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The Best Team Doesn’t Always Win

| December 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

How many true die hard baseball fans can tell you about the great club they had one year that didn’t win it all but they should have?

A bunch.

The Seattle Mariners had one of baseball greatest regular seasons of all time. In fact, the 2001 addition of the Mariners finished with the sixth best regular season of all time with a record of 116-46. 

That is a winning percentage of .716.

One could argue is Major League baseball’s best all time record because the five teams with higher winning percentages played less than the 162 games the 2001 Seattle club did.  Mark McLemore was a starting player on that club and marveled at his team’s stellar season saying, “It was awesome. We knew we were going to win everyday.”

mariners-yankees-2001-116-winsMcLemore told me his Lesson From Baseball on the 2001 Seattle Mariners season, “The best team doesn’t always win!!”

Lou Pinella managed the Mariners all the way to the American League Championship Series where they lost to his former club, New York.

The Yankees won Games 1 and 2 at Seattle’s Safeco Field and closed out the ALCS in five games at Yankee Stadium.

When asked how the wheels came off for Seattle, McLemore responded, “The Yankees pitched and hit better.”

In 1995, I was in my first year covering the Cleveland Indians for WEWS-TV.  I went to Indians spring training in Florida and everyone in the baseball media believed that manager Mike Hargrove had the makings of and outstanding team.

They were right, the Indians had a great club sending six players to the All Star Game in Arlington, Texas. Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton, and Albert Belle started the game and Jose Mesa, Dennis Martinez and a young Manny Ramirez were reserves for the American League.

Belle led the majors with 50 home runs and the A.L. in RBI’s.  Kenny Lofton’s 54 stolen bases were tops in the league and reliever Jose Mesa’s 46 saves were the best in the game.

In a season shortened by the strike, Cleveland dominated the competition and finished 100-44 with a winning percentage of .694.  The Tribe finished 30 games ahead of the Central Divison’s second place team Kansas City.

The ’95 Indians won the American League title but lost the World Series in six games to an Atlanta Braves club led by future Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux and Series MVP Tom Glavine.

The Lesson From Baseball I got in covering my first World Series: the best team doesn’t always win.


Newy Scruggs is the author of our upcoming  Lessons From Sports book. He’s looking for your best and most inspiring lessons from sports stories. Click here  to receive our Lessons From Sports Tip of the Week and to submit your lesson/story.

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Category: Baseball

About the Author ()

Newy Scruggs is a multiple Emmy Award winning sportscaster and Sports Director at KXAS-TV (NBC 5) in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas.

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