Who Has The Most World Series Wins?

Dubbed ‘Americas pastime’, baseball holds a special place in the culture and history of the United States. For nearly 120 years (barring two seasons in 1904 and 1994) the best baseball players on the planet have duked it out for the right to hoist the Commissioners Trophy.

RELATED: How Many World Series Have The Yankees Won?

With well over a century of play, some teams have been more successful than others. In fact, the top five winningest teams in World Series history hold 54% of the total championships ever won. On the other side of the spectrum, there are seven teams that have never won the World Series, with one of those teams never even reaching the final game. Here is the list of the teams with the most world series wins.

Teams With The Most World Series Wins

Although an overwhelming majority of MLB teams have won at least one World Series, there are a few teams that have distanced themselves as the best of the best. We are starting with the teams that have won more than one World Series over the course of their history. Here are the franchises that have won multiple World Series.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed1.) New York Yankees: 27</code>
1.) New York Yankees: 27
  • Most Recent: 2009
  • Total Appearances: 40

Without a doubt there is no team more synonymous with winning in baseball than the Yankees. Love’m or hate’m, the Yanks will probably always be relevant. Throughout their illustrious history as a franchise, the Yankees have reached the World Series 40 times, winning the big series 27 times. The Yankees were one series away from reaching their 41st World Series but fell short to the eventual champions in the Houston Astros.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2.) St.Louis Cardinals: 11</code>
2.) St.Louis Cardinals: 11
  • Most Recent: 2011
  • Total Appearances: 19

Despite being fourth on the all-time list of World Series appearances, the St. Louis Cardinals hold the second most championships. They enjoyed their best stint in the 40s, reaching the World Series four times throughout the decade and winning three times. The Cardinals most recent World Series appearance came in a loss to the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3.) Oakland Athletics: 9</code>
3.) Oakland Athletics: 9
  • Most Recent: 1989
  • Total Appearances: 14

Before the days of ‘moneyball’, the Oakland Athletics were a powerhouse in baseball. The A’s won three consecutive World Series from 1972-1974. Oakland reached the World Series in 1990 but unfortunately lost, marking the last time we’ve seen the franchise in the championship game. The franchise today has become known for keeping a tight checkbook and rely on building prospects up instead of signing high-profile players.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed4.) Boston Red Sox: 9</code>
4.) Boston Red Sox: 9
  • Most Recent: 2018
  • Total Appearances: 13

If it wasn’t for the ‘curse of the Bambino’, maybe the Red Sox would be higher on this list, but fourth place isn’t too bad. After going 86 years without winning a World Series, the Boston Red Sox reclaimed their spot upon the mountaintop in 2004 with the help of all-time great David Ortiz.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed5.) San Francisco Giants: 8</code>
5.) San Francisco Giants: 8
  • Most Recent: 2014
  • Total Appearances: 20

The San Francisco Giants have had a pretty illustrious run as a franchise. They won one of the first World Series in 1905 and would win a couple more throughout the 20’s and 30’s. There best run came in the early 2010s, winning three championships from 2010-2014 backed by sensational pitching from Madison Bumgarner.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6.) Los Angeles Dodgers: 7</code>
6.) Los Angeles Dodgers: 7
  • Most Recent: 2020
  • Total Appearances: 21

For how much money the Los Angeles Dodgers put into their time, it’s honestly surprising to see them this low on the list. The Dodgers have remained competitive for virtually their entire life as a franchise, but hold a mere 33.3% win rate in the World Series. They most recently won the 2020 World Series that saw no fans due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed7.) Cincinnati Reds: 5</code>
7.) Cincinnati Reds: 5
  • Most Recent: 1990
  • Total Appearances: 9

The Cincinnati Reds were an absolute powerhouse in the 70’s, reaching four World Series across the decade and winning two. What’s most impressive of their 1976 run is that they didn’t lose a single game, becoming the first and only team to go unbeaten in the postseason. The Big Red Machine era was truly something to marvel at.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed8.) Pittsburgh Pirates: 5</code>
8.) Pittsburgh Pirates: 5
  • Most Recent: 1979
  • Total Appearances: 7

