In honor of possible events that didn’t happen this year, us here at What The Sports have got together to see who’s the rest of the rest.
Through the most thorough research, here is a list of the five best teams in recent memory who have either missed out on the playoffs completely, or have reached the Wild Card Game and lost.
1. 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates: 98-64, lost in NL Wild Card Game
Baseball is weird. If the Pirates were in any other division in the MLB that year, they would’ve easily won. However, the Pirates play in the NL Central. They finished second. The St. Louis Cardinals finished first, winning 100 games.
The Pirates were the first NL wild card team. The third place, 97-win Chicago Cubs were the second NL wild card. If the Cubs were in any other division, they would’ve won easily. They didn’t. Baseball is weird.
The Pirates hosted the 2015 NL Wild Card Game. They lost and were eliminated from the playoff picture with just one loss. BASEBALL. IS. WEIRD.
2. 1993 San Francisco Giants: 103-59, missed playoffs
You read that correctly. The 103-win Giants missed the playoffs entirely in 1993. Back in the day, there were only two divisions (East, West) in each league and no Wild Card. That meant if you didn’t win your division, you didn’t make the postseason.
The Giants were in the NL West. The Atlanta Braves, the team of the 90s and a team on the EAST COAST, were also in the NL West. This basically says the MLB disregarded geography from 1969 to 1993.
The win total isn’t as remarkable as it seems. Their playoff hopes were actually dashed well before that, when the Gigantes went 12-18 from August 11th-September 15th, going from a nine-and-a-half division lead to three-and-a-half games back of the Braves.
The Braves won 104 games that season. The Giants finished one game behind, losing on the last game of the season to the .500 Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming just the eighth team in MLB history to win 100 games or more and miss the playoffs. They are the latest team to do that.
3. 2003 Seattle Mariners: 93-69
The only reason why the M’s are included in this is because they finished two games out of the AL Wild Card race. They also finished with a record two games better than the 91-71 WORLD SERIES CHAMPION FLORIDA MARLINS.
Yep, the Mariners missed the playoffs, but the Marlins, the team who had just their second winning season franchise history that season, won the NL Wild Card and defeated the 101-61 New York Yankees in the World Series. Dammit Loria.
Now, listen to this amazing championship-winning call from “great Fox broadcaster Joe Buck.”
Also…Bartman. Sorry Ryan.
4. 2005 Cleveland Indians: 93-69
Much like the Mariners, the Indians finished with the same record and two games back of the Red Sox. However, the Marlins didn’t win the NL Wild Card. Instead, the Chicago White Sox broke an 88-year championship drought and swept the Houston Astros in the World Series.
That’s really the only parallel with the Mariners. The White Sox won 99 games and the Indians would’ve won two other divisions in the MLB that year.
However, 2005 also saw the San Diego Padres win the NL West with an 82-80 record, one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. The Indians would’ve won that division by 11 games. That’s a completely different argument in itself, but is still sad. We’re talking Browns tying the Steelers to end their winless streak sad.
I didn’t even realize that I threw two Cleveland teams into the same segment, but the Browns jab was strictly at the Padres, not at the Indians. They are actually a good team in Cleveland. Sorry, Noah.
5. 2011 Boston Red Sox: 90-72
They aren’t even close to being the best team in recent memory to not make the playoffs, but what a fall from grace to get there. Up nine games in the AL Wild Card with 24 games left to play, the Red Sox had a 99.3 percent chance of making it to the postseason.
SPOILER: They didn’t.
The Sox lost 18 of 24 games to end the season, including one specific game no one remembers at all.
Game 162. September 28th, 2011.
Boston took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning. Fate was in their hands, specifically closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was 31-for-33 in save opportunities coming into the game.
Guess who did win the AL Wild Card?
Red Sox fans, enjoy this video. Please, enjoy all of it. Definitely not sorry to all Red Sox fans on staff because this.
An article about the Rays not making the AL Wild Card this year with the record they have is coming, don’t you worry. They get their own article, rather than a few paragraphs and some jokes.