A huge part of baseball is its underdog stories, when teams manage to defy the odds to reach heights that weren’t thought possible from them before the start of the season. These three sides, in particular, managed to do that by winning the World Series despite having the longest pre-season odds of any teams to win the Fall Classic since those odds were tracked.
1991 Minnesota Twins
Minnesota wasn’t thought to be much of a threat heading into the 1991 season, with the team landing at +8000 odds to win the title heading into the year. But they managed to not just win the World Series, but win the World Series with some of the more memorable moments in the history of the event. Those moments were thanks in large part to Kirby Puckett, but the team as a whole managed to pull together to win in seven games over the Atlanta Braves.
Perhaps more impressive than overcoming those long odds was the fact that the Twins had to overcome such a talented pitching staff in Atlanta to get the job done. The Braves had Hall of Famers in Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, both of whom were dominant throughout the 1990s. But it was Jack Morris who was the star on the mound in this series, going 2-0 for the Twins, including pitching a shutout in game seven.
2003 Florida Marlins
The 2003 Marlins were an interesting team, as they combined young pitching talent like Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis with veteran players such as Pudge Rodriguez. They came into the 2003 season with +7500 odds to win the World Series, and remained underdogs when they took on the mighty New York Yankees in the championship round. But they managed to keep their cool and defeat the Yankees for their second title in franchise history.
And while the Marlins making that championship run was impressive given their long odds to win the title, they would need an even more impressive run to get the job done now. MLB odds on bet365 to win the World Series currently have the Marlins at +75000 to win the title, the longest odds of any team in the league this year. Ironically, the team is currently owned by a group headlined by Derek Jeter, who played on the Yankees team that the Marlins beat in 2003.
2002 Anaheim Angels
In 2002, the Anaheim Angels were given +4000 odds to win the 2002 World Series heading into the year, and they cashed in for those who backed them. To do so, they had to beat the San Francisco Giants, who were led by one of the greatest hitters of all-time in Barry Bonds. Bonds had his share of moments in that World Series, but it was the Angels who got the last laugh.
With all-time greats like Troy Percival in the back end of the bullpen, the Angels were able to shorten games all the way to the championship. And with Mike Trout signed to a long-term deal, there is no reason to believe they won’t get back there again eventually.