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Wednesday, May 30, 2001

The M’s at L: Won-Loss Records After 50 Games

How does the Mariners’ start stack up historically? Don rolls up his sleeves and finds out.

It’s getting harder and harder to discount the performance of the 2001 Seattle   Mariners.

With a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles last night, Lou Piniella’s   boys improved their record to 38-12. Quite clearly, that’s a pretty good start?one   that has opened up a 14-game lead over their nearest division rivals.

Just how good is that in terms of major league history? How many teams have   posted a 50-game stretch where they’ve won at least 38 games? And how many of   them started off the season with such a performance?

As it turns out, teams have won at least 38 games during a 50-game stretch   a total of 875 times since 1901. (Thanks, as always, to Dave Smith at   Retrosheet   for supplying the raw data that made this finding possible.)

Only 13 teams, however, have begun the season with such a performance. The   2001 M’s are the most recent. Prior to them, the 1984 Tigers (39-11 from April   3rd to June 4th of that year) were the last team to do it.

Here’s the complete list of teams since 1901 with at least 38 wins in their   first fifty games:

Tm??? StartDate? EndDate?? W?? L?? RS?? RA? WPct?? PWP   Diff
CHC???? 4/11/07? 6/17/07? 39? 11? 193? 135? .780? .658? -.122
NYG???? 4/11/12? 6/18/12? 38? 11? 316? 177? .776? .743? -.033
PHA???? 4/10/13? 6/13/13? 39? 11? 281? 187? .780? .678? -.102
NYY???? 4/11/28? 6/12/28? 40? 10? 328? 203? .800? .706? -.094
PHA???? 4/17/29? 6/15/29? 39? 11? 347? 185? .780? .760? -.020
PHA???? 4/14/31? 6/13/31? 38? 12? 304? 185? .760? .713? -.047
NYY???? 4/20/39? 6/17/39? 40? 10? 313? 166? .800? .761? -.039
NYY???? 4/14/42? 6/9/42?  38? 12? 267? 158? .760? .723? -.037
BOS???? 4/16/46? 6/10/46? 40?? 9? 301? 180? .816? .719? -.097
NYY???? 4/14/53? 6/13/53? 39? 11? 305? 187? .780? .710? -.070
BKN???? 4/13/55? 6/6/55?  38? 12? 311? 205? .760? .682? -.078
DET???  4/3/84? ?6/4/84 ? 39? 11? 279? 165? .780? .723? -.057
SEA???? 4/1/01?  5/29/01? 38? 12? 296? 209? .760? .654? -.106

All twelve of the teams who previously posted this level of performance over   the first 50 games of the season won their division and/or league.

And they did so by posting an aggregate winning percentage of .671 in the seasons   with this type of white-hot start. (That’s an overall record of 1232-605, by   the way.)

How well did these teams play after their early-season blitzkrieg? There’s   been some talk about how the 1984 Tigers just coasted into the playoff, and   it’s true enough: Detroit posted only an above-average .580 mark? in the last   112 games of the year.

They’re not the team with the worst "after the blitz" performance,   however. That distinction goes to the 1913 Philadelphia A’s, who finished   up 57-46 down the stretch (a .552 winning percentage).

All in all, however, teams posted a .617 winning percentage (765-464) in the   games that followed their 50-game "blitzkrieg."

Of some interest to the sabermetrically-besotted is the Pythagorean Winning   Percentage of the team during the 50-game stretch. There has been some discussion   of the Mariners being "over their heads" as a result of comparing   their actual won-loss record with the Pythagorean projection (which, simply   put, is a formula using runs scored and runs allowed).

It turns out that the Mariners are playing over their heads, and that they   have the worst Pythagorean Winning Percentage of all the teams who started a   season in "blitzkrieg" mode. However, that projected "true"   winning percentage is still .654. If that figure is an accurate representation   of the Mariners’ level of play, it means that Seattle would end the season with   around 105 wins.

I mentioned earlier that teams have had 50-game streaks where they’ve won at   least 38 games a total of 875 times. When we remove multiple occurrences within   the same season, however, it turns out that only 77 teams have managed the feat.   Sixty-one of those teams won either a pennant or a division title. The aggregate   winning percentage for these seventy-seven teams is .646 (7673-4209).

