With the 2023 MLB playoffs fast approaching, we got to thinking: which franchises have won the most postseason games throughout their history? I’m sure many of you would have guessed the Yankees lead the way (spoiler alert, they do), but where does your favorite team rank on the list?
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Which MLB teams have won the most postseason games?
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With the 2023 MLB playoffs fast approaching, we got to thinking: Which franchises have won the most postseason games throughout their history? I’m sure many of you would have guessed the Yankees lead the way (spoiler alert, they do), but where does your favorite team rank on the list?
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New York Yankees, 241
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Since the inception of their franchise in 1903, the New York Yankees have been easily the most successful major league franchise, and they take the top spot on this list by a large margin. New York has qualified for postseason play 58 times, won 40 American League pennants, and as most Yankees fans love to tell you — unprovoked, I might add — their 27 World Series championships are the most of all time. Cumulatively, the Yankees have earned 241 postseason victories, which is nearly 100 more than the second-place Cardinals.
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St. Louis Cardinals, 145
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The St. Louis Cardinals currently own the second-worst record in the National League, and to say that’s rarified space for them would be an understatement. While the Yankees get much more national headlines — and understandably so — the Cardinals have been essentially the NL version, and have been the model franchise on the senior circuit forever. St. Louis has represented the National League in the World Series 23 times, and taken home 11 World Series championships. The 145 postseason victories they’ve recorded is the most in NL history, and it’s a record that’s unlikely to be passed anytime soon.
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Los Angeles Dodgers, 107
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The Dodgers have been the premier team in the National League over the last decade or so, and it’s no surprise to see them land this high on the list. Throughout the team’s rich history dating back to their days in Brooklyn, the Dodgers have made the playoffs 36 times, and represented the National League in the Fall Classic on 25 of those occasions. Their World Series winning percentage is not spectacular, however, as out of their 25 pennant winning seasons they’ve only finished the job and won the whole thing seven times, most recently in 2020.
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Atlanta Braves, 105
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The Braves spent essentially all of the 1990s in the postseason, and recently have seemingly surpassed both the Cardinals and Dodgers as the model franchise on the senior circuit. Atlanta has been an October participant 28 times, earned 18 NL pennants, and captured four World Series championships, most recently in 2021. Here in ’23 they’ve been the best team in baseball all season long, and you have to believe their playoff wins total is going to climb significantly next month.
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Boston Red Sox, 103
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Despite a well-documented extensive championship drought, the Boston Red Sox have easily been one of the most successful postseason teams in baseball history. Boston has logged 25 playoff appearances and won the American League pennant in an impressive 14 of those campaigns. They’ve also done a fabulous job of completing the job once reaching the World Series, taking home nine championship trophies, including three in a twelve-year span between 2007-18.
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San Francisco Giants, 98
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Only five teams have reached triple digits when it comes to postseason victories, but with a little luck, the Giants could become the sixth in just a few weeks. If they’re able to persevere and reach the playoffs, they would likely be handed the difficult task of taking on the Brewers in the best-of-three first round, and while it would be an uphill battle, winning that series would get them to 100 postseason wins. Already in their history, the Giants have won the National League pennant in 23 of their 27 playoff appearances, and won the World Series eight times.
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Oakland Athletics, 85
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The A’s are baseball’s worst team here in 2023, but that has certainly not always been the case. This franchise has previously called Philadelphia and Kansas City home — and quite possibly might be moving on to a fourth city soon — but they’ve enjoyed periods of success in every stop along the way. The Athletics have qualified for the postseason 29 times, and represented the American League in the World Series on 15 occasions. It’s been a while, but they’ve won nine Fall Classics, most recently in 1989, and captured three consecutive titles from 1972-74.
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Houston Astros, 77
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The city of Houston was granted an expansion baseball team in 1962 and went by the Houston Colt .45’s for their first three seasons before changing their name to the Astros. Houston wouldn’t make the playoffs for the first time until its 19th season in 1980, and they’ve experienced several long droughts between playoff appearances, and in fact, it’s safe to say that right now is the greatest period of sustained success in the Astros’ history. Houston has made it to the World Series in four of the last six years. The team is currently closing in on a seventh straight postseason appearance, and earned its first two World Series titles in 2017 and 2022.
