Baseball is a funny game. Oftentimes fans ourselves inexorably tied to a team’s fate for seven months at a time, only to have that bond broken with sadness, despair and loss. But somehow, when our memories of those times come rushing back to us, we don’t recall failed seasons or the fleeting happiness a championship brought us. It’s almost always the little things we remember. The small moments that made it great.
With that in mind, we sent out some emails and contacted everyone we could in an attempt to hear stories from other bloggers about their favorite baseball teams of all-time. We didn’t simply want to hear “I like this team because I lived there,” so we decided to ask for a team and year, because we thought that would lead to memories of those small moments we mentioned above.
The responses were amazing. We heard from bloggers in every spectrum of the disjointed fraternity we call the Sports Blogosphere and all of them were fantastic. Much like our Bloggers Favorite Baseball Players post last year, the results surprised us and we loved reading them. Sadly, this year, there was 100 percent less Rube Waddell, but we digress. We want to thank everyone who participated for making this a whole lot of fun. We owe you guys big time.
We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we enjoyed doing it.
1989 Baltimore Orioles
“My favorite teams may be the ’86 Mets, ’91 Phillies and ’05 Nationals, but it’s hard to express sentiment about teams that aren’t your own or for anything that happened as recently as 2005, so I’ll soft focus on the squad that lifted my adolescent spirits unlike any other: the ’89 Orioles.
You may not remember them, but you sure as heckfire remember the ’88 Orioles that started 0-21 and landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated for their ineptitude. They were so bad that they fired their franchise player’s father/manager after just six games, finished 54-107 and almost killed me.
That horrific squad returned intact for the ’89 campaign same as they ever were, except they weren’t. The lineup was infused with rookies (Mike Devereaux in center, Randy “Moose” Milligan at first and Craig Worthington on the hot corner), young hurlers Jeff Ballard and Bob Milacki came out of nowhere for 32 wins and Gregg “Otter” Olson won the Rookie of the Year going away. Brady Anderson and Steve Finley were even in the mix, but they didn’t hit for shit. Curt Schilling and Ben McDonald also got September call-ups. I’m telling you this team was awesome.
And some of the same old guys were there too: Mickey Tettleton eating Fruit Loops, Joe Orsulak hitting for average, Larry Sheets kicking ass and Jim Traber being fat. Eddie Murray and Fred Lynn had flown the coop but Cal Ripken Jr. was in his prime, the lone star amongst this band of never-will-bes led by the slow hand of Frank Robinson (who also managed the ’05 Nats and won the ’66 Triple Crown in Baltimore, so I kind of love him. Even if he was an ass to my dad once.)
As the June light turned to moonlight, the new Birds battled atop the old-style, seven-team AL East, finding themselves a game back from Toronto heading in the season-ending three-game set at Skydome. It was a total shock, lightning in a bottle, but the skies went black as Baltimore dropped the first game in extras and lost the second one, along with the season, after blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Of course, the longer term effect of that second-place finish has been greater than anything felt by my 11-year-old mind 19 years ago. i’ve since believe that my teams, however moribund they may be, can make 35-game improvements on a year’s notice, going from worst to (almost) first and transforming from national embarrassment into local treasure. It hasn’t happened like that ever again, but still.” – Jamie Mottram, Mr. Irrelevant and Yahoo! Sports
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
“I grew up in a small town in Texas, but for some reason, this team captured my imagination. As a 6-year-old, those railroad caps the Pirates wore the absolute best. When I read the Dallas Morning News and the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald, I would search for how Willie Stargell and Dave Parker had done the previous day.
For obvious reasons, “We are Family” became my favorite childhood song. I loved Kent Tekulve’s sunglasses, which served as the inspiration for Amber Vision. Bill Madlock and Omar Moreno were also two of my favorites.
By the time I finally made it to Bradenton, Fla., for Pirates spring training in 1985, most of my heroes had moved on. Tony Pena was behind the plate with his classic one leg to the side pose, and Sid Bream had replaced Stargell at first base. Bream was the first and last player to write a Bible verse on my baseball card.
