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downstairs
04-27-2006, 09:50 AM
My personal baseball history only goes back to 1981, and even then I was too young to pay attention to that many non-Sox baseball teams... but I got to thinking, and I'm curious...

What are some of the most underrated teams to surprise everyone and have a great season and make the playoffs?

I don't mean like the '05 Sox- everyone expected them to at least have a winning record. I don't mean like the '05 Padres, because they *didn't* have a good season, they just have a putrid division.

I mean like... lets say the '06 Tigers, or the '06 Devil Rays actually made the playoffs in their tough divisions/wild card races. Something to that level of surprise.

Just curious...

Chicken Dinner
04-27-2006, 10:03 AM
Marlins??

pasquasroachclip
04-27-2006, 10:15 AM
I'd say the 91 Twins and Braves - both went from worst to first in the same year

Madvora
04-27-2006, 10:32 AM
I'd say the 91 Twins and Braves - both went from worst to first in the same year
Just what I was going to say, but I don't know how they were looked at that year when the playoffs started.

downstairs
04-27-2006, 10:38 AM
Just what I was going to say, but I don't know how they were looked at that year when the playoffs started.

Actually I'd be curious how they were looked at right before the 91 season, after the 90-91 offseason.

I mean... were they known to improve? Were they expected to be a doormat?

MeteorsSox4367
04-27-2006, 10:46 AM
I know the Braves were really awful for a while there, but once the young pitchers like Smoltz, Glavine and Avery started to develop, the Braves became a hell of a lot better.

Once again, this proves the importance of pitching.

pasquasroachclip
04-27-2006, 10:49 AM
IIRC, nothing much was expected of either team; if anything, the Sox were expected to make a bigger step up after the 1990 season. The Twins picked up Jack Morris, Chili Davis and Mike Pagliarulo (sp?) that offseason, but no one was thinking playofs for them, let alone a World Series. The Braves were a young team on the rise, but if anything they were expected to compete in '92 or '93 for a title.

soxfan13
04-27-2006, 11:01 AM
How about Cincy in 1990 when they were supposed to have been swept by the monster Oakland As

Max Power
04-27-2006, 11:15 AM
I would say the 2003 Marlins. No one expected much from them, but they got hot at just the right time.

Malgar 12
04-27-2006, 06:41 PM
1987 Twins, no doubt about it.

miker
04-27-2006, 08:24 PM
The 1906 "Hitless Wonders" Chicago White Sox.

PKalltheway
04-27-2006, 09:58 PM
1990 Reds
2003 Marlins
2002 Angels- Although they won 99 games, they got overshadowed by Oakland's monster second half in which at one point, they won 20 in a row.:o:
2000 White Sox- Went from just 75 wins in 1999 to 95 in 2000:cool:

Johnny Mostil
04-27-2006, 10:14 PM
1990 Reds
2003 Marlins
2002 Angels- Although they won 99 games, they got overshadowed by Oakland's monster second half in which at one point, they won 20 in a row.:o:
2000 White Sox- Went from just 75 wins in 1999 to 95 in 2000:cool:

Good list. Do the 1998 Padres belong on it?

Johnny Mostil
04-27-2006, 10:16 PM
The 1906 "Hitless Wonders" Chicago White Sox.

If we're going historical, how about the '69 Mets, the '67 Red Sox, and the '14 Braves as well?

PKalltheway
04-27-2006, 10:41 PM
Good list. Do the 1998 Padres belong on it?
IIRC, they already had a fairly decent team, making it to the playoffs in 1996. They also signed Kevin Brown before the 1998 season so that also contributed to them not being on my list.

Johnny Mostil
04-27-2006, 10:47 PM
IIRC, they already had a fairly decent team, making it to the playoffs in 1996. They also signed Kevin Brown before the 1998 season so that also contributed to them not being on my list.

They did indeed make the playoffs in '96, though one could argue that was an aberration (and one that only resulted in a first-round sweep). They were 70-74 in '95 and 76-86 in '97. But you still have a point . . .

Johnny Mostil
04-27-2006, 10:52 PM
1990 Reds


I was just going through old standings and remembered that the Reds finished second from '85 to '88. They dived in '89--the year Rose, their manager, was banished--but then won it all in '90. I wonder how well they would have done in the late '80s if Rose hadn't been their manager . . .

PKalltheway
04-27-2006, 11:02 PM
I was just going through old standings and remembered that the Reds finished second from '85 to '88. They dived in '89--the year Rose, their manager, was banished--but then won it all in '90. I wonder how well they would have done in the late '80s if Rose hadn't been their manager . . .
I'd have to agree with you there, Rose was a BAD manager. Period. People here in Cincinnati don't want to accept that fact.

viagracat
04-27-2006, 11:42 PM
Offhand, I'd say the '69 Mets. Remember, the Mets absolutely stunk from their 1962 inception until then

TDog
04-28-2006, 02:47 AM
Offhand, I'd say the '69 Mets. Remember, the Mets absolutely stunk from their 1962 inception until then

The Mets hadn't finished higher than ninth place and were expected to finish ahead of the expansion Expos the new six-team divisions. The Mets even lost to the Expos on opening day, 2-0. The Cards were favored, although some picked the Cubs even before they got out to the quick start. People overlooked the fact that the Mets had excellent pitching, which is always a nice place to start.

It isn't fair to compare the achievements of surprising wild card teams to the achievements of earlier teams.

Had there been a wild card been in place in 1972, the White Sox would have been one of those surprise playoff teams. Just two years from their worst year in franchise history (and White Sox history poses some stiff competition there), they finished with the league's second-best record. Only A's, beginning a three-year run of World Series titles, and the defending champion Pirates in the National League won more games than the Sox.

That was not as heartbreaking as the fate of the 1964 White Sox when only one team from each league went to the postseason, and winning 99 games was one game not enough. But the Sox that year were highly regarded.

downstairs
04-28-2006, 08:13 AM
I guess the '69 Mets is sort of what I was looking for. I assume going into the '69 season people assumed they may very well lose 100 games again? Be a complete doormat? And their ceiling being maybe .500?

I wonder if the '69 Mets would be similar to, say, the 2006 Devil Rays winning the East with 99 wins?

Railsplitter
04-28-2006, 10:10 AM
87 Twins had the lowest winning percentage of any Series champ.

Johnny Mostil
04-28-2006, 10:48 AM
I'd have to agree with you there, Rose was a BAD manager. Period. People here in Cincinnati don't want to accept that fact.

Yep, though in fairness I suppose we should note the Reds didn't tear up the league in '82, '83, and '84. I can't remember whom (Krause? Reinsdorf?) I first heard talk about coaches taking teams from point A to B to C (for 'championship'?), but maybe that's what happened here.

Back on-topic: I wonder if pre-season predictions are so dicey that nearly any postseason winner might be considered unexpected, or even "underrated" in the pre-season. But some (e.g., '69 Mets) probably are more unexpected than others . . .