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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 5 Baseball Teams of the 1970s, which Team was the Best?

Top 5 Baseball Teams of the 1970s, which Team was the Best?

The 5 Greatest Teams of the 1970's
Publish Date: 01/04/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

The greatest team of the greatest decade!

Baseball, to me, reached its peak in the 1970s. This, to me, was the Golden Decade for Major League Baseball. Today we will look at the best five teams of the decade. The scary thing about these ten years was that it was so stacked you had great teams like the Royals 76-78, Dodgers 74-78, Phillies 76-78, that don’t even get near the list. Baseball was a special sport in the 1970s, as the baseball “Game of the Week” on NBC was a special occasion on Saturday afternoons. Remember outside of your home team broadcasting around 40 or so road games and a couple of home games? Those Saturday “Games of the Week”, and later in the 70’s, some Monday night baseball games were all you got to see. It was not like today when you could see pretty much every game that was played.

Instead of playing video games and being on their phones, kids actually played baseball outside. Or maybe it was raining, so they stayed inside and traded baseball cards with their friends. Today let’s go back and look at the teams that made those days special to baseball fans. The other option was to sit by the radio and listen to some of the Greatest Announcers in Baseball history describe the game for you.

5). New York Yankees, 1977, 100W-62L

The Yankees were owned by George Steinbrenner and managed by the hot-tempered Billy Martin, which always led to fireworks. The Yankees had been swept in the 1976 World Series by the Cincinnati Reds. They came into the 1977 season as the favorites to win the American League Championship.

The Yankees battled with the Orioles and Red Sox all year and ended up winning the A.L. East Title by 2.5 games to advance to the ALCS, and a rematch with the Royals who they had beaten in a classic five-game series in 1976.

Once again the ALCS would go the five-game limit with the Yankees prevailing in the end.

That led to a throwback World Series between the Yankees and the rival Dodgers. The Yankees, just like the old days, would come out victorious in six hard-fought games, culminating with Reggie Jackson’s historic three home run night in game six at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees are the most historic team in Baseball history. If you don’t believe me look at this list of Greatest Baseball Home Runs, the Yankees are all over this list.

Starting Lineup

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Thurman Munson 149 595 183 .308 18 100
1B Chris Chambliss 157 600 172 .287 17 90
2B Willie Randolph 147 551 151 .274 4 40
3B Graig Nettles 158 589 150 .255 37 107
SS Bucky Dent 158 477 118 .247 8 49
LF Roy White 143 519 139 .268 14 52
CF Mickey Rivers 138 565 184 .326 12 69
RF Reggie Jackson 146 525 150 .286 32 110
DH Carlos May 65 181 41 .227 2 16

 

Starting Pitching

The Yankees after the 1976 season signed Cincinnati Reds ace starter Don Gullett to a huge contract. Unfortunately for the Yankees and Gullett, the Free Agent Acquisition pitched injured for much of the year and the injury he suffered would eventually end his career.

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Ed Figueroa 32 239.1 16 11 3.57 104
Mike Torrez 31 217 14 12 3.82 90
Ron Guidry 31 210.2 16 7 2.82 176
Don Gullett 22 158.1 14 4 3.58 116
Catfish Hunter 22 143.1 9 9 4.71 52
Dock Ellis 3 19.2 1 1 1.83 5

 

Relief Pitching

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
Sparky Lyle 72 137 13 5 26 2.17 68
Dick Tidrow 49 151 11 4 5 3.16 83
Ken Clay 21 55.2 2 3 1 4.37 20
Stan Thomas 3 6.1 1 0 0 7.11 1
Larry McCall 2 6 0 1 0 7.50 0

 

Video: A Winning Tradition - The 1977 NY Yankees

A Winning Tradition – The 1977 NY Yankees

4). 1973 Oakland A’s, 94W-68L

The A’s were a great team from 1972-74, winning three straight World Championships. Starting pitching puts this team on the list as the A’s had three 20-game winners in Jim (Catfish) Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Vida Blue.

