Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Every baseball season in history, ranked

(Tom Forget)
@CF_Larue
July 15, 2020

Just as the musical "Rent" asks us how one measures a year, we're left wondering, "How do we measure a baseball season? With dingers and records? Or tight pennant races and memorable World Series?" Here is how MLB.com writer Eric Chesterton would do it -- ranking every big league season

Just as the musical "Rent" asks us how one measures a year, we're left wondering, "How do we measure a baseball season? With dingers and records? Or tight pennant races and memorable World Series?"

Here is how MLB.com writer Eric Chesterton would do it -- ranking every big league season since 1876.

---

There have been 144 seasons since the founding of the National League in 1876. Many of them have been good, some have been great, and others simply have not been very good at all. So with that in mind, let's rank them all.

Every fan knows that the best season is the one in which their team wins it all. That's a perfectly fine heuristic for the average fan whose happiness depends on the performance of one team, but it does little to move us toward an objective truth of what the best season was overall.

So, how does one determine how good a baseball season was? For the most part, it doesn't matter who won. Of course, the Cubs breaking a historic World Series drought or the Mets going from laughing stock to champion are exceptions to that rule.

For the most part, the factors that contribute to a great baseball season are tight pennant races, a competitive postseason and World Series, individual greatness and milestones and historically good teams. A bad season is lacking in these departments. Because baseball is good, in general seasons with less of it -- due to strikes or teams folding in the middle of the season -- are less good.

144) 1879

WORLD SERIES: None. Providence Grays were NL champions.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Will White pitched a record 680 innings and 75 complete games. Charley Jones hit a record nine home runs.

Alexander Taylor of the Ballston Stars died while catching after a batter swung and hit his head with a bat. The Syracuse Stars folded midseason and the Cincinnati Reds released all their players. When both teams and players die in the course of a single season, well, it's difficult to imagine a season going much worse than that.

143) 1876

WORLD SERIES: St. Louis Brown Stockings over Chicago White Stockings, 4-1 (unofficial championship of the west).

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: George Hall hit five home runs.

The Philadelphia Athletics and New York Mutuals ran out of money and stopped making road trips toward the end of the season.

142 - 135) 1890, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1898, 1899

NOTABLE WORLD SERIES: The 1890 World Series between the Louisville Colonels and the Brooklyn Bridegrooms ended in a tie, 3-3-1. With the weather deteriorating over the course of the series, both managers agreed prior to Game 7 that, regardless of the outcome, it would be the last game.

No World Series were played in '91, '93, '98 and '99.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tim Keefe, Mickey Welch and Old Hoss Radbourn won their 300th games. Amos Rusie won the '94 NL pitching Triple Crown. Hugh Duffy's .440 batting average in '94 remains the highest in history. Billy Hamilton scored a record 198 runs. Bill Dahlen hit in 42 consecutive games.

We're going to compress most of the 1890s because, except for 1892 and 1897, which featured tight pennant races, the 1890s were defined by player violence -- players frequently spiked umpires and each other -- and teams folding. The American Association folded after the 1891 season. The National League dropped four teams after the 1899 season to cut costs. One of them was the Cleveland Spiders, who finished the previous season with a 20-134 record after their owners transferred many of their best players to their other team, the St. Louis Browns.

134) 1880

WORLD SERIES: None. Chicago White Stockings were NL champions.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tim Keefe's 0.86 ERA remains the lowest all-time.

The White Stockings used two pitchers in the first rotation in history. Perhaps due to their innovation, they won the NL pennant by 15 games.

133) 1881

WORLD SERIES: None. Chicago White Stockings were NL champions.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The White Stockings won their second consecutive pennant, but the sport was dominated by betting and throwing games. They won by nine games, so they were probably the best team. But, in this era, who really knows?

132) 1877

WORLD SERIES: None. Boston Red Caps were NL champions.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tommy Bond won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

Jim Devlin threw every pitch for the Louisville Grays for a total of 559 innings pitched. Unfortunately, he was also throwing games and received a lifetime ban after the season.

131) 1883

WORLD SERIES: Boston Beaneaters versus A's, canceled.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Harry Stovey set a single-season home run record with 14.

A Providence Grays player was shot in the shoulder while leaving the field. He was loaned to the Philadelphia Quakers the next month and even played later that season.

130) 1888

WORLD SERIES: Giants over St. Louis Browns, 6-4.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tim Keefe won the NL pitching Triple Crown. Pud Galvin won his 300th game.

The Indianapolis Hoosiers made some attempts to play night games with gas lights, but they couldn't get enough light. They ultimately scrapped the idea. MLB's first night game was still nearly 50 years in the future.

129) 1904

WORLD SERIES: None. Boston Americans won the AL pennant and the Giants won the NL pennant.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Cy Young won his 400th game.

Cy Young threw the first perfect game of the Modern Era. The World Series was canceled due to a business rivalry between the two leagues. Nevertheless, Giants manager John McGraw declared his team champions citing the "fact" that the NL was the only real Major League.

Cy Young

128-127) 1901, '02

WORLD SERIES: Neither season had a World Series.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Nap Lajoie won the '01 AL batting Triple Crown. Cy Young won the '01 AL pitching Triple Crown and won his 300th game.

The institution of the foul strike rule in the NL led to huge drops in batting averages and an increase in strikeouts. The AL did not have the foul strike rule yet, which likely helped Lajoie hit .426 in 1901, which remains an AL record.

126) 1892

WORLD SERIES: Boston Beaneaters over Cleveland Spiders, 5-0-1 (series to decide NL pennant).

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: John Clarkson won his 300th game.

The National League split the season into two halves with winners from each half meeting in a championship. Boston won the first half and may have thrown games in the second half to allow Cleveland to win -- they wanted a championship to increase gate revenue. That they swept the Spiders in five games does little to refute that theory.

125-122) 1942-45

1942 WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Yankees, 4-1.

1943 WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Cardinals, 4-1.

1944 WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over St. Louis Browns, 4-2.

1945 WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Cubs, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Ted Williams won the 1942 MLB batting Triple Crown. Hal Newhouser won the '45 MLB pitching Triple Crown. Paul Waner recorded his 3,000th hit. Mel Ott hit his 500th home run.

Baseball continued throughout World War II, but due to so many star players serving in the military, the quality of play was greatly diminished.

121) 1900

WORLD SERIES: Brooklyn Superbas over Pirates, 3-1 (Chronicle-Telegraph Cup).

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Kid Nichols won his 300th game.

The National League was downsized to eight teams. The Brooklyn Superbas, the defending champions, discussed moving to Washington, D.C., due to poor attendance -- hardly the sign of a thriving sport.

Clark Griffith and Rube Waddell had a duel for the ages as each threw 13 shutout innings before Griffith hit a walk-off double in the 14th.

