Players need to receive 75 percent of the vote to be elected. On Tuesday, Bonds received 66 percent, and Clemens got 65.2 percent in their last year of eligibility. Pitcher Curt Schilling, also in his final year on the ballot, earned 58.6 percent of the vote.

Big Papi Ortiz clocked in at 77.9, coincidentally the same as his time in the 100-yard dash, and just enough to get into Cooperstown in his first try.

The much-loved Big Papi was a classy and positive gentleman as always, issuing the following statement:

“I don’t even compare myself to them (Bonds and Clemens) because I saw so many times those guys performing and it was something that was very special. Not having them join me at this time is something that is hard for me to believe.”

In terms of impact on the team, the Red Sox’s acquisition of Big Papi was one of the most significant moves in post-WW2 baseball, comparable to the D-Backs signing Randy Johnson, or the Dodgers picking up Jackie Robinson. Ortiz placed in the top five in the MVP balloting in each of his first five years with the team, and the Sox won the World Series twice in those five years, after having failed to do so in the last 84 pre-Ortiz seasons. And then they won another before he retired. His lifetime World Series batting average is .455, the highest of all time among players with at least 40 plate appearances. He batted over .300 in his first two World Series, and then he almost won that third one by himself, batting an unearthly .688 to become the obvious MVP.

One of the nicest things about his career is that he went out on top. He had one of his best years in his last season at age 40 – leading the league in slugging percentage, RBI and OPS. He was such a feared hitter at the end of his career that he led the league in intentional walks in three of his last four seasons.

He is renowned for his clutch performance, but he was just a damned good hitter, clutch or otherwise. His lifetime OPS is among the top 40 of all time. Here are some players with a lower career OPS: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Albert Pujols, Al Simmons, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr …

I’ve made my point. Good individual player. Good team player. Fan favorite. Good guy. He’s in and he deserves it.

That has to be one of the signs of the end times, right?

Their last post-season victory, more than fifty thousand years ago, is only known from oral history. The balladeers sing that they defeated a team of seven Neanderthals and four actual Bengal tigers, a legendary victory that earned them their name.

The four-legged tigers made some rough tackles, but they weren’t much at holding on to the ball. Their claws deflated more balls than Tom Brady.

OK, maybe I exaggerated a bit, but 31 years is a long break between playoff wins.

Georgia over Michigan 34-11

The Tide over Cincinnati 27-6

There was no surprise there. Georgia and Alabama each won by at least three TDs, and Georgia could have won by a lot more if they had chosen to. The two SEC powerhouses will square off again, as anticipated.

The championship game is considered a toss-up. Alabama was a slight favorite in the opening line, but Georgia is now a two or three point favorite. Alabama won the first match-up by 17.

In other bowl news, riddle me this, Batman. How the hell did Rutgers get in a bowl game, and how did I not notice until now? Apparently they have a Pity Bowl rule. As you might expect, the mighty Rutgers 11, proud possessors of a 2-7 conference record, were ground into holiday mincemeat by Wake Forest, which was ranked in the top twenty nationally. Moreover, Rutgers scored only ten points against WF, which has one of the most porous defenses of any major team. (They beat Army 70-56, for example. They scored 55 against North Carolina – and lost. Three of their other wins were 37-34, 40-37 and 45-42.)

The answer to the riddle? They got into a bowl game because of their good academic performance, based on the “give the nerds a participation trophy” trend. Honest to god, I did not make that up.

“The Scarlet Knights didn’t qualify for a bowl game with their record. They got an assist by virtue of the classroom and having the highest Academic Progress Rate.”

They needed rules like this when I was in school. Despite my pathetic throwing skills, I could have been our starting quarterback instead of a math nebbish.

Maybe I could even have gotten laid.

OK, maybe not on the laid thing. I know for sure that my female classmates didn’t give a free pass to their vaginas for good academic performance. I think that would have been especially true after they saw me throw ten interceptions and cry like a baby after getting sacked.

But I could have started for Rutgers.

—————–

The rest of the story.

Everything I wrote is accurate or at least a reasonable hyperbole, but I left out a lot of details to make the story funnier. Texas A&M was supposed to play in the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest, and they are damned good. As evidence of that, I submit that they handed Alabama their only loss this season! But A&M had to withdraw. Rutgers found out they were going to be in a bowl game just a short time ago, and they were just as surprised as I was. I mean, they lost games by scores like 52-3 and 52-13 and 28-0 during the regular season, when they were actually in training, and were … er … prepared for their opponents. Given those circumstances, you have to give them some credit. They did pretty well to keep the score at 38-10 when (a) they suck mightily and (b) just nine days earlier they had been drinking beer and planning their holiday vacations.