The A’s won the A.L. West title by six games over the second-place Kansas City Royals. They then met the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS and won a hard-fought but low-scoring best-of-five series. They won the fifth and deciding game 3-0 behind a five-hit shutout by their ace Catfish Hunter.

The World Series would once again see this gutty team pushed to the limit, finally prevailing over the underdog New York Mets in yet another game 7.

 

Starting Lineup

Pos Player G AB R H Avg. HR RBI SB
C Ray Fosse 143 492 37 126 .256 7 52 2
1B Gene Tenace 160 510 83 132 .259 24 84 2
2B Dick Green 133 332 33 87 .262 3 42 0
3B Sal Bando 162 592 97 170 .287 29 98 4
SS Bert Campaneris 151 601 89 150 .250 4 46 34
LF Joe Rudi 120 437 53 118 .270 12 66 0
CF Billy North 146 554 98 158 .285 5 34 53
RF Reggie Jackson 151 539 99 158 .293 32 117 22
DH Deron Johnson 131 464 61 114 .246 19 81 0

 

Starting Pitching

Player G IP W L ERA BB SO
Ken Holtzman 40 297.1 21 13 2.97 66 157
Vida Blue 37 263.2 20 9 3.28 105 158
Catfish Hunter 36 256.1 21 5 3.34 69 124
Blue Moon Odom 30 150.1 5 12 4.49 67 83
Dave Hamilton 16 69.2 6 4 4.39 24 34

 

Relief Pitching

Player G IP W L SV ERA BB SO
Rollie Fingers 62 126.2 7 8 22 1.92 39 110
Darold Knowles 52 99 6 8 9 3.09 49 46
Horacio Piña 47 88 6 3 8 2.76 34 41
Paul Lindblad 36 78 1 5 2 3.69 28 33
Rob Gardner 3 7.1 0 0 0 4.91 2 4
Video: MLB 1973 World Series Highlights

MLB 1973 World Series Highlights

3). 1975 Cincinnati Reds, 108W-54L

This was the first of two consecutive World Championship teams for the Reds. They were more dominant in the regular season than any other team on this list.

In the regular season, the Reds finished an unbelievable 20 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the N.L. West title. The Reds went 64–17 at home in 1975. That is the best ever home record by a national league team and the second-best in baseball history behind only the 1961 Yankees, who went 65–16 at home that year. The Reds also set the major league record for most consecutive wins to ever close out a half with 10, when they went into the all-star break on a 10-game winning streak. The 840 runs scored by the Reds in 1975 were the most in the league that season and their +254 run differential was also the best in the league. The Reds were the only team in the National League to have a winning record on the road, going 44–37.

The Reds swept the high-powered and talented Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight games. They out scored the Pirates 19-7 in the short three-game series.

The World Series in 1975 was not so easy for the Big Red Machine as they met a very talented Boston Red Sox team in a series for the ages. The Reds would prevail in the seventh game in Boston coming from 3-0 down in the sixth inning and winning the game in their final at-bat 4-3 on a bloop single by future hall of fame second baseman Joe Morgan.

 

Starting Lineup

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Johnny Bench 142 530 150 .283 28 110
1B Tony Pérez 137 511 144 .282 20 109
2B Joe Morgan 146 498 163 .327 17 94
3B Pete Rose 162 662 210 .317 7 74
SS Dave Concepción 140 507 139 .274 5 49
LF George Foster 134 463 139 .300 23 78
CF César Gerónimo 148 501 129 .257 6 53
RF Ken Griffey 132 463 141 .305 4 46

 

Starting Pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Gary Nolan 32 210.2 15 9 3.16 74
Jack Billingham 33 208 15 10 4.11 79
Fred Norman 34 188 12 4 3.73 119
Don Gullett 22 159.2 15 4 2.42 98
Pat Darcy 27 130.2 11 5 3.58 46
Clay Kirby 26 110.2 10 6 4.72 48

 

Relief Pitchers

Player G W L S ERA SO
Will McEnaney 70 5 2 15 2.47 48
Pedro Borbón 67 9 5 5 2.95 29
Rawly Eastwick 58 5 3 22 2.60 61
Clay Carroll 56 7 5 7 2.62 44
Tom Hall 2 0 0 0 0.00 3
Video: 1975 WS Gm7: Reds clinch World Series

1975 WS Gm7: Reds clinch World Series

2). 1970 Baltimore Orioles, 108W-54L

The 1970 Orioles had one of the greatest starting rotations in Major League Baseball history as they boasted three 20-game winners. They also boasted a terrific starting eight that could quickly put many runs on the board.

