If there was one thing that came out of the 2014 World Series it was that winning a lot of games during the regular season wasn’t that big a deal.
This was the first World Series in history where the opponents both failed to win 90 games during the regular season. Kansas City won 89 and the Giants won 88. What makes that stat even more amazing is that there were six teams that did win 90-plus games in 2014: L.A. Angels (98), Baltimore (96), Washington (96), L.A. Dodgers (94), Detroit (90) and St. Louis (90). All, however, were beaten in the playoffs, failing to reach the World Series. Both the Royals and Giants defeated two of the three 90-win teams in their league to reach the World Series.
Past history in the World Series has shown that winning 90 or more games during the regular season was almost a prerequisite for making an appearance in the World Series. From 1901 to 1960, there were only five World Series where one of the teams had less than 90 wins (1926, 1938, 1944, 1945 and 1959) and that was during a time when the schedule was not 162 games, but was 154 games or less.
When the schedule increased to 162 games in 1961, there were eight World Series where at least one of the teams had less than 90 wins (1973, 1987, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2014).
With their 2014 World Series win, the Giants became the fourth team since 1961 to win the title with less than 90 victories in the regular season. If we go back to 1903, they were the seventh team with less than 90 to win a championship. (Note: That is taking into consideration that a full compliment of games were played in the regular season. In 1918 and 1981, there were less games played than scheduled due to war (1918) and a players strike (1981).
Here’s a look at the teams that won the World Series with less than 90 wins in the regular season
2014: San Francisco Giants (88)
2006: St. Louis Cardinals (83)
2000: New York Yankees (87)
1987: Minnesota Twins (85)
1959: Los Angeles Dodgers (88)
1945: Detroit Tigers (88)
1926: St. Louis Cardinals (89)
Here’s the teams that lost the World Series in a year when they won less than 90 regular season games
2014: Kansas City Royals (89)
2012: Detroit Tigers (88)
2005: Houston Astros (89)
1997: Cleveland Indians (86)
1973: New York Mets (82)
1944: St. Louis Browns (89)
1938: Chicago Cubs (89)
1919: Chicago White Sox (88)
1918: Chicago Cubs (84)