In 1943, in the midst of World War II, the Yankees won their 10th championship after going 98-56 in the regular season, but that year is rarely mentioned among the franchise’s many championships, because so many players had enlisted in military services.
About one-third of the 1981 season was lost because of a work stoppage, and while that year’s Dodgers team had rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela and won a tough series against the Montreal Expos with one big swing from Rick Monday, no one would ever include that team in the conversation as an all-time great. The context was just too different, as it is in 2020, when the champion will have played no more than 82 games, when a lot of players have chosen not to participate — and the hard truth is there may be more erosion on the way — and when some teams just look flat.
But there players and teams — the Cubs and Yankees and Indians and Rays and Dodgers, among many others — who are taking this season very seriously, and the championship will mean something.
Here are 10 teams that could alter their legacy with success in 2020.