erik lundegaard

The 20 Greatest Games: The Standings

I've been a fan of the MLB Network's 20 Greatest Games series, as you can tell from this post, and this one, and this, and thought it would be cool to see the ultimate standings for the series. Who has the best record in these games? Who's shown up the most? Who hasn't shown up at all?

Here are the league standings for the 20 teams (9 A.L., 11 N.L.) that made the cut:

My Twins on top in the A.L. (Tigers in '09, Braves in '91), while Florida, of all teams, rules the N.L. (Giants in '03, Cubs in '03, Indians in '07). Only three undefeated teams in each league. More losing than winning in baseball.

The bigger question, though, is who's shown up the most. No surprise there:

  • Boston Red Sox: 6
  • New York Yankees: 6
  • Florida Marlin: 3
  • Philadelphia Phillies: 3
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: 2
  • Atlanta Braves: 2
  • Chicago Cubs: 2
  • Houston Astros: 2
  • Minnesota Twins: 2
  • New York Mets: 2
  • California Angels: 1
  • Cincinnati Reds: 1
  • Cleveland Indians: 1
  • Detroit Tigers: 1
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: 1
  • Oakland Athletics: 1
  • Pittsburgh Pirates: 1
  • San Francisco Giants: 1
  • Seattle Mariners: 1
  • Toronto Blue Jays: 1

Yanks and BoSox again sucking all the air out of the room. Half their games are with the other, in which the Yankees are 2-1, winning the Dent and Boone games, losing the Dave Roberts game, Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, surely one of the greatest series ever played. 

So who isn't even represented on a list in which the Florida Marlins make it three times? Count 'em:

  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Chicago White Sox
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • San Diego Padres
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Texas Rangers

No Orioles? And no Cardinals? In the last 50 years? So no Gibson or Brock or Brooks or Palmer or Ozzie or Ripken?

And no Royals? I'm thinking of those great ALCSs against the Yankees from '76 to '80. The original list of 50, from which the final 20 were chosen, had two of those games on it, Game 5 in '76 (the Chambliss game) and Game 5 in '77 (Yanks score 3 in top of 9th, win 5-3).

I mean look at this line score:

Line score of 1976 ALCS, Game 5, Yankees vs. Royals

That's the Chambliss game. Royals up 2-0. Yanks tie it 2-2. Royals up 3-2. Yanks go ahead 4-3. Yanks widen lead 6-3. In top of 8, Royals score 3 to tie it, 6-6. Yanks win it in bottom of 9 with Chambliss homer.

I'm also partial to this game:

Line score from Game 3 of the 1978 ALCS, Yankees vs. Royals

Look at that. Royals up, Yanks tie, Royals up, Yanks tie and go ahead, Royals tie and go ahead, Yanks tie and go ahead. But this one didn't even make the 50 nominees. It's Game 3 of the 1978 ALCS. The George Brett three-homer game.

What do you think? What's missing? It's obvious the '60s and most of the '70s got short shrift here. The oldest game on the list is the no. 1 game of the list, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, the Fisk game, which has grown in stature over the years as the other great games of the period have unfortunately faded.

Kansas City Royals logo    Baltimore Orioles logo     St. Louis Cardinals logo

Some of the teams not included in the 20 greatest games of the last 50 years.


Posted at 04:45 PM on Sat. May 21, 2011 in category Baseball  
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COMMENTS

Tim wrote:

Much as I'd like to contribute a Cards game to the list, I can't come up with one that would really make the cut... '85 NLCS had a couple of really good ones, but hardly “best ever.” I wasn't around for the '67-'68 Series, so I don't know those enough to say. There was a late-season game in '85 with the Mets, during the span where there was a real rivalry between the teams that alternated winning the division, that was memorable — 1-0 in 10 innings, Tudor over Gooden/Orosco — but again, not a “best ever.”

Comment posted on Tue. May 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Erik wrote:

I know some of those '60s Cards games were pretty interesting but probably not this interesting. Although, you know, Gibson striking out 17 in the '68 World Series is pretty cool. But 20-worthy? Probably not.

But those Royals/Yankees game, man.

Plus I'm definitely thinking Game 5 of the '72 NLCS. Pirates, defending champions. three outs from their second WS in two years, bottom 9, Johnny Bench goes deep to tie it, Reds go on to win it. But ancient history to most voters.

The Boone game, by the way, is up way way too high...

Comment posted on Tue. May 24, 2011 at 03:54 PM

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