But even though the organization is a joke, I still check the box scores every day. Gorzy and Snell are my favorite pitchers in the league. As long as we can bang out four or five hits, those two guys give you a chance. A couple of years ago, I found an obnoxiously large book commemorating the ’79 Pirates. I put it in the middle of our living room coffee table, but it keeps disappearing.
By the way, any Rangers team that Mickey Rivers played for is my second favorite. OK, I have to stop before I get too emotional.” – Matt Mosley, ESPN’s Hashmarks
1996 New York Yankees
“They say you always remember your first, so for the Yankees fan in his early 30s, the World Series victories in 1977 and 1978 aren’t really in our brains. But 1996 is embedded in our brains.
Before the ’96 campaign, the Yankees had fired Buck Showalter after he led the team to the playoffs. That led to the hiring of Joe Torre, which was met with a typical New York backpage: Clueless Joe.
But Joe proved to be anything but clueless, leading the Bombers back to the World Series for the first time since 1981. And then things quickly fell apart. New York dropped the first two games — at home — to the Atlanta Braves thanks to a then-19-year-old Andruw Jones.
But then David Cone pitched a gem in Game 3 in Atlanta, and the Yankees got off the schnied. And then in Game 4, after being down 6-0, the Yankees completed a miraculous comeback thanks to Mark Wohlers hanging a slider to Jim Leyritz. This is when Yankees fans started to believe.
And then in Game 5, Andy Pettitte out-dueled John Smoltz, and New York squeaked out a 1-0 win. This is when Yankees fans felt like we were gonna win a World Series.
Which led to a raucous crowd rocking Yankee Stadium in Game 6, as the celebration felt like it under way with the first pitch. Current skipper Joe Girardi keyed a three-run third inning with an RBI triple. This is when Yankees fans knew we were gonna win a World Series.
One of the best parts about the 1996 team, was that it was a team. Before the Yankees were had the offensive payroll, before they were the “Evil Empire,” before they became a “business” and “corporation” more than a “team,” they were actually likeable to people outside of New York. They used role players and didn’t rely on superstars. The guys on the roster weren’t brought in via lopsided trades by a team dumping payroll on the Yankees or by signing a free agent to an astronomical contract.
Obviously things have changed since then, but that just makes that first title even more special. Like I said, you never forget your first.” – Jimmy Traina, SI.com’s Extra Mustard
1984 Detroit Tigers
“The 1984 Tigers are, in my memory, perfect. I know the record book says they lost 58 games, but that’s not how I remember it. I lived in suburban Detriot and turned 8 that summer, and all I can remember about those Tigers is that they were perfect. I was sure that Lance Parrish and Alan Trammel and Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson and Chet Lemon and Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez were the perfect assemblage of baseball talent. The letter I wrote to Sparky Anderson telling him why he was my favorite manager may have been the first sports writing I ever did and I didn’t even begrudge his failure to write back because I was sure he must have – the post office just lost the letter. I could live to see 100 more baseball seasons and I know I’ll never see another team as perfect as the first team I fell in love with, the 1984 Tigers.” – Michael David Smith, FanHouse
1993 Philadelphia Phillies
“I have a buddy who doesn’t like the movie “Tin Cup.” He can’t stand the way the film ends, with Kevin Costner’s character stubbornly refusing to lay-up and instead launching shot after shot into the water hazard and, consequently, losing the tournament. I like “Tin Cup.” I like the movie’s message, that life isn’t just about winning and losing. Rather, it’s how we win and how we lose that defines us. The 1993 Phillies taught us the same lesson. That season’s accomplishments were improbable and the team’s demise was spectacular. Long after people have forgotten about other World Series champions, they’ll still be talking about the 1993 Phillies — a team that was larger than life.” – Coley Ward, UmpBump
“Old school. Throwbacks. The Gashouse Gang of the 90s. Whatever you called them, there was no denying they played their asses off and were damn entertaining on the field and off. like closer Mitch Williams once remarked, “There was a freak from every walk of life in that clubhouse.”
It wasn’t just stars like Lenny Dykstra or Darren Daulton that made that squad special. It was the mullets and attitudes. It was John Kruk’s beer gut and Danny Jackson’s wackiness. It was a team-wide mentality that failure was not an option. It was platoons at three positions- THREE positions – and the fact that it worked. It was twenty-five guys with myriad personalities coming together by first pitch each and every day with one one goal in mind – to win.
