The team of the “aughties”?

Michael Riehn
Whiteyball staff

wstrophyThe decade of the 2000’s have been a good one for the Cardinals. They’ve continued their run of dominance in even numbered decades (World Championships in the 20’s, 40s, 60’s, 80’s and 2000’s) and submitted their name for discussion in the team of the decade debate. A World Series Championship, 2 pennants and 5 division titles, 1 Cy Young Award and 2 MVPs have made it a magical ride, and it’s fascinating to see how they compare to the other great teams of the decade.

With one year left in the 2000’s, can the Cardinals really make a claim as the team of the decade? Before we get into the American League (and the other heavyweight contenders: the Yankees and Red Sox), let’s take a look at the teams that have won the World Series in the National League:

 

Team Win % Playoffs Playoff WP Playoff W Div. Titles Penn. Champ
St. Louis 0.564 6 0.541 33 5 2 1
Philly 0.520 2 0.647 11 2 1 1
Florida 0.497 1 0.647 11 0 1 1
Arizona 0.504 3 0.519 14 3 1 1

 

It’s pretty easy to see that the Cardinals are well ahead of the competition for the NL title.  It would take a second World Championship by the Phillies, Marlins or the Diamondbacks to put any other team in the discussion.  A World Series Title in 2009 would make a compelling argument for any of these teams, but the Cardinals would still have a nice claim to the decade as they would most likely win every other category.

The National League has been down this decade though, so it’s not hard to see why the Cardinals have the inside track.  The American League has dominated the 2000’s so let’s look at the Cardinals versus the AL’s  two main contenders:

 

Team Win % Playoffs Playoff WP Playoff W Div. Titles Penn. Champ
St. Louis 0.564 6 0.541 33 5 2 1
Boston 0.566 5 0.630 34 1 2 2
NYYankees 0.593 8 0.526 41 7 2 1

 

A couple of things struck me about this table.  First, the Cardinals still have a chance to be team of the decade.  I really didn’t think they had a shot against these two American League teams.  They would have to win the World Series this year and the Red Sox could not win the pennant, but they still have the opportunity.  If this happened, I could still see an argument for the Red Sox, but it would be difficult to say either one was better. 

Second, I never expected the Yankees to have a compelling argument of overtaking the Red Sox for team of the decade.  I thought the Sox were a lock.  A World Series Championship by the Yankees wouldn’t just get them in the discussion, I think they would be the winner.  Boston would have a better winning percentage in the playoffs, but the division titles, playoff appearances and regular season winning percentage would tip the scale, in my opinion.

As Cardinals fans, we often complain about the team not doing enough to win and we question the moves of the ownership and front office.  If we take a step back though, we can see how truly blessed we’ve been in this decade.  Whether you believe it to be luck, skill or a combination thereof, we’ve had an amazing run that doesn’t happen to teams (not named the Yankees) very often.  Here’s hoping the Cardinals finish off the decade right and cap off one of the best decades in this storied franchise’s history.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “The team of the “aughties”?

  1. Very nice. Obviously I knew the “aughts” had been good for the Redbirds, but I didn’t realize they’d been that good!

  2. I just want to say that I’ll be devastated if the Yankees win the WS this year. They definitely have the team for it – that’s a rotation built to win in the playoffs. I hope it doesn’t happen though.

  3. The Ghost of Todd Burns

    Great read…I love the cardinals, but if they win the W.S. this year and Boston doesn’t win their division…I’m afraid the head to head 2004 W.S. will swing it in boston’s favor….unless the Sox make it as the Wild Card and we beat them in the W.S….ah sweet revenge

  4. Not a bad point, but if they meet in the World Series, the two teams will tie with the number of pennants. Having 3 pennants to the BoSox 2 would tip the scale in the Cards favor (IMO).

  5. Flat Tax

    No one will care about stats when the Cubs win it all this year! 😉

  6. Picasso

    If they stay healthy (which would be quite a feat given recent history), I believe the Cards have a very good shot at contending…

  7. Zubin

    I’ll step up and take a contrarian view. As much as I love the Cardinals, the Red Sox are the team of the aughts. They have pretty well combined all the trends of the 2000s:
    1) Emphasis on OBP and patient hitting.
    2) Smart free agent acquisition.
    3) A smart and objective “moneyball” management.
    4) They have taken their first (and second) titles in the past ~80 years.

    Put another way the Red Sox used sucessfuly employed the most noteworthy trends of the decade. While the Cardinals have been very good, the will be remebered (or forgotten) more like the Browns of the 1880s– a very good team that beat up on oponents in a weak league (or division). I don’t think that is truely fair, but I think that is how we’ll be remembered.

  8. Zubin,

    I agree with you that the Red Sox are the leader in the “team of the aughts” race. Saying that, this argument is about results and not “how they did it”. Luck plays a big part in this (drafting Pujols in the late rounds comes to mind), but the Cards could have the Red Sox in win percentage, playoff appearances, playoff wins, division titles and pennants. The Red Sox have been fantastic, but they don’t have the title locked up by any stretch of the imagination.

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