The Pittsburgh Pirates may live in infamy now, but there was a time when they were oh so great. Although they haven’t won since 1979, the Pirates claim one of the greatest World Series moments of all-time. In game seven of the 1960 World Series the Pirates were tied with the Yankees 9-9 heading into the bottom of the ninth. With one ball and no strikes, Pirates legend Bill Mazeroski blasted a walk-off home run to win the title.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9.) Detroit Tigers: 4</code>
9.) Detroit Tigers: 4
  • Most Recent: 1984
  • Total Appearances: 11

The Detroit Tigers came painstakingly close to reclaiming their spot as World Series champions in 2012 but fell short to the Giants. They have no won a World Series since the great Kirk Gibson was donning a Tigers jersey in 1984. It’s been a rough run for Detroit sports fans but hopefully someday soon the Tigers can add another championship to the city.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10.) Atlanta Braves: 4</code>
10.) Atlanta Braves: 4
  • Most Recent: 2021
  • Total Appearances: 10

The city of Atlanta and professional sports have a complicated history. A city that has become known for choking actually boasts one of the winningest baseball teams, and even won a championship in 2021. The Braves reached the World Series five times throughout the 90’s, only winning one of those times in 1995.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed11.) Chicago Cubs: 3</code>
11.) Chicago Cubs: 3
  • Most Recent: 2016
  • Total Appearances: 11

The lovable losers of the MLB earned their nickname after going more than a century without winning a World Series. Dubbed the “Billy Goat Curse”, the Cubs did not win a championship from 1908 all the way to 2016. That 2016 championship was oh so special however. After being down 3-1, the Cubs clawed their way back and defeated the Cleveland Guardians in extra innings of game 7. As a Chicago native who grew up post-Michael Jordan, the Cubs winning in 2016 was unequivocally the greatest moment of my life (so far).

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed12.) Baltimore Orioles: 3</code>
12.) Baltimore Orioles: 3
  • Most Recent: 1983
  • Total Appearances: 7

The Baltimore Orioles may be viewed as a not great franchise today, but there was a time when they were one of the best. They reached the World Series six times throughout 1966-1983, winning three championships. They have no reached the World Series since their last title win in 1983.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed13.) Minnesota Twins: 3</code>
13.) Minnesota Twins: 3
  • Most Recent: 1991
  • Total Appearances: 6

The Minnesota Twins may have not reached the World Series since 1991, but they sure left their mark that year. In the bottom of the 10th inning in a tied game 7, Gene Larkin rattled off a single that would drive in the winning run. What’s most electric about this game was that both team’s were scoreless heading into the 10th, marking one of the greatest pitched game seven’s by both sides.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed14.) Chicago White Sox: 3</code>
14.) Chicago White Sox: 3
  • Most Recent: 2005
  • Total Appearances: 5

The White Sox may be most well-known for their 1919 ‘Black Sox’ scandal that saw eight players permanently banned from playing baseball again for trying to rig the World Series, but there is plenty of more history. The White Sox last appearance in a World Series came in 2005.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed15.) Philadelphia Phillies: 2</code>
15.) Philadelphia Phillies: 2
  • Most Recent: 2008
  • Total Appearances: 8

The Phillies were oh so close of claiming their third franchise championship last postseason, but fell short to the Houston Astros in the World Series. They reached the final series in back-to-back years from 2008-2009, only winning the 2008 series.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed16.) Cleveland Guardians: 2</code>
16.) Cleveland Guardians: 2
  • Most Recent: 1948
  • Total Appearances: 6

It has been a rough couple of decades for the Cleveland Guardians to say the least. The franchise currently holds the longest championship drought in baseball, having not won a World Series in over 70 years. They held a 3-1 lead over the Chicago Cubs in 2016 but would choke that lead and the series away. One day the city of Cleveland will be World Series champions again… hopefully?