120) 1931

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over A's, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lefty Grove won the MLB pitching Triple Crown for the second season in a row. Earl Webb hit a record 67 doubles. Babe Ruth became the first member of the 600 home run club.

Both pennants were decided by 13 or more games, but a back-and-forth World Series between the only two 100-win teams in baseball somewhat redeemed the noncompetitive regular season.

119) 1936

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Giants, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The first players were named to the Hall of Fame.

118) 1937

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Giants, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lefty Gomez won the AL pitching Triple Crown. Joe Medwick won the NL batting Triple Crown.

The Yankees beat the Giants in the World Series for the second season in a row. The Giants wouldn't return to the postseason until 1951, when they again had the pleasure of losing to the Yankees in the World Series.

117) 1994

WORLD SERIES: None.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The season ended with a strike in August, meaning there was no postseason or World Series. Obviously, this is a major demerit for the season.

Michael Jordan played Minor League baseball in the White Sox system.

116) 1933

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Senators, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Jimmie Foxx won the batting Triple Crown in the AL and Chuck Klein won it in the NL.

The AL won the first All-Star Game in history after taking the lead on a homer from a 38-year-old Ruth in the third inning.

115) 1919

WORLD SERIES: Reds over White Sox, 5-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Babe Ruth hit a record 29 home runs.

The highly-favored White Sox lost to the Reds in the World Series. No one noticed anything amiss at the time, though maybe they should have when the White Sox became betting underdogs right before the start of the Series. It would take a year for the Black Sox scandal to unfold.

114) 1918

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Cubs, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Walter Johnson won his second MLB pitching Triple Crown. Hippo Vaughn won the pitching Triple Crown in the NL.

Ruth began his gradual transition from pitcher to fielder -- a move that obviously went quite well. The season ended early on account of World War I. The Red Sox won their last World Series until 2004.

113) 1913

WORLD SERIES: A's over Giants, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Walter Johnson won the first MLB pitching Triple Crown in history.

Pitcher Russ Ford discovered that he could make a ball dive away from hitters simply by scratching it on concrete. Soon other pitchers caught on and started manipulating the ball in all sorts of ways.

112) 1911

WORLD SERIES: A's over Giants, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

New cork-centered balls led to an increase in offense. The World Series was delayed by six days due to rain.

111) 1917

WORLD SERIES: White Sox over Giants, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

There were six no-hitters on the season. In one of them, Ruth -- the starting pitcher -- was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after walking the first batter. Ernie Shore came on and retired all 27 batters he faced to complete the combined no-hitter. Thankfully, Ruth will soon emerge as a power hitter and help bring baseball out of the Dead Ball Era.

110) 1915

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Phillies, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Grover Cleveland Alexander won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Eddie Plank won his 300th game.

The Federal League closed down after two seasons in which it didn't draw enough fans to pay the bills. Any league closing down is bad, but at least this wasn't one of the Major Leagues folding, as had happened in the previous century.

109) 1953

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The Yankees won their fifth consecutive World Series. That's all well and good for them, but we have to balance considerations of their excellence with a sense of parity across the sport. The St. Louis Browns were sold and moved to Baltimore.

108) 1957

WORLD SERIES: Braves over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Willie Mays became the first player to have two 30-30 seasons.

Lew Burdette became the first pitcher to throw two shutouts in a World Series since Christy Mathewson in 1905.

Lew Burdette, after pitching his second shutout in the 1957 World Series.

107) 2017

WORLD SERIES: Astros over Dodgers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Aaron Judge broke Mark McGwire's rookie home run record. Adrián Beltré recorded his 3,000th hit. Albert Pujols hit his 600th home run.

The Astros won the World Series after a total rebuild, but the accomplishment would be tarnished two years later by the revelation of a sign-stealing scandal.

106) 1958

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Braves, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Stan Musial recorded his 3,000th hit.

The Dodgers and Giants moved west. The Yankees came back from 3-1 to get revenge on the Braves after losing to them in the 1957 World Series.

105) 1916

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Brooklyn Robins, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Grover Cleveland Alexander won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

Babe Ruth led the AL with a 1.75 ERA on the season and threw 13 shutout innings in Game 2 of the World Series.

104) 1910

WORLD SERIES: A's over Cubs, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Cy Young won his 500th game.

The St. Louis Browns helped Cleveland's Nap Lajoie win the batting title over Ty Cobb -- a lot of people didn't like Cobb very much -- by playing deep and allowing him to bunt for hits on an 8-for-8 day in a doubleheader. A car was awarded to the batting champion. As a result, both players were awarded vehicles.

103) 1885

WORLD SERIES: St. Louis Browns tied Chicago White Stockings, 3-3-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Both the Browns and White Stockings claimed the championship in a World Series defined by controversial umpiring.

102) 1887

WORLD SERIES: Detroit Wolverines over St. Louis Browns, 10-5.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tip O'Neill won the American Association batting Triple Crown.

A joint rules committee brought both leagues under the same set of rules. The Detroit Wolverines and St. Louis Browns played a 15-game championship series in various neutral cities. Despite the Wolverines clinching the series after 11 games, the final four games were played as scheduled to increase revenue.

101) 1882

WORLD SERIES: Chicago White Stockings tied Cincinnati Red Stockings, 1-1 (exhibition series).

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

All NL teams returned from the previous season for the first time ever. The American Association was formed. In an Aug. 17 game between the Providence Grays and Detroit Wolverines, John Montgomery Ward pitched 18 shutout innings for the Grays. Right fielder Old Hoss Radbourn -- primarily a pitcher -- hit the first home run of his career to win it in the 18th for the Grays.

The Red Stockings dropped out of an attempted championship series after two games.

100) 1884

WORLD SERIES: Providence Grays over New York Metropolitans, 3-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Old Hoss Radbourn won the NL pitching Triple Crown and won a record 60 games. Guy Hecker won the American Association pitching Triple Crown. Ned Williamson hit a record 27 homers.

Radbourn's season was a model of the sort of pitching lines we'll likely never see again. He won 60 games with a 1.38 ERA and 441 strikeouts in 678 2/3 innings. All 73 of his starts were complete games. The first World's Championship Series was held between the Providence Grays and the New York Metropolitans.

99) 1886

WORLD SERIES: St. Louis Browns over Chicago White Stockings, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Matt Kilroy of the Orioles of the American Association set a record with 513 strikeouts.

In a rematch of the 1885 Series -- which ended with both teams claiming victory -- the Browns won on a steal of home.

98) 1878

WORLD SERIES: None. Boston Red Caps were National League champions.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Paul Hines became the first winner of the NL batting Triple Crown. He needed only four home runs to lead the league.

This was the first season every team played their full schedules, which doesn't seem like something that would take three seasons to sort out. Yet, this is something of an accomplishment.

97) 1907

WORLD SERIES: Cubs over Tigers, 4-0-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

After tying the first game of the World Series, the Cubs essentially swept the Tigers.

