Phillies and MLB World Series Championship rates
by Scott Butler 11/11/12

It’s hard to believe that Halloween marked the four year anniversary of the Phillies World Series parade down Broad Street. The book is now closed on the Phillies near dynasty from 2007-2011.   Five straight division titles, three trips to the NLCS, two World Series appearances, and only one championship to show for it.

In what was arguably the best era in Philadelphia Phillies history, they only walked away with one championship ring. That brings the Phils to a whopping two championships in 129 years. Should a World Series title be that elusive? I mean, heck, the Giants and Cardinals gathered two championships within the last seven years, the Yankees have 27 titles, and the Cardinals have 11.

Should it be that easy to win, or are the Phillies simply the laughing stock of Major League Baseball?

How bad it is to have two World Series championships in 129 years? To find out, I decided to perform a statistical comparison with the rest of Major League Baseball. The basis for the comparison is simple. With thirty teams currently in the league, each team should statistically win one championship every thirty years. You may feel like the Phils deserve more than that, but math is math.

With huge fluctuations in the number of teams over the years, to determine how many championships each team should have, I counted the number of teams in each season since 1876 and compared it to the number of seasons each team has been in existence.

In the Phillies 129 year history, they have competed against a total of 2,607 teams, an average of 20.2 teams per season. If the Phillies were average, they would have 6.4 World Series championships, putting them roughly four championships behind the pace.

I ran that same formula for all thirty Major League teams, determining how may championships they should have compared to what they actually accomplished. The chart below lists current organizations who have continually remained in the same city. For example, the Washington Nationals were technically the same organization as the Montreal Expos, but I started the clock on the Nats from when they moved to D.C. in 2005. Click here for a more detailed list of MLB championships per team.

Let's see how the Phillies compare to the rest of the league. Here is a list of the number of World Series Championships for all 30 Major League teams compared to the average number of championships they should have. Teams are listed in order from best to worst, with teams who exceeded the average in blue and those below average in pink.

MLB World Series championship rates per team

Team Actual WS Titles Avg # Titles # Titles Above/Below
Yankees 27 5.2 21.8
Athletics 9 1.9 7.4
Cardinals 11 6.5 4.6
Dodgers 6 2.1 3.9
Giants 5 2.1 2.9
Red Sox 7 5.3 1.7
Marlins 2 0.6 1.4
Braves 3 1.7 1.3
Twins 3 1.9 1.1
Blue Jays 2 1.2 0.8
Orioles 3 2.3 0.7
D-Backs 1 0.4 0.6
Mets 2 1.9 0.1
Nationals 0 0.2 - 0.2
Rays 0 0.4 - 0.4
Royals 1 1.5 - 0.5
Rockies 0 0.6 - 0.6
Angels 1 1.9 - 0.9
Mariners 0 1.2 - 1.2
Tigers 4 5.3 - 1.3
Rangers 0 1.4 - 1.4
Reds 5 6.5 - 1.5
Pirates 5 6.5 - 1.5
Brewers 0 1.5 - 1.5
Padres 0 1.5 - 1.5
Astros 0 1.9 - 1.9
White Sox 3 5.3 - 2.3
Indians 2 5.3 - 3.3
Phillies 2 6.4 - 4.4
Cubs 2 6.9 - 4.9

The fact that the Phillies are only 4+ championships behind doesn't sound too bad on its own merit, but it doesn't look so great when you realize the Cubs are the only team worse than the Phillies.

The Phillies and Cubs jump out as the obvious losers, but the team at the top is hard not to notice. The New York Yankees have won 27 World Series titles.

Let's put that number in a little perspective. The Yankees have 16 more championships than the second best team and more than the bottom 17 teams combined. The Yankees only constitute 3.3% of the teams in Major League Baseball, yet they have won 20% of the World Series titles.

Here's some more perspective. The Yankees should have five rings, but instead have 27, giving them 21 more championships than they should have. If the law of averages caught up to the Yankees and there were still exactly 30 teams in baseball, the Yankees would not win another World Series in 655 years. I've already use the "Y" word more than I would like to admit, but that is an incredible number.

Nearly as amazing is the dominance of the top three teams. The Yankees (27 titles), Cardinals (11), and Red Sox (7) have as many championships as the 25 bottom teams combined. That means that there are as many trophies in New York, St. Louis, and Boston as there are in 25 teams across the nation. Talk about the haves and the have not's.

It is also interesting to note that the nine oldest teams constitute seven of the eleven worst teams on the list.

But let's bring this back to the Phillies. This list proves just how difficult it is to win the World Series. Thirty teams each season feel they deserve a parade and only one team actually gets one. The Phillies came oh so close to winning several World Series and just walked away with one. With one chance in thirty to win the World Series, you have to rack up championships when you get the chance. With the best era in Phillies history in the rear view mirror, they may have missed out on a golden opportunity.

If the law of averages applies, the Phillies championship in 2008 guarantees we will not see another one until 2038. But hey, at least we don't have to wait until 2667 like the Yankees.

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