The Orioles ran away with the A.L. East in 1970, finishing a full 15 games ahead of second-place New York.

In the ALCS, they made short work of the A.L. West Champion Minnesota Twins, sweeping them in three games. They outscored the Twins 27-10, in a series that showcased their ability to score runs.

The Orioles removed the demons of the 1969 World Series by jumping out to a 3-0 lead over the Cincinnati Reds. The Orioles would go on to win the series in five games.

 

Starting Lineup

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Elrod Hendricks 106 322 78 .242 12 41
1B Boog Powell 154 526 156 .297 35 114
2B Davey Johnson 149 530 149 .281 10 53
3B Brooks Robinson 158 608 168 .276 18 94
SS Mark Belanger 145 459 100 .218 1 36
LF Don Buford 144 504 137 .272 17 66
CF Paul Blair 133 480 128 .267 18 65
RF Frank Robinson 132 471 144 .306 25 78

 

Starting Pitchers

Mike Cuellar 40 297.2 24 8 3.48 190
Dave McNally 40 296 24 9 3.22 185
Jim Palmer 39 305 20 10 2.71 199
Tom Phoebus 27 135 5 5 3.07 72

 

Relief Pitchers

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Eddie Watt 53 7 7 12 3.25 33
Pete Richert 50 7 2 13 1.98 66
Dick Hall 32 10 5 3 3.08 30
Marcelino López 25 1 1 0 2.08 49
Dave Leonhard 23 0 0 1 5.08 14
Moe Drabowsky 21 4 2 1 3.78 21
Video: MLB 1970 World Series Highlights

MLB 1970 World Series Highlights

1). 1976 Cincinnati Reds, 102W-60L

The 1975 Reds won more games, but the 1976 Reds never lost in the postseason. The Phillies and Yankees were both excellent teams in their own right, but they were no match for the Big Red Machine. The Reds went 49–32 at home and an incredible 53–28 on the road in 1976.

In the NLCS the Reds faced the Philadelphia Phillies and made quick work of them in three games.

Next up the Reds faced the New York Yankees in the World Series and would out score the Yankees 22-8 to win the series in four quick games. Johnny Bench was the series MVP, hitting two home runs in game four to help the Reds clinch the World Series. The Reds had one of the Greatest infields in Baseball history!

 

Starting Lineup

Pos Player G AB R H Avg. HR RBI SB
C Johnny Bench 135 465 62 109 .234 16 74 13
1B Tony Pérez 139 527 77 137 .260 19 91 10
2B Joe Morgan 141 472 113 151 .320 27 111 60
3B Pete Rose 162 665 130 215 .323 10 63 9
SS Dave Concepción 152 576 74 162 .281 9 69 21
LF George Foster 144 562 86 172 .306 29 121 17
CF César Gerónimo 149 486 59 149 .307 2 49 22
RF Ken Griffey 148 562 111 189 .336 6 74 34

 

Starting Pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Gary Nolan 34 239.1 15 9 3.46 113
Pat Zachry 38 204 14 7 2.74 143
Fred Norman 33 180.1 12 7 3.10 126
Jack Billingham 34 177 12 10 4.32 76
Santo Alcalá 30 132 11 4 4.70 67
Don Gullett 23 126 11 3 3.00 64

 

Relief Pitchers

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Rawly Eastwick 71 11 5 26 2.09 70
Pedro Borbón 69 4 3 8 3.35 53
Rich Hinton 12 1 2 0 7.64 8
Joe Henderson 4 2 0 0 0.00 7
Video: The Big Red Machine takes over the 1976 All-Star Game

The Big Red Machine takes over the 1976 All-Star Game

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