96) 2012

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Tigers, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Miguel Cabrera won the AL batting Triple Crown.

The second Wild Card was added in both leagues. Philip Humber, Félix Hernández and Matt Cain all threw perfect games -- the only season with more than two perfect games. Highly-touted prospects Bryce Harper and Mike Trout played their rookie seasons.

Unfortunately, none of the postseason spots were really up for grabs in the closing days. Even in the tight division races, the second-place team had a Wild Card spot as a fallback.

95) 1905

WORLD SERIES: Giants over A's, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Christy Mathewson won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

All five World Series games were shutouts -- a record three by Mathewson -- which is a pretty good clue we're in the heart of the Dead Ball Era.

94) 1990

WORLD SERIES: Reds over A's, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bobby Thigpen saved a record 57 games. Nolan Ryan won his 300th game.

A lockout delayed the start of the season by a week. The Reds upset the A's in the World Series. The A's were the defending champions and were appearing in their third consecutive World Series after sweeping the Red Sox in the AL Championship Series. Meanwhile, the Reds had been hovering around .500 for much of the '80s and won just 75 games the year prior. To not only beat the A's dynasty but sweep the World Series was a shock.

93) 1903

WORLD SERIES: Boston Americans over Pirates, 5-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The AL instituted the foul-strike rule, which brought down offense in the league. The Boston Americans beat the Pirates in the first modern World Series.

92) 2018

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Dodgers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Albert Pujols recorded his 3,000th hit.

The regular season featured more strikeouts than hits. Tiebreaker games were needed for both the AL and NL Central Divisions, as well as the NL West. Game 3 of the World Series was the longest of all time, lasting 7 hours, 20 minutes.

91) 1989

WORLD SERIES: A's over Giants, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Nolan Ryan recorded his 5,000th strikeout.

The Loma Prieta earthquake postponed Game 3 of the World Series by 10 days, so the A's had to wait a bit to complete their sweep.

90) 2008

WORLD SERIES: Phillies over Rays, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Francisco Rodriguez set a single-season record with 62 saves. Manny Ramirez hit his 500th home run. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th home run. John Smoltz recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

The White Sox and Twins played a tiebreaker to decide the AL Central. We're in a two-season segment of delayed World Series -- Game 5 was suspended in the middle of the sixth inning for two days because of rain.

89) 2010

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Rangers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th home run.

"Year of the Pitcher." Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay threw perfect games and Halladay threw a no-hitter to open the NL Division Series, just the second postseason no-hitter after Don Larsen's World Series perfect game in 1956.

88) 2015

WORLD SERIES: Royals over Mets, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: A-Rod got his 3,000th hit. David Ortiz hit his 500th home run.

José Bautista's bat flip highlighted a wild AL Division Series Game 5 between the Blue Jays and Rangers. The Royals returned to the World Series after dramatically losing to the Giants the year prior.

87) 1987

WORLD SERIES: Twins over Cardinals, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Mark McGwire set a rookie record with 49 homers. Mike Schmidt hit his 500th home run.

The Tigers made up 3 1/2 games on the Blue Jays in the AL East in the final weeks of the season, including a sweep of Toronto on the final weekend to win the division.

86) 1938

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Cubs, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Babe Ruth came back to coach the Dodgers, though it was more of a ceremonial role than one of actual impact. The Cubs put together a 10-game winning streak to win the NL pennant.

85) 2005

WORLD SERIES: White Sox over Astros, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Greg Maddux got his 3,000th strikeout. Rafael Palmeiro got his 3,000th hit.

The Nationals played their first season in Washington, D.C. Chris Burke of the Astros hit a walk-off home run in the 18th inning of Game 4 of the NLDS to advance to the LCS.

84) 1955

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The Dodgers finally got revenge over their cross-town rivals and topped the Yankees in the World Series after losing to them in their previous five trips.

83) 1963

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Yankees, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Sandy Koufax won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Early Wynn recorded his 300th win.

An expanded strike zone -- from the shoulders to the bottom of the knee -- killed offense. The Dodgers swept the Yankees in a World Series in which they never trailed.

82) 1929

WORLD SERIES: A's over Cubs, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Babe Ruth became the first member of the 500-home run club.

In one of the most important aesthetic updates in the history of the game, the Indians and Yankees made numbers a permanent fixture on jerseys. In a fairly non-competitive season, both pennants were decided by early September.

81) 1922

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Yankees, 4-0-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Rogers Hornsby won the NL batting Triple Crown. Ken Williams of the Browns became the first member of the 30-30 club.

The Giants and Yankees met in an all-Polo Grounds World Series. A year earlier, after beating the Yankees in the first all-Polo Grounds World Series, the Giants had insisted the Yankees find their own ballpark -- talk about kicking a team while it's down! -- which led to the opening of Yankee Stadium in 1923.

80) 1972

WORLD SERIES: A's over Reds, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Steve Carlton won the NL pitching Triple Crown. Roberto Clemente recorded his 3,000th hit.

A strike erased the first week-and-a-half of the season, and the games were never made up, which produced an uneven schedule. This wound up impacting the postseason picture as the Tigers played one more game than the Red Sox and won the AL East over them by a 1/2 game. The Red Sox curse clearly didn't lack creativity.

79) 2006

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Tigers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Trevor Hoffman broke the all-time saves record. Barry Bonds moved into second all-time in homers. Johan Santana won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Curt Schilling recorded his 3,000th strikeout. Alfonso Soriano became the fourth member of the 40-40 club.

Tight division races resulted in the Twins and Cardinals clinching division titles on the last day of the season.

78) 1992

WORLD SERIES: Blue Jays over Braves, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Robin Yount and George Brett recorded their 3,000th hits.

Baseball made some major forays into pop culture as Keith Hernandez appeared on "Seinfeld" and The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat" aired. The Cubs made Ryne Sandberg the highest-paid player ever with a five-year, $30.5-million deal.

77) 2013

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Cardinals, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

A tiebreaker game between the Rays and Rangers determined the second AL Wild Card. Puig-mania after the arrival of Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. The "Cueto" NL Wild Card Game between the Reds and Pirates showed how intense a one-game postseason series could get.

76) 2009

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Phillies, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Gary Sheffield hit his 500th home run. Mariano Rivera recorded his 500th save. Randy Johnson won his 300th game.

The Twins defeated the Tigers in 12 innings in a tiebreaker to determine the AL Central champion.

75) 1982

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Brewers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases and broke Lou Brock's single-season record. Gaylord Perry won his 300th game. Ferguson Jenkins struck out his 3,000th batter. Rollie Fingers became the first member of the 300 saves club.

The Braves won a record 13 straight games to start the season.

74) 2002

WORLD SERIES: Angels over Giants, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Barry Bonds hit his 600th homer. Randy Johnson won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

The All-Star Game ended in a tie, which ended up being assigned more importance than it probably deserved. The Angels and Giants both reached the World Series as Wild Card teams.

