History Is Not on the Rangers’ Side To Repeat as World Series Champs

In the past World Series champions haven't fared well trying to repeat. Can the Texas Rangers defy history that's not on their side?

The Texas Rangers celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in Game Five to win the World Series at Chase Field.
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 01: The Texas Rangers celebrate after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in Game Five to win the World Series at Chase Field on November 01, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For the first time in franchise history, the 2024 Texas Rangers will set out on a quest to repeat as World Series champions.

For a team that lost 102 games in 2021 and 94 games in 2022, last year’s title season was unexpected. Sure, Chris Young had gone out and signed the likes of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, Jacob deGrom, and Nathan Eovaldi over the past two offseasons, but nobody outside of the Rangers organization gave the team much chance to make the playoffs, let alone win it all.

But that is exactly what the 2023 Rangers did. They ran the table in October and finished it off on November 1st. Last year was about everything coming together at the right moment in time.

So, what are the chances that this 2024 club can repeat as champs?

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There are several historical facts that indicate that it is going to be extremely difficult. First let’s look at the teams that actually have repeated throughout Major League Baseball history.

Teams That Repeated as World Series Champs

Throughout the course of MLB history there have only been 14 teams that have won two or more World Series championships in a row. Of those 14, six of them were New York Yankees teams and seven of those repeat championships happened before World War II.

In the past 45 years, there has only been two such instances. The last one came with the Yankees and their three-peat from 1998-00, with the other one also coming out of the AL East in the form of the 1992-93 Toronto Blue Jays.

The first team to repeat as World Series champs was the Chicago Cubs, way back in 1907-08.

There were only sixteen teams in the major leagues back then (eight in each league), but it was still difficult to repeat as only one team from each league made the playoffs.

Historically there was a greater emphasis on the regular season, with fewer teams that would make the postseason. Taking care of business during the regular season was the key and once a team got into the playoffs, they were either placed directly into the World Series (like the Chicago Cubs previously mentioned), or only had a couple series to navigate instead of the current system that can include up to four different series.

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Joining the Cubs as early repeat champs is the 1910-11 Philadelphia Athletics, 1915-16 Boston Red Sox, 1921-22 New York Giants, 1927-28 New York Yankees, 1929-1930 Philadelphia Athletics, 1936-39 New York Yankees. The longest streak of consecutive World Series titles would come from the New York Yankees from 1949-53.

After coming through the Great Depression and World War II, the Yankees were helping ring in a new era in America with their dominate, winning ways. Five World Series titles in a row doesn’t even seem real and will most assuredly be a streak that remains in the record books for a long time, perhaps forever.

In 1961-62 the Yankees would yet again strike in back-to-back years. Then came the 1972-74 Oakland Athletics. The Athletics organization is the only one other than the Yankees to repeat multiple times (three for the Athletics), and they are also the only team other than the Yankees to win three in a row (the Yankees also had separate four year and five year streaks).

It is sad to see such a historic franchise like the Athletics being constantly moved across the country with yet another move on the horizon.

The Big Red Machine (Cincinnati Reds) would go back-to-back in 1975-76 with the Yankees doing the same thing in 1977-78. As you can see, the majority of the repeat champs have come back in the day. With increased parity across the league, more teams through expansion, more playoff spots and thus more rounds in the playoffs, repeating in the modern era is not impossible, but much more difficult. A team has to grind out the long 162 game regular season and then be hot at the right time (all of October) in order to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Playoffs No Guarantee Year After World Series Title

As we look at history, there is a recent trend that is not in favor of the Rangers.

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Over the past 20 years, the team that won the World Series has not made the postseason the following year half of the time. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of repeating as champs, 10 out of those twenty clubs started their offseason long before they were expecting to do so.

YearWorld Series ChampsMade Playoffs Following Year
2022Houston AstrosYes
2021Atlanta BravesYes
2020Los Angeles DodgersYes
2019Washington NationalsNo
2018Boston Red SoxNo
2017Houston AstrosYes
2016Chicago CubsYes
2015Kansas City Royals No
2014San Francisco GiantsNo
2013Boston Red SoxNo
2012San Francisco GiantsNo
2011St. Louis CardinalsYes
2010San Francisco GiantsNo
2009New York YankeesYes
2008Philadelphia PhilliesYes
2007Boston Red SoxYes
2006St. Louis CardinalsNo
2005Chicago White SoxNo
2004Boston Red SoxYes
2003Florida MarlinsNo

Some of this can be attributed to teams going all in for an elusive title with rental players one year and then not having a great roster the next. Then there are the teams that perhaps played above their heads to actually win the title in the first place.

Complacency, injuries, loss of key players due to free agency, whatever the case might be, it is alarming that so many World Series champions have recently failed to even get to the postseason the year after winning it all.

Bruce Bochy’s Track Record Post World Series Trip

When looking at Bruce Bochy’s record in the years following his four World Series trips, it is somewhat shocking to see that in none of those four years did his teams make the playoffs.

Repeating as champions was not an issue, because his clubs didn’t even get back to the postseason. The first such year was in 1999 with the San Diego Padres. In 1998 Bochy had navigated his team through the National League only to be swept by the juggernaut late ’90s New York Yankees in the Fall Classic.

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The next three times that Bochy’s club made it to the World Series, he was leading the San Francisco Giants. In what was a display of dominance unseen outside of New York for decades, the Giants would take the title three out of five years. With rings coming in 2010, ’12, and ’14, Bochy and the Bay Bombers had quite a little dynasty going.

And yet, as good as the Giants were and as remarkable as their three title runs would be, they too failed to make the postseason in 2011, ’13, and ’15. Talk about feast or famine. There is little doubt that in hindsight, the Giants organization, and fans alike, would take those results again, but at the time there had to have been some head scratching and gnashing of teeth.

If Bochy was a poker player you wouldn’t want to see him at the final table, because he usually finds a way to get to the very end. It just so happens that sometimes Bochy doesn’t find himself and his teams with a chip and a chair.

In 26 years of managing in the big leagues, his clubs have been to the playoffs nine times. Of those nine playoff teams, five have ended up in the World Series, with four being crowned champions. That is impressive and is why he will be in the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.

Will the Texas Rangers Repeat?

As you can see, the historic odds are not in the Rangers favor to repeat as World Series champions in 2024. In fact, it is no given that the team will even make the playoffs this year. It would be foolish to pick the Rangers to repeat, but I also think that it would be silly to think that they won’t find themselves back in the thick of it come October.

This Rangers team and organization is ready to prove that last year was no fluke. There is a solid core group of guys in Arlington that are ready for the task. Will they succeed?

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Perhaps Bochy can work some more of his postseason magic and add the Rangers as the 15th team to the list of repeat champions. If Bochy has a seat at the postseason table, don’t be surprised if he ends up with all of the chips when it’s all said and done. He just has to get to the table first.