Houston Astros: Three reasons why a decade of 100’s was worth it

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros
Houston Astros pitcher Roberto Osuna (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Reason #2: The Fab Five

The Five Predecessors

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Some teams only played 154 games. This was before 1961 when MLB added eight extra games.

The teams that had three straight 100 plus winning campaigns include:

#1 1929-1931 Philadelphia A’s

  • 1929: 104-46
  • 1930: 102-52
  • 1931: 107-45

While everyone will remember the 1927 Yankees as the greatest team ever assembled, the Philadelphia A’s were certainly a team that ended the ’20s dominating. Behind Hall-of-Famers Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and manager Connie Mack, the A’s ran amok in 1929, the Yankee’s quest for a three-peat by 13.5 games to win the American League Pennant. This would be rewarded with the first of back-to-back titles against the Cubs.

A year later, despite winning two fewer games, the A’s repeated as champions against the Cardinals. Perhaps the best team of the three-year run was in 1931 when they would win 107 games. However, they were knocked off by the Cardinals in a rematch. This is historic because it would be the last title for the A’s in Philadelphia as they would later move to Kansas City and then to Oakland.

#2 1942-1944 St. Louis Cardinals

  • 1942: 106-56
  • 1943: 105-49
  • 1944: 105-49

If there was a team of the 1940s, it was the St. Louis Cardinals. Guided by Stan “The Man” Musial, St. Louis would reach three straight World Series from 1942-1944 with 105 wins or over. They wound up winning two titles in 1942 and 1944. While they were unable to make it four years in a row of 100-wins in 1945, they would confirm their status as a dynasty in 1946 when they added a third championship.

#3 1969-1971 Baltimore Orioles

  • 1969: 109-53
  • 1970: 108-54
  • 1971: 101-57

Although Baltimore had won a championship in 1966, this three-year stretch was the best that the league’s current worst team went through. Like the previous two teams, the Orioles would appear in three straight fall classics. They had the Robinsons of Brooks and Frank, Boog Powell, Paul Blair, and a dominant pitching staff including Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson, and Dave McNally, all of whom would win 20 games in 1971.

With their fiery manager Earl Weaver leading the charge, the Orioles had a team that looked to rule the baseball world. However, they would fall victim in two World Series. First, in 1969, when they lost to the Amazin New York Mets. After redeeming themselves in 1970 with a title, the Orioles fell in 1971 to Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates ending their great dynastic run.

#4 1997-1999 Atlanta Braves

  • 1997: 101-61
  • 1998: 106-56
  • 1999: 103-59

It’s unfortunate that we had to be knocked around by the Atlanta Braves during this stretch in 97 and 99. But the truth was, while the Braves had been to four World Series prior to 1997, the fact that they didn’t win a title in this three-year stretch is awe-striking. With a dominant pitching staff of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, along with a core group including Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Javy Lopez, and led by manager Bobby Cox, the Braves would add three more division titles to a string fourteen in a row going back to 1991.

Houston Astros' pitching staff on pace to break a record. light. Must Read

But what wound up hurting their chances was just the reality of postseason. Any team can beat anyone then. That was the case in both 1997 and 1998 when they lost in the NLCS to the Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres respectively. 1999 saw them make it to their fifth World Series in the decade. But, they were swept by the New York Yankees.

#5 2002-2004 New York Yankees

  • 2002: 103-58
  • 2003: 101-61
  • 2004: 101-61

When people think of the Yankee’s dynasty, they remember 1998 when the team won 114 games and a championship. They remember four titles in five seasons and an epic 2001 World Series. The 2002-2004 Yankees teams could’ve added to that dynasty. Yet, they would end up with disappointment.

An ALDS loss to the 2002 Angels was followed by a World Series heartbreak at the hands of the 2003 Marlins. Then, they made history by becoming the first MLB team to blow a 3-0 series lead in a playoff series to the 2004 Boston Red Sox. That’s a tough legacy to live with. Now, the Yankees will win 100-games for the second straight season in 2019 and maybe they’ll do it again in 2020. But the truth is, winning 100 games is an achievement and hard to do, even for three seasons. The postseason is a story unto itself and every team has the same chance.