There’s nothing like a summer day at the ballpark, and baseball fans are always nostalgic about their favourite baseball teams as the new MLB season starts.
We surveyed more than 2,000 baseball fans to pinpoint the all-time best seasons and players, and which years fans would rather forget about for good.
Favourite Baseball Seasons: Ranked
Many fans yearned for the day their team was the best in the league. The all-time favourite season for 18 baseball organizations was, no surprise, a year their teams won the World Series.
With the 2021 World Series win against the Astros fresh on their mind, Atlanta Braves fans made sure to mark it as their favourite year. Astros fans acknowledged that 2021 was a good season for the team, but said their best year was still in 2017 when they won it all. Although some would say the Astros didn’t really win that year (do the words “sign-stealing scandal” ring a bell?).
The Toronto Blue Jays are one of only a handful of teams to win the World Series back-to-back, and fans haven’t forgotten it. Jays fans chose the 1992 World Series campaign as their favourite season, but also gave a nod to the 1993 season when the team knocked the competition out of the park for a second straight year.
Wasn’t all World Series years that were memorable
Despite having World Series wins under their belts, fans of some sports teams chose more recent seasons as their all-time favourite years. It may be because they weren’t around to remember when their teams actually won the championship.
The Cleveland Guardians last won the World Series in 1948! Guardians fans chose 1995 as the year their team knocked it out of the park. That was the year the team won their division and faced off against the Braves in the World Series, where they ultimately lost.
What if you don’t have any World Series rings to brag about?
Some baseball organizations do not have any World Series wins to brag about. We’re looking at you Padres, Brewers, Rangers, Mariners, Rays, and Rockies. Fans of those six teams chose to celebrate the years their team almost won it all. All the teams chose their division wins except for Colorado Rockies fans. While the Rockies did win their division in 2007, fans said their all-time favourite moment was the 2007 wild card game where the team won in the 13th inning!
As for the golden era of baseball, fans say the best years on the field happened two decades ago. They are especially nostalgic for the seasons from 1998-2000 when the New York Yankees won the World Series three years in a row. The 1998 season stood out as the best according to fans.
That was the year baseball pros battled it out to set a new home run record. The top contenders were Mark McGwire (St. Louis Cardinals), Ken Griffey Jr. (Seattle Mariners) and Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs). It was McGwire who ended up breaking the single-season home run record with 70 homers that year. He didn’t get bragging rights for long because Barry Bonds broke that record just three years later when he hit 73.
Baseball fans don’t want the stadium lights shining on every season. Most fans had some beef with the way their teams have played recently. Fans of 10 baseball organizations chose 2021 as their most embarrassing season to date. With the lockout impacting 2022 spring training, let’s hope players have been practicing a lot off the field and come out swinging for this year’s MLB odds season.
Ranking Players in Their Prime
Baseball fans would love to turn back the clock and get the chance to watch legendary players in person. We asked MLB fans which all-time pitchers, hitters and players they’d like to see play one last game while in their prime.
Turns out the top sluggers and all-time favourite baseball players were often one and the same. Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., and Willie Mays are the top four sluggers AND all-time favourite players for fans.
As far as pitchers go, fans would love to see Cy Young in his glory. He’s believed to be one of the hardest-throwing pitchers who played in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We’ll never know how fast his fastball was because there were no radar guns back then, but rumour has it that catchers actually put steaks in their gloves to try and lessen the blow. Plus, 511 wins!
Fans would also love to catch a game with pitchers Nolan Ryan (2) and Randy Johnson (3). Though they’d probably prefer to skip the game where Johnson took out a bird with his infamous fastball.
Missed Baseball Stadiums
It’s not just the players that fans dream of seeing. They also miss some of the ballparks where these unforgettable games took place. If they could, fans would resurrect Yankee Stadium I.
That’s the stadium that housed the Yankees from 1923 all the way to 2008. The team won 26 World Series championships there with legendary players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig.
Yankee Stadium isn’t the only New York spot fans miss. Fans wish they could also check out the old Mets haunt, Shea Stadium. Fans would also love to step foot in Candlestick Park (San Francisco Giants), Comiskey Park (Chicago White Sox) and the Big O in Montreal (pictured), although we’d guess that was back before the roof fell in.
Missed Sports Franchises
On a rare occasion, sports franchises change and fans are hard-pressed to forget it. The most missed franchise is the Montreal Expos. The baseball organization debuted in 1969 as the first Major League Baseball team outside of the US. However, things took a turn in 2004 when the team relocated to Washington D.C. You may know them better as the Washington Nationals now.
In a perfect world, good things would never change. But that’s not the case in life and in the sports world. We hope you enjoy your favourite team as often as you can and savour each and every experience!
In February 2022, we surveyed 2,096 sports fans to get their feedback about baseball teams, players and stadiums. Survey respondents ranged in age from 18 to 85 with an average age of 39 years old. 55% were male and 45% were female.
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