Saturday, May 26, 2012
Worst Cubs starts everPosted by Chris Jaffe
Well, the Cubs did it again—they lost another game today, their 11th straight. It's just the 10th time in franchise history they've had a losing streak that long. If there's a bright side, it's that one of those 11-game losing streaks happened to the 1970 Cubs club, which actually ended the year with a winning record. Then again, that club had a lot more talent on it than this sad sack 2012 squad does.
The Cubs' record now stands at 15-31, safely the worst in either league. Okay, but how does that rank in the history of this championship-deprived franchise? Well, let's look it up.
It turns out this is the sixth time in the Cubs' 137 seasons that they've dropped at least 31 of their first 46 contests.
Their worst record at this point in the season came back in 1981, when the Cubs were an inept 10-36 through 46 games. Yeah, that almost makes the 2012 team look good. (Well, no, not really, but let's just say that anyway.) That '81 bunch might've lost 100 games, but that year lost a third of its contests due to a players' strike. The strike came in the right season for the Cubs.
The North Siders' next worst start came in 1966, when they began 13-33. That club went on to lose over 100 games, one of two times in franchise history it's done that.
Twice the Cubs have begun the year 14-32—in 1953 and 1957. The 1955 squad sorta recovered, playing nearly .500 the rest of the way to end the 154-game season with fewer than 90 losses. Let's call that a moral victory. The 1957 team did a little worse, ending the year 62-92.
The Cubs began the year 15-31 in 1962, the other time the team lost 100 games on the season. Until this year, that's the only time the Cubs began the the season with a record of 15-31 through 46 contests.
The Cubs have three 16-30 starts as well: 1943, 1948 and 1894. (The 1943 team ended the year at nearly .500, a fluke possibly caused by all the real players getting drafted for World War II as the season wore on.)
Tallying it up, in the six previous times the Cubs dropped at least 30 of their first 46 games they ended the year with an average winning percentage of .407. That's like a team going 66-96. Yeah, that sounds about right for the Cubs so far.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.