With 30 teams currently competing in Major League Baseball, it is unusual for any one franchise to dominate for a sustained period of time.
However, we’ve looked back over every previous season to identify the spells in the sport’s history in which one franchise was unusually successful and MLB dynasties were established.
The most obvious way for a team to express their dominance is by winning the World Series, which decides that season’s champion.
The World Series pits the champions of the American League and National League against each other, so repeated victories are a sure sign of superior quality.
The New York Yankees are the only team to have won the World Series more than three times in a row, having won five titles back-to-back between 1949 and 1953. This run beat their own previous record of four consecutive victories from 1936 to 1939.
The most famous of MLB dynasties managed three in a row as recently as 2000, with the Oakland Athletics’ 1972 to 1974 stretch the only other run of three successive World Series titles in MLB history.
The Yankees are also the only team to have won more than half of the World Series titles in a 10-year stretch. Their aforementioned run of five in a row was in the middle of a spell of seven championships between 1947 and 1956.
Most Valuable Players
Since 1931, the American League and the National League have each given out an award to the season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Unsurprisingly, it is the Yankees who have enjoyed the most notable spell of dominance in the award.
In the 10 years from 1954 to 1963, eight of the 10 MVP awards in the American League went to a Yankees player, with four different winners. Mickey Mantle won it three times, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris twice each and there was also one for Elston Howard.
Only one other team’s players have won more than half of the MVP awards in a given decade-long stretch: the National League’s Cincinnati Reds.
From 1970 to 1977, six awards out of a possible eight ended up in Cincinnati and again four different players were honoured. Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan claimed two apiece while Pete Rose and George Foster got the others.
The New York Yankees are the only team to have won more than three American League pennants in succession, having twice secured five in a row and also managing three additional sequences of four, none of which overlap.
The Yankees are also the only team to have won more than half of the American League pennants available in any given 10-year period, with their record being an incredible nine out of 10 from 1949 to 1958.
The MLB’s other league has been the more open, with the New York Giants the only member to have won more than three National League pennants in a row.
The Giants won all four available between 1921 and 1924, surpassing the record of three successive pennants that they and five other franchises had managed previously.
Sustained dominance appears to be a thing of the past in the National League however, as no team has won it three times in a row since the end of World War II.
Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles Dodgers became the only team to win more than half of the pennants available in a 10-year span, securing six from 1947 to 1956.
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