1986 and 1987 World Series Champs
It's interesting that the eventual 1986 and 1987 World Series champs are back to back in overall standings in 1981. As I pointed out, two of the starters on the '86 Mets came up in 1980, so they had rookie cards in the 1981 sets. The first of the key players on that '87 Twins team came up in 1981, Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti. Unfortunately since they came up later in 1981, they don't have a card in any set. So the Twins were about a year behind the Mets in building a winner, and maybe that can be shown in when they won their World Series 6 years later.
Maybe this could be an interesting side project for this blog, how long does it take to make a World Series champ. I suspect it is less now than it was in the 1980s, since free agency has more of an impact now.
Here is my stab at figuring this out for 1980s World Series champs:
1980 Phillies - first starter/starting pitcher was on team in 1970 (SS Larry Bowa, LF Greg Luzinski, note that Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Bob Boone came up in 1972)..this was an older team to win a World Series, so it took 10 years to build this team
1981 Dodgers - Steve Garvey and Bill Russell both came up in 1969, the key players on this team were all around 32 years old in 1981, took 12 years to build
1982 Cardinals - Keith Hernandez and Bob Forsch both came up in 1974, this team was built on some good trades, was also younger than the previous two teams, as most key players were in their mid-20s, which may be why this wasn't the last World Series they would appear in in this decade, took 8 years to build
1983 Orioles - I am not counting Jim Palmer who came up in 1965, since he wasn't one of the top 5 starters on this team...the first player who played a significance on this team to come up was Al Bumbry who came up in 1972, so I will say this took 11 years to build
1984 Tigers - Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Lance Parrish, and Jack Morris all came up in 1977. What a rookie crop that was, you can argue all of these players among the best of all time at their position, took 7 years to build.
1985 Royals - In 1973, George Brett came through the farm system and Hal McRae came over in a trade. This team was a good mix of young and older players. It took 12 years to finally get this team together.
1986 Mets - As I stated, 1980 seemed to be the start to putting this team together, although Jesse Orosco played on the 1979 Mets team. So this team took 7 years to get together.
1987 Twins - Hrbek and Gaetti came up in 1981, so this team took 6 years to put together, the quickest so far. I am not counting Bert Blyleven or Roy Smalley, who started with the Twins much earlier, but went away, before coming back to be key players on the 1987 team.
1988 Dodgers - I am not counting Pedro Guerrero, since he was on this team, but traded away by the end of the season. The first key players on this team to come up were Fernando Valenzuela and Mike Scioscia, both key players on the 1981 World Series champs. They both came up in 1980, taking this team 8 years to put together.
1989 A's - Tony Phillips came up with the 1982 A's, so this team took 7 years to put together.
1996 Yankees - I was just going to compare to the 2009 Yankees, but realized that Derek Jeter may have been the longevity leader on Yankee championship teams as far back as 1996, but he wasn't. In 1990, Jim Leyritz, a utility player on the '96 team, came up with the Yankees. So it took 6 years to put this team together.
2009 Yankees - In 1995, Derek Jeter (why did I think he was up earlier than this?), Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera all came up to play their first games with the Yankees, so it took 14 years to put the most recent World Champions together.