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed17.) Houston Astros: 2</code>
17.) Houston Astros: 2
  • Most Recent: 2022
  • Total Appearances: 5

Fresh off the heels of a World Series victory overshadowed by allegations of cheating, the Astros silenced all the critics by winning the championship again in 2022. The Astros have seen a huge wave of success in the 2010’s and 2020’s, reaching the World Series four times and winning twice.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed18.) New York Mets: 2</code>
18.) New York Mets: 2
  • Most Recent: 1986
  • Total Appearances: 5

The New York Mets may have only 2/27th the World Series their neighborly rival Yankees have, but their 1986 championship may outrank all those. Being down two runs in the bottom of the 10th with two outs in game six, the Mets made a miraculous comeback to push the series to seven games. They would close out the series and the Miracle Mets were history.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed19.) Kansas City Royals: 2</code>
19.) Kansas City Royals: 2
  • Most Recent: 2015
  • Total Appearances: 4

The Kansas City Royals currently boast two World Series championships, with the most recent coming in 2015. They reached the World Series twice throughout the 80’s and twice throughout the 2010’s, winning once in both those decades.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed20.) Toronto Blue Jays: 2</code>
20.) Toronto Blue Jays: 2
  • Most Recent: 1993
  • Total Appearances: 2

Oh what an era it was to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan in 90’s. The team reached back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993, winning both. Being down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning of game six, Joe Carter smashed a game-winning three-run home run to seal the Blue Jay’s a second World Series.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed21.) Florida Marlins: 2</code>
21.) Florida Marlins: 2
  • Most Recent: 2003
  • Total Appearances: 2

In one of the most unexpected World Series victories ever, the Marlins last claimed the title in 1997. In just their fifth season as a franchise the team won the big game and would enter a rebuild. Surprisingly, they would return and win the World Series six years later in 2003.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedTeams With Won One World Series Win</code>
Teams With Won One World Series Win
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: 2001
  • Los Angeles Angels: 2002
  • Washington Nationals: 2019

There are three teams currently in the MLB with one World Series to their name. The Diamondbacks won their first title in 2001, with the Angels following that up with their first in 2002. The Nationals claimed the title in 2019, marking their first title. All three teams have only reached the World Series once, giving them a 100% win rate in the series.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedTeams That Have Never Won A World Series</code>
Teams That Have Never Won A World Series
  • San Diego Padres: 2
  • Texas Rangers: 2
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 2
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 1
  • Colorado Rockies: 1
  • Seattle Mariners: 0

There are six teams that have never won a World Series in their franchises history. The Padres, Rangers, and Rays have all reached the World Series on multiple occasions, falling short both times. The Seattle Mariners remain the only MLB to have never played a World Series game. The Rays were the closest to making it off this list but fell short in 2020 World Series.


How Many World Series Have The Yankees Won?

When looking at the landscape of American sports, there are a number of franchises that have distanced themselves as premier powerhouses. Teams like the New England Patriots, Golden State Warriors, and Dallas Cowboys—just to name a few—have become more than just sports franchises; they are international brands. None of them have quite had the impact that the New York Yankees have had not only on the United States, but the world.

RELATED: How the Yankees Built Baseball’s Best Rotation

There is no better way to establish yourself as a brand in sports than winning. Simply put, if you’re winning games and championships, you will be in a good place. Not only is it important to win, but your team must cultivate iconic figures if you want to be considered elite. Few teams have introduced as many legends as the Yankees, and they are still producing top-tier talent. So how many World Series have the Yankees won?

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedHave the Yankees won the World Series?</code>
Have the Yankees won the World Series?

There is no other team in MLB history that has won the World Series more than the New York Yankees. They hold a record 27 World Series titles, more than double that of second place. They have reached the World Series on 40 different occasions, giving them a 68% winning mark when reaching the championship game. Their best run came in the early 50’s where the Yankees won five World Series in a row from 1949-1953.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedWhen was the last time the Yankees went to the World Series?</code>
When was the last time the Yankees went to the World Series?

The last time the New York Yankees reached the World Series came at the end of the 2009 season. This was truly a magical season for the Yankees due to a number of reasons. They eclipsed the 100 win mark this year, compiling a record of 103-59. Closer Mariano Rivera earned his 500th save and Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig to became the all-time leader in hits recorded as a Yankee.

The Yankees would defeat the Los Angeles Angels in the AL Championship game to advance to the World Series to face off against the Philadelphia Phillies. After losing game 1, the Yankees bounced back and ripped off three straight wins to take a 3-1 lead. The Phillies would win one more to push the series to six games, but the Yankees would close it out to win. Hideki Matsui was the saving grace for the Yankees, tallying six RBI’s throughout the game and taking home the series MVP.