73) 1983

WORLD SERIES: Orioles over Phillies, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Nolan Ryan broke the career strikeout record. Steve Carlton recorded his 300th win. Don Sutton recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

The Pine Tar Game. George Brett is a Hall of Fame player. He won a World Series. Despite all that, he's probably most remembered for angrily charging out of the dugout toward an umpire in a game in mid-July. It was one of the craziest arguments we've ever seen on a baseball field.

72) 1932

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Cubs, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Babe Ruth's called shot. There are a lot of things we know about Ruth's life and career, but it's the one thing we don't know that somehow became the most iconic -- did he point toward the center-field wall before hitting a homer in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series? We'll probably never know, and that only adds to the greatness of the moment.

71) 1984

WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Padres, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Pete Rose recorded his 4,000th hit. Reggie Jackson hit his 500th home run. Phil Niekro recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

Dwight Gooden's rookie season. Tigers got off to a fast start and never looked back.

70) 1912

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Giants, 4-3-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Chief Wilson set a record with 36 triples. Christy Mathewson won his 300th game.

Snodgrass' Muff decided the World Series. With a 2-1 lead in the 10th inning of Game 8, Giants center fielder Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball that allowed the tying run to reach base. The Red Sox won later that inning. Fenway Park hosted its first game and hosted a World Series game in its first year of operation. Coincidentally, it would go down as one of the best Series of all time.

69) 1897

WORLD SERIES: Orioles over Boston Beaneaters, 4-1 (Temple Cup).

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Cap Anson became the first member of the 3,000-hit club.

After a slow start to the season, Boston clawed back and was inseparable from Baltimore in the final month of the season. They finally took two of three against Baltimore in the penultimate series of the season to win the pennant. Cy Young threw his first no-hitter.

The most lopsided game in MLB history took place as the Cubs beat the Louisville Colonels, 36-7.

68) 1935

WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Cubs, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The Cubs won 21 games in a row in September to win the NL pennant over the Cardinals by four games.

67) 1979

WORLD SERIES: Pirates over Orioles, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lou Brock and Carl Yastrzemski recorded their 3,000th hits.

The Pirates came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Orioles in the World Series.

66) 1921

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Yankees, 5-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Babe Ruth became the all-time home runs leader and broke his own single-season record with 59 homers. He also set records for extra-base hits (119) and total bases (457). Ty Cobb got his 3,000th hit.

As a result of Ray Chapman's death the previous season, the spitball and emery ball were banned. Giants and Yankees -- who shared a stadium -- met in the World Series, which featured the first radio broadcast in Series history.

65) 1939

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Reds, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bucky Walters won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

The first televised MLB game was played between the Reds and Dodgers. The Yankees won their 4th straight World Series on Ernie Lombardi's Snooze, but it was something of a tragic year for the team as Lou Gehrig's Iron Man streak came to an end and he delivered his "Luckiest Man" speech.

64) 1997

WORLD SERIES: Marlins over Indians, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Roger Clemens won the AL pitching Triple Crown.

Clemens may have won the Triple Crown, but Pedro Martinez also put up a stunning individual season in the NL with a 1.90 ERA and 305 strikeouts with the Expos. Interleague Play was introduced. The Marlins won the World Series in just their fifth year of existence.

63) 1928

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Cardinals, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Babe Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4 as the Yankees won -- and swept -- their second straight World Series.

62) 1934

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Tigers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lefty Gomez won the AL pitching Triple Crown. Lou Gehrig won the MLB batting Triple Crown. Babe Ruth became the first member of the 700 home run club.

The NL pennant race got exciting in the final days of the season as the Cardinals won their final four games and the Giants lost their last five. The Cardinals won the pennant by two games.

61) 1976

WORLD SERIES: Reds over Yankees, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Chris Chambliss' ALCS walk-off sent the Yankees to the World Series, but they ran into the Reds, who became the first team to go undefeated in the postseason in the Divisional Era.

The A's attempted to trade much of their team at the Trade Deadline despite having reached the ALCS the previous season. The fire sale was voided by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. This season would likely be ranked considerably higher had one of the best teams not tried to trade its entire squad.

60) 1930

WORLD SERIES: A's over Cardinals, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Hack Wilson amassed a record 191 RBIs. Lefty Grove won the MLB pitching Triple Crown.

The Cardinals finished the season on a 39-10 run to close a 12-game gap and win the pennant by two games over the Cubs.

59) 1996

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Braves, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Paul Molitor recorded his 3,000th hit. Roger Clemens recorded his second 20-strikeout game. Barry Bonds became the second member of the 40-40 club. With his 500th home run, Eddie Murray joined Aaron and Mays in the 3,000-500 club.

The Yankees snapped a championship drought -- certainly by their standards -- by winning their first World Series in 18 years.

58) 1940

WORLD SERIES: Reds over Tigers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bob Feller won the AL pitching Triple Crown. Jimmie Foxx hit his 500th home run.

The Tigers, Indians and Yankees all finished within two games of each other for the AL pennant.

57) 1926

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: George Burns hit a record 64 doubles. Walter Johnson won his 400th game.

Babe Ruth hit three homers in Game 4 of the World Series, including two over 500 feet. In a legendary Fall Classic performance, 39-year-old Grover Cleveland Alexander came on with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Game 7. After striking out Tony Lazzeri, he no-hit the Yankees the rest of the way. The game ended when Ruth was caught stealing second base. It remains the only World Series to end on a caught stealing.

56) 1925

WORLD SERIES: Pirates over Senators, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Rogers Hornsby won the MLB batting Triple Crown. Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins joined the 3,000-hit club.

A new ball with a cushioned cork center was introduced, which led to an offensive explosion that lasted for a few years. After a prolonged dead-ball era, this was probably a sight for sore eyes. The Pirates came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series.

55) 1970

WORLD SERIES: Orioles over Reds, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Willie Mays and Hank Aaron recorded their 3,000th hits. Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run.

The five-game World Series belies how exciting it was. The Orioles came back from down three runs or more in three of their wins.

54) 1971

WORLD SERIES: Pirates over Orioles, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson hit their 500th home runs. Hank Aaron hit his 600th home run.

The Dodgers went on a September run to create a surprise NL West pennant race with the Giants. However, they never managed to take the lead and ultimately came up a game short.

Game 4 of the World Series was the first night game in Series history, and Roberto Clemente showcased his all-around game as the Fall Classic MVP.

53) 1977

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lou Brock broke Ty Cobb's modern stolen base record.

The Mariners and Blue Jays joined the AL as expansion teams. Reggie Jackson became Mr. October.

52) 1952

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

An exciting World Series between the Dodgers and Yankees went seven games, with six games decided by two runs or fewer.

51) 1973

WORLD SERIES: A's over Mets, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Hank Aaron hit his 700th home run. Nolan Ryan struck out a record 383 batters.