Here’s the complete list of those seventy-seven teams:


Team?? Year??? W?? L? Win
PIT??? 1901?? 90? 49??? x
PIT??? 1902? 103? 36??? x
PHA??? 1902?? 83? 53??? x 
PIT??? 1903?? 91? 49??? x
NYG??? 1904? 106? 47??? x
CHC??? 1906? 116? 36??? x
CHC??? 1907? 107? 45??? x
CHC??? 1908?? 99? 55??? x
PIT??? 1909? 110? 42??? x
CHC??? 1910? 104? 50??? x
NYG??? 1911?? 99? 54??? x
NYG??? 1912? 103? 48??? x
BOS??? 1912? 105? 47??? x
CHC??? 1912?? 91? 59???? 
PHA??? 1913?? 96? 57??? x
NYG??? 1913? 101? 51??? x
BSN??? 1914?? 94? 59??? x
PHA??? 1914?? 99? 53??? x
BOS??? 1915? 101? 50??? x
CIN??? 1919?? 96? 44??? x
NYY??? 1920?? 95? 59???? 
CIN??? 1923?? 91? 63???? 
CIN??? 1923? 108? 54???? 
BRO??? 1924?? 92? 62???? 
NYY??? 1927? 110? 44??? x
PHA??? 1927?? 91? 63???? 
NYY??? 1928? 101? 53??? x
PHA??? 1928?? 98? 55???? 
PHA??? 1929? 104? 46??? x
CHC??? 1929?? 98? 54??? x
STL??? 1930?? 92? 62??? x
PHA??? 1931? 107? 45??? x
NYY??? 1932? 107? 47??? x
CHC??? 1935? 100? 54??? x
DET??? 1935?? 93? 58??? x
NYG??? 1936?? 92? 62??? x
NYY??? 1937? 102? 52??? x
NYY??? 1938?? 99? 53??? x
NYY??? 1939? 106? 45??? x
NYY??? 1941? 101? 53??? x
NYY??? 1942? 103? 51??? x
STL??? 1942? 106? 48??? x
STL??? 1944? 105? 49??? x
CHC??? 1945?? 98? 56??? x
BOS??? 1946? 104? 50??? x
NYY??? 1947?? 97? 57??? x
BOS??? 1948?? 96? 59???? 
BOS??? 1949?? 96? 58???? 
BOS??? 1950?? 94? 60???? 
CLE??? 1951?? 93? 61???? 
NYG??? 1951?? 98? 59??? x
NYY??? 1953?? 99? 52??? x
BRO??? 1953? 105? 49??? x
CLE??? 1954? 111? 43??? x
NYG??? 1954?? 97? 57??? x
NYY??? 1954? 103? 51???? 
MLN??? 1954?? 89? 65???? 
BRO??? 1955?? 98? 55??? x
BOS??? 1955?? 84? 70???? 
NYY??? 1957?? 98? 56??? x
NYY??? 1961? 109 ?53??? x
BAL??? 1966?? 97? 63??? x
STL??? 1968?? 97? 65??? x
BAL??? 1969? 109? 53??? x
NYM??? 1969? 100? 62??? x
BAL??? 1970? 108? 54??? x
CHC??? 1977?? 81? 81???? 
NYY??? 1977? 100? 62??? x
KCR??? 1977? 102? 60??? x
BOS??? 1978?? 99? 64???? 
KCR??? 1980?? 97? 65??? x
CHW??? 1983?? 99? 63??? x
DET??? 1984? 104? 58??? x
ATL??? 1992?? 98? 64??? x
ATL??? 1993? 104? 58??? x
NYY??? 1998? 114? 48??? x
ARZ??? 1999? 100? 62??? x

Those 1977 Cubs stick out like a sore thumb from this list, don’t they? Some   enterprising reader out there might want to check the aggregate Pythagorean   Winning Percentage for this group of teams and see if those with a "blitzkrieg"   segment wind up with a better record than their runs scored/runs allowed ratio   would indicate.

 

Don Malcolm Posted: May 30, 2001 at 06:00 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Alan Shank Posted: May 30, 2001 at 12:07 AM (#603860)
"Is the Runs Created measure a useful tool when evaluating an entire team, or is it primarily useful in evaluating individual players? I'd be very interested to see how many runs the Mariners could have been expected to produce based on their other stats to date (note: not what should be expected based on career norms, rather what could be expected based on what they've done). Does that make sense? I don't know the formula, or I'd run it myself. "

It just so happens that today's "Al's Baseball Tidbits" is an analysis of the Mariners and Braves so far this season. Check it out!
Cheers,
Alan Shank

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