Yankees’ World Series Appearances
  • 1921: New York Giants 5 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1922: New York Giants 4 – New York Yankees 0
  • 1923: New York Yankees 4 – New York Giants 2
  • 1926: St. Louis Cardinals 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1927: New York Yankees 4 – Pittsburgh Pirates 0
  • 1928: New York Yankees 4 – St. Louis Cardinals 0
  • 1932: New York Yankees 4 – Chicago Cubs 0
  • 1936: New York Yankees 4 – New York Giants 2
  • 1937: New York Yankees 4 – New York Giants 1
  • 1938: New York Yankees 4 – Chicago Cubs 0
  • 1939: New York Yankees 4- Cincinnati Reds 0
  • 1941: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 1
  • 1942: St. Louis Cardinals 4 – New York Yankees 1
  • 1943: New York Yankees 4 – St. Louis Cardinals 1
  • 1947: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 3
  • 1949: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 1
  • 1950: New York Yankees 4 – Philadelphia Phillies 0
  • 1951: New York Yankees 4 – New York Giants 2
  • 1952: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 3
  • 1953: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 2
  • 1955: Brooklyn Dodgers 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1956: New York Yankees 4 – Brooklyn Dodgers 3
  • 1957: Milwaukee Braves 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1958: New York Yankees 4 – Milwaukee Braves 3
  • 1960: Pittsburgh Pirates 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1961: New York Yankees 4 – Cincinnati Reds 1
  • 1962: New York Yankees 4 – San Francisco Giants 3
  • 1963: Los Angeles Dodgers 4 – New York Yankees 0
  • 1964: St. Louis Cardinals 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 1976: Cincinnati Reds 4 – New York Yankees 0
  • 1977: New York Yankees 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers 2
  • 1978: New York Yankees 4 – Los Angeles Dodgers 2
  • 1981: Los Angeles Dodgers 4 – New York Yankees 2
  • 1996: New York Yankees 4 – Atlanta Braves 2
  • 1998: New York Yankees 4 – San Diego Padres 0
  • 1999: New York Yankees 4 – Atlanta Braves 0
  • 2000: New York Yankees 4 – New York Mets 1
  • 2001: Arizona Diamondbacks 4 – New York Yankees 3
  • 2003: Florida Marlins 4 – New York Yankees 2
  • 2009: New York Yankees 4 – Philadelphia Phillies 2
<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedWhich team has the second most World Series wins?</code>
Which team has the second most World Series wins?

There is really no team close to catching up to the Yankees 27 World Series victories, but still a team must occupy second. The St. Louis Cardinals have the second most World Series in MLB history, winning the championship on eleven occasions. The last time the Cardinals claimed the World Series came at the end of the 2011 season. The 2011 World Series was an epic seven game series that saw a number of heroic moments from MVP David Freese. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Freese blasted a home run to tie the game and send it to extra innings. He would top that off with a walk-off home run in the eleventh inning to send the game to an eventual game seven that Cardinals would win.


Oneil Cruz Is the Most Exciting Player in Baseball

Oneil Cruz, the Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop of the future, looks like he should play football; in another life, he could’ve been a lethal deep threat wide receiver, out-running and out-jumping cornerbacks like a jumbo-sized Desean Jackson.  Or maybe he could be a 3&D wing in the NBA who can step up to be a small-ball center in the later rounds of the playoffs. If baseball requires a very specific kind of physicality—fast hands, meaty haunches, torque-able hips—Cruz is a truly stupefying athlete by any standard; At 6’7, 220 pounds, he’s the tallest infielder in MLB history; he runs faster than Byron Buxton, throws harder than Max Scherzer and hits the ball harder than Mike Trout. While baseball has largely moved away from body positive kings like David Ortiz or Bartolo Colon, Cruz is built different even amongst his cohort of the differently built. 

A consensus top 20 prospect in all of baseball, Cruz is part of a new generation of players who are bringing baseball out of its fuddy-duddy past and into a more dynamic future. Through his first 17 games since being called up to the Pirates, Cruz has been a revelation in hearts, if not minds; Cruz generates more highlights per game than just about any other player. In his debut on June 20th, Cruz drove in four runs and uncorked a 96.7 mile per hour throw from shortstop, the hardest by any infielder in the Statcast era. 

