In more ways than one, waiting for the 2011 regular season to begin was especially taxing for guys like myself.

After the Philadelphia Phillies nabbed Cliff Lee from the clutches of the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, the flurry of headlines began to develop. That echoed throughout the offseason, and Lee joined a rotation filled with Cy Young winners, backed by a lineup filled with All-Stars.

As we patiently waited for Opening Day and the 161 games that would follow, fans, ball scribes and former players alike wondered whether the 2011 version of the Phils’ would be the greatest team in the history of the franchise.

Though the team is, technically, off to one of the hottest starts in baseball, that is yet to be determined. However, it does open the door for an interesting question. What exactly was the greatest team in the history of the Phillies?

Before we break those team downs into an order, I think it’s important that we establish what exactly constitutes a “great” team.

Obviously, every team breaks camp with the hopes of winning the World Series, and a couple of championship teams will appear on the list, but does that automatically make them numbers one and two?

Not on my list. I’ve been pretty vocal about the postseason being a crap-shoot for sometime now, and I think there is a growing voice for this argument. A lot of times, the “best” team is outdone by the “hottest” team.

With a number of variables going into the postseason, it isn’t fair to automatically call one franchise’s team the best because they’ve won a World Series, and I won’t.

At the same time, however, winning a championship is the greatest accomplishment, and surely, will not go unnoticed.

Yet there’s much more to a “team” than the caliber of names on it’s roster. I think we can all think of a number of star-studded teams that have underperformed, and in the lengthy history of the Phils’, there are a couple of those as well.

So what is a great “team?”

In relevance to this slide show, the best teams will be the guys who came together and left everything they had on the field.

A team consists of every guy playing his role the right way, and thus, an excellent, consistent effort will put certain teams ahead of other ones, as we count down the greatest Philadelphia Phillies teams of all time.

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