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Are the Giants a modern-day baseball dynasty?

It's difficult to reach the World Series, let alone do it in three out of five seasons like the Giants have. How does their five-year streak stack up in baseball history?

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Imagine if they win the World Series ...
Imagine if they win the World Series ...
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the term "dynasty" is used, certain teams come immediately to mind -- the Yankees, the 1970s Steelers, the Bulls during the Michael Jordan era. All shared a very common thread, the ability to not just reach the finals in their respective sports but to win, and to do so in consecutive years. As leagues grew in size and free agency made it more difficult to keep teams together, it's not as easy.

As long as sports exist, there will be people who use the word dynasty whenever a team makes the playoffs two years in a row. Having written that, by reaching the World Series for the third time in five years, the Giants have entered into the discussion. It's a curious team to add into the mix -- consider their past five "dynastic" years:

Year W L PO
2010 92 70 Won World Series
2011 86 76
2012 94 68 Won World Series
2013 76 86
2014 88 74 In World Series

Not exactly the Murderer's Row Yankees teams, but they did it in a period far different than teams even 40 years ago had to face.

There are ways to determine dynasties, and Bill James developed one in the New Historical Baseball Abstract (pp229-232). These are his criteria:

Finishing over .500 1 pt
Winning 90 games 2 pt
Winning 100 games 3 pt
Winning division 4 pt
Winning pennant 5 pt
Winning World Series 6 pt*

*To receive 6 points a team needs to win the Series and win 100+ games, otherwise they receive five points

I made some slight modifications. For example, I changed 90 and 100 wins to win percent, since it's easier to win 90 games in a 162-game season as opposed to a 154-game one, which also smooths out strike years. I also made the Wild Card equivalent to winning the division, a minor difference for the three years it's been in existence. If we're looking at 5-year time spans, obviously the maximum points that can be earned is 30. This table shows the most dominant teams:

Team Years Pts
Yankees 1949-1953 29
Yankees 1947-1951 26
Yankees 1937-1941 26
Yankees 1936-1940 26
Yankees 1935-1939 26
Cardinals 1942-1946 25
Athletics 1910-1914 25
Cubs 1906-1910 25
Braves 1995-1999 24
Reds 1972-1976 23
Yankees 1960-1964 23
Dodgers 1952-1956 23
Yankees 1950-1954 23
Athletics 1909-1913 23

The 1949-1953 Yankees won the World Series every year and missed the .617 win percentage by one win in 1952. Using James' formula they earned 25 points, since they never won 100+ games in that span --  mine gives them 29.

Using the James criteria the Giants from 2010-2014 earned . . . 16 points, regardless of whether they win this year's Series. With more playoff slots, the strict wins-to-postseason relationship isn't as linear, since all teams need to do is win around 88 games and they'll make the Wild Card. So I made two adjustments -- I only went back to 1969 to reflect the expansion of the playoffs and awarded points solely on the basis on how far in the playoffs a team advanced:

Losing Wild Card 2 pts
Losing Division Series 3 pts
Losing League Championship Series 4 pts
Winning pennant 5 pts
Winning World Series 6 pts

"Just win, baby" -- in baseball it's as true as anything. Who remembers who won the most games in the regular season? Conversely, who remembers how many games the World Series winner won in the regular season? The 2006 Cardinals won 83 games and still have a World Series trophy in their possession.

These are the new "dynasties":

Team Years Pts
Yankees 1996-2000 27
Yankees 1998-2002 26
Yankees 1997-2001 26
Athletics 1971-1975 26
Yankees 1999-2003 25
Braves 1995-1999 24
Yankees 1995-1999 24
Yankees 2000-2004 23
Athletics 1972-1976 22
Athletics 1970-1974 22
Braves 1996-2000 21
Reds 1972-1976 21
Yankees 1977-1981 21
Yankees 1976-1980 21
Phillies 2007-2011 21
Braves 1997-2001 20
Braves 1992-1996 20
Braves 1991-1995 20
Orioles 1969-1973 20
Indians 1995-1999 20
Yankees 2001-2005 20
Athletics 1988-1992 20
Blue Jays 1989-1993 20

Still no Giants, since even if they win this year's Series they'll still only have 18 points. In addition, as the other teams are reviewed, it's easy to identify the Hall of Fame-caliber players, plus there was an element of stability in their lineups. The Giants have nine players still left from 2010, of which only three (Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval) are making regular contributions. There are very good players on the Giants roster, but Hall of Fame -- it's a little early to be making the case for anyone.

I'll make more data available in this Google Docs spreadsheet, which shows the best and worst five-years stretches for every team and much, much more. Dig into it and see how your favorite teams have performed over time -- not every team can be the Yankees. Are the Giants an even-year phenomenon? Check. Dynasty? I'll do my best to defend the language and say, not so fast.

All data from Baseball-Reference. Any mistakes in compiling or amalgamating the data are the author's.

Scott Lindholm lives in Davenport, IA. Follow him on Twitter @ScottLindholm.