Beyond the exciting, Tik Tokkable moments, he’s already an excellent fielder at shortstop. For years, the knock on Cruz was that he was simply too large to ably and nimbly navigate as a shortstop. Instead, his size is his super power; it’s basically impossible to sneak a hit by a guy this big and this quick. Prorated over the course of a season, Cruz is already among the best defenders at his position—his 25 defensive runs saved per 1200 innings (roughly the length of an average season) and his 5.06 Range Factor per game are both the best of any current regular starting shortstop.  

Offensively, though, Cruz demonstrates that same degree of promise but without the polish. And yet, despite a pedestrian .630 OPS, Cruz is the favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year because the flashes of greatness are so spellbinding. Although he’s still learning the minor procedural aspects that are needed to be a consistently good player, Cruz has been intermittently great. He strikes out more than would be ideal (like many young players, he’s struggled against sliders and curveballs), but he has explosive power when he does make contact.

With an average exit velocity of 92.6 miles per hour, Cruz has more juice than any other Pirates. Similarly, he has barrelled the ball (i.e. hit it with the ideal combination of launch angle and velocity) on more than nine percent of his at-bats, which is also the best on the team. In this sense, the thing that will determine whether Oneil Cruz is a superstar or merely an All-Star is whether he can master the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.


Camden Yards Has the Best Left-Field

Everybody is mad—something beautiful has been ruined; the sacred is now the propane. This is a “travesty:” the left field at Camden Yards is totally borked. Just look at it! 

Once a neat parabola, the outfield fence now has the uneven pith of a preschooler’s first attempt at collaging. Over the off-season, the Baltimore Orioles pushed their left field fence back by about 30 feet and pumped its height up to 12 feet as a counter-measure to giving up a league-leading 155 long balls at home last season. So far, the Orioles have gotten the results they were looking for—there are just 1.3 homers per game this year at Camden Yards, compared to a MLB-high 3.4 per game last season.

And while teams have tinkered with their ballpark dimensions for years, no one has ever done so as hamfistedly as the Orioles. This is very silly and a little sad: the Orioles were so desperate to stop Gleyber Torres from launching mighty taters against them that they made left-field the same size and jagged shape of a post-Yugoslavia Balkan nation. 

“I feel like it ruins the park,” said Aaron Judge, the Yankees slugger who lost a homer to the gaping maw of left field, “It was quite a beautiful park the way it was.”

Conversely, this big, stupid renovation has made Camden Yards one of the best stadiums in the league, a monument to baseball’s inherent silliness. 

Beyond simply being the only sport that people play while wearing a belt, baseball is unique in that each stadium can be as weird as it wants to be. And yet, every team now seems to be trending towards luxury-box-friendly sameness. In the 21st century, 16 teams have built new stadiums, but can you remember a single notable thing about any of them? All the rough edges have been smoothed out. Houston tamped down their cool little hill in center field; the Marlins dismantled their South Beach-kitsch dinger sculpture; the Rockies store their balls in a humidifier to make their games less Mario Super Sluggers-y.  Whereas the sports century-old cathedrals (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park) have some differentiating weirdness like live vegetation or a giant green wall, the prevailing movement in modern ballparks is a drift towards an anodyne equilibrium.
In this sense, the reconfiguration of Camden Yards represents a return to more romantic version of baseball, one before the bloodless private-equitization of the game. Crucially, it gives the stadium A Thing, a quality that you can’t find anywhere else in sports. Although Camden Yards has been widely regarded as one of the nicest stadiums in baseball for the last 20 years, its niceness in turn spawned a wave of similarly faux-retro imitators in 11 other ballparks. Now, it has a defining feature so nonsensical that no other team would ever try to replicate it. A big empty space was chomped out of the stands in left-field because the Orioles felt like it. 

If second base can be in the wrong place for over 100 years, why can’t left field have a severe right angle in the wall? I mean, the Orioles couldn’t stop the other team from scoring—what else were they supposed to do? Get better pitchers?


MLB Announces Partnership With Sorare

On Thursday, a big announcement was made by the MLB, as they are officially partnering with Sorare

Over the last few years, Sorare has been a leading NFT platform in the great game of Proper Football (soccer). Now, the company will be partnering with the MLB to take their service over to America’s favorite pastime. 

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“It’s outstanding for Sorare, I think it’s an arms race to get licenses at the minute from these companies and nailing them down to a long-term exclusive deal. I think it brings many people to the platform and awareness of Sorare in America. 5% of my audience is from America and I think that will change drastically now,” said John Nellis, one of the leading content creators for the Sorare platform.