Baseball needs more ’93 Phillies. Baseball needs more teams comprised of guys willing to run through a brick wall to win a game. Players with the heart and mentality of a role player are just more fun to watch. The ’93 Phils were rarely the most talented team on the field but they found a way to beat everyone put in front of them save one – but history has proven just – that Phils club is remembered more than the Jays team that denied them a championship.” – Lando, Bugs and Cranks
1998 Atlanta Braves
“I’m a total Braves homer, so I obviously have a fondness for the 1991 Worst-to-First squad and the 1995 World Champions. But my favorite top-to-bottom team has to be the 1998 squad, in my mind the most underrated team of the Braves run and, like the 2001 116-game-winning Seattle Mariners, a team that will never get its due because it flamed out short of even making the World Series.
But just look at this team. Won 106 games, finishing 18 games ahead of the Mets. Had six All-Stars (starters Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, and Walt Weiss; reserves Andres Galarraga, Tom Glavine, Javy Lopez). Had FIVE pitchers win at least 16 games (Maddux, Glavine, John Smoltz, Kevin Millwood, Denny Neagle). Ranked first in the league in seven major pitching categories, including wins, ERA, complete games, strikeouts, and shutouts. Good lord, how did these guys not sweep their way to another World Championship, erasing the memories of Jim Leyritz and Eric Gregg and shedding that “Buffalo Bills of baseball” label forever?
Because just like you can’t steal first, you can’t pitch your way onto it, either. After the ’98 Braves absolutely destroyed the Sammy Sosa-led Cubs in the Division Series, their bats went in the cooler. And even going down 0-3 in the NLCS to the Padres, it looked like they, not the 2004 Red Sox, would be the first baseball team to rally from a three-game deficit. But it wasn’t to be; the Braves ended up losing Game 6. And of all the might-have-beens in Atlanta Braves history–and oh, are there many–this one still stings the most.
Next to Lonnie Smith, of course.” – Jay Busbee, Right Down Peachtree, Yahoo! Sports’ From The Marbles and the author of The Quiet Dynasty: The Inside Story of the Atlanta Braves’ Fifteen-Year Championship Run (due in 2009)
1998 San Diego Padres
“I think my feelings about the team can be summed up in the fact that I can still name the 25 man roster off of the top of my head. This team was loaded with San Diego heroes including but not limited to Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti and Trevor Hoffman. I remember Hoffman and Vaughn putting together a 50 save and 50 home run season for the first time in history. I remember Sterling Hitchcock and Joey Hamilton dealing in the playoffs. I remember Kevin Brown dominating in his lone season in a Padre uniform. I remember the highs and lows and blaring Hells Bells through my house when Trevor Hoffman would enter during road games in the postseason, shaking my whole house and neighborhood.
I remember how great it was watching this team succeed before running into possibly the greatest team of all time in the 1998 Yankees and getting robbed in game two of the World Series before getting trounced in four. What I remember most was this team being, in the immortal words of Ted Leitner “My Padres.” Listening to almost all 162 games on my giveaway baseball shaped radio and falling in love with baseball again is what I will remember most about this team.” – Kevin Roberts, Sportable
“As a San Diegan that wasn’t around for the 1984 World Series run, I’d have to say my favorite team was the 1998 squad. Few Padres teams have ever been “stacked,” but this one sure was. The middle of the lineup was among the best in the league, led by an MVP-caliber season from outfielder Greg Vaughn. Tony Gwynn, Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti and Wally Joyner were all enormous contributers. Our one year with Kevin Brown turned out to be a great one. He was nails down the stretch and I’ll never forget his performance in the 1998 NLDS when he struck out 16 Houston Astros. This year also marked the beginning of “Hells Bells,” a San Diego tradition that continues to this day. It’s just a shame that we had to run into the greatest team ever assembled that year. But even in a losing effort, Tony Gwynn’s upper-deck homer at Yankee Stadium remains one of my greatest sports memories.” – Ryan Balke, Sportable
1988 Boston Red Sox
“They were barely over .500 when Joe Morgan replaced John McNamara over the All-Star break, then won something ridiculous like 19 of 20 – Morgan Magic! – over the next few weeks to jump into first place. I was a little sad when they got smoked by the A’s in the ALCS, but it was way more cool to be eight years old and think, “Wow, this baseball is awesome!” Had my introduction to the sports come from later teams, I might’ve gained an appreciation of the game, but I imagine that the excitement I feel over its history derives from that 1988 squad.” – Brian, One More Dying Quail
1985 St. Louis Cardinals
23 years after Don Denkinger was paid off by Kansas City political big wigs to steal the Series from St. Louis, the ’85 Cardinals are still the gold standard for baseball teams in my book.
