Despite their failure to capture the World Series this year, there is a question we need to discuss: are the St. Louis Cardinals the best in the 21st Century? I would certainly say they are.
Let’s just look at their success – since 2000, they have won two World Series (2006, 2011), four National League (N.L.) Pennants (2004, 2006, 2011, 2013), won the Central Division Title eight times (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2013) and have won the wild card three times (2001, 2011, 2012.) In 2001, the Cardinals were tied with the Houstan Astros for first place in the N.L. Central Division. Major League Baseball (M.L.B.) awarded both teams the division title, but as the Astros beat the Cardinals in their season series, the Cardinals were award the wild card spot. That means over the span 14 seasons, the Cardinals have only missed the playoffs four times.
Since 2000, the Cardinals have also appeared in eight National League Championship Series (N.L.C.S.) Over that span the Cardinals have gone 1,274-994 for a 0.562 winning percentage and are 60-52 in the postseason over that span for a 0.536 postseason winning percentage.
In contrast, the World Series Champions – the Boston Red Sox – have won three American League Pennants (2004, 2007, 2013), three World Series (2004, 2007, 2013), two American League (A.L.) East Division Titles (2007, 2013), and five wild card berths (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009.) During this century, the Red Sox have gone 1,265-1,003 (0.558) and are 45-28 (0.616) in the postseason. However, they have missed the playoffs in seven out of 14 years, and have failed to get out of the American League Division Series (A.L.D.S.) twice, with another two losses in the American League Championship Series (A.L.C.S.)
And the most storied team in baseball, the New York Yankees have, since 2000, gone 1,338-930 in the regular season (for a 0.590 winning percentage.) The Yankees have won two World Series (2000, 2009), four A.L. Pennants (2000, 2001, 2003, 2009), 1o A.L. East Division Titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012), and two wild card berths (2007, 2010.) The Yankees over this time span are 65-51 in the postseason, or a 0.560 winning percentage. In 2000, the Yankees completed a dynasty, having won their third straight World Series. 2001 would mark their fourth consecutive A.L. Pennant. Since 2001, they have only managed two appearances in the World Series, and did not qualify for the playoffs in 2008 and 2013. Plus, the Yankees failed to make it past the American League Divisional Series (A.L.D.S.) five times, including three straight years from 2005-2007.
While Red Sox beat Cardinals for the World Series in 2004, and again this year, the Red Sox have not appeared in the postseason since 2009 (three straight seasons), while the Cardinals have appeared in the playoffs in the last three seasons, and in four of the last five seasons.
If we go on statistics, overall records, and postseason performance, the St. Louis Cardinals are currently the best baseball team in the 21st Century.