Baseball history: 2017 sixth seasonwith three 100-win teams

21 Oct 1998: Infielders Derek Jeter
21 Oct 1998: Infielders Derek Jeter /
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Fans were treated to a rarity in 2017, when three teams finished with 100 or more wins for only the sixth time in baseball history.

For the first time since 2003, and only the sixth time in basseball history, MLB had three teams with 100 or more wins this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers led the way with 104 wins, followed by the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros, with 102 and 101 wins, respectively.

It’s not uncommon to have a season in which at least one team has 100 wins. That’s been done 68 times in the 117 seasons since 1901, or 58 percent of the time. Having two teams with 100 or more wins is much more rare. It’s happened 25 times, or 21 percent of the time. That’s about once every five seasons, although the last time it happened before this season was in 2003, which means Millennials haven’t seen a season like this one since before they were able to grow their manbeards (picture the headline at Business Week, “Millennials have killed 100-win MLB teams!”).

Having a season in which three teams win 100 or more games is very rare. It was first done in 1942, back when MLB had just 16 teams and some big league players were fighting in World War II. The St. Louis Cardinals (106-48), New York Yankees (103-51) and Brooklyn Dodgers (104-50) combined for 313 wins.

It would take three-and-a-half decades and multiple expansions before MLB saw another season with three 100-win teams. That was the expansion year of 1977. It happened again 21 years later and again it was during an expansion year (1998). The back-to-back seasons of 2002 and 2003 each featured three 100-win teams. Finally, we have this year to celebrate the accomplishment.

With this season’s three 100-win teams beginning play on Thursday and Friday, let’s look at the six times there have been three 100-win teams in a season.