When the San Francisco Giants recorded the final out of their 2014 World Series championship on Wednesday night in Kansas City, the conversation began nearly immediately. Are the Giants a dynasty? This was ring No. 3 in the last five years, which has to count for something, right? How many other MLB franchises have accomplished that feat?
We took a trip back into the baseball record books to try and figure out exactly how many ballclubs have won three titles in a five-year span — and it’s not nearly as many as you might think. Here’s a list, in chronological order, of MLB dynasties (yes, we said it) that captured three trophies in five seasons.
The first club to ever win three championships in five years was the A’s, although not the Oakland variety. Then known as the Philadelphia Athletics, Connie Mack’s team won baseball’s ultimate prize way back in 1910, 1911, and 1913. The Oakland iteration of the franchise put together its own dynasty quite a few decades later, winning three straight crowns from 1972 to 1974 behind familiar names like Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson.
2. Red Sox
The next dominant team in baseball in the early 20th century (after Philly’s Athletics) are the Boston Red Sox. They won the World Series in 1915. They won the World Series in 1916. They won the World Series in 1918. And then, in January 1920, they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. You probably know what happened next: The balance of power in baseball tilted for, oh, just the next 80-some years.
Of course, the New York Yankees, with more World Series championships than any other team, are going to make an appearance on this list. In some ways, you could argue that the Yankees have been basically just one century-long dynasty. New York first joined the “three titles in five years” club in the ’30s, winning four straight World Series from 1936-1939 and then adding crowns in 1941 and 1943. The Bronx Bombers’ next run of greatness started in 1947 and included 10 titles in the next 16 seasons, so take your pick of which three in five you’d like to claim. (The highlight was five consecutive trophies from 1949-1953.) Last, but not least, the Derek Jeter-led Yankees won it all in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
Until this week, the St. Louis Cardinals were the only National League team to ever win three World Series in a five-year span. The Cards pulled it off in the 1940s, taking home the hardware in 1942, 1944, and 1946 behind star Stan Musial. That run included a 1944 series victory over St. Louis. Yes, you read that sentence right: The St. Louis Cardinals once beat the St. Louis Browns in the World Series.
The Giants’ 2014 World Series title makes San Francisco just the fifth franchise in MLB history to win three championships in a span of five seasons. The Giants knocked off the Rangers in 2010, swept the Tigers in 2012, and now outlasted the Royals in a seven-game 2014 classic Fall Classic. Only 10 franchises all-time have won more than three titles in their entire history, so the modern-day Giants’ third since 2010 clearly entitles San Francisco to claim the “dynasty” label, at least in our opinion.