Best baseball team to not make playoffs.
January 12, 2010 12:53 AM   Subscribe

In major league history, what was the team that had the best record and did not make the playoffs?

In major league baseball, only 8 of the 30 teams make the playoffs every year. As recently as the early 90's it was 4 teams out of 26, and in the 60's it was 2 teams out of 20. Obviously over the years a lot of very good teams have not even made it to the playoffs.

What team had the best overall record and still did not make the playoffs? I know teams play more games than they did 50 years ago so let's go with winning percentage instead of wins.
posted by thecjm to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
1. In 1909, the Cubs went 104-49 (.680) but came in second.

2. The 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers went 104-50 (.675) and finished second to the St Louis Cardinals.

3. In the AL, the 54 Yankees went 103-51 (.669) but finished second to Cleveland.
posted by one_bean at 1:24 AM on January 12, 2010

Since they switched to 162 games in 1963, only one team won 100 games but did not go to the playoffs, the 1993 Giants (103-59, finished one game behind Atlanta).

Since the wild card began, a bunch of AL teams have won 93 games but didn't go to the playoffs (2002, 2003, 2005; Red Sox/Mariners; Seattle; Cleveland). In 1999, the Reds won 96 games and lost the Wild Card to the Mets by a game (guess that counts since the playoff tie is always decided by a regular season game, not a one game playoff).
posted by one_bean at 1:35 AM on January 12, 2010

Since Divisional play began:

1973 LA Dodgers - 95-66
1974 Cincinnati Reds - 98-64
1977 Texas Rangers - 94-68
1977 Pittsburgh Pirates - 96-66
1977 Boston Red Sox - 97-64
1977 Baltimore Orioles - 97-64
1978 Boston Red Sox - 99-64
1979 Montreal Expos - 95-65
1979 Milwaukee Brewers - 95-66
1980 Baltimore Orioles - 100-62
1982 Baltimore Orioles - 94-68
1985 NY Yankees - 97-64
1985 NY Mets - 98-64
1990 Chicago White Sox - 94-68
1993 SF Giants - 103-59
1999 Cincinnati Reds - 96-67
posted by mikel at 5:11 AM on January 12, 2010

one_bean's got it. The 1909 Cubs had the highest winning percentage of any team in history that failed to make it to the posteason, in a year in which there was a postseason (so 1904, 1994, and all years before 1903 don't count).
posted by cerebus19 at 7:43 AM on January 12, 2010

apologies that this doesn't directly answer the question but you may find this baseball data visualization example interesting.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 8:39 AM on January 12, 2010

I didn't really grasp the full meaning of unfair (at least in sports) until my '93 Giants missed the playoffs after having won 103 games. It was JUST SO FUCKING UNFAIR. Say what you will about Selig (and I have!), realignment was incredibly necessary.
posted by ORthey at 8:48 AM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

1909 Cubs (won 108 games in a 154-game season), but they didn't even call them "playoffs" back then. Baseball had two completely separate leagues at the time (and each league played a completely balanced schedule). There was no sense of postseason entitlement on the part of any team. The World Series was created simply as the best measure available for determining which of the champions from two separate leagues was the best (and to make money of course). There was no need to include the second-best AL team or the second-best NL team, because everyone already knew they weren't the best. The 1909 Cubs didn't go home disappointed about missing the playoffs. They went home disappointed they were so much worse than Pittsburgh.
posted by aswego at 11:08 AM on January 12, 2010

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