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Cleveland Guardians, 60
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The Cleveland Guardians made the playoffs only once in the franchise’s first 47 seasons, but for going on the last three decades the organization has been the most successful one in its division. In total, Cleveland has reached the postseason 16 times, and captured the American League pennant in six of those attempts — most recently in 2016. The city is, however, long overdue for a championship, as the only two World Series titles in this franchise’s history came in 1920 and 1948.
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Philadelphia Phillies, 60
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The Phillies are currently tied with the Guardians for the ninth most postseason victories in history with 60, but they are almost certainly going to jump ahead of Cleveland in just a few weeks. The defending NL champions are currently riding high in the top wild-card spot in the National League, and are certainly positioned to make another October run this fall. During their long history, the Phillies have qualified for postseason play 15 times, and won the National League pennant in more than half of those years. They have, however, only sealed the deal and won the World Series twice, in 1980 and 2008.
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Detroit Tigers, 57
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Checking in next on the list with 57 postseason victories is one of baseball’s oldest franchises, the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers’ first season came all the way back in 1901, and while by most accounts they’ve not been overly successful during their lifetime, this team has employed some of the biggest names in the game and possesses one of the most passionate fanbases in the league. Detroit has qualified for October participation only 16 times in their 122-year existence, but when they make the playoffs they generally make some noise. The Tigers have represented the American League in the Fall Classic 11 times, and they’ve won four World Series championships, most recently in 1984.
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Baltimore Orioles, 54
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The 2023 Baltimore Orioles are one of the real feel-good stories in baseball right now, the O’s currently own the best record in the American League after not qualifying for the postseason since 2016. Baltimore’s exciting, young core has brought baseball back in the Charm City and fans are elated to see how far this team can go this fall. Clinching a playoff berth on Sept. 17 with a win over the division-rival Rays marks the 15th time the organization has qualified for postseason play. They’ve won seven American League pennants and three World Series championships, but certainly hope to grow both of those numbers by one next month.
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New York Mets, 52
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The New York Mets began their existence essentially as lovable losers, as while they weren’t really any good at the beginning, fans in New York were mostly just ecstatic to have a National League team back after the Dodgers and Giants had left for California. And while the Mets history has not been littered with success, they’ve certainly enjoyed sporadic spurts of euphoria. The Mets have made the playoffs 10 times since their inception in 1962, and represented the senior circuit in the Fall Classic five times. They’ve won two World Series championships, in 1969 and 1986.
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Cincinnati Reds, 47
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The Reds franchise has been playing in Cincinnati since 1882, and predictably, they’ve authored a lengthy and interesting history. For most of the organization’s first eight decades they enjoyed very little success, but that changed in a big way in the 1970s. The Reds won two World Series titles and reached two more in a seven-year span in what became the most dominant stretch in the franchise’s history. Nicknamed the “Big Red Machine” at the time, Cincinnati was home to many of the game’s brightest stars, and that’s an era of baseball fans in western Ohio are hoping to witness again in the near future. In total, the Reds have made 16 October appearances, won 10 National League pennants, and taken home five World Series titles. Their 47 postseason-win total could increase next month if they can ultimately capture the final Wild Card spot.
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Chicago Cubs, 47
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The Cubs have been the lovable bunch in the Windy City for pushing a century and a half, and a 100+ year gap between World Series titles did little to detract the team’s adoring faithful. Throughout their history the Cubs have been more successful than you might think based on their lovable loser reputation, as they sport a .513 winning percentage, have made the playoffs 21 times, and represented the NL in the Fall Classic on 17 occasions. They have, however, only won the World Series three times —most recently, of course, in 2016. The 2023 version of the Cubs have vastly outperformed preseason predictions and are currently closing in on a National League wild-card berth, which would give them an opportunity to add to their 47 postseason wins.
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Pittsburgh Pirates, 43
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Pittsburgh is a fabulous baseball town, but unfortunately in recent years sports fans in the Steel City have been much more engaged with the Steelers and Penguins. The Pirates playoff drought is about to reach eight seasons, and prior to a three-year October run from ’13-’15 they hadn’t qualified for the postseason since 1992. In total, Pittsburgh has been a playoff participant 17 different times, and been the last team standing in the National League in nine of those years. They’ve won five World Series titles, though the most recent one of those came all the way back in 1979.