They won 101 games in an unconventional way – speed, defense, more speed and John Tudor. They won the NL East after being picked last by every major publication in the pre-season. They made it to Game 7 of the World Series with Jack Buck calling every play, most memorably Ozzie’s homerun. And they did it all with Tito Landrum coming off the bench to dazzle the stadium with his shimmering jheri curl.
The aptly titled cheese-filled highlight video from 1985 said it all – it was a “Heck of a Year”. – Josh Bacott, Joe Sports Fan
1983 Baltimore Orioles
“For my money, the 1982-83 Orioles is my favorite team. I grew up just outside DC, in between the Senators and the Nationals. The Orioles were the team. In 1982, my family moved to Connecticut, in an exurb (before that term was cool) of Hartford. Back then, Hartford had one sports team, the Whalers. Now they have none, because Hartford is a shit town. So all of the kids who grew up in Connecticut could pick and choose their favorite baseball team year to year. The Sox, with Yaz one year. The Mets one year. Whatever. Baseball fans in New England are sluts.
But I stayed true to my team.
That year, those stupid New England kids were behind the Phillies. I was the only kid in my town rooting for the Orioles in the 1983 World Series. They knew the Phillies would win. They mocked the new kid from Virginia who talked funny and liked the Orioles. I looked at Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Storm Davis, Jim Palmer, and thought my new friends were awfully stupid. And the Orioles destroyed them in 5 games.
I was 9-years-old when I learned that your current geography doesn’t matter. A True Fan backs his team. I’ve lived in Minnesota for 15 years now, and the only time I don’t root for the Twins is when they are playing the Orioles.” – Big Blue Monkey, I Dislike Your Favorite Team
In Tom Kelly’s first full season as manager, he had a lineup full of monsters, including Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Tom Brunansky and the late great Kirby Puckett, who combined for 124 homers that year. In fact, until Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter surpassed 30 bombs each in 2006, no one had done so in a Twins uni after Gaetti, Hrbek and Brunansky.
Playing in the A.L. West back then, all they needed was a .525 winning percentage to win the division. They won just 29 road games that season, the year the homer hanky was introduced. The year I fell in love with baseball.
I was a curly-haired little first grader, who had just begun collecting baseball cards and playing tee ball. The names “G-Man,” “Herbie” and “Dazzle” were “Sweet Music” to my ears. The sound of Herb Carneal’s voice over the radio gave even regular season games the intensity of the playoffs, and the hustle of great players like Puckett spread Twins Territory all the way to the Coast.
Their World Series run was not only improbable, they were out-numbered in pretty much every statistical category ever invented. Having the worst win-loss record of any team to make the Series at that point (85-77) and playing the hard-hitting St. Louis Cardinals, who were making their third appearance in six seasons, seemed to make one of the sweeter Cinderella stories of that era.
The crowd noise alone in the Metrodome, which could exceed 110 decibels, stunned the Cards, making it impossible for the heavily-favored visitors to win a game there. Then there’s the Astro Turf, which has been compared to Grandma’s linoleum, and the white roof, famous for eating fly balls.
Some of my favorite moments from 1987 came during the World Series. For example, Frank Viola had to miss his brother’s wedding (he was appointed best man) to pitch in Game 1. Luckily, ABC showed clips of the wedding during the broadcast. Let’s not forget Dan Gladden’s grand slam in the same game, which ended as a 10-1 rout.
Let’s skip ahead to Game 5, where future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven pitched a duel against Danny Cox. Wait, they lost that game.
