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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Series super six
By Bob Carter
Special to ESPN Classic

1. 1927 New York Yankees
Powered by Hall of Fame hitters Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs and Tony Lazzeri, the Yankees went 110-44 to win the American League pennant by 19 games. The Yanks, managed by Hall of Famer Miller Huggins, won Opening Day and stayed in first place the entire season. The team batted .307, had a record .489 slugging percentage and hit 158 homers, 102 more than any other AL team. Rightfielder Ruth batted .356, knocked in 164 runs and his record 60 homers were more than any other AL team. First baseman Gehrig hit .373 with 47 homers and a major league-best 175 RBI. New York had pitching as well: Hall of Famers Waite Hoyt (22-7), who led the AL in wins, and Herb Pennock (19-7), along with Wilcy Moore (19-7, 13 saves and a league-leading 2.28 ERA), Urban Shocker (18-6) and Dutch Ruether (13-6). The Yankees' 4-0 sweep of Pittsburgh in the World Series was the first for an American League team.

2. 1976 Cincinnati Reds
Sparky Anderson's Reds boasted a lineup unparalleled in their era. The Big Red Machine was led by all-time hits leader Pete Rose and Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. Seven starters were chosen for the National League All-Star team that year, and the eighth, Cesar Geronimo, batted .307 in the No. 8 spot. The Reds followed a 108-54 season in 1975 by going 102-60 and becoming the only club to sweep the playoffs and World Series. It also was the first NL team to win successive Series since the 1921-22 New York Giants. Rose was the league leader in hits (215), runs (130) and doubles (42), while Morgan led in slugging percentage (.576) and won his second consecutive MVP. George Foster led the league in RBI (121). The Reds had the NL's best fielding percentage and led the league in batting, slugging percentage, runs, doubles, triples, homers, walks and stolen bases. Seven Cincinnati pitchers had at least 10 wins. Following up their dramatic seven-game Series victory over Boston in 1975, the Reds swept the Yankees.

3. 1998 New York Yankees
Not a team of superstars, the Yankees won a league-record 114 games during the season, beating second-place Boston by 22 games, and went 11-2 in the postseason. They dominated with pitching depth, a lineup of patient hitters and a strong bench. Joe Torre's club led the AL in runs, walks and ERA. Centerfielder Bernie Williams won the batting title at .339 and was one of three Yankees to score more than 100 runs, joining 1-2 hitters Chuck Knoblauch (117) and Derek Jeter (127). Tino Martinez knocked in 123 runs and Paul O'Neill batted .317 and drove home 116. David Cone (20-7) and David Wells (18-4) led the starters and closer Mariano Rivera (36 saves, 1.91 ERA) keyed the bullpen. With their sweep of San Diego, the Yankees won their 24th World Series.

4. 1929 Philadelphia Athletics
Managed by the legendary Connie Mack, the Athletics went 104-56 and beat the second-place Yankees by 18 games. They won the first of three straight pennants and two consecutive World Series titles. Six regulars batted over .300, led by leftfielder Al Simmons (.365, 34 homers, league-best 157 RBI). First baseman Jimmie Foxx hit .354 with 33 homers and catcher Mickey Cochrane batted .331. The A's had solid pitching, too. Lefty Grove went 20-6 and his 2.81 ERA was the only one in the majors below 3.00. George Earnshaw (24-8, 3.29) was the AL leader in wins and Rube Walberg went 18-11. Philadelphia beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series in five games, taking control in Game 4 when they overcame an 8-0 deficit with a 10-run seventh inning.

5. 1953 New York Yankees
This team capped a record run by beating Brooklyn in six games for its fifth consecutive world championship. Manager Casey Stengel's Yankees went 99-52, beating runnerup Cleveland by 8 games, and led the AL in runs and ERA. After losing their season opener, they won nine of 10 and stayed in first the rest of the way. An 18-game winning streak in the first half fell one short of the AL record set by the 1906 White Sox. The team's strength was pitching, led by 24-year-old Whitey Ford (18-6, 3.00) and a stable of veterans that included Ed Lopat, 35, who had a league-best 2.43 ERA and 16-4 record. Johnny Sain, 35, won 14 games; Vic Raschi, 34, won 13; and Allie Reynolds, 38, won 13 and saved 13. The offense had seven players with 10 or more home runs, topped by catcher Yogi Berra (27) and centerfielder Mickey Mantle (21), both Hall of Famers.

6. 1972 Oakland A's
World Series underdogs, the A's startled the baseball world by beating the Reds in seven tense games, winning four of six one-run decisions. They did it without star rightfielder Reggie Jackson, who was injured in the playoffs. Managed Dick Williams' team batted only .240 while going 93-62, but ranked second in runs. The A's were powered by starters Catfish Hunter (21-7, 2.04), Ken Holtzman (19-11, 2.51) and Blue Moon Odom (15-6, 2.50) and reliever Rollie Fingers (11-9, 21 saves). They led the AL in shutouts and saves, and their top eight pitchers had ERAs under 3.00. The lineup featured Jackson, third baseman Sal Bando, shortstop Bert Campaneris and leftfielder Joe Rudi, who saved Series Game 2 with a spectacular catch. Oakland won its second of five straight division titles that year and the first of three straight World Series. Only the Yankees of 1949-53 and of 1936-39 have won more consecutive Series.

Honorable Mention:
1939 Yankees (Just how many Yankees team did you want us to put in our Super Six?)
1906 Chicago Cubs (won record 116 games but lost the World Series)
1954 Cleveland Indians (111 wins but lost the Series)
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110 wins, Series champs)

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