MICHAEL: Eric and I have been busy putting together the outline for our next book Baseball’s Could Have Beens: Major League Mishaps, Misfortunes, and Mistakes. This follow-up to You Stink! features 30 ballplayers who had a ton of potential, but whose careers ended prematurely, as well as the histories of MLB teams that finished far below expectations. Our player list is firm at 30, but we are still looking for input as to which teams to include. Baseball historian Jonathan Knight was kind enough to offer us some excellent team suggestions, most of which have been added. Here is what we have so far:
- 1906 Chicago Cubs: Played a completely dominant regular season in which they set major league records for victories, but didn’t win the World Series.
- 1940s Red Sox: Blew the World Series in Game 7 in ’46, and then blew the pennant on the last day of the season in ’48 and ’49.
- 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers: Won six pennants in 10 years (losing two others on the last day of the season), but only won one World Series.
- 1954 Cleveland Indians: Won a then-record 111 games, got to the World Series, and then were swept.
- 1981 Cincinnati Reds: Had the best overall record in baseball that year, but because of the two-tiered structure of the strike-torn season, they didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
- 1987 Cleveland Indians: Put on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s season preview and picked to go to the World Series. Went on to lose 100 games.
- 1980s Oakland A’s: Won in ’89, but were upset by clearly inferior teams in ’88 and ’90.
- 1990s Pittsburgh Pirates: Three straight division titles with no World Series berths.
- 1990s-2000s Atlanta Braves: Made playoffs 14 straight years, but only won one World Series and lost four others.
- 2001 Seattle Mariners: Played completely dominant regular seasons in which they each set league records for victories, but didn’t win the World Series.
Who else would you include? There are 2-5 team slots left (depending on how many good ideas we get). In order to prevent duplicative nominations, we are asking you to post your suggested teams right here in the Comments section with a very brief description of why they should be included. All winning suggestions will be properly credited in the Acknowledgements chapter of the book. Thanks in advance for your input. We can’t wait to see who you come up with!