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Kansas City Royals, 40
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Aside from their back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015, the Kansas City Royals have been absent from the postseason since 1985, representing one of the most futile stretches of any team. What’s interesting about the Royals, though, is that while they haven’t been to the dance very often, when they are, they generally make some noise. Kansas City has only qualified for the playoffs nine times in its 55-year existence, but the club has captured four American League pennants and won two World Series titles. The 40 postseason victories they’ve compiled have them in about the middle of the pack, and far higher than you likely would have guessed.
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Minnesota Twins, 33
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Dating back to their days in Washington D.C., the Minnesota Twins franchise history stretches back 123 years, and by that account the club has not enjoyed all that much success. The organization owns a lifetime winning percentage well below .500, and have only qualified for October participation 17 times. The Twins have represented the junior circuit in the Fall Classic six times and captured three World Series titles — most recently in 1991. That said, with a healthy lead in the AL Central, Minnesota will almost certainly be playing October baseball in a few weeks, and perhaps they can author a new chapter in its history.
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Toronto Blue Jays, 31
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The Blue Jays possess some serious star power, and in recent seasons have consistently been among the more exciting teams in the American League. That has not always been the case, however. Throughout their 47-year history the Jays have only made the playoffs nine times — and four of those appearances have come since 2015. Toronto has won the American League pennant only twice, but both times they appeared in the World Series they won it, taking home back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993. This season, the Blue Jays are locked in a fierce race to snag a Wild Card spot in the AL, and if things break their way they could add to the 31 postseason victories the franchise has accumulated to date.
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Chicago White Sox, 30
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The Cubs get significantly more attention and press, but they are certainly not the only team that calls the Windy City home. Over on the southside of Chicago, the White Sox have been in existence since 1901, and while the Cubs carry the lovable loser label, it could very well be the other way around. The White Sox have only made it to the postseason 11 times in their 123-year history, and have made it to the World Series only six times. They’ve gone 3-3 in the Fall Classic, so they at least have three championships to fall back on. But recent history has not been kind to the Sox, as they haven’t even made it past the ALDS since they won the World Series in 2005.
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Tampa Bay Rays, 28
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The Rays are the first team on this list that has yet to win their first World Series, though they certainly are hoping to change that in the next few weeks. After failing to reach the postseason in each of its first 10 seasons after joining the American League as an expansion team in 1998, Tampa Bay has somewhat quietly emerged as one of the few consistently competitive organizations in baseball. The Rays are currently closing in on their fifth consecutive October appearance, which would be the franchise’s ninth overall. They captured the AL pennant in both 2008 and 2020 but fell to the Phillies and Dodgers in the World Series in those years. Tampa Bay currently sits in the top wild-card spot in the American League and will host the three-game wild-card round if they don’t catch Baltimore in the AL East.
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Los Angeles Angels, 27
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It’s simply stunning that a team that’s had both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani for the past five years has not made a single playoff appearance, but that’s the reality for the Los Angeles Angels. This franchise has felt like the little brother in southern California essentially since its inception in 1961, and while the Angels have enjoyed spurts of success, they’ve been few and far between. The Halos have reached the postseason only 10 times and won just one American League pennant. Fortunately for them, they took advantage of their lone appearance in the Fall Classic, defeating the Giants in a seven-game thriller in 2002.
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Miami Marlins, 24
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The Marlins have had quite an interesting run since joining the National League as an expansion team in 1993. In their 31 years of existence, Miami has generally been a punching bag for the rest of the NL East — save for a couple of unlikely runs to remember. Miami has qualified for the postseason only three times in its existence. In two of those seasons — 1997 and 2003 — they went on to win the World Series after entering the playoffs as a wild-card. Their other October appearance came in 2020 during the COVID-shortened campaign that included expanded playoffs to try to recoup some of the league’s lost revenue. This season’s version of the Marlins are trying to author a new chapter in the franchise’s history, as they’re entering the final three weeks of the regular season in a heated race for the final NL wild-card spot.
