The 10 Best World Series Winners of the 21st Century
There have been sixteen complete seasons this century and a lot of really good teams. Of the teams that won the World Series, here are the ten that were the best:
10. 2006 Cardinals (83-78)
World Series (4-1) over Detroit
NLCS (4-3) over NY Mets
NLDS (3-1) over San Diego
While this Cardinal team didn’t have a strong regular season record, they shined in the postseason, winning yet another World Series for probably the best National League franchise in history.
Led by Albert Pujols (47 HR, 137 RBI, .331 BA), Scott Rolen (22-95, .296) and Jim Edmonds (19-70), the Cardinals had power and a good on-base percentage.
The pitching staff was also no slouch, showcasing Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan, and closer Jason Isringhausen.
After beating San Diego in four games, they beat one of the best Mets teams of the last 25 years, four games to three. The Tigers were over-matched in the World Series as the Cardinals won in five games.
9. 2015 Royals (95-67)
World Series (4-1) over NY Mets
ALCS (4-2) over Toronto
ALDS (3-2) over Houston
After losing a very tough World Series the year before to the Giants, the Royals were determined to get back and finish the job.
Some of the 2014 team had left (Nori Aoki and ace James Shields) but that didn’t stop Kansas City from piling up 95 wins and getting past Houston and Toronto to make their second World Series appearance in a row.
It was Alex Gordon’s ninth inning HomeRun that set the tone for the World Series as they defeated a good Mets team four games to one.
The lineup was deep with Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, and Eric Hosmer. There wasn’t a lot of power, but they just play good team baseball and put up runs in big spots.
The pitching staff is what makes this team a top 10 team. Yordano Ventura. Chris Young, and Edinson Volquez were all high-quality starters, but the bullpen is as good as any team on this list with Wade Davis, Ryan Madson and Greg Holland providing an almost unbeatable one-two-three punch in later innings.
8. 2012 Giants (94-68)
World Series (4-0) over Detroit
NLCS (4-3) over St. Louis
NLDS (3-2) over Cincinnati
The Giants have won three titles this century and could be on their way to a fourth. Although their teams haven’t been dominant, they win in the postseason. This team was probably their best.
They haven’t hit for a lot of power historically under manager Bruce Bochy, but they’ve always excelled in clutch hitting, good on-base percentage, and good pitching.
Buster Posey led the lineup with 24 homeruns, 124 RBI’s, and a .408 on-base percentage, while they got good hitting from Hunter Pence, Melky Cabrera (.346 BA), Pablo Sandoval, and Angel Pagan.
The pitching staff was deep with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, and Barry Zito.
They struggled to get to the World Series but managed to get by Cincinnati (3 games to 2) and St Louis in a tough seven game series. They were able to sweep the Tigers and win their second title of the century.
7. 2007 Red Sox (96-66)
World Series (4-0) over Colorado
ALCS (4-3) over Cleveland
ALDS (3-0) over LA Angels
This was Boston’s second championship of the decade and they still had a real good team with key pieces like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez still there, but they also had Mike Lowell (21-120, .324 BA) and first baseman Kevin Youkilis (16-83, .390 OBP).
Josh Beckett led the pitching staff with a 20-7 record, but also had Curt Schilling, Jon Lester, and Tim Wakefield (17-12).
After dispatching Anaheim, they won a difficult series against the 96-66 Cleveland Indians. Once they got to the World Series, however, they handled Colorado with ease.
6. 2005 Chicago White Sox (99-63)
World Series (4-0) over Houston
ALCS (4-1) over LA Angels
ALDS (3-0) over Boston
The ’05 Whitesox are a bit of an underrated team, but they were one of the best over the last 15 years.
They didn’t have a ton of big names, but they played well as a team and beat just about everyone they played. Their lineup was led by first-basemen Paul Konerko (40 HR, 100 RBI, .373 OBP), right-fielder Jermaine Dye (31-86, .512 SLG) and left-fielder Scott Podsednik (.290 BA, and 59 stolen bases).
The pitching staff was deep, led by Mark Buehrle (16-8, 3.12 ERA), Jon Garland (18-10, 3.50), and Jose Contreras (15-7, 3.61).
