The Los Angeles Dodgers join the .700 Club

At 43-17, the Los Angeles Dodgers become the first team since 2001 to have a .700 W-L%.

The accomplishment is no doubt dimmed by the shortened 60-game season. But by winning their 43rd game against just 17 defeats Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers joined one of baseball’s rarest fraternities, the .700 club.

Sunday’s victory gave the Dodgers a .717 winning percentage for the season. The Dodgers became the first team to finish with better than a .700 percentage since the Seattle Mariners (116-46, .716) did so in 2001.

Only 15 teams have topped .700 since 1886. That was the first year the major leagues’ expanded to a schedule of at least 90 games. Between the founding of the National League in 1876 and 1886, an era when teams played between 45 and 85 games, another dozen teams topped .700.

Because the 2020 season was limited to 60 games by COVID-19, the Dodgers’ accomplishment probably is more properly seen in the context of that earlier group.

Prior to the 2001 Mariners, teams since 1886 that finished above .700 are:

  • 1886 Chicago White Stockings (90-34, .726)
  • 1886 Detroit Wolverines (87-36, .707)
  • 1887 St. Louis Browns (95-40, .704)
  • 1897 Boston Beaneaters (93-39, .705)
  • 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (103-36, .741)
  • 1906 Chicago Cubs (116-36, .763)
  • 1907 Chicago Cubs (107-45, .704)
  • 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates (110-42, .724)
  • 1927 New York Yankees (110-44, .714)
  • 1931 Philadelphia Athletics (107-45, .704)
  • 1939 New York Yankees (106-45, .702)
  • 1954 Cleveland Indians (111-43, .721)
  • 1998 New York Yankees (114-48, .704).

As unusual as that level of regular-season success is, it does not necessarily forecast post-season success. Eleven of the .700 or better teams since 1886 played in a recognized post-season. But only five of those teams won the World Series.

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Those lucky five were the 1907 Cubs, 1909 Pirates, and the1927, 1939, and 1998 Yankees. The Mariners lost in the 2001 ALCS; the 1886 White Stockings, 1887 Browns, 1906 Cubs, 1931 Athletics, and 1954 Indians all lost the World Series.