The AL introduced the designated hitter. The delightfully named "Ball on the Wall" play in September potentially decided a close NL pennant race between the Pirates and Mets in the latter's favor. A potential Pirates home run in the top of the 13th inning instead bounced off the top of the wall and directly into Cleon Jones' glove. He threw out the lead runner at the plate and the Mets walked it off in the bottom half of the inning.

50) 1954

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Indians, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Willie Mays made The Catch.

49) 1923

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Giants, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Walter Johnson became the first member of the 3,000-strikeout club.

Babe Ruth hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees got some revenge over their former Polo Grounds roommates and won the World Series over the Giants after losing the previous two. Casey Stengel hit two game-winning homers for the Giants in the World Series, the first of which was an inside-the-parker in Game 1.

48) 1906

WORLD SERIES: White Sox over Cubs, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Mordecai Brown's 1.04 ERA was a new record.

The "Hitless Wonders" White Sox won 93 regular-season games with an AL-worst .230 team batting average and played terribly in the World Series -- they hit just .198 and committed 15 errors -- but still managed to beat the heavily-favored 116-win Cubs.

47) 1909

WORLD SERIES: Pirates over Tigers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Ty Cobb won the MLB batting Triple Crown.

The Tigers lost their third consecutive World Series, during which Pirates rookie pitcher Babe Adams won three complete games. The Tigers became the first team to win three straight pennants with no championship to show for it.

46) 1914

WORLD SERIES: Braves over A's, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner joined the 3,000-hit club.

Everyone loves a worst-to-first story, and the Braves went 68-19 over their final 87 games to move up from last place all the way to the World Series. The Federal League lured star players away with higher salaries, which led to increased wages throughout the game. This season also saw diminished offense as pitchers discovered that doctoring baseballs could make them break in odd ways to fool batters.

45) 1981

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Yankees, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton recorded their 3,000th strikeouts.

Oddities make for a good season, even if they result in a bit of injustice. A strike from mid-June through the end of July divided the season into halves with the first- and second-half champions making the postseason. The Reds had the best combined record in the Majors, but didn't win either half, so they missed the postseason. The Dodgers -- fueled by Fernandomania -- won the World Series despite trailing in every postseason series -- the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series.

44) 1993

WORLD SERIES: Blue Jays over Phillies, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Dave Winfield recorded his 3,000th hit.

Expansion brought the Marlins and Rockies into the NL. The NL West pennant race between the Giants and the Braves was decided on the last day of the season. As a result, the 103-win Giants -- who had the second-best record in baseball -- missed the postseason.

The World Series ended on a walk-off home run from Joe Carter.

43) 1956

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Mickey Mantle won the MLB batting Triple Crown. Willie Mays recorded the second 30-30 season in history and the first in 34 seasons.

Three teams -- Dodgers, Braves and Redlegs -- were separated by only two games in the NL pennant race. Don Larsen's perfect game in Game 5 of the World Series remains the only perfecto and no-hitter in World Series history.

42) 1948

WORLD SERIES: Indians over Braves, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Stan Musial put together one of the greatest offensive seasons of all time. He led the NL in all three triple slash categories and in RBIs. He finished just one home run shy of the Triple Crown.

A good AL pennant race resulted in a tiebreaker between the Red Sox and Indians. The Indians won it and went on to win the World Series.

41) 1946

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Red Sox, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bob Feller pitched a Live Ball Era record 36 complete games.

Players returned from WWII, which brought the game out of a four-season dark age where many of the top players were enlisted in the military effort. The NL pennant ended in a tie, forcing a best-of-three playoff series between the Cardinals and Dodgers, which the Cardinals won, 2-0.

40) 1988

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over A's, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Orel Hershiser pitched a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings. Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter became the second and third pitchers to record 300 career saves. Jose Canseco recorded the first 40-40 season.

Hershiser put together one of the greatest pitching seasons ever, going 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA. On the other side of the coin, the Orioles lost 21 straight games to start the season.

The World Series featured one of the most iconic home runs in history as a hobbled Kirk Gibson hit a pinch-hit walk-off homer in Game 1 to help the Dodgers upset the A's.

39) 2000

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Mets, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Cal Ripken Jr. recorded his 3,000th hit. Randy Johnson struck out his 3,000th batter.

This was a season of parity, with every team finishing with a winning percentage between .400 and .600. Despite the evenness of the standings, the same team continued to come out on top as the Yankees won their third consecutive World Series after beating the Mets in the Subway Series.

38) 1966

WORLD SERIES: Orioles over Dodgers, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Willie Mays broke the NL record with his 512th home run. Sandy Koufax won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Frank Robinson won the AL batting Triple Crown.

The two Triple Crown winners matched up in the World Series, with Robinson and the Orioles facing Koufax and the Dodgers. In their sweep of Los Angeles, Baltimore strung together 33 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings during the Fall Classic.

37) 1927

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Pirates, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Babe Ruth broke his own home run record again with 60 long balls. Lou Gehrig had a record 173 RBIs. Ty Cobb recorded his 4,000th hit.

The Murderers' Row Yankees are in the argument for being the most dominant team of all time. That level of greatness makes up for the fact that they pretty much dominated the league.

Lazzeri (left), Ruth (middle) and Gehrig (right)

36) 1889

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 6-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: John Clarkson of the Boston Beaneaters won the NL pitching Triple Crown.

The pennant was decided on the last day of the season with a Giants win and a Beaneaters loss. In the American Association, the Bridegrooms only edged the St. Louis Browns by two games.

35) 1950

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Phillies, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

The NL pennant between the Dodgers and Phillies was decided on the final day of the season. That may have been thrilling, but real history was afoot: The Indians used a "little red wagon" to transport pitchers to the mound in the first instance of a bullpen cart.

34) 1974

WORLD SERIES: A's over Dodgers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career home run record. Lou Brock set a new record for stolen bases in a single season with 118.Al Kaline got his 3,000th hit. Bob Gibson got his 3,000th strikeout.

The A's won their third consecutive World Series, beating a Dodgers team that won 102 games.

33) 1960

WORLD SERIES: Pirates over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Ted Williams hit his 500th home run.

The overall total of home runs was slightly low, but three homers defined the season. Williams went deep in the last at-bat of his career. Mickey Mantle hit a homer that allegedly traveled 643 feet.

But the biggest home run of the season -- and certainly one of the most significant of all time -- came in Game 7 of the World Series, when Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off in the 9th inning to lift the Pirates over the Yankees.

32) 1959

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over White Sox, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

This was the first of four seasons with two All-Star Games, as a second was added to raise funds for player pensions.

The NL pennant race forced a tiebreaker game between the Dodgers and Braves. The Dodgers beat the White Sox in the World Series in just their second season in Los Angeles.

