Teams to win 4 World Series in 15 seasons

November 6th, 2021

When the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, it was yet another triumphant moment for a franchise that had enjoyed no shortage of them in recent years, after enduring so many decades of disappointment.

In fact, it was only the eighth instance -- and second for Boston -- of any franchise winning the World Series four times over a span of 15 seasons. Here is a look back at each of those runs:

Red Sox: 2004, '07, '13 and '18
The Red Sox went 86 years without a World Series title following the sale of Babe Ruth to the rival Yankees for $100,000 in 1919. In that time, New York won 26 championships, while Boston reached the Fall Classic in 1946, '67, '75 and '86. After numerous heartbreaks, including the infamous Game 6 in 1986 against the Mets, when a Mookie Wilson ground ball went between first baseman Bill Buckner's legs, enabling the winning run to score, the Sox finally broke through in 2004.

That October, it looked as though another season would end at the hands of the Yankees, as New York beat Boston on an Aaron Boone walk-off home run in the 2003 American League Championship Series after the Red Sox held a late lead. This time, the Yanks were leading the ALCS, 3-0, with a 4-3 lead in the ninth inning of Game 4 at Fenway Park. That's when pinch-runner Dave Roberts stole second base, and Bill Mueller singled against closer Mariano Rivera to tie the game. Boston would win in extra innings on a David Ortiz home run, and proceed to win the next three games to clinch the pennant.

Following the unprecedented comeback, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in the World Series, breaking the championship drought that lasted nearly nine decades. Since then, Boston has had a great run of success, sweeping the Rockies in the 2007 World Series, beating the Cardinals in six games in '13, and defeating the Dodgers in five games in the '18 World Series.

Yankees: 1996, '98, '99, 2000, '09
The Yankees reclaimed their status as the best team in baseball in 1996, beating the Braves in a six-game World Series to win New York's first championship in 18 years. That club was led by a core group that would be at the center of a late 1990s dynasty, including Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. The '96 club lost the first two games of the Series in Atlanta, but stormed back to win four straight and dethrone the defending-champion Braves.

The Yankees would be back in the World Series in 1998 after winning 114 games during the regular season. They faced the upstart Padres, and swept San Diego for their second championship in three years. New York successfully defended its title in '99, again defeating the Braves, this time in a four-game sweep. The following October, the World Series was a "Subway Series" as the Yanks met the Mets in the Fall Classic. The Yankees won that series in five games, becoming the first team to win three consecutive World Series titles since the A's from 1972-74. The only other such instances were from 1936-39, when the Yanks won four consecutive titles, and from '49-53, when the Yankees won five straight.

Though it would take nine years before another title, the Yankees beat the Phillies in 2009 for their fifth championship in 15 seasons. The hero in this six-game Fall Classic was Hideki Matsui, who hit .615 with three home runs and was named World Series MVP.

Dodgers: 1955, '59, '63, '65
The Brooklyn Dodgers had never won a World Series championship heading into the 1955 season, and had lost to the cross-town Yankees four times in the previous eight years. But this time, things were different. Led by pitcher Johnny Podres, who had a 1.00 ERA in two starts, as well as Duke Snider (four homers), Roy Campanella and Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers finally clinched their first title. 

Though the Dodgers would lose to the Yankees in seven games the following October, they would win again in 1959 after moving to Los Angeles, beating the White Sox in six games. In '63, they would sweep the Yanks behind World Series Most Valuable Player Sandy Koufax. The Hall of Famer would also be named the MVP of the '65 Series, in which he helped the Dodgers prevail over the Twins in seven games. In five starts over those two World Series, Koufax posted a 0.86 ERA with 52 strikeouts and eight walks.

Cardinals: 1934, '42, '44, '46
While the 1934 Cardinals were led by names like Dizzy Dean, Dazzy Vance and Frankie Frisch, defeating the Tigers in a seven-game World Series, it was a different cast that led the club to three titles between '42-46. Stan Musial was at the forefront as St. Louis beat the Yankees in five games in '42, the Browns in six games in '44 and the Red Sox in seven games in '46.

The Cardinals got great pitching performances from Johnny Beazley in 1942 vs. New York (2.50 ERA in two starts), and a strong series from Musial in '44 vs. St. Louis (.304 with a pair of doubles and a home run). In '46, Enos Slaughter hit .320 with a double, triple and a homer against Boston.

Yankees: 1923, '27, '28, '32, '36, '37, '38, '39, '41, '43, '47, '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '56, '58, '61, '62
The Yankees dominated the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s to such a degree that it's difficult to separate where their runs of 15-year dominance begin and end. As such, we're grouping together all of their titles from 1923 through 1962, an incredible 20 titles in 40 seasons.

From 1936-39, they became the first team to win four consecutive World Series titles, and then from 1949-53 they won five straight. The Yankees remain the only franchise that has ever won four or more championships in a row, and they did it twice.

Given the expansion of the leagues and the playoff format, it's hard to imagine we will ever see a four-decade run of dominance like we saw from the Yankees during this time.

Red Sox: 1912, '15, '16, '18
The Red Sox were the first team to win four championships within a 15-season span, doing so in seven from 1912-18. Tris Speaker (.300 with a double and two triples) and Hugh Bedient (0.50 ERA over four appearances, including two starts) were the stars in an eight-game victory (4-3-1) over the Giants. In '15 against the Phillies, Harry Hooper hit .350 with a pair of homers, and a 20-year-old Ruth went 0-for-1 in his World Series debut.

Boston made it back-to-back titles with another Fall Classic victory in 1916, this one in five games over the Brooklyn Robins (later the Dodgers). Ruth tossed 14 innings in a 2-1 Red Sox victory in Game 2, including 13 consecutive scoreless frames. Two seasons later, Boston would win its final championship for 86 years, a six-game victory over the Cubs. Ruth was stellar on the mound again, posting a 1.06 ERA over two starts, a 1-0 Boston win in Game 1, and a 3-2 victory in Game 4.