Mapping World Series Winners and Losers

Every September baseball fans all over the US and beyond get excited. As the weather gets cooler, things really heat up for some teams and fans. Finally, by the end of October, some are very happy and others… not so much.

Of course, there are some fans who seem to experience this excitement almost every year. And for others, they’ve waited generations. The Chicago Cubs, for example, waited almost 100 years between their second and third championships. In fact, the Cubbies didn’t even make an appearance in the 70 years between 1946 and 2015.

View World Series Wins and Appearances in a full screen map

Explore the map above to see the most wins, appearances, and winning percentage. Or read on to learn about the insights we’ve pulled from this map of World Series winners and losers.

Most World Series Wins

Even casual baseball observers know that the best team in the MLB, based on historical success, is the New York Yankees. The team has won 27 championships and been to the Fall Classic 40 times. The Yankees are in a class all their own here, with eight more victories than the next-closest team has appearances.

World Series Top 10

Team Wins Appearances
New York Yankees 27 40
St. Louis Cardinals 11 19
Boston Red Sox 7 11
New York Giants 5 14
Cincinnati Reds 5 9
Los Angeles Dodgers 5 9
Philadelphia Athletics 5 8
Pittsburgh Pirates 5 7
Detroit Tigers 4 11
Oakland Athletics 4 6

The St. Louis Cardinals consistently fielded competitive teams in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, back at a time when they needed to have the best record in all the National League to earn the right to go against the best American League team. Now, in the age of divisions and wild cards, there are 10 teams each postseason with a shot at the series.

The Red Sox are third on the list, a remarkable feat given the long drought between 1918 and 2004. The team has won three times in this century, with the other four coming between 1912 and 1918. If you count their previous name, the Boston Americans, the Red Sox can claim one more victory. The Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the very first series in 1903.

Of course, if we’re counting other names of existing teams, the Giants would tie for third place with the Red Sox. While the New York Giants baseball team had five championships, the San Francisco version of the team has added three more in recent years.

Highest Winning Percentage

When you’ve been to the World Series 40 times (or even 19, 14, or 11 times), it’s easier to rack up the wins. There are a handful of teams who have won every single time they went to the Fall Classic.

Team Wins Appearances
Toronto Blue Jays 2 2
Miami Marlins 2 2
Boston Americans 1 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 1
Anaheim Angels 1 1

While none of these teams has won more than two World Series, they’ve each won every time they’ve appeared. In fact, the Blue Jays did it in back to back seasons, 1992 and 1993.

The more appearances a team has, the harder it is to maintain a high winning percentage. There are nine teams with at least five appearances that have maintained better than a 50/50 record: Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

American League vs National League

These days, the league that wins the All Star Game gets to be the home team in the World Series. Otherwise, outside of the designated hitter rule, there’s really little difference between the two. Yet, the American League has been far more successful than the National. The AL has 64 victories to the NL’s 48.

As you might guess, much of that difference is made up by the Yankee’s many championships. In fact, if you remove the top two from each league (Yankees and Cardinals), the two each have 37 victories as of 2016.

MLB Teams Without a World Series Win

With all this talk of winning, it’s easy to forget that some teams have never won a World Series.

  • Texas Rangers (appeared in 2010 and 2011)
  • San Diego Padres (1984 and 1998)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (2008)
  • Colorado Rockies (2007)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (1982)
  • Houston Astros (2005)
  • Washington Nationals (never appeared)
  • Seattle Mariners (never appeared)

So, if you’re not a baseball fan, or your team doesn’t have a shot this year… consider rooting for one of these underdogs.

And if you’re more of a basketball fan, check out these NBA Finals Winners and Losers on a Map.