31) 1920

WORLD SERIES: Indians over Brooklyn Robins, 5-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: George Sisler set a single-season hits record with 257. Grover Cleveland Alexander won the NL pitching Triple Crown. Walter Johnson won his 300th game. Babe Ruth broke his own single-season home run record of 29 with 54 dingers. Jim Bagby Sr. won 31 games.

The AL pennant race between the Indians, White Sox and Yankees was one of the greatest of all time, with all three teams finishing within three games of each other. Following the season, the White Sox were indicted for throwing the 1919 World Series, which obviously put a bit of a damper on things.

30) 1975

WORLD SERIES: Reds over Red Sox, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Five games of the World Series were decided by only one run, and the Reds came from behind in all four wins, which did little to ease concerns that the Red Sox might be a cursed franchise. Carlton Fisk waved a ball fair on a walk-off homer in Game 6.

29) 1980

WORLD SERIES: Phillies over Royals, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Nolan Ryan recorded his 3,000th strikeout.

The Dodgers swept the Astros in the last three games of the season -- winning each game by only one run -- to force a tiebreaker, which the Astros won. The ALCS had George Brett's homer off Goose Gossage in Game 3. Four of the five games in the NLCS between the Astros and Phillies went to extra innings.

28) 1924

WORLD SERIES: Senators over Giants, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Rogers Hornsby hit .424. Walter Johnson won the AL pitching Triple Crown, but Dazzy Vance won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Grover Cleveland Alexander won his 300th game.

The World Series between the Giants and Senators came down to Game 7. It began with the Curly Ogden gambit, and saw the Senators come back after trailing, 3-1, in the eighth inning thanks to a bad hop on a ground ball. Johnson held the Giants scoreless in four relief innings. The Senators walked it off in the 12th thanks to another bad bounce on a grounder. At the time, it was regarded as the greatest World Series ever played, with four of the games decided by only one run.

27) 1961

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Reds, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Roger Maris hit a record 61 home runs. Warren Spahn won his 300th game.

There was an historic home run chase, as both Maris and Mickey Mantle were in pursuit of Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 dingers. Mantle's chase was derailed by injury, while Maris went on to make history. Powered by Marris and Mantle, the Yankees won 109 games -- the most by a team in more than 30 years -- and went on to win the World Series in five.

26) 1962

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Giants, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Maury Wills stole a record 104 bases.

For the first time, both leagues played 162-game schedules (the AL had adopted the 162-game schedule a year prior). Despite the longer season, the NL pennant went down to the wire and had to be decided by a three-game tiebreaker series between the Dodgers and Giants, which San Francisco won, 2-1.

The World Series was similarly close. In Game 7, the Giants had a runner on third with two outs in the ninth inning, trailing, 1-0, but were unable to bring him home.

25) 1965

WORLD SERIES: Dodgers over Twins, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Sandy Koufax won the MLB pitching Triple Crown and recorded a single-season record 382 strikeouts. Willie Mays hit his 500th home run.

In the first Draft in MLB history, Kansas City selected outfielder Rick Monday first overall. On the other side of the age spectrum, Satchel Paige pitched for the Kansas City Athletics at age 59.

But the story of the season was the Dodgers and Sandy Koufax. They won 14 of their last 15 games and clinched the NL pennant on the second-to-last day of the season. In the World Series, Koufax threw two shutouts to help the team recover from a 2-0 deficit and beat the Twins.

24) 1949

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Despite the lack of individual milestones, there were tight pennant races in both leagues. In the NL, the Dodgers edged the Cardinals by one game. The AL pennant came down to the final game of the season with the Yankees and Red Sox tied for first place and set to play each other in the finale. The Yankees won and went on to capture the World Series title as well.

23) 1985

WORLD SERIES: Royals over Cardinals, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all-time hits record. Rod Carew got his 3,000th career hit. Dwight Gooden won the MLB pitching Triple Crown. Nolan Ryan recorded the 4,000th strikeout of his career. Phil Niekro and Tom Seaver both won their 300th games.

There was a brief strike for two days in August, which dings the season a little bit, but the Royals' comeback in the World Series after losing the first two games at home more than makes up for it. After a thrilling come-from-behind walk-off win in Game 6, they blew out the Cardinals in Game 7 to complete the comeback.

22) 2019

WORLD SERIES: Nationals over Astros, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia both reached 3,000 career strikeouts. Pete Alonso set a rookie home run record with 53 homers.

There might not have been parity across the league, but there was top-end excellence, with four teams winning 100 games or more, highlighted by the Astros, whose rotation featured two 300-strikeout pitchers in Gerrit Cole and Verlander.

After years of exiting in the first round of the postseason, and after superstar Bryce Harper left via free agency in the offseason, the Nationals finally broke through. They not only got out of the first round, but upset the Astros in the World Series.

21) 1947

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Ted Williams won the AL batting Triple Crown.

The story of the season came on April 15, when Jackie Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke baseball's color barrier. He led the league in stolen bases, took home the first Rookie of the Year Award (there was only one for both leagues until 1949) and finished fifth in the NL MVP voting. Speaking of the MVP Award, Williams won the Triple Crown in the AL, but he lost the MVP vote to Joe DiMaggio.

Another milestone was reached when the Yankees and Dodgers played in the first televised World Series. The Dodgers both hit and pitched poorly, posting a .230 batting average and a 5.55 ERA as a team. Somehow, the Series went to seven games, though the Yankees eventually emerged with the deserved victory.

20) 1999

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Braves, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in one inning. Pedro Martinez won the AL pitching Triple Crown. Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn recorded their 3,000th hits. Mark McGwire hit his 500th home run.

Individual greatness carries this season. Martinez turned in one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time -- though his performance the following year may have been even better. Putting up a 2.07 ERA amid an offensive explosion, just a year after multiple players chased the single-season home run record, was truly remarkable.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine achieved comedic greatness by appearing in the dugout in disguise after getting ejected.

The NLCS brought Robin Ventura's confusingly named "grand slam single" in Game 5, but despite defying the laws of basic scorekeeping, the Braves went on to beat the Mets.

19) 1964

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

Yet again, one team's collapse -- while certainly painful for their fans -- brought about a thrilling end to the season, at least from a neutral point of view. Both leagues had exciting pennant races down to the end of the season. The Phillies’ historic collapse led to an exciting four-team pennant race that was eventually won by the Cardinals – one game ahead of the Phillies and Reds. In the AL, the Yankees won the pennant over the White Sox by one game.

18) 1968

WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Cardinals, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA and 13 shutouts, while Denny McLain notched a remarkable 31 wins. Don Drysdale set a new scoreless-innings streak of 58 2/3. Hank Aaron hit his 500th homer.

