Rays Are Biggest Payroll Underdogs in World Series History

Tracy Ringolsby

Talk about David vs. Goliath. . . Well, then talk about the Rays vs. the Dodgers in the World Series.

The Rays ranked 28th in MLB in terms of payroll during the 2020 season. There has never been a team that ranked lower that has advanced to the World Series. What's more, the Dodgers rank No. 2.

Only twice has a team that finished 12 slots or more below its World Series opponent in terms of payroll than managed to win a World Series -- the 2003 Marlins, who ranked 25th in payroll, against the No. 1 ranked Yankees, and the 2017 Astros, who ranked 18th, knocking off the No. 1 ranked Dodgers.

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Since the wild-card was added in 1995 there have been only six world champions who had a payroll smaller than the opponent, but only two of them had a differential of more than 12 spots in the salary standings -- those 2003 Marlins and the 2017 Astros, who had the 18th highest payroll, and knocked off the No. 1 Dodgers.

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It is worth nothing that since 1995 only eight times has a team with the highest payroll in baseball advanced to the World Series -- and that team was the Yankees six times. Those eight teams have lost the World Series three times -- the Dodgers to the Astros in 2017, Yankees to the Marlins in 2003, and Yankees to the Diamondbacks in 2001.

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