They knocked off the defending World Series champs (Redsox) 3-0, dropped only one game to the Angels in the ALCS and then swept Houston for their first World Series since 1917.
5. 2008 Philadelphia Phillies (92-70)
World Series (4-1) over Tampa Bay
NLCS (4-1) over LA Dodgers
Won NL Division Series (3-1) over Milwaukee
The Phillies at the end of the decade seemed on the verge of a dynasty, but only came away with one title. Their 2009 may have been better but this one was still very good.
The lineup was full of power with Ryan Howard (48 HR, 146 RBI), Chase Utley (33-104) and Pat Burrell (33-86). The pitching staff was also deep with Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick and Jaime Moyer.
They steamrolled past Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay, only losing three games total en route to their first World Series title since 1950.
4. 2002 Anaheim Angels (99-63)
World Series (4-3) over San Francisco
ALCS (4-1) over Minnesota
ALDS (3-1) over NY Yankees
The Angels get a bit lost in a list like this, but this team was a good one.
Third-baseman Troy Glaus led the way with 30 homers and 111 RBI’s while closely followed by left fielder Garret Anderson’s 29 HR and 123 RBI’s. The pitching staff was deep as well, led by Jarod Washburn (18-6, 3.15 ERA).
After cruising past the Yankees and Twins to get to World Series, they found themselves down three games to two to the Giants. In the bottom of the seventh, down 5-0, unheralded Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 5-3, and then in the 8th, Glaus hit a bases-loaded double to clear the bases and take a 6-5 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Once they got ahead in Game 7, the Angels played great defense the rest of the way to win it all.
3. 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks (92-70)
World Series (4-3) over NY Yankees
NLCS (4-1) over Atlanta
NLDS (3-2) over St. Louis
This team had a good lineup, led by Luis Gonzalez’s 57 HR’s and Reggie Sanders’ 33. While the lineup was solid (eight players with double digit HR totals and good on-base percentage), it was the one-two punch of Randy Johnson (21-6, 2.49 ERA) and Curt Schilling (22-6, 2.98) that propelled this team to a World Series upset over the Yankees.
2. 2004 Boston Red Sox (98-64)
World Series (4-0) over St. Louis
ALCS (4-3) over NY Yankees
ALDS (3-0) over Anaheim
While the 2004 Boston Red Sox had a very deep roster, they are best known for becoming the first team win a series after being down three games to none, and they did it against the defending American League champion New York Yankees.
The roster was amazing, led by David Ortiz (41 HR, 139 RBI, .301 BA, .380 OBP, and an amazing .603 SLG), Manny Ramirez (43-130, .308, .397, .613), Johnny Damon (20-94, .304, .380), Kevin Milar (18-74, .297, .383) and Jason Varitek (18-73, .296, .390).
While the Sox had plenty of good hitters, the pitching staff was real good as well, led by Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe and 21-game-winner Curt Schilling.
This team had a lot of heart and the ability to beat great teams, including the winning-est team of the 21st century, the 105-57 Cardinals, four games to none in the 2004 World Series.
1. 2009 New York Yankees (103-59)
World Series (4-2) over Philadelphia
ALCS (4-2) over LA Angels
ALDS (3-0) over Minnesota
The 2009 Yankees not only had the best record of any World Series winner of the 21st Century, but they were probably the best overall team.
Winners of 103 regular season games, the Yankees had very little trouble winning in the playoffs, defeating the Twins 3-0 in the ALDS, the Angels 4-2 in the ALCS and finally dethroning the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 in the World Series.
The batting lineup was lethal with Derek Jeter (18 HR, 66 RBI, .334 BA, .406 OBP), Alex Rodriguez (30-100, .286, .402), Robinson Cano (25-85, .320, .352) and Mark Teixeira (39-122, .292, .383)
All nine starters had double-digit homeruns. Six players batted over .280. Seven had over 20 homeruns and over 80 RBI’s. Five had a slugging percentage over .500 (Nick Swisher’s was .498). This lineup was deep and was very difficult to pitch around.
As good as the batting lineup was, the pitching additions of C.C Sabathia and A.J. Burnett were what may have been what put this team over the top.