The Year of the Pitcher. There wasn't much offense, with pitchers putting up numbers that really hadn't been seen since the beginning of the century. In fact, Carl Yastrzemski was the only hitter in baseball to finish the season with a batting average over .300. Even without offense, there was a great World Series between the Tigers and Cardinals. Gibson struck out 17 for the Cardinals in Game 1, and the Tigers rallied from down, 3-1, in the Series. Tigers starter Mickey Lolich went 3-0 in the Fall Classic.

17) 1995

WORLD SERIES: Braves over Indians, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played. Eddie Murray got his 3,000th hit.

With many fans disappointed by baseball after a strike ended the 1994 season prematurely, the '95 season needed to be good to bring those fans back. And it was, despite a shortened campaign.

Like we'll see in the next season, 1995 was an instance where an expanded postseason led to an exciting outcome. The AL West featured a tight race between the Mariners, Angels and Astros, ending in the Mariners and Angels facing off in a one-game tiebreaker for the AL West title.

The Indians dominated: They had 100 wins in the shortened 144-game regular season -- 10 more than the next-best team. That next-best team happened to be their World Series opponent. Despite Cleveland's regular-season dominance, the Indians were shut down by the Braves' rotation.

16) 1969

WORLD SERIES: Mets over Orioles, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Willie Mays hit his 600th home run.

Change can lead to exciting and unexpected outcomes, and that was certainly true in 1969. The strike zone shrank and the mound was lowered. Expansion added two teams to each league. This season also marked the first of the Divisional Era. These conditions made it possible for a completely unexpected team to rise to the top.

And the Amazin' Mets did just that. After trailing the Cubs by nine games in mid-August, they went 37-11 the rest of the way and ran away with the division by eight games. New York then upset the Orioles in the World Series to win a championship in just their eighth year of existence.

15) 1978

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Pete Rose recorded his 3,000th hit. Gaylord Perry recorded his 3,000th strikeout. Willie McCovey hit his 500th home run.

Everyone loves a big comeback or collapse, and the AL East race featured just that. In mid-July, the Yankees were 14 games back. They eventually rallied to enter a four-game series in early September just four games behind the Red Sox. New York won all four games in what would be called the Boston Massacre to tie the Red Sox for the division lead. The Yankees later won Game 163 in Boston to capture the division title.

14) 2014

WORLD SERIES: Giants over Royals, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Albert Pujols hit his 500th home run.

The season featured media hoopla for Derek Jeter's final campaign, which he punctuated with a walk-off single in his last game at Yankee Stadium.

The A's and Royals faced off in an all-timer of a Wild Card Game, when the A's couldn't stop Kansas City's running game, allowing seven stolen bases before it was all said and done. The Royals forced extra innings after trailing, 7-3 entering the eighth. They walked it off in the 12th after conceding a run in the top half of the inning.

The World Series ended with the Giants continuing a rather odd and improbable habit of winning it all in even years (2010, '12 and '14) after the Royals held Alex Gordon at third with a chance to tie the game after two outs in the ninth inning.

13) 2003

WORLD SERIES: Marlins over Yankees, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Barry Bonds became the first member of the 500-500 club. Roger Clemens won his 300th game and recorded his 4,000th strikeout. Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa hit their 500th homers.

Not all records are causes for celebration, but they all manage to draw intrigue. The Tigers lost an AL-record 119 games.

The Cubs blew a 3-1 NLCS lead and a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of a potentially clinching Game 6 after a fan named Steve Bartman got in the way of Chicago left fielder Moises Alou's attempt to catch a foul ball. The Marlins went on to put up eight runs in the inning and eventually won the series.

Curses were alive in the AL, as well. The ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox ended in dramatic fashion, as Aaron Boone hit a walk-off homer in Game 7 to send the Yankees to the World Series.

12) 2016

WORLD SERIES: Cubs over Indians, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Ichiro recorded his 3,000th MLB hit. Max Scherzer became just the third pitcher to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

If it weren't for the World Series, folk hero Bartolo Colon hitting his first career home run would likely be the lasting memory of this season, and as much as it pains me to admit it, 2016 would fare nowhere near as well in these rankings as a result.

Once again, the World Series winner matters here. The Fall Classic brought about a matchup between two teams -- the Cubs and Indians -- that found themselves in the midst of tragically lengthy championship droughts. After a thrilling Game 7 that went to extra innings, the Cubs broke their 108-year World Series drought and the Indians merely extended theirs to 68 years.

11) 1941

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Lefty Grove won his 300th game. Ted Williams batted .406. Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games.

With most of baseball's best players soon to enter military service during WWII, the quality of play in baseball was about to take a hit. But before the war ushered in the lean years, Williams and DiMaggio offered a reminder of how high the level of play could be. Williams' .406 average in '41 remains the most recent season a player hit over .400, and DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is regarded as one of the most unbreakable records in sports.

If MLB.TV had existed in the 1940s, fans would have been well-served by watching the '41 season over and over for the next few years.

10) 1967

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Red Sox, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Carl Yastrzemski won the AL batting Triple Crown. Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle hit their 500th home runs.

The AL Pennant race came down to the last day of the season, with the Twins and Red Sox playing each other tied for first place and the Tigers a half-game back, but with a doubleheader. The Red Sox beat the Twins on the strength of Yaz's 4-for-4 day at the plate. Still, they needed the Tigers to lose at least one game of their doubleheader. The Tigers won the first game, but lost the second, giving the Red Sox the pennant.

The Cardinals, however, won the World Series in seven games thanks to great performances from Lou Brock -- 12 hits and seven stolen bases -- and Bob Gibson -- three complete-game wins with only three total runs allowed.

9) 1986

WORLD SERIES: Mets over Red Sox, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Don Sutton won his 300th game. Steve Carlton got his 4,000th strikeout and Bert Blyleven got his 3,000th. Roger Clemens became the first pitcher to record 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

Game 6 of the NLCS between the Mets and Astros should be considered one of the greatest postseason games of all time. After the Mets tied the game with three runs in the ninth inning, the game went to extras and lasted 16 innings before the Mets clinched a trip to the World Series.

The Angels seemed to have the AL pennant wrapped up until Red Sox center fielder Dave Henderson hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 5. But Boston's curse proved too powerful to overcome. The World Series became famous for Bill Buckner's error, which allowed the Mets to score the winning run in Game 6.

8) 2001

WORLD SERIES: D-backs over Yankees, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Barry Bonds hit his 500th home run and a single-season record 73. Rickey Henderson recorded his 3,000th hit.

The Mariners were the story of the regular season as they won a record 116 games, and Ichiro dominated as a rookie, winning the AL MVP Award and, obviously, the Rookie of the Year as well.

But the postseason wasn't as kind to the Mariners, as the Yankees -- coming off three straight World Series wins -- dispatched of them in the ALCS. In the World Series, Derek Jeter became Mr. November when he hit a walk-off homer in the 10th inning of Game 4 -- after clocks in New York had struck midnight, pushing a season into November for the first time. (The MLB season had been temporarily halted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, necessitating a late start to the 2001 playoffs).