Game 6 was highlighted by another Grand Slam, this time by Kent Hrbek in the sixth – a tie-breaking longball. The Twins were only the second team in history to hit two grand salamis in a World Series, after the 1956 New York Yankees. Frank Viola pitched eight strong innings in Game 7 and handed Jeff Reardon the reigns to close out their first title, making Tom Kelly the youngest manager to win a ring, and me the happiest little girl in Minnesota.
Following the victory, second baseman and object of my affection at the time, Steve Lombardozzi made it absolutely clear that he no longer wanted to hear the team referred to as “The Twinkies.”
Amen to that.” – Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
1998 Chicago Cubs
“I have a feeling this will bring a lot of laughs. Hell, it even makes me cringe to type it, but my favorite sports team ever is probably the 1998 Chicago Cubs. Now, before you do anything crazy like laugh and discredit me as a moron, let me explain.
In choosing this particular Cubs team I’m passing over many losing Cubs teams, six Chicago Bulls championship teams, an IU basketball run to the Final Four in 2002 and a Green Bay Packers team that won the Super Bowl in 1996. For those of you who don’t know how hard it is for me to bypass that Packers team, you clearly don’t understand my long standing man love for one Brett Favre. But let’s not get into that right now.
That juiced up Cubs team (yes, I’m looking at you Sammy Sosa) was my first memorable taste of playoff baseball and it even included a one-game playoff against the Giants to lock up the wild card. Sammy was taking shots in the ass then hitting home runs, Mark Grace was smoking cigs in the clubhouse and hitting .300, Don Baylor hadn’t ruined Kerry Wood yet and Mickey Morandini (former IU baseball player, by the way) had one outstanding mullet. What’s not to love?” – JB
“The first team that I fell in love with was the ’89 Cubs. I had watched games here and there in ’87 and ’88, but that was the first team that I made sure to hurry home from school to watch intently — obviously it didn’t hurt that they were beating everyone that they played and winning a division title. But the ’89 Cubs are not my all-time favorite team. This is just a backstory.
In 1990, WGN had a preseason special hosted by Thom Brenamann called “The Magic Continues.” I figured he wasn’t lying. But he was. And for the majority of my childhood, I was shocked to find out that the Cubs would not be regular postseason inhabitants. Instead, the roster would be littered with the likes of Hector Villanueva, Eric Yelding, Anthony Young, Danny Jackson, Mel Rojas, et al. throughout the 90s.
So it was after this extended dark period — particularly a 14-game losing streak to open the ’97 season — that the 1998 Chicago Cubs emerged like a lightning bolt out of an ass. There was no way to see it coming. And that’s why they are my favorite team of all time.
I can still remember every moment of that season vividly. There was Kerry Wood’s debut in Montreal, and then him taking the world by storm with a 20-strikeout effort against the Astros that was replayed on WGN — a rare feat indeed. The next day in my chemistry class, we celebrated by writing 20 K’s on the chalkboard. The teacher had no idea what the graffiti symbolized, and may have been concerned that we were an especially extreme group of White Supremacists.
But I truly fell in love with the team on a Friday afternoon shortly after school let out for the summer. The Cubs were competing for the first time in years, but had just blown like a 7-0 lead against the Phillies the day before (they knocked Curt Schilling out in like 2 2/3 innings).
My friends and I went to see the Cubs take on the Braves, like we did every other year in HS. Only this time was different — the Cubs won on a walk-off homer by Brant Brown in the 11th inning that jump-started a 10-game winning streak. Amazingly, that streak included another Brant Brown 11th inning walk-off, this one coming against the White Sox the following Friday.
That magical summer included a lot of other highlights. Of course there was Sammy Sosa’s home run chase with Mark McGwire. And each one of Rod “Shooter” Beck’s heart attack inducing 51 saves. And then the downfall of Brant Brown — the dropped fly in Milwaukee that was made infamous by Ron Santo’s call on the radio (and by the pencil I threw at the TV screen while doing my algebra homework).
