Top 100 Minor League Baseball Teams

by Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright
complete story

Old Field 

As part of the100th anniversary celebration in 2001, Minor League Baseball presented an exciting series of stories for fans. Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright, two veteran chroniclers of our great game, researched and rated the best Minor League teams of the century. The stories they produced and the rankings from No. 100 counting down to what they consider the best Minor League Baseball team of all time.

#1 - 1934 LOS ANGELES ANGELS (137-50)

#2 - 1921 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (119-47)

#3 - 1937 NEWARK BEARS (109-43)

#4 - 1924 FT. WORTH PANTHERS (109-41)

#5 - 1924 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (117-48)

#6 - 1920 ST. PAUL SAINTS (115-49)

#7 - 1903 JERSEY CITY SKEETERS (92-33)

#8 - 1937 SALISBURY INDIANS (80-16)

#9 - 1920 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (110-43)

#10 - 1925 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS (128-71)

#11 - 1981 ALBUQUERQUE DUKES (94-38)

#12 - 1939 KANSAS CITY BLUES (107-47)

#13 - 1943 LOS ANGELES ANGELS (110-45)

#14 - 1920 FT. WORTH PANTHERS (108-40)

#15 - 1922 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (115-52)

#16 - 1938 NEWARK BEARS (104-48)

#17 - 1922 FT. WORTH PANTHERS 109-46)

#18 - 1923 KANSAS CITY BLUES (112-54)

#19 - 1923 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (111-53)

#20 - 1922 ENID HARVESTERS (104-27)

#21 - 1920 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (108-46)

#22 - 1911 DENVER GRIZZLIES (111-54)

#23 - 1992 GREENVILLE BRAVES (100-43)

#24 - 1927 BUFFALO BISONS (112-56)

#25 - 1954 WACO PIRATES (105-42)

#26 - 1931 HARTFORD SENATORS (97-40)

#27 - 1902 INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS (96-45)

#28 - 1929 KANSAS CITY BLUES (111-56)

#29 - 1903 LOS ANGELES ANGELS (133-78)

#30 - 1955 KEOKUK KERNELS (92-34)

#31 - 1906 PORTLAND BEAVERS (115-60)

#32 - 1921 MEMPHIS CHICKS (104-49)

#33 - 1925 FT. WORTH PANTHERS (103-48)

#34 - 1952 NORFOLK TARS (96-36)

#35 - 1919 BALTIMORE ORIOLES (100-49)

#36 - 1951 CHARLOTTE HORNETS (100-44)

#37 - 1980 DENVER BEARS (92-44)

#38 - 1970 HAWAII ISLANDERS (98-38)

#39 - 1926 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (109-57)

#40 - 1952 MIAMI SUN SOX (104-48)

#41 - 1907 WICHITA JOBBERS (98-35)

#42 - 1931 HOUSTON BUFFALOES (108-51)

#43 - 1933 COLUMBUS REDBIRDS (101-51)

#44 - 1922 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS (127-72)

#45 - 1918 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (88-39)

#46 - 1921 FT. WORTH PANTHERS (107-51)

#47 - 1940 NASHVILLE VOLS (101-47)

#48 - 1924 MEMPHIS CHICKS (104-49)

#49 - 1924 OKMULGEE DRILLERS (110-48)

#50 - 1928 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS (120-71)

#51 - 1902 CORSICANA OIL CITYS (87-23)

#52 - 1920 LONDON TECUMSEHS (86-32)

#53 - 1932 NEWARK BEARS (109-59)

#54 - 1952 MILWAUKEE BREWERS (101-53)

#55 - 1961 RENO SILVER SOX (97-43)

#56 - 1931 CHARLOTTE HORNETS (100-37)

#57 - 1916 NEW LONDON PLANTERS (86-34)

#58 - 1933 DAVENPORT BLUE SOX (82-32)

#59 - 1905 COLUMBUS SENATORS (100-52)

#60 - 1975 WATERLOO ROYALS (93-35)

#61 - 1950 WINSTON-SALEM CARDS (106 -47)

#62 - 1983 READING PHILLIES (96 -44)

#63 - 1906 DES MOINES CHAMPIONS (97 -50)

#64 - 1949 STROUDSBURG POCONOS (101 - 36)

#65 - 1941 HOUSTON BUFFALOES (103 - 50)

#66 - 1910 JOPLIN MINERS (90 - 34)

#67 - 1949 PENSACOLA FLIERS (98 - 42)

#68 - 1939 SANFORD LOOKOUTS (98 - 35)

