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With the release of Moneyball over the weekend, talk of baseball’s financial system are sure to pop back up. Many will make the argument that without a salary cap, baseball cannot have a competitive balance. However, history seems to prove this theory wrong. We’ll take a look year-by-year and overall for the last ten seasons.


Let’s start by a year-by-year analysis for the last ten seasons.

2002: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, Angels, Braves, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Giants.

2003: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, Red Sox, Braves, Cubs, Giants, Marlins.

Three new teams

2004: Yankees, Twins, Angels, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Astros.

Four new teams

2005: Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Padres, Astros.

Two new teams

2006: Yankees, Twins, Athletics, Tigers, Mets, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers.

Five new teams

2007: Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rockies.

Seven new teams

2008: Rays, White Sox, Angels, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, Brewers.

Four new teams

2009: Yankees, Twins, Angels, Red Sox, Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, Rockies.

Four new teams

2010: Yankees, Twins, Rangers, Rays, Phillies, Braves, Reds, Giants.

Five new teams

2011 (Currently): Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Phillies, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Braves.

Four new teams

The average number of new teams in the postseason year to year is 4.22. Round that down to four and 50% of play-off teams change each year.


Over the last ten seasons, 24 different teams have made the postseason. With 30 teams, this means only six did not make the play-offs in the last ten years.

The Royals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners, and Nationals/Expos are the only teams not to make the play-offs in that time. And even the Mariners made the postseason in 2001.

The Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies have made the most postseasons in the last ten years, but if we are talking parity, the fact that 24 teams have made the play-offs is the bottom line.

I do not dispute the financial inequities in baseball, but baseball’s competitive balance is no different than other sports leagues. With a good general manager and manager, teams can compete regardless of payroll. These teams may not make multiple postseasons, but they continue to make it interesting. In another five years, we may see teams like the Pirates, Nationals, and Royals making the play-offs.

Parity is alive and well in baseball.