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ONE37pm has followed the Sorare community for quite some time now. Here is a guide to all the intricacies of the growing NFT platform.

The MLB has been synonymous with collectibles, trading cards, and memorabilia for almost the entirety of its existence. So this step into the next era of collectibles only makes sense. 

The free-to-play game will be released later this summer and fans will be able to get right in on the action. Sorare allows fans to collect players and then win weekly awards and earn more utility to the NFTs. 

Sorare is growing rapidly as a community with over 1.7 million users across over 170 countries. The company was valued at 4 billion dollars last year and now, with the MLB’s passionate fanbase being mostly in the United States, this is a great opportunity for Sorare to grow into one of the largest sports markets in the world. The platform already has a partnership with the MLS. 

Go to this link to sign up for updates as to when the game will be available during this MLB season.


Steven Kwan is MLB’s Most Unexpected Sensation

People like to say that baseball is a sport of frustration. It’s basically a prerequisite for every decent pitcher to be able to pair a high velocity fastball with a menu of hellacious off-speed pitches that break with the severity of lines on a secant graph. Just look at Pitching Ninja for proof: hitting a baseball is nearly impossible! Unless you’re Steven Kwan.

A 24 year-old rookie left fielder for the Cleveland Guardians, Kwan has started the year on a nearly unprecedented heater. His triple slash (batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage): .526/.655/.737. Through 29 plate appearances, he reached base 19 times; through 19 at bats, he notched 10 hits. Beyond simply avoiding striking out, Kwan didn’t whiff at the first 116 pitches he saw this year; at time of blogging, Kwan foul tipped a pitch, which somehow counts as an official whiff but not a spiritual one.  In a sport where the very best players struggle to get a hit more than 30 percent of the time, Kwan has basically decided to stop failing. No player in the last 121 years has ever started their career with such aplomb: Kwan is the first player in modern baseball history to reach base 18 times in his first five games.   

Even if Kwan won’t maintain a .526 batting average, his underlying stats show that his torrid start isn’t a fluke. While Kwan’s raw exit velocity isn’t especially noteworthy, the sheer number of balls that he puts in play buoys his batting average; from his exit velocity, launch angle and type of ball in play, Kwan ranks in the 99th percentile in expected weighted on-base average, the 100th percentile in expected batting average and the 86th percentile in expected slugging percentage, according to Baseball Savant. 

Before this recent stretch, Kwan was never particularly heralded; going into the season, ranked him as only Cleveland’s 15th best prospect because of his “fringy arm” in the outfield and the probability that “he doesn’t offer enough thump to be a regular.” And this is all true! But it’s also an oversight of what makes Kwan special: Kwan is a unique, atemporal player who doesn’t really fit the current mold of successful players or prospects. He doesn’t have the physical profile or pedigree of Bobby Witt Jr. or the smooth all-around game of Adley Rutschman. Instead, he’s merely got a freakish talent for pushing the ball to spots on the field where defenders aren’t. 

Notably, Kwan has dominated the first week of the season with a skillset that’s been mostly devalued across the league. After all, chicks—and general managers—dig the long ball. With the newfound focus on launch angles and exit velocity, strikeouts have risen as hitters prioritize making hard contact over simply making contact; there’s not much functional difference between striking out and grounding out, so batters willingly trade a few extra strikeouts for more homers and extra-base hits.

As such, Kwan—a 5’9, 170 pound, slap-happy, singles merchant—is an anachronism, a remnant of a distant past (i.e. 2007). He’s a middling defender in a low-leverage defensive position (corner outfield) who doesn’t hit for power; this kind of player doesn’t really exist anymore because prevailing wisdom has mostly excised them from the major in favor of hitters with more oomph in their bats. In other words, the Steven Kwans of the world have slowly been phased out of the league, so celebrate this one while you still can. 