Then, if all the madness wasn’t enough, there was the one-game playoff at Wrigley that pitted Steve Trachsel against Mark Gardner. We were at my buddy Zach’s house for the game (as a result, I try to see every big game with him now), and all of us went crazy when Gary Gaetti hit the momentum-grabbing home run (and earned himself a contract for 1999 even though he was like 72 years old).
It ended up screwing the Cubs for the division series against Atlanta — Mark Clark was the Game 1 starter, for God’s sake! — but even though the season ended in the disappointment of a sweep (the Cubs were thisclose to taking Game 2 in Atlanta before that juicing bastard Javy Lopez tied the game in the bottom of the 9th, but that’s another story) it is still the fondest baseball year of my memory. If you don’t believe me, just look at the ratty Cubs hat that I can often be seen wearing. It’s the one I bought the day Brant Brown beat the Braves.” – Hick Flick
1986 New York Mets
“When you’re a 30 year-old Mets fan, the task of identifying your favorite baseball team of all-time takes about 30 seconds. The ’86 Mets gave you just about everything you can look for in an “all-time” team. Won a championship? Check. Had a bunch of characters on the team? Check. Sweet nicknames? Umm…Nails, The Kid, Doc…Check.
Where else can you find a team that logged multiple bench-clearing brawls, had players who were allegedly blowing lines on the plane ride back from a Houston playoff series win (while wives were hurling in seat pockets) and a multi-talented super-sub who could play every position on the field and is rumored to have once beheaded a cat? That’s right. Nowhere.
Plus, those Mets had one of the baddest music videos of all-time. Seriously. They played this on MTV and stuff. It was phenomenally bad. Best. Team. Ever.” – Cecilio’s Scribe, The Legend of Cecilio Guante
2006 St. Louis Cardinals
“My favorite team is a hard one to choose. The 1980s Cardinals success I don’t really remember. The 1990s I was busy being a teenager. I really didn’t start following like a fanatic until college. My favorite season is 2004. My favorite postseason is 2006. If I could somehow magically combine the two, I’d be set. But if I had to pick…I’d give the edge to the 2006 Cardinals. Sure, they were incredibly stressful to follow throughout the season but the postseason run was the best month of my life. Being an 83-win team, we had nothing to lose and the guys played out of their minds. As much fun as the 2004 season was, it was completely soured without the ring. But the 2006 team was a bunch of scrappy, beaten-down, injured, “no-talent,” rag-tag yahoos. And they game me a World Series title. It doesn’t get any better than that.” – Andrea, Ladies… , Bugs and Cranks
Dating myself, I grew up in the Bay Area, and quickly moved my allegiance from the Giants to the Charlie Finley’s new home at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Yes, Gaylord Perry, Juan Marichal and certainly Willie Mays remained guys that I rooted for, but as I took in more games at the sunny confines on the east side of the Bay, a new set of heroes took hold.
It started with Rick Monday, but as Monday went to the Cubs in the off-season of 1971, my sadness turned to gladness… I found that in 1972, my “dream team” would arrive.
That World Series Champion team with Reggie, Vida, “Blue Moon”, Bando, and Hunter were the coolest of the cool. My former favs, the Giants, had the drab gray uniforms, while the A’s wore “Kelly Green, Fort Knox Gold and Wedding Gown White.” They were rebellious, raucous, and great. Never mind that Jim Hunter had never been fishing for catfish. Never mind that I thought “Blue Moon” was really Odom’s name. Johnny Lee? That would have been boring. Besides, if there was a Vida Blue, why should that name be any different than “Blue Moon.”
There were others… Of course, Dick Williams had to be the greatest manager at the time. Yes, we can argue that now, but if you lived anywhere on the West Coast (short of LA), Williams was the man.
There was Bert Campaneris, and Gene Tenace and Sal Bando, and that crazy Rollie Fingers. Geez, looking back, they still look great.
And who put them all together? The guy that seared my brain into thinking the biz of baseball was just as cool as the game on the field… Finley, you crazy, insane, genius. Man, I loved that team Charlie. That’s my fav.” – Maury Brown, founder and president of the Business of Sports Network. He reports daily on The Biz of Baseball
1992 Toronto Blue Jays
“While the team that repeated as World Series Champions the following year put up better numbers and had a flashy mnemonic lineup (Remember WAMCO?) this group was easily the best version of the Blue Jays ever assembled. They aren’t here as my favorite installment of the Blue Jays ever because they won, rather, because of how they won.