# 69 - 1980 NASHVILLE SOUNDS (97-46)

# 70 - 1978 VISALIA OAKS (97-42)

# 71 - 1909 SAN FRANCISCO SEALS (132-80)

# 72 - 1992 COLUMBUS CLIPPERS (95-49)

# 73 - 1993 HARRISBURG SENATORS (94-44)

# 74 - 1980 PENINSULA PILOTS (100-40)

# 75 - 1979 SALTILLO SARAPEROS (95-40)

# 76 - 1902 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (85-42)

# 77 - 1921 INDEPENDENCE PRODUCERS (103-38)

# 78 - 1966 SPARTANBURG PHILLIES (91-35)

# 79 - 1955 FRESNO CARDINALS (104-43)

# 80 - 1910 SIOUX CITY PACKERS (108-60)

# 81 - 1951 HAZARD BOMBERS (93-33)

# 82 - 1941 WILSON TOBS (87-30)

# 83 - 1932 TULSA OILERS (98-48)

# 84 - 1946 MONTREAL ROYALS (100-54)

# 85 - 1941 INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS (100-54)

# 86 - 1941 NEWARK BEARS (100-54)

# 87 - 1960 TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (100-54)

# 88 - 1922 ST. PAUL SAINTS (107-60)

# 89 - 1990 WEST PALM BEACH EXPOS (92-40)

# 90 - 1946 SCRANTON RED SOX (90-43)

# 91 - 1923 ST. PAUL SAINTS (111 57)

#92 - 1947 HAVANA CUBANS (105 - 45)

# 93 - 1978 APPLETON FOXES (97 40)

#94 - 1946 ABILENE BLUE SOX (97-40)

#95 - 1986 PUEBLA ANGELES (88-41)

#96 - 1950 QUEBEC BRAVES (97-40)

#97 - 1947 LUBBOCK HUBBERS (99-41)

#98 - 1947 STOCKTON PORTS (95 45)

#99 - 1944 HARTFORD LAURELS (99-38)

#100 - 1944 MILWAUKEE BREWERS (10251)

Historians Weiss, Wright Rank 100 Best Minor League Baseball Teams

As part of the 100th anniversary celebration, Minor League Baseball presented an exciting series of stories for fans. Bill Weiss and Marshall Wright, two veteran chroniclers of our great game, researched and rated the best Minor League teams of the century.

The top 100 teams project was born in the back of a moving van in 1998, when one of the authors, Wright, suggested the idea to Howe Sportsdata president, Jay Virshbo, when both were helping a colleague move. Encouraged by Virshbo, help was enlisted from a long-time baseball historian, Bill Weiss, who agreed to co-author the project.

The first step was the difficult task of actually selecting the 100 best Minor League teams of the 20th century. To serve as a guideline for the daunting chore, a formula was used to evaluate the teams. First, ratings were given to each league, a task made more difficult by the variety of classifications used by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (Minor League Baseball) over the past 100 years.

After all the leagues had been given one of five ratings, 100 points for AAA or its earlier equivalent down to 20 points for Class D, attention was given to the individual teams. The two measuring sticks used were: (1) winning percentage, which told how a particular team dominated its league, and (2) amount of wins, which told how a team did over the long run. Literally adding the three ratings: (1) league strength, (2) team winning percentage; and (3) team wins, a static list of the best teams was compiled.

After the tangible evidence was examined, intangibles were taken into consideration in finalizing the top 100. War-time teams were downgraded because they played in watered down circuits. Half of the second-place clubs were dropped altogether, while the remaining runner-up teams were pushed down simply because they didn't win the flag. Conversely, some teams were pushed up because of a significant achievement, large margin of victory or by reputation.

When completed, the top 100 list represented teams from coast to coast as well as Canada and Mexico. Cities and towns from all sizes fielded top ranked teams, some locales more than once. Every decade in the 20th century is represented in the list. All in all, the list of the top 100 Minor League clubs of the 20th century has something for everyone.

Bill Weiss is a native of Chicago. He entered professional baseball in Abilene, TX, in 1948 as official statistician for the Class D Longhorn League and box office manager for the Abilene Blue Sox of the West Texas - New Mexico League. He Moved to San Francisco in 1949 as statistician for the California and Far West Leagues. He has been associated with the California League ever since, currently as league secretary, writer, in season, of the weekly California League Newsletter and editor of the league record book. After moving to nearby San Mateo, he became statistician for the Pacific Coast League in 1950. In ensuing years, became statistician for many other leagues. He prepared "sketch books" (player biographies and career records) for several leagues and major league organizations for many years. He was president of the Peninsula Winter League (San Francisco Bay Area) during its existence, 1959-84, a league which was sponsored by some major league clubs and aided young players in the early years of their careers, including Hall-of-Famers Willie Stargell and Joe Morgan.

In December 1988, he sold the business to, and became executive vice president of, Howe Sportsdata. Bill wrote a "Baseball Anecdotes" column for Baseball America for nine years. In addition to the California League, at present he is a historical consultant for SportsTicker; official historian of the Pacific Coast League; and editor of Northwest and Pioneer League record books. A member of the Society of American Baseball Research since 1971, he lives in San Mateo, CA, with his wife of 46 years, Faye, who has always assisted in his work.

Also a native of Chicago, but raised in California, Marshall Wright has been an employee of Howe Sportsdata (now SportsTicker), the official statisticians of the Minor Leagues, since 1994. He has written several books on baseball history including: 19th Century Baseball (McFarland, 1996), The American Association (McFarland, 1997), The International League (McFarland, 1998) and The National Association (McFarland, 2000). He won The Sporting News - SABR Baseball Research Award in 1998 for the International League book. A graduate of the Bill Kinnamon Umpire School (1980) and a member of the Society of American Baseball Research since 1987, he lives in Quincy, MA with his wife, Jane, and son, Denny.

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