2001 Seattle Mariners
Record: 116-46, .716; lost ALCS
Having shed superstars Randy Johnson (a mid-1998 trade to Houston), Ken Griffey Jr. (traded to the Reds after the 1999 season) and Alex Rodriguez (lost to free agency after the 2000 campaign) in successive years, the Mariners didn’t figure to be world-beaters in 2001. But thanks to holdover designated hitter Edgar Martinez and Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki, the latter of whom won both the league's MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, they set an American League record for wins.
Seattle reeled off a 15-game winning streak in May and June but still trailed the pace of the 1998 Yankees in the race for an AL wins record entering the final two weeks of play. But by winning 10 of 11, they not only passed New York, they tied the Cubs' all-time mark of 116 wins with one game to go. With a chance at setting a new record in Game 162 on Oct. 7, they hosted the last-place Rangers in Seattle and were tied 3-3 in the ninth inning before Texas pushed across a run with a two-out rally for a 4-3 victory.
That wasn't the last disappointment for the Mariners that month. After beating Cleveland in the Division Series, they dropped a six-game ALCS to the Yankees. Seattle hasn't been back to the postseason since.