So it worked out for everybody, except maybe the fans who were expecting a better game:

  • The kids from Rutgers got to greet the New Year in Florida (81 degrees in Jacksonville today) instead of New Jersey.
  • And the kids from Wake Forest got to celebrate a rousing triumph instead of playing the team that beat Alabama.

The eccentric, much-loved NFL legend has passed away at 85.

Because he was eternally disheveled, always casual and an ubiquitous pitchman, he seemed on the surface like a lovable oaf, but those were characteristics that tended to belie his great football brain.

“He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.”

… and he retired at the tender age of 42, when many head coaches are just starting their careers.

After his coaching career, using his ability to explain complicated maneuvers in simplest terms, he became a top broadcaster (16 Emmys), and the godfather of football video games. After injuries ended whatever playing career he might have dreamt of, he was just damned good at everything he tried. In the world of sports, he did about as much as any man can do, and he did it without creating any scandals or even making any enemies.

Georgia.

#1 Alabama and #4 Cincinnati will square off in the semi-finals, while #2 Michigan will have its hands full with #3 Georgia. It’s not inconceivable that the championship game will be a Georgia-Alabama rematch. Georgia is favored by 7 1/2 over Michigan, and Alabama is favored by about a thousand over Cincinnati. (The opening line is actually 13 1/2)

Notre Dame did not get an invitation to the big event. As the #5 team, the Irish ended up with their faces pressed up against the outside of the window, listening to the laughter, admiring the party decorations, and wondering whether the revelers are really having fun – something I call “a Scoopy Christmas.”

UPDATE: All the Bowl Game match-ups have been announced, and almost all of the opening lines have been set.

Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil were elected from the Early Baseball Era Committee ballot of 10 candidates, while Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso and Tony Oliva were elected from the 10 Golden Days Era Committee candidates.”

Some of those were long overdue. I regret that the Hall overlooked Lefty O’Doul, and it is long past time to waive the 10-year rule to induct Ross Barnes, the greatest player of his day (lifetime .360 batting average), whose career was cut short to nine seasons because of illness. He was considered not only the best hitter in those years, but the best fielder and the best base-runner as well. There were two years where he essentially led the league in every major category but homers. At 145 pounds, he wasn’t much of a long-ball threat, but he did hit the first home run in the history of the National League! He was the best player on the best teams in early baseball. Many of Barnes’s less-talented teammates are in, but the star of those teams is not.

I made my case for Lefty O’Doul here. He batted .349 lifetime and made many other contributions to the game.

Barnes and O’Doul are 4th and 9th of all time in lifetime batting average.

Scoreboard

Michigan’s Hassan Haskins had five rushing TDs in his team’s upset of THE Ohio State University, and he did some of that without any blocking, by just dancing around some tacklers, speeding past some, and leaping over others. Ohio State seems to have blown their shot at a national championship. They were rated #2, but suffered a loss to #5 Michigan, so I suppose those teams will swap places on the chart, more or less, but that’s not the key issue. Ohio State’s loss means that they will not play for the conference championship. It will be Michigan against Iowa. If Iowa should win that, the Big Ten will probably get shut out of the playoff. Iowa is not going to make the final four because they had two bad conference losses earlier in the year. They scored only seven in each of those games, and barely survived two other games against the two weak sisters in the Big Ten West (Nebraska and Northwestern).

#3 Alabama barely survived a four-overtime battle against Auburn.

Notre Dame can still sneak into the final four if some of the higher-ranked teams lose a conference championship game – and one of them will for sure, because Georgia and Alabama will play each other. A Georgia win would mean a second loss for Alabama, which would probably knock them out of the final four. It’s impossible to say how the committee will treat an Alabama win. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is no lock against Houston. Michigan will have the smoothest sailing next week, but Iowa is no pushover. Oklahoma State could also leap ahead of Notre Dame with a big win over Baylor, but I’d say Notre Dame has a pretty decent chance to end up in the playoff. Their problem is that their fate is in the hands of others.

—-

The Sagarin computer rankings have a significantly different alignment among the top teams. Cincinnati is in the #7 spot rather than in the top four.

Scoreboard

Some observations:

So much for #3 Oregon’s hopes for a playoff spot. They didn’t just lose. They got pulverized by Utah. (I wonder if Utah fans cheer for the “ol’ dark gray and slightly darker gray.”) They were down 28-0 at halftime! The longer the season progressed, the more it seemed that Oregon’s early victory over THE Ohio State University was a fluke.