However, the story of the World Series was the D-backs' twin aces, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, who combined to throw nearly 60 percent of their team's innings. In 38 2/3 innings, they gave up only six runs and struck out 45, ultimately sharing World Series MVP honors. The dramatic Fall Classic ended on Luis Gonzalez's walk-off single against legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

7) 2007

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Rockies, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record. Craig Biggio got his 3,000th hit, Pedro Martinez got his 3,000th strikeout and Tom Glavine got his 300th win. Three players -- Frank Thomas, Jim Thome and A-Rod -- hit their 500th home runs. Sammy Sosa hit his 600th home run. Trevor Hoffman recorded his 500th save.

The postseason races in the NL made this season. The Phillies surged in September to clinch the NL East on the last day of the season after the Mets lost 12 of their final 17 games to miss the postseason. The Rockies hadn't had a winning season since 1997, and this year didn't look much more promising. However, they won 14 of their last 15 games and beat the Padres in a tiebreaker to win the NL Wild Card to not only reach 90 wins, but earn a postseason berth on top of it.

6) 2011

WORLD SERIES: Cardinals over Rangers, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Derek Jeter hit a home run for the 3,000th hit of his career and Mariano Rivera passed Trevor Hoffman to become the all-time saves leader. Justin Verlander won the AL pitching Triple Crown and Clayton Kershaw won the NL pitching Triple Crown. Verlander won 24 games, tying Randy Johnson for the most in the 21st century. Jim Thome hit his 600th home run.

Entering the final day of the season, the Wild Card spots in both leagues were up for grabs. Both the Rays and the Cardinals went on runs late in the season to catch the Red Sox and Braves, respectively, and make Game 162 meaningful. This made for four games that were essential viewing, all starting within an hour of each other. Three of the four games featured late-inning comebacks, two went to extra innings and two ended on walk-off hits. It should go down as one of the most exhilarating days in MLB history.

The Cardinals came from 10 1/2 games back to clinch the NL Wild Card and carried their late-season momentum and some unlikely heroics from David Freese to a World Series title.

5) 1951

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Giants, 4-2.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: None of note.

It's not often that a season can be boiled down to a single moment, but when it does happen, that usually means the moment vaults it to rarefied air in history. We see it here, and we'll see it again when we get to the 1908 season.

The Yankees may have beaten the Giants in the World Series, but 1951 is remembered because of a single swing of the bat by a single Giants player. Thanks to a 16-game winning streak, the Giants came from 13 1/2 games back to tie the Dodgers and force a three-game series for a trip to the World Series. In Game 3, Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

4) 2004

WORLD SERIES: Red Sox over Cardinals, 4-0.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Randy Johnson's 4,000th strikeout. Greg Maddux's 300th win. Ichiro set the single-season hits record with 262. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 500th home run. Barry Bonds hit his 700th home run and set single-season records for walks, OBP and OPS.

In certain contexts, the team that wins the World Series can matter in these rankings. Like the No. 12 season on this list, this season is one of the greatest of all time because of who won it all. The Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918, and did so in dramatic fashion. After falling behind the Yankees, three games to none, in the ALCS, the Red Sox rattled off eight consecutive wins -- four against the Yankees and four against the Cardinals.

There was some excitement in the NL as well. The Astros went on a roll in the final days of the season, winning nine of their last 10 games to come back and edge out the Giants for the NL Wild Card.

3) 1998

WORLD SERIES: Yankees over Padres, 4-0

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Mark McGwire hit a single-season record 70 home runs and Sammy Sosa was right on his heels. The Yankees won 114 games. Roger Clemens won the AL pitching Triple Crown and recorded his 3,000th strikeout. Alex Rodriguez put together a 40-40 season. Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters in a game. Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak of 2,632 consecutive games played came to an end.

Obviously, the home run race is the headliner, as the battle between McGwire and Sosa -- and, for a good chunk of the year, Ken Griffey Jr. as well -- made for must-watch television every day. Both finished the season with more homers than the previous record of 61.

There was so much more to this season, though, than the home run chase. We saw a dominant run from the Yankees culminating in 114 regular-season wins and a sweep of the Padres in the World Series.

McGwire and Sosa's home run chase was far from the only stunning individual achievement of the season. In addition to all the milestones above, Randy Johnson put together one of the most dominant pitching runs of ever. After a midseason trade to the Astros, he went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA.

MLB also expanded by one team in each league, with the D-backs joining the NL and the Devil Rays joining the AL, with the Brewers switching from the AL Central to the NL Central to maintain an even number of teams in each league.

On top of all that, there was a tight race for the NL Wild Card, with a one-game tiebreaker needed to separate the Cubs and Giants.

There will definitely be some people who will downgrade this year in retrospect due to Sosa and McGwire subsequently being linked to PEDs, but you cannot deny the fact that when this season was happening, it was absolutely riveting and loaded with some of the most memorable individual and team performances in baseball history.

2) 1908

WORLD SERIES: Cubs over Tigers, 4-1.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Christy Mathewson captured the NL pitching Triple Crown.

Just because you weren't alive to witness the 1908 season doesn't mean you can't appreciate it. Both pennant races went down to the wire and featured moments that somehow manage to evoke emotional investment over a century later.

The final week of the season featured one of the greatest pitching duels of all time between Cleveland's Addie Joss and Chicago's Ed Walsh, as their two teams battled for the AL pennant. It was so legendary, in fact, that a song was written about it. Walsh gave up only one run and struck out 15 batters, but that wasn't quite enough, because he found himself facing a guy who threw a perfect game. Ultimately, neither team would win the pennant -- the Tigers emerged from the three-team race -- but it would go down as the greatest pitching duel in history nonetheless.

The real story for the 1908 season was the National League pennant race, which was decided by one of the most notorious blunders in history: Merkle's Boner. Even so many years later, it's impossible to read the story of the play and not feel a profound empathy for Fred Merkle.

The Cubs won the World Series and wouldn't capture another for 108 years.

1) 1991

WORLD SERIES: Twins over Braves, 4-3.

MILESTONES AND RECORDS: Rickey Henderson broke the career stolen base record. Nolan Ryan pitched his seventh no-hitter.

As we've seen at the start of these rankings, a chaotic season can lead to disaster when teams fold or leagues dissolve. As the work of Francis Bacon taught us, however, chaos can also be captivating and beautiful. The 1991 regular season was most definitely a case of the latter.

A total of 13 managers were fired, and the Braves and Twins climbed all the way from last place to eventually meet in the World Series. Speaking of last place, the Angels finished last in the AL West with an 81-81 record, becoming the first team to finish in the basement and not have a losing record.

That Braves-Twins Fall Classic was one of the greatest of all time. Five of the seven games were decided by one run. Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off home run in extra innings of Game 6 to force a Game 7, and Jack Morris took it from there, holding the Braves scoreless for 10 innings.

Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.