Winning the World Series is the epitome of every baseball team. Seasons are filled with teams that seem destined for greatness or disappointment, only to surprise everyone. Some of the best teams, like the 2001 Seattle Mariners, won a record 116 games but lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Then there are teams like the 2015 Kansas City Royals, who mastered the small-ball game, counting on clutch singles and stolen bases to win the World Series. It shows that there are many different factors that win ball games. Some of the worst teams have been victorious because of this. Here are the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.
2006 St. Louis Cardinals
In 2006, the Cardinals only won 83 games. They showed that no matter how bad or good a team was in the regular season, the playoffs were different. Despite having a MVP-caliber season from Albert Pujols, the only other power source in the Cardinals lineup was from an aging Scott Rolen, who hit 22 home runs. Their pitching staff was also skeptical, with only Chris Carpenter who had a quality season. The Cardinals upset both the National League-Padres and Mets, eventually winning the World Series in five games over the Detroit Tigers.
2014 San Francisco Giants
Despite having dominant performances by their ace Madison Bumgarner, no one on this Giants team hit 30 home runs. The Giants won 88 games in 2014, claiming the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They rolled through the Pirates, Nationals, and Cardinals, before meeting their match in the Kansas City Royals. Like the Giants, the Royals were also a small-ball scoring team. The series went down to seven games, with Bumgarner throwing six shutout innings in relief of a struggling Tim Hudson, yet they are one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.
1987 Minnesota Twins
While this Twins team had a killer lineup, featuring Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek with MVP-caliber seasons, the pitching was bad. Even with Twins starter Frank Viola's pristine 17-10 record, the pitching staff still finished the season with a 4.63 ERA. The Twins only won 85 games in 1987, beating the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and narrowly beating the Cardinals in seven games.
1985 Kansas City Royals
Despite having George Brett, no one expected this Royals team to be a winner, one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series. The rest of the lineup was questionable, mostly hitting under .250. But where they really shined was their pitching staff. Bret Saberhagen won 20 games and Charlie Leibrandt finished the season with a 2.69 ERA. Still, the Royals pulled a major upset in the fall classic against a heavily-favored Cardinals team that won 101 games in the regular season.
2013 Boston Red Sox
Yes, this team won 97 games. But the question is, how? This team went from worst to first, piling up on gritty veterans like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Ryan Dempster. The Red Sox lineup still featured David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, but the rest of the lineup is a mystery to how well they played. Stephen Drew was their starting shortstop, Will Middlebrooks as the starting third baseman, and Jonny Gomes in left field. Combined with a 36-year-old catcher, David Ross, this lineup sounds like a retirement party. But where the Red Sox really shined in 2013 was their dominant bullpen, which featured terrific seasons from Koji Uehara and Andrew Miller. Still, on paper, this was one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.
1959 Los Angeles Dodgers
Yes, this team featured Dodgers legends like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Duke Snider. But with a mediocre season from Koufax who was just 23 years old, the Dodgers won just 88 games and featured a weak offense. However, they tore it up down the stretch, besting a strong Chicago White Sox team in six games.
2000 New York Yankees
This was the third World Series championship in a row for the Yankees, but also one they didn't necessarily deserve. The Yanks only won 87 games in 2000, narrowly beating the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners before edging the Mets in the first subway series World Series since 1956. This team featured a dominant Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, but the rest of the pitching staff was questionable. Aging starters, Roger Clemens, David Cone, Orlando Hernandez, and Denny Neagle filled out the rest of the rotation, showing mixed results. The lineup stayed for the most part intact from the previous championship teams, but had less production, making this Yankees team one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.
2011 St. Louis Cardinals
This Cardinals team was also a surprise, only winning 87 games in the regular season and barely making it into the playoffs by one game. They were tasked with beating the Philadelphia Phillies, who were the best team in baseball and featured heavyweights Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Cliff Lee. Their victory over the Brewers in six games set the stage for one of the most epic World Series matchups in years. The 2011 World Series between the Cardinals and the Texas Rangers went down to seven games, with the Rangers within an out of winning game six and their first championship in franchise history. Instead, the Cardinals pulled off a major upset, becoming one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.
1945 Detroit Tigers
This Tigers team had one of the weakest offenses in any World Series team, but made up for it with pitching. Hal Newhouser finished the season with an astounding 25-9 record and a 1.81 ERA. The rest of the rotation was just as good, pitching with a collective 2.99 ERA for the year. On paper, it's unbelievable how one of the worst MLB teams to win a World Series would happen, but they would edge the Chicago Cubs in seven games.
2003 Florida Marlins
The Marlins had only been a franchise for ten years by the time they won their second World Series championship in 2003. They were a decent team in 2003, winning 70 games heading into the last month of the season. But they really went on a tear, finishing the season 21-8, claiming the Wild Card spot. Featuring a young, talented rotation with Carl Pavano, Josh Beckett, Dontrelle Willis, and Brad Penny, the Marlins squeaked by the Chicago Cubs in an infamous NLCS. Despite having Ivan Rodriguez, Derrek Lee, and Mike Lowell in the lineup, the team's run production was just average, and they were one of the worst MLB teams to win the World Series.