Sports Strength

Why the San Diego Padres Should Be Your New Favorite MLB Team

At a time where Major League Baseball seems plagued by an endemic apathy among its middle-tier teams, it’s radical and refreshing when a team actually tries to win. With the new collective bargaining agreement implementing an expanded postseason field, there’s never been less incentive to try to be good—what’s the point of spending the requisite cash to win 97 games when a cheaper, more threadbare roster can sneak into the playoffs with 87 wins?  Being a baseball fan can sometimes feel distressingly like being a fan of some other guy’s stock portfolio. In that sense, the San Diego Padres should be your new favorite baseball team

For the last two seasons, the Padres have been MLB’s most ambitious team. Since adding Manny Machado in 2019, the Padres have aggressively pursued talent. Going into the 2019 season, their payroll was a touch over $104 million; today, it’s more than doubled, topping $209 million. Despite a disappointing 79-83 campaign that was sabotaged by an epic late season implosion, the Padres redoubled their efforts over the offseason, trading with the Oakland Athletics for both workhorse starter Sean Manaea and Bob Melvin, the three-time Manager of the Year. 

But even beyond the fact that the Padres have cool and charismatic players like Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Yu Darvish, the coolest thing about them is how they disregard every fan-antagonistic aspect of the status quo. The Padres are a mid-market franchise that share a division with the Los Angeles Dodgers (the consensus best team in baseball by a large margin) and the San Francisco Giants, who are fresh off a 107 win season. No matter how honorable and rare, their spending hardly guarantees success; from a purely economic perspective, the Padres would have every incentive to maintain the meagerest possible payroll and rake in that sweet revenue-sharing profit, which makes their efforts to contend even bolder and more endearing.

Accordingly, the Padres’ roster reads like a roster in a 12 team fantasy baseball league. The rotation is headlined by 2018 AL Cy Young Winner Blake Snell and five-time All Star Yu Darvish; the lineup is anchored by Machado and, eventually, Tatis Jr., who’s the best baseball player in the world (albeit one of the worst motorcyclists). Even with Tatis slated to miss the first half of the season, Draftkings and other Vegas sports-books peg the Padres as a top five team in the National League and a legitimate World Series contender. If the Padres succeed, they could provide a blueprint and inspiration for the rest of the league to try as well. 

Sports Strength

Put Buster Posey (And Lots More People) in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Some time during the next five to 15 years, the recently-retired Buster Posey will be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Skeptics will crow that Posey has produced fewer wins above replacement than any Hall of Fame catcher of the last 60 years  and that he has fewer total hits than career journeymen like Yunel Escobar or Martin Prado and that Posey has really only had eight-ish good years when you really think about it and that the Baseball Hall of Fame is one of our nation’s most storied and hallowed institutions or whatever. But that’s dumb—Posey is the most decorated catcher of his generation, winning NL MVP in 2012 and three World Series rings as part of the San Francsico Giants’ dynastic early 2010s teams; he should absolutely be in the Hall of Fame and the fact that there’s any debate over his “worthiness” is proof of how broken the discourse around the Hall of Fame has become. 

And Barry Bonds should also be enshrined—and so should Pete Rose and CC Sabathia and Roger Clemens and even failed video game developer/trash person Curt Schilling. Screw it: let’s put Bobby Abreu in there too.

All of this is to say that the Baseball Hall of Fame should be bigger. Lost in all the sanctimony and cobwebbed gatekeeping, is the basic fact that the Hall of Fame is supposed to be fun. Even if the whole enterprise has been cloaked in the syrupy importance of being a custodian of the history of America’s Pastime, the Hall of Fame’s primary function is to give fans the chance to celebrate their favorite players. 

In this sense, the Hall of Fame voting bloc essentially functions as the fun police. While this isn’t to say that they should be as permissive as the Veterans Committee (who basically just induct guys they were friends with), there’s no need for the selection process to be held hostage by made-up rules that only make sense in the ink-soaked brains of long-time beat writers. 

Why are patently great players like Scott Rolen withering on the vine? Why are some of the best players in baseball history forever condemned because they took the wrong kind of medicine 25 years ago or lost a parlay in 1989 or had asshole teammates in 1919? Why are obvious Hall of Famers forced to wait several years to gain entry like they’re waiting for their deli number to be called? Why would you not give the people what they want? 

Some people wrongly argue that the exclusivity of the Hall of Fame is what makes it special and that any uptick in permissiveness would disrespect the legacy of the Hall’s members. And this is true—if you’re incapable of holding more than one thought in your mind at a time. No serious person actually believes that letting in Buster Posey and his meager 1500 hits actually undermines the accomplishments of the 32 members of the elusive 3000 Hit Club. Besides, this strict statistical originalism doesn’t hold much weight once you realize that the all-time leaders in hits and homers are shut out because of some Boomerific moral panic. 

