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Standout One-Hit Wonder Teams


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We've seen plenty of teams that had one very surprising standout season, but couldn't follow it up before or after.

They were here today and gone today/tomorrow, but you don't forget them or that one season.

What are some examples of this you remember?

For me:

NFL- 1998 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 Chicago Bears, 1989 Green Bay Packers

NHL- 1993 Quebec Nordiques, 2006 Carolina Hurricanes, 2002 Chicago Blackhawks

NBA- Cheating here a little bit since they made the playoffs around this time and rarely do teams miss the playoffs around a run, but in terms of making 1 run with their teams of that era- 2001 Milwaukee Bucks/2002 Boston Celtics/2004 Minnesota Timberwolves/2009 Denver Nuggets

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2005-06 Los Angeles Clippers

That season was, at the time, the best one since the franchise moved to California in 1978. There were a Raja Bell-missed 3-pointer away from finishing-off the Suns in six games, and advancing to the Conference Finals (and probably beat Dallas), but who knows what could happened after that. The following season, they missed the playoffs by one game by choking away a home game against New Orleans on the final night of the season that would have gave them the eighth seed--Golden State got in instead (by beating the Blazers in Portland that same night). Things went back downhill ever since up until Griffin and Paul teamed up.

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2005 White Sox. Mediocre in 2003, mediocre in 2004, strong but missed the playoffs in 2006, awful in 2007, won the division in Game 163 in 2008, bad in 2009, but then couldn't do anything wrong in 2005. And when you look at that lineup, it's just guys like Scott Podsednik, Joe Crede, Juan Uribe, Aaron Rowand, Tadahito Iguchi, no real star to be found (Frank Thomas was hurt most of the year and missed the postseason; Jurassic Carl actually did most of the DHing), and no, A.J. Pierzynski and Jermaine Dye do not constitute stars. They got deal-with-the-devil pitching out of Jose Contreras, El Duque, and Jon Garland, to say nothing of Dustin Hermanson, Neal Cotts, and whoever else was spotless in relief. What the hell. I hate that team so much.

EDIT: your post showed up right after I posted!

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1986 Houston Rockets. They go to the NBA Finals and they take the Celtics to six games. After that season, Ralph Sampson got injured, a bunch of players got addicted to cocaine, and Olajuwon had to wait nearly a decade to get a championship.

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The 2002 Bucs are not an example of a one-hit wonder. They had made the playoffs every year except one between 1997-2002, and had appeared in a previous NFC-CG in '99 (which, well...). By the same token, the Raiders were in the AFC-CG in 2000 and should've returned in 2001 except for, well, Tuck Rule and everything, so those don't work at all, IMO.

One great example of a one-hit wonder would have to be the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies and relief pitcher extraordinaire Jim Konstanty. Philadelphia won 91 games and the pennant. They won 81 games in 1949 and 73 in 1951, and wouldn't be a playoff team again until the '70s, after not being in a World Series since 1915. Underrated team in "one-hit wonder" circles.

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The 2010-11 Tampa Bay Lightning, especially if they had reached the Cup Final, would be a fantastic example. They had an 89-157 pure W-L record between 2007-08 and 2009-10, and went 56-74 in 2011-12 and 2013. Yet there they were, taking the eventual champions to seven games and playing them to a 22-22 goal line in that series. That was a fun season.

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1984 Detroit Tigers. Their last playoff appearance before 1984 was 1972. Went 35-5 to start the 1984 season. If memory serves, they won 104 games. Willie Hernandez won the AL Cy Young and MVP awards. And they beat the Padres in five games to win the World Series. They were really something.

They made the playoffs again in 1987 (on a hellacious run by Doyle Alexander who they traded John Smoltz to get) before going into a playoff drought that lasted until 2006.

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The Astros weren't a one hit wonder. That team was building to that moment for a while. They worked for years to get over the hump and then they had such a dud of a World Series.

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