October 11, 1992 is easily my fondest baseball memory of all-time.
Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against Oakland, a team that I absolutely hated. I hated Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Walt Weiss, Dave Stewart and the rest of them, but most of all, I hated Dennis Eckersley and his stupid fist pump after every save. Thinking about it riles me up a little.
Down two in the top of the ninth, Devon White taking his lead. CRACK!
Roberto Alomar’s two-run no-doubter tied the game and the Jays eventually won the game in extras, the series in six and the World Series for the first time ever.
Unlike previous years when the Jays were close, this team knew they could win and Alomar’s brash and, let’s be honest, pointless celebratory Tomahawk chop as the ball left the yard showed they knew they could compete with the big boys.
Because of the swagger, because of the moxy and because of the bomb off Dennis goddamn Eckersley, the 1992 Blue Jays rank as my all-time favorite team.” – Spencer, Bugs and Cranks
1995 Cleveland Indians
“My favorite squad was the 1995 Indians. The 95 Tribe won 100 games in a strike-shortened 144 game season, and eventually lost to the Braves in the World Series. The lineup was ridiculous. Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel set the table for Albert Belle, Jim Thome, Manny, Eddie Murray, Carlos Baerga (before he started to suck), and Paul Sorrento (who’s at bat pic featured a bowl of spaghetti). Aging players like Tony Pena and Dave Winfield helped filled out the roster. The staff was led by Charles Nagy, El Presidente Dennis Martinez, and The Bulldog Orel Hershiser. Pre-1997 World Series meltdown Joe Table racked up 46 saves and a 1.13 ERA for the Wahoo Warriors. It was the 2nd season in the Jake and the Tribe’s first playoff appearance since 1954. Not the Tribe I grew up with in the 80’s, thank God.” – Erie’s Scribe, The Legend of Cecilio Guante
1991 Minnesota Twins
“The 1987 Twins attained, and retain mythological status in the state of Minnesota. The run they went on to capture that first World Series victory was purely and simply magical. That said, the 91 team fought it out when I was a bit older, a bit wiser — and that team still resonates as more real to me.
They were a team that always found a way. Regardless of score or inning or situation — that particular Twins team always seemed to make manager Tom Kelly look brilliant.
But it wasn’t just Puck or Hrbek coming through with big hits. It was rookie Chuck Knoblauch, it was Shane Mack, it was Brian Harper, it was Mike Pagliarulo ro Scott Leius platooning at the hot corner. But above all else with was Chili Davis resurrecting his career that made the Twins championship caliber with the sticks.
And a hometown boy returning to his childhood team and proving there was plenty left in the tank. And for all those that still get upset about Jack Morris bolting for Toronto after that ’91 campaign — the man spent one season in a Twins uniform and delivered a title — what more do you want? How ’bout one year and fifth place? Perspective people.
For all the dramatics and history that World Series with the Braves provided — it was one thing to this OCD writer — draining. The Homer Hanky had to be placed or held just so and with all the extra innings and plays at the plate and bases loaded double plays and base-running gaffes — I was equally ecstatic and exhausted when Gene-O’s knock plated Dan Gladden because quite frankly — I don’t think I could have taken any more.” – Lando, Bugs and Cranks
1995 Seattle Mariners
“Of all the teams I’ve had man-crushes on, the run that the 1995 Seattle Mariners put together has to stand out as one of the best. It’s hard to forget watching Ken Griffey Jr. score from first on Edgar Martinez’s ball into the gap and it was even harder to understand Martinez’s broken English in any post-game interview. And then there was Jay Buhner, the head shaving, beer slamming, home run smashing right fielder. The Mariners promotion of Jay Buhner haircut night has to stand as one of the most outstanding promotions in recent memory. The Big Unit, Randy Johnson, was one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, only losing two games all year while gaining four or five inches on his mullet. The 1995 Seattle Mariners were legendary, one of the best Mariners teams ever assembled and easily one of my favorite teams to ever watch.” – Rich, Sportable