If this is the Museum of Good Baseball Players, more good baseball players should be in it.

Sports Strength

What To Expect In The 2021 World Series

After a 162 game regular season and a scintillating postseason, which then created an exciting postseason experience, all eyes turn to Game One of the World Series which begins tonight between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves. Both ballclubs fought and clawed their way into the Fall Classic so there is a lot to unpack when this series gets underway. Coming out of the American League, the Astros have defied their critics since a bombshell investigation into their elaborate sign-stealing apparatus was released ahead of the 2020 season.

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Manager Dusty Baker has kept this ship afloat and remains one of baseball’s most respected figures, despite his association with the Astros. Tenured franchise stars such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman remain from Houston’s 2017 championship team and offer a wealth of postseason experience. More important than their intangible impact on the clubhouse, they are dangerous hitters in the Astros’ lineup, all posting an OPS+ at least 10% better than league average.

Even though the Astros endured their worse regular season performance (minus last year’s COVID-impacted season) since becoming a title contender in 2017, their 95 win total was still the second-highest in the AL this season. 

If the Astros are the picture of consistency, then the Braves represent what happens when a team gets hot at the right time. Midway through this season, the NL East competitor was two games below .500 and stayed that way until August 8th. But since then? The Braves have won 38 out of 58 games including the seven games needed to make the World Series. 

First and third basemen Austin Riley and Freddie Freeman were the definitions of clutch as they slugged one big hit after another, combining to produce 64 home runs and a .300 batting average during the regular season. The new National League champion arguably has the advantage when it comes to pitching since aces Charlie Morton and Max Fried are building upon their solid regular seasons. Witty outfielder Eddie Rosario is in the midst of one of the hottest playoff runs ever; against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, Rosario tallied 14 hits in just 25 at-bats, tying the record for most hits in a single postseason series ever, despite the series only lasting six games.

Yet, when you look at both the Astros and Braves, one thing always comes to the forefront: Emotion. 

Regardless of their circumstances and surroundings, both teams have authored the kind of game-changing moments that define postseason baseball. The Astros produced those moments against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and the Braves did the same thing against the LA Dodgers in the NLCS. This series has the possibility of going the entire way, and only one thing can decide the winner. Who will be the most clutch when it matters most? We shall see!

Sports Strength

Aaron Boone Returning To The Yankees Is Good News

Two weeks after Boston eliminated them from postseason play, the Yankees have announced a three-year contract extension for manager Aaron Boone, and rightfully so.

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Boone overtook the team from Joe Girardi in 2018. During his last season as the manager, Girardi led the Yankees to the American League Championship series; bringing the team to one win away from going to the World Series.

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Even though he was held in high acclaim by the organization, players and fans for his success as the Yankees manager, Girardi and his relationship with the team was growing stale after 2017. General manager Brian Cashman hired Boone, in part, because he thought Boone would be able to connect with the clubhouse more effectively than Girardi did.

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During his first two seasons, Boone led the Yankees to back-to-back 100+ win seasons for the first time since 2004. He’s won the respect of Aaron Judge, who vouched for Boone to get his job back, along with a Yankees clubhouse that will expect to compete at the highest level for years to come.

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With that being said, Boone is far from perfect. In 2021, he made questionable decisions when it came to the Yankees bullpen, like pulling starters too early, and not using his closer in the 9th inning to shut the other team down so that you have a chance to win. These type of decisions certainly costed them a handful of games.

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Over the course of 162 games, every manager will make these sort of mistakes, and that’s something you have to live with in baseball. Additionally, the majority of Yankees issues do not consist of Boone’s decisions making, rather a combination Yankees inability to consistently get on-base, starting pitching woes, base-running miscues, and defensive holes in the infield.

A large part of why Boone’s return to the Bronx is good news is because of what the Yankees don’t have to do now, and that’s start from scratch with a roster full of question marks.

In 2017, they could afford to take a gamble on a new manager with the new era of Baby Bombers that was blooming. At the forefront of that roster was a 25 year-old Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge will be 30 years old at the start of next season. If you can lock up a manager that has the respect of your leader, a winning track record, and more knowledge for the squad than anyone else, that’s a win for your baseball team in the off-season.