The Dodgers are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1988 after Thursday's 11-1 win over the Cubs clinched the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. They're doing so as baseball's top seed in the first year home-field advantage in the Fall Classic is determined
The Dodgers are heading to the World Series for the first time since 1988 after Thursday's 11-1 win over the Cubs clinched the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. They're doing so as baseball's top seed in the first year home-field advantage in the Fall Classic is determined by overall record.
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The Dodgers went 104-58 in the regular season, claiming their fifth consecutive NL West title. They're now the 11th team in the Wild Card Era (since 1995) to punch their ticket to the World Series presented by YouTube TV after finishing the regular season with the best record in baseball (including the 2013 Cardinals and Red Sox, who tied at 97-65). Among the previous 10 teams, five won it all.
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Expanding the scope to the top team in each league increases that group to 16 teams (nine from the American League and seven from the NL) that reached the World Series, including this year's Dodgers, and nine that won it. The AL's top team this season, the 102-win Indians, were eliminated in the AL Division Series by the Yankees.
Here's a look at how the previous 10 Wild Card-Era teams with the best regular-season record fared when reaching the World Series:
2016 Cubs (103-58)
The Cubs famously made history last season when they overcame a 3-1 Series deficit against the Indians to win the franchise's first World Series title since 1908. The Classic ended with an extra-inning thriller in Game 7 at Progressive Field.
2013 Red Sox (97-65) and Cardinals (97-65)
Boston and St. Louis met for the fourth time in the World Series in 2013. The teams entered the postseason tied for the best record in baseball and without a head-to-head regular-season matchup to differentiate a top seed among them. The Sox won in six games, clinching a championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
2009 Yankees (103-59)
The Yankees won their 27th and most recent championship in 2009 after pacing the Majors with 103 wins. Andy Pettitte earned his MLB-record 18th career playoff victory as New York clinched the Series against the Phillies in Game 6 in the Bronx.
2007 Red Sox (96-66)
The Red Sox captured their second title in four years by sweeping the Rockies, who were making their first World Series appearance, in 2007. Boston outscored Colorado, 29-10, in the four-game series.
2004 Cardinals (105-57)
The Cardinals entered the playoffs with baseball's best record and made it all the way to the World Series before they ran into a red-hot Boston team that proved too much to handle. Fresh off a historic comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees, Boston kept its momentum going by sweeping the Cardinals in four games.
2003 Yankees (101-61)
The Yankees reached their fifth World Series in five seasons after a 101-win campaign in 2003, but were upset by the underdog Marlins, who reached the Fall Classic as the NL Wild Card team. New York lost in six games after Florida's Josh Beckett tossed a five-hit shutout to clinch the Marlins' second World Series championship.
1999 Braves (103-59)
For the second time in four seasons, the Braves fell to the Yankees in the World Series. Atlanta was swept by New York, as a third consecutive 100-plus-win campaign ended in a postseason defeat.
1998 Yankees (114-48)
The Yankees have finished atop the AL nine times since 1995, winning as many as a franchise-record 114 games in '98. New York's historic season continued in the playoffs, where the Yankees swept the Padres in the World Series.
1995 Indians (100-44)
After reaching 100 wins for the second time in franchise history, the Indians lost a hard-fought six-game series to the Braves. Five of the six contests were decided by one run, with only Atlanta's 5-2 victory in Game 4 exceeding that margin.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.