Numbers Game: Claims To Fame
The Braves appeared in five World Series in the 1990s, doing so largely with the same core players.
Lefthander Tom Glavine and righthander John Smoltz played for all five of Atlanta’s World Series teams, while righty Greg Maddux and third baseman Chipper Jones suited up for three of them in 1995, ’96 and ’99.
The quartet suited up as teammates for 10 seasons from 1993-2002, and all four are now enshrined in the Hall of Fame, along with manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz.
Seldom has one team had such a high concentration of HOF players as the ’90s Braves—but a few others come close. Here are 11 other Expansion Era teams with significant Hall of Fame flavor, listed chronologically by the “signature” edition of the team, i.e. the one that achieved the most.
Players’ ages are listed in parentheses. Note how much easier it was for a team to keep a dynastic core together in the 1960s and ’70s, before free agency took hold.
Hall of Famers: C Yogi Berra (36), LHP Whitey Ford (32), CF Mickey Mantle (29)
Teammates: 13 years (1951-1963)
This trio of Yankees greats played in 10 World Series in their 13 years together, winning it all seven times. Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio (one season) and Phil Rizzuto (four) still served as regulars at the beginning of the run.
Hall of Famers: RHP Juan Marichal (24), CF Wille Mays (31), 1B Willie McCovey (24), RHP Gaylord Perry (23)
Teammates: 10 years (1962-1971)
The Giants lost the 1962 World Series and never broke through for a title, despite averaging 91 wins per season for the decade in which the four Hall of Famers were together. Another Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda, came up with San Francisco and battled for playing time at first base with McCovey until 1966, when Cepeda was traded to the Cardinals.
Hall of Famers: LF Lou Brock (28), LHP Steve Carlton (22), RHP Bob Gibson (31)
Teammates: Seven years (1965-1971)
Carlton turned in his first full season in the rotation in 1967, when St. Louis won 101 times and claimed World Series victory behind Brock’s .414 average with seven steals in seven games and Gibson’s three complete-game wins with a 1.00 ERA. Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda spent full seasons with the Cardinals in 1967 and 1968.
Hall of Famers: 1B Ernie Banks (38), RHP Fergie Jenkins (26), 3B Ron Santo (29), LF Billy Williams (31)
Teammates: Six years (1966-1971)
This 1969 Cubs won 92 games but lost the NL East to the Miracle Mets. Chicago never topped 90 wins in any other season in which the four Hall of Famers were together. Banks by the mid-’60s had migrated to first base after winning back-to-back MVP awards as a shortstop in 1958 and ’59.
Hall of Famers: RHP Bert Blyleven (19), 2B Rod Carew (24), 3B Harmon Killebrew (34)
Teammates: Five years (1970-1974)
Blyleven arrived in Minnesota in 1970 and contributed to a 98-win team that advanced to the AL Championship Series. The Hall of Fame group disbanded when Killiebrew left town after the 1974 season following three straight third-place finishes by the Twins.
Hall of Famers: RHP Jim Palmer (24), 3B Brooks Robinson (33), RF Frank Robinson (34)
Teammates: Six years (1966-1971)
The great Earl Weaver Orioles averaged 106 wins per season from 1969 to ‘71 yet claimed the World Series only in 1970 despite serious star power. Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio played alongside Palmer and the Robinsons in 1966 and ‘67.
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Hall of Famers: RHP Rollie Fingers (25), RHP Catfish Hunter (26), RF Reggie Jackson (26)
Teammates: Seven years (1968-1974)
The talented, young A’s won three straight World Series from 1972 to ‘74 and sandwiched trips to the ALCS around that run in 1971 and 1975. Hunter had moved on by ’75, and owner Charlie Finley began selling off his stars in earnest shortly thereafter.
Hall of Famers: C Johnny Bench (27), 2B Joe Morgan (31), 1B Tony Perez (33)
Teammates: Five years (1972-1976)
The Big Red Machine really coalesced with the addition of Morgan in 1972, which led to an NL pennant that year and back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and ’76. Cincinnati receives extra credit during this period for third baseman Pete Rose, who is HOF qualified on the field—if not so much off it.
1975 Red Sox
Hall of Famers: C Carlton Fisk (27), LF Jim Rice (22), 1B Carl Yastrzemski (35)
Teammates: Seven years (1974-1980)
The Red Sox of the mid- to late 1970s were consistent winners but had to contend with rugged Yankees and Orioles teams in the AL East. Thus Boston’s only playoff appearance with this Hall of Fame trio came in 1975, which resulted in a seven-game World Series loss to the Reds.
Hall of Famers: C Gary Carter (27), CF Andre Dawson (26), LF Tim Raines (21)
Teammates: Six years (1979-1984)
Raines’ ascendancy to a regular role in 1981 lifted Montreal into contention in a strike-shortened season. The Expos bowed out in the NL Championship Series that year by losing two straight potential series-clinching games, the second in crushing fashion. The franchise never truly recovered.
Hall of Famers: CF Ken Griffey Jr. (27), LHP Randy Johnson (33)
Teammates: 10 years (1989-1998)
Edgar Martinez is not yet enshrined, but after pulling in 70.4 percent of the vote in 2018, the DH is a virtual lock for Cooperstown on his 10th and final ballot in 2019. Despite this talented core spending a decade together—Seattle also had Alex Rodriguez as its regular shortstop in the last three seasons of this window—these Mariners teams failed to reach the World Series.