The New York Yankees are clearly the most successful baseball team of all-time. But which MLB franchise is the second most successful? A rubric was developed to determine which team has been the most historically successful. The points rubric awards progressively more points the further a team went in the playoffs. The results suggest that the Dodgers and Cardinals are the next two most successful MLB franchises, after the Yankees.
16 pts. – World Series Winners
8 pts. – Reached World Series
4 pts. – Reached League Championship Series
2 pts. – Reached Division Series
1 pts. – Reached Wild Card Games / Tiebreaker Games
TOP 5 MOST SUCCESSFUL MLB FRANCHISES
1. New York Yankees – 584 pts.
The Yankees are by far the most successful team in MLB history. The have won the World Series a record 27 times, no other teams comes close. In the first two decades of the World Series, the Yankees had won zero championships. Then from the 1920’s to the 1960’s the Yankees became especially dominate. However, the team has slowed down in recent years. Its last World Series win was back in 2009.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers – 282 pts.
The Dodgers where originally based in Brooklyn, but since they moved to Los Angeles, the team has 6 won of their franchise’s 7 World Series titles. The team’s latest World Series win was in 2020. The Dodgers have also appeared in the second most World Series, after the Yankees. The franchise has also won the National League pennant the most times, with an impressive 24 in total.
3. St. Louis Cardinals – 277 pts.
The Cardinals have won the World Series 11 times, the second most after the Yankees. Its most recent win came in 2011. The team also has won 19 National League pennants, with 4 coming in the last 20 years. The team has been fairly consistent, but has never dominated any particular decade. However it did win 3 World Series in the 1940’s, behind hall-of-famer Stan Musial.
4. San Francisco Giants – 251 pts.
The Giants are yet another franchise that used to be based in New York before moving to San Francisco. In the early history of baseball, the Giants were much more successful than the Yankees. The Giants have won the World Series 8 times. Five of their wins came when they were still playing in New York, before they relocated. The team also has had a lot of success recently, winning the World Series three times in the 2010’s.
5. Boston Red Sox – 226 pts.
The Red Sox won the first World Series, back when the team was known as the Boston Americans. The team also won the World Series four times in the 1910’s. Since trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the success of the team flatlined. It took the franchise 86 years more years to win it again in 2004. The team now has 9 World Series wins and a total of 13 appearances in the World Series.
Source: Baseball Reference
For the full table of all MLB franchises ranked and a breakdown of success decade by decade please see: