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MLB team with the most wins

Posted by Andy on August 29, 2010

Did you ever look at the MLB Team Win Totals page? It shows how many wins each team had each season going back to 1901. The team with the highest win total each season is shown in bold. It's interesting to note how long it's been since some long-existing teams have led MLB in wins:

  • The Cubs haven't done it since winning 98 games in 1945.
  • The Reds haven't done it since winning 66 games in 1981 (strike-shortened).
  • The Astros have never done it despite 102 wins in 1998.
  • The Royals haven't done it since winning 102 in 1977.
  • The Dodgers haven't done it since winning 102 in 1974.
  • The Twins haven't done it since winning 102 in 1965.
  • The Phillies have never done it! In 110 seasons!
  • The Padres have never done it and have never won 100 games.
  • The Rays might do it for the first time this season (currently tied for most wins).
  • The Rangers have never done it and have never won 100 games.
  • The Blue Jays have never done it and have never won 100 games.
  • The Nationals/Expos led in 1994 with 74, but have never done it in a full season.

18 Responses to “MLB team with the most wins”

  1. Sam Hicks Says:

    Those 1981 Reds didn't even play in the postseason because of the weird first half/second half thing caused by the strike. If I were a Reds fan that year, I would have been livid!

  2. Tom Says:

    Neither did the NL West-leading '81 Cardinals, oddly.

  3. Rich Says:

    Hard to say they even would have if MLB hadn't decided on the wacky playoff format in '81. The "first half" division winners were already guaranteed a playoff spot, so they didn't have much motivation to try. And it really shows, too. The first half winners all did poorly in the second half except for the A's.

    What never made sense to me is the teams played an uneven number of games. The Reds lost the first half West division by one half game simply by having one less win. Same thing happened to the Cardinals in the 2nd half. What a weird year.

  4. Frank Clingenpeel Says:


    I am, and I was!

  5. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    And, by the way back then, the Reds were in the Western Division, and the Cardinals {and Cubs, for that matter} were in the East. I guess the powers that be knew even less about geography than they did about plannign strike-shortened playoffs.

  6. DavidRF Says:

    The odd alignment of the NL from 1969-92 was supposed to balance things. The Giants, Cardinals and Cubs had finished 1-2-3 in 1967-68. The feeling was that putting those in with the Dodgers would have made the West too strong so they moved the Reds and Braves out west keeping in the Cards and Cubs in the east.

    The irony is that the Cards and Cubs didn't play that well in the 1970s while the Reds turned into the Big Red Machine.

  7. Mike Gaber Says:

    Since this is a thread about wins...

    Weird stat of the day:
    An Un-Named Sports Bureau (starting with the letter ā€œEā€)..
    figured out that the team that scored first has won the last 18 games between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
    That's the most since a 20-game streak between the Tigers and Blue Jays from 1991-92.

    Streak was broken at 18 yesterday when Rays beat the Red Sox 3-2 in 10 innings.

  8. John DiFool Says:

    "Those 1981 Reds didn't even play in the postseason because of the weird first half/second half thing caused by the strike. If I were a Reds fan that year, I would have been livid!"

    "Neither did the NL West-leading '81 Cardinals, oddly."

    I was a Reds fan, and I most certainly was livid-mainly because they (and the Cards too, in the 2nd half) were NOT given the all-too-fair opportunity to play a makeup game (they were both a mere 1/2 game out, with a game in hand) to gain a tie and play a playoff game, which could have easily been done a couple of days before everyone else started playing. But no, the 1st half results were carved in stone, they couldn't screw that up (despite the entire season being totally fubared by then). For the Cards it makes even LESS sense, because don't you normally give them the chance to play the makeup game at the end of the season if it's necessary? Nope, not this time.

  9. BSK Says:

    106 wins by the Braves in 1996 is the most wins by a team to not lead the league, thanks to the Yanks winning 114 that year (a record at the time).

