With a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox captured their 9th World Series championship in franchise history.

The Red Sox posted the best regular season record in the MLB, winning 108 games, and went on to go 11-3 in the postseason. Along the way, Boston vanquished the New York Yankees in the ALDS, the Houston Astros in the ALCS, and the LA Dodgers in the World Series. While Boston has won many titles in recent years, this one may be the most important. Why? Because this World Series championship establishes the 2018 Boston Red Sox as the greatest team in MLB history.

I realize this is a very bold claim, but the guy who declared the Red Sox World Series champs after game 4 of the ALCS is not afraid of bold claims. Throughout the years there have been many great teams; however, there have been only 4 teams in MLB history who have had a better regular season record than the 2018 Boston Red Sox and have gone on to win the World Series: the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1927 New York Yankees, the 1961 New York Yankees, and the 1998 New York Yankees.

First off, the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates went 114-48 for a win percentage of (.763). This is even crazier considering they only played 152 games. Nonetheless, this was back when there were only 16 teams in the majors and the Color Line policy was still in effect. This is also true for the 1927 New York Yankees who went 110-44 in 154 games. Moreover, there were no playoffs back then, so both the Pirates and Yankees went straight into the World Series. Now, call me crazy, but I don’t think teams that win in a 16-team league, with no playoffs, and with no black people allowed to play, really deserve the honor of “greatest team of all time.” While the Color Line policy was no longer in effect, the 1961 Yankees did not have to go through the playoffs and went directly into the World Series. I believe this also knocks them out of contention considering they only had 1 more regular season win than the 2018 Red Sox.

It should be noted that the 1975 Cincinnati Reds also went 108-54. However, in 1975 there was only a 2-round playoff system. The Reds swept a 92-69 Pirates team in the NLCS and beat the 95-65 Red Sox in 7 games. All things considered, this is not enough to give them the edge over the 2018 Boston Red Sox. The same can be said for the 1970 Baltimore Orioles and 1986 New York Mets who both also went 108-54, but only had to go through a 2-round playoff system. While these teams are all-time greats, they do not stack up against this 2018 Sox team.

That leaves us with the 1998 New York Yankees. Before I begin, allow me to say that this team was outrageously good. The ’98 Yankees went 114-48 in the regular season and 11-2 in the playoffs, including a sweep in the World Series. It is indisputable that this team has a better regular season and playoff record than the 2018 Red Sox; however, it is the quality of opposition that elevates Boston to the all-time best status.

The 1998 Yankees won the AL East quite easily. The runner-up (Boston Red Sox) went 92-70. In the playoffs, the Yankees swept the 88-74 Texas Rangers, beat the 89-73 Cleveland Indians in 6 games, and swept the 98-64 San Diego Padres. In comparison, the 2018 Boston Red Sox had a much tougher road to the championship. The AL East runner-up was the 100-62 New York Yankees. The Sox defeated their arch rival in the ALDS in 4 games. They then went on to dismantle the 103-59 defending World Series champions, the Houston Astros, in 5 games. In the World Series, the Red Sox beat the 92-71 Los Angeles Dodgers who were the 2017 runners-ups.

The 2018 Boston Red Sox went 11-3 in the postseason against teams with a combined regular season record of 295-192 (.605). One of those postseason losses came in the 18th inning of game 3 of the World Series, on the road, in the longest game played in postseason history. The 1998 New York Yankees went 11-2 in the postseason against teams with a combined regular season record of 275-211 (.566). On top of that, the 2018 American League was much better than it was in 1998, plus the Red Sox knocked off the defending champs.

The jewels in the crown of the 2018 Boston Red Sox consists of beating the defending champions, wins over the best pitchers of this generation in Verlander and Kershaw, 2 series wins against 100+ win teams including their arch rival, and breaking the David Price playoff curse. This team also scored 18 of their 28 (64%) runs with 2-outs in the World Series. Despite being down 4-0 late in game 4 (when the series was 2-1), the Red Sox fought their way back into the game, like they’ve done all year, and won 9-6. That is the definition of clutch.

All things considered, this is the most impressive team Major League Baseball has ever seen. While the 1998 New York Yankees undeniably have the better regular season and postseason record, the 2018 Boston Red Sox had a much tougher path to glory. Because of this, what the Red Sox managed to do in 2018 is more impressive than what the New York Yankees did in 1998. When you factor-in the level of difficulty, and balance their respective resumes, Boston comes out on top. That is why the 2018 Boston Red Sox are the greatest team in MLB history.

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