View Full Version : Most underrated pennant winners?

04-05-2011, 03:56 AM
I've got a question for everyone. We often talk about underrated players, but what about underrated teams? To refine the discussion a bit, what were the most underrated pennant-winning teams?

The first one that comes to mind for me is the 1948 Cleveland Indians. I know they're not particularly obscure, being Cleveland's last World Series champion, but I don't think most people realize how good they really were. On the surface they appear to be a nice little one-year wonder that had everything fall right, because they faced the Red Sox in a one-game playoff and were surrounded by Yankee pennants.

In fact, their Pythagorean record was 104-51, seven games better than their actual record. If they'd lost that playoff game it would've been an unjust ending to an outstanding season. Their team OPS+ was 113 and their team ERA+ was 127, both league-leading figures. If they'd had a better first baseman than Eddie Robinson they might've been in the argument for the greatest infield of all time. Bill Veeck only got one championship as an owner, but it was a team for the ages.

Some others that deserve mention:

1974 Los Angeles Dodgers. They won 102 games, but their Pythag says they should've won 106. They did that playing in the NL's tougher division, too.

1919 Cincinnati Reds. Had a .686 winning percentage. Might have won the World Series even if the Black Sox hadn't thrown it.

1968 Detroit Tigers. A lot like the '48 Indians. They look like a nice little one-year wonder, but they really dominated that one year.

1902 Pittsburg Pirates (the city of Pittsburgh officially spelled its name without the 'h' at that time). Their final record was 103-36, and they won the pennant by 27.5 games. It's a shame there was no World Series at the time, or they'd probably be better-known today.

1932 New York Yankees. Outperformed their Pythag by eight games, but 107 wins is still pretty darn impressive. They seem to be forgotten because their championship came between multi-year pennant strings, and because Babe Ruth's "Called Shot" overshadowed the team itself.

1909 Pittsburg Pirates. Won 110 games, same as the 1927 Yankees, and yet no one ever talks about them.