After the Boston Red Sox wrapped up one of the most dominant seasons in MLB history in 2018, it was the Washington Nationals who capped off one of the most brilliant in-season turnarounds with a World Series title in 2019. We’ve seen tons of memorable teams, players, and moments over the first two decades of the 2000s, so how do the Sox and Nats stack up against the other title-winning teams of the new millennium? We’ve been slated with the tough task of ranking the best World Series teams of the 2000s, but we’re up for the challenge. Let’s get to it!
20. 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (83-78 regular season, 11-5 postseason)
The most modest of the title-winning teams of the 2000s, the 83-win Cardinals snuck into the postseason in 2006 before catching fire. St. Louis was the better team throughout the World Series, taking down the Tigers in a quick five-game series, outscoring Detroit 22-11. Chris Carpenter, Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan (look at some of these names!) were money in the rotation, while 25-year-old Adam Wainwright snagged four saves is 9.2 scoreless innings as a reliever. World Series MVP David Eckstein smacked eight hits in the final three games of the Fall Classic, helping St. Louis bring in its first championship in a quarter century.
19. 2014 San Francisco Giants (88-74, 12-5)
Perhaps the most unassuming of the three Giants championship-winning teams, the Giants earned a wild card berth in 2014, throttling the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the Wild Card Game before returning to World Series glory for the third time in five years. Since 1963, only the Giants, A’s (1972, 1973, 1974) and Yankees (1996, 1998-2000) have won three World Series titles in a five-year span. A 22-year-old Madison Bumgarner delivered one of the most historically great pitching performances in World Series history, winning both his starts (including a Game 5 shutout) and coming back on two days’ rest to hurl five shutout innings in relief to close out Game 7 against the Royals. There may be no better big game October pitcher than Bumgarner, and his 2014 efforts will forever be the litmus test that October greatness is compared to.
18. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals (90-72, 11-7)
2011: the year David Freese became an October god. Winning both NLCS and World Series MVP, Freese hit nearly .400 in that postseason run, smacking five home runs, including a two-out game-tying triple in the 9th and a Game 7-forcing 11th inning walk-off dinger against the Rangers in Game 6. Chris Carpenter won four games that postseason, while Albert Pujols, Allen Craig, and Freese combined to slug 14 homers. They became the fifth team to win the World Series as a wild card.
17. 2003 Florida Marlins (91-71, 11-6)
The Florida Marlins were incepted in 1993… 10 years later they had already been world champs twice over. Steve Bartman did his part to help out the Fish, but they had plenty of talented dudes in place. Pudge Rodriguez, Derrek Lee, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre and a then-20-year-old baby-faced Miguel Cabrera made up an imposing line-up for Jack McKeon’s team. Throw in 23-year-old World Series MVP Josh Beckett and 21-year-old dynamo Dontrelle Willis, and you had one of the most fun teams to watch from the early 2000s.
16. 2000 New York Yankees (87-74, 11-5)
The Yanks became the first team to three-peat as World Series champions since the Oakland A’s pulled it off in 1972, 1973, and 1974. Derek Jeter earned World Series MVP honors as Joe Torre’s guys took down Bobby Valentine’s Mets in what ended up being a brief five-game Subway Series. Their 87 regular season wins is the fewest the organization had in a title-winning year in club history, but as they say: flags fly forever.
Click ahead to Page 2 to see the #15 through #11 World Series teams of the 2000s!