series -- and in a matchup that went seven games against the Red Sox, the Cardinals needed everything he gave them. The future Hall of Famer won Games 1, 4 and 7 for St. Louis, and he did it by pitching three complete games -- including a 10-strikeout performance in Game 7.
9. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
The Big Red Machine was at its peak, as the Reds didn't lose a single postseason game -- sweeping the Phillies in the NLCS and the Yankees in the World Series. Joe Morgan won the NL MVP Award and Johnny Bench won the World Series MVP -- and they were just part of a talent-laden team that also featured the likes of Pete Rose, Tony Perez, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr. and Dave Concepcion.
8. 1968 Detroit Tigers
Denny McLain was the star of the 1968 Tigers. He went an incredible 31-6 with a 1.96 ERA, en route to winning the AL Cy Young Award and the AL MVP Award -- and he's still the Major Leagues' last 30-game winner. Detroit rallied from a 3-1 hole in the World Series to beat the Cardinals in seven games.
7. 1984 Detroit Tigers
Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris helped lead Detroit to its last World Series title to date. Trammell won World Series MVP, after hitting .450 with a pair of homers, and Morris pitched two complete-game wins against the Padres in Games 1 and 4.
6. 2016 Chicago Cubs
The Cubs' 108 years of heartache ended in an instant classic of a World Series. Chicago was the best team in baseball all season, but it still took seven games -- and extra innings -- to end the longest title drought in history. But finally, the wait was over, as Kristopher Bryant threw to Anthony Rizzo for the final out that gave the city of Chicago a moment that will last a lifetime.
5. 1986 New York Mets
"Little roller up along first ... behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!" With New York City behind them, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter and the rest of the 1986 Mets pulled off a legendary comeback against the Red Sox in the World Series and made it a year to remember.
4. 1970 Baltimore Orioles
The 1970 Orioles featured several all-time greats -- Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer eventually made it to Cooperstown. They won 108 games in the regular season, swept the Twins in the ALCS and beat the Reds in five games in the World Series. Brooks Robinson was named MVP of the series after hitting .429 with two homers, while also providing stellar defense.
3. 1961 New York Yankees
Even for the most storied franchise in baseball, 1961 stood out. Maris broke Babe Ruth's long-standing record by hitting 61 home runs, as he won his second straight AL MVP Award. Mantle crushed a career-high 54 home runs and was the runner-up to Maris in the AL MVP Award race. Ford went 25-4 and won the Cy Young. New York capped off its historic year by winning the World Series in five games over the Reds, as Ford captured Series MVP.
2. 1975 Cincinnati Reds
The 1970s Reds teams were simply some of the best to ever step on the diamond, and in 1975, Cincinnati won the first of two straight World Series crowns. It just so happened to be one of the greatest Series of all time. After Boston's Carlton Fisk waved his legendary walk-off home run fair in Game 6, Cincinnati somehow regrouped in Game 7, as Morgan delivered the Series-winning hit -- a go-ahead single that snapped a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning at Fenway Park.
1. 1998 New York Yankees
Here it is. The greatest club on the list. The 1998 squad started New York's three-year championship run, behind the efforts of Jeter, Rivera, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, among others. Managed by Joe Torre, the Bronx Bombers went 114-48 in the regular season, then 11-2 in the postseason -- with their historic campaign capped by a sweep of the Padres in the World Series.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.