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Washington Nationals, 24
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The Montreal Expos joined the National League as an expansion team in 1969, and in their 36 seasons in Canada only reached the postseason one single time in 1981. There is, of course, a major disclaimer in here, as in 1994 the Expos were easily the best team in the NL and had a 74-40 record when the season was cut short and ended early because of the strike. The Expos moved to D.C. and became the Washington Nationals in 2005, and since then, the franchise’s fortunes have improved quite a bit. The Nationals have reached the playoffs five times, and won the organization’s first-ever World Series title in 2019.
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Milwaukee Brewers, 21
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The Milwaukee Brewers have been a consistent October participant in recent seasons, but that has not always been the case. Prior to their four straight playoff appearances from ’18-’21, this organization had only qualified for the postseason four times in its previous 49 years. The Brewers have never won a World Series championship, and in fact, have only reached the Fall Classic once, in 1982, when they fell to the Cardinals in a seven-game heartbreaker. This year’s Milwaukee team has serious aspirations of rewriting the club’s history. The Brew Crew have led the NL Central for most of 2023 and are closing in on their third division title in the last six years. Armed with a battle-tested roster, they believe they can seriously increase the franchise’s all-time postseason win total, which currently sits at 21.
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Texas Rangers, 21
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The Texas Rangers have always been looked at as the second professional team in their own city, as they’ll never be able to compete with the Dallas Cowboys’ popularity in the Metroplex. But winning can change a lot of things, and unfortunately the Rangers just haven’t done enough of that. Texas has qualified for the postseason only eight times in its history, and has never won the World Series. They did win back-to-back American League pennants in 2010 and 2011, but were defeated in the Fall Classic by the Giants and Cardinals, respectively. This year’s Texas team is its best in a long time, and it led the AL West for most of the summer. The last few weeks have not been as kind to them, however, and they’ll need a strong finish to guarantee their October entry and give themselves a chance to add to the 21 playoff wins already on their ledger.
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San Diego Padres, 20
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The Padres have only notched 20 postseason victories during their 55-year history, and they entered 2023 confident that number would be going up this fall. Welp. San Diego has been arguably baseball’s most disappointing team this year, and they’ll head into the offseason needing to rethink the plan going forward. Historically, this franchise has only been an October participant on seven occasions, and they’ve reached the World Series only twice — in 1984 and 1998. They’re one of six franchises that have never won a championship, and while many experts predicted that would change in 2023, the wait will have to continue.
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Arizona Diamondbacks, 18
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The Diamondbacks joined the league alongside the Rays in 1998, and while Tampa Bay has enjoyed more consistent success — especially lately — Arizona is the proud owner of a World Series title that to date has eluded the Rays. During their 26-year history, the Diamondbacks have made the playoffs in the National League only six times, and have reached the Fall Classic only once. That came in 2001, when led by veteran pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling they were able to defeat the vaunted Yankees in a seven-game World Series for the ages. Lately, Arizona has not made the playoffs since 2017. They are, however, currently right in the thick of the National League wild-card race, and with a strong finish over the next few weeks could potentially squeeze into October.
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Seattle Mariners, 17
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Prior to last season, the Seattle Mariners had endured the longest active playoff drought in American sports, going more than two decades without appearing on the October stage. They were able to end that in 2022 with a 90-win campaign that saw them advance in the Wild Card round before falling to the eventual World Series-champion Astros in the ALDS. The 2023 season started slow for Seattle, but this team has been on fire in the second half. The Mariners have come from the depths in the American League standings to pull themselves into a heated three-team race for the AL West crown. They ‘re also firmly in the mix for a wild-card position, and are now incredibly hopeful they can notch this organization’s sixth postseason berth. Seattle has never reached the World Series in their 47-year history, but who knows, maybe it can shift that narrative as the season comes to a close.
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Colorado Rockies, 10
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Bringing up the rear on the postseason victory list is the Colorado Rockies, who’ve only claimed only 10 playoff wins since joining the league as an expansion team in 1993. Colorado has had its share of star offensive players, but attracting pitching to Denver has always been an issue. To date, the Rockies have made the playoffs only five times. They won the National League pennant in 2007 but were swept by the Red Sox in the World Series, and haven’t come close to returning. This season, Colorado owns the worst record in the NL.