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The Curse of Winning 100 Games

October 14, 2015

The St. Louis Cardinals won 100 games this season, the most of any team in baseball…but they were eliminated in the National League Divisional Series. Why? So few teams win 100 games, and the World Series, that a curse must be afoot!

Cardinals 100 WinsThere are 162 games in a Major League Baseball season, which is a slog by all measures. After that, there’s the wild card playoff game, the best-of-5 divisional series, the best-of-7 league championship series, and the best-of-7 World Series. All in all, a team can play a total of 182 games…not counting the 30 or so games in spring training. It’s all the more impressive then when a team is so thoroughly dominant from the beginning of the season to the end and reaches a feat that only a handful of teams have done: win 100 games in the regular season.

One would think that winning 100 games would guarantee a postseason of cruising through opponents en route to a World Series championship, but it’s just not very likely. Perhaps players are tired after playing almost 200 games, or perhaps they peaked too early in the season. Whatever it is, history doesn’t lie: Since the National League and American League expanded to four playoff teams each in 1969, 45 teams have won 100 games in the regular season. Of those 45 teams, only 10 have gone on to win the World Series. They are:

  • 1969 New York Mets (100-62)
  • 1970 Baltimore Orioles (108-54)
  • 1975 Cincinnati Reds (108-54)
  • 1976 Cincinnati Reds (102-60)
  • 1977 New York Yankees (100-62)
  • 1978 New York Yankees (100-63)
  • 1984 Detroit Tigers (104-58)
  • 1986 New York Mets (108-54)
  • 1998 New York Yankees (114-48)
  • 2009 New York Yankees (103-59)

Among the most notable teams to watch their regular season power vanish in October: The 2001 Seattle Mariners. Led by Randy Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki, and Edgar Martinez, the team won 116 games—a Major League record. After beating Cleveland in the ALDS, they lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS, four games to one.

Two other teams set franchise records for wins in a season, but had the misfortune to play in years where other teams did the same thing. For example, the 1969 “Miracle Mets” won 100 games and the World Series…over the 109-game-winning Baltimore Orioles. The New York Yankees won a then-record 114 games in 1998, and in the World Series beat the 106-game-winning Atlanta Braves.

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davromega

In the 98 series it was the Padres. Atlanta was in 99. If the Padres had beaten the Yankees they would have beaten 3 100 win teams.

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