That means that Cincinnati is likely to move up into the #4 spot in the official playoff rankings, and will probably make the post-season playoff despite their soft schedule. That could mean two Ohio teams in the final four playoff. It will be interesting to see whether Cincinnati can stand up to teams like Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State.

Speaking of THE Ohio State University, that team was up 49-0 at halftime against the 7th-rated team in the country. To be fair, Michigan State should not have been #7. The computer ratings did not place them in the top 20. Ohio State was so dominant in that game that they leapt all the way to #2 in the AP poll.

Almost needless to say, #10 Wake Forest wasn’t really one of the top ten teams in the country. They got their asses handed to them. They pretty much have no defense. In their last seven games:

  • they allowed 34 points against Louisville
  • they allowed 37 points against Syracuse
  • they allowed 56 points against Army
  • they allowed 58 points against UNC
  • they allowed 42 points against NC State
  • they allowed 48 points against Clemson

(In the other game, they did managed to crush Duke, which is winless in the football portion of the conference, but undefeated in basketball. Does Coach K know anything about football? They could use some help in that department.)

AL: Shohei Ohtani (Unanimous choice.)

Ohtani was a no-brainer. He also had the highest Wins Above Replacement in the AL

————

NL: Bryce Harper, for the second time.

The NL balloting was split. The top five were as follows:

  1. Bryce Harper, PHI: 17 (first-place votes), 9 (second), 2 (third), 1 (fourth), 1 (fifth) — 348 points
  2. Juan Soto, WSH: 6 (first), 11 (second), 7 (third), 2 (fourth), 2 (fifth), 1 (sixth), 1 (seventh) — 274 points
  3. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD: 2 (first), 5 (second), 15 (third), 5 (fourth), 1 (fifth), 2 (sixth) — 244 points
  4. Brandon Crawford, SF: 4 (first), 2 (second), 1 (third), 7 (fourth), 8 (fifth), 4 (sixth), 3 (seventh), 1 (ninth) — 213 points
  5. Trea Turner, WSH/LAD: 1 (first), 3 (second), 3 (third), 10 (fourth), 3 (fifth), 4 (sixth), 2 (seventh), 1 (eighth), 1 (10th) — 185 points

Harper was not among the top 10 in the NL in Wins Above Replacement. He didn’t even have the highest WAR on his own team! Juan Soto was the top NL position player in that category. Harper did have a mammoth second half after not even having made the all-star team. He was batting only .271 on the morning of July 6th, but he batted .341 the rest of the way, with 54 extra base hits and an incredible 1.171 OPS. Oddly enough, Soto was also on a tear and had the exact same OPS over the exact same period, but individuals are rarely awarded an MVP for playing on a last-place team, and Soto did just that, and in baseball’s weakest division to boot. The typical thought is, “They could have finished in the same place without him, so he wasn’t really all that valuable.” At any rate, Soto just turned 23 and has already played four full seasons, and Tatis is even younger. They probably have multiple MVPs in their futures.

Why in the world are they scheduling New Mexico State? I’m pretty sure Alabama’s marching band could suit up and beat New Mexico State. Alabama scored 49 in the first half and might have hit triple figures if they hadn’t emptied the bench.

Because they floated through the start of the second half, the Tide barely covered the spread, which was an incredible 51 1/2! (‘Bama was only up by 46 coming into the 4th quarter.)

In semi-important games:

#8 Oklahoma lost their first game to #13 Baylor.

#11 A&M lost to #15 Ole Miss.

Here is college pigskin’s week 11 recap

They were rated #3 in the country by the high sheriffs of the royal, august and sanctified playoff committee, but were knocked off that lofty perch by Purdue. That is the second time this year that Purdue has defeated a team in the top four. (They beat Iowa when the Hawkeyes were inexplicably rated #2 in the AP poll.)

Remember last week when I marveled at an implausible top ten that included Wake Forest at #9? Well, balance has been restored to the universe. Wake Forest not only lost, but they did it in grand style by allowing an unranked team to score 58 points.

Several other ranked teams lost this week: #12 Baylor, #13 Auburn, #17 Mississippi State, #18 Kentucky, #20 Minnesota and #23 Fresno State. Fresno State really went the extra mile to demonstrate that they didn’t belong among the big kids by being on the wrong side of a 40-14 shellacking.

BabaBooey has taken a lot of grief for his awful pitch, but one thing you never hear is that he did as well as Nolan Ryan and Michael Jordan.

And remember that Michael also played baseball.

Sort of.

Norm Macdonald pointed out that “Air Jordan” was only his nickname for basketball, and that his baseball nickname was “Señor