  10. DoubleDiamond Says:

    The story I heard about the Cubs and Cardinals being put into the NL East is that the Cubs did not want to be put into the same division with the California teams because so many of their games would be broadcast too late for their fans. And they wanted to be in the same division with their long-time rivals, the Cardinals. Apparently, the Cubs had a lot of clout then and were granted their wish.

    Ironically, the Reds and Braves, both one time-zone further east than the Cubs, got stuck into the NL West instead. Just think how baseball history would have been changed if the Cubs and Cardinals had ended up in the NL West and the Braves in the NL East. For one thing, the postseason rivalry between the Reds and Pirates would have become a regular season rivalry. And maybe the Cubs would have made it to the World Series at least once, perhaps after beating out the Padres for the West championship in 1984 and winning the NLCS over whoever won the East that year.

    The AL was better split at first, and even when the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee after only one season, keeping them in the AL West was a logical move. While the Cubs were in their league's Eastern Division, the fans of the White Sox had to put up with games from 2 or 3 West Coast cities (only two in the 1970-1976 time frame) as a result of ending up in the AL West. After the Washington Senators moved to Texas before the 1972 season, it was Milwaukee that got put into the AL East. I don't know how that was decided, but maybe Bud Selig had clout even then. Another option, besides putting one of the close-to-each-other teams along Lake Michigan into the AL East, would have been keeping the Rangers in that division. This might have been done if any rivalries had been formed with AL East teams (such as with Baltimore), but I don't recall any special ones. Having a Dallas-area team in a league's Eastern Division is not a foreign concept to Washington, DC, sports fans, as the Cowboys have remained in the same division with the Redskins all of these years.

  11. andyr Says:

    Supposedly the Mets wanted the Dodgers and Giants in their division, as they drew well against the two old New York teams, and the compromise was the Cardinals and Cubs going to the NL East...

  12. Ed Says:

    Indians have led the league in wins 3 times in the past 16 years and yet still no World Series title in forever. šŸ™

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    BSK, the Cubs won 116 in 1906, but the Yankees did set the AL record.

  14. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    It's a lot easier to lead the major leagues in wins when there are 16 teams, instead of 20/24/28/30, which may be why there's so many expansion teams who've never done it. Also, the Phillies came VERY close in 1976/1977, finishing only one win behind the leader of 102 wins.

  15. Leatherman Says:

    Hard to discuss this without mentioning the 1993 Giants, who won 103 games and didn't make the playoffs. They won 14 of 16 games to pull into a tie with the Braves on the last day of the season, only to fall to the Dodgers 12-1 while the Braves beat the Rockies for the division title (the last playoffs which did not include a Wild Card team), and their 104th win. I still remember Matt Williams being interviewed after the game, and being livid because the Dodgers were laughing at them in the dugout. I think he singled out Orel Hershiser as one of the culprits.

    No other team won 100 games in 1993.

  16. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    I don't think that winning the most games tells you anything meaningful about who's going to win the World Series; since the last expansion(1995), only two out of 15 of the teams with the most wins have won the WS. Even in the pre-playoff days (before 1969) of the pennant winner going directly to the WS, the team with the lower win total frequently won the WS. For example, in the 20s/30s, the team with less wins won the WS 9 of 20 times.

  17. Steve Says:

    My understanding of the NL East-West divide was the Donald Grant of the Mets was upset because the NL's three biggest draws - Cardinals, Giants, and Dodgers, would all end up the West if drawn geographically. To compensate, the league offered to put STL in the Eastern Division, but they refused to go without the Cubs. Cincinnati and Atlanta decided to go to the West to placate things.

    And the Red Sox haven't had the most wins in MLB since 1946. I answered that question at a Pawtucket game last year and got 24 cans of Pepsi as a result! HA! Baseball "trivia," my b*tt!

  18. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #17/" Steve Says:And the Red Sox haven't had the most wins in MLB since 1946."

    Steve, the Red Sox tied the Indians for most wins, with 96 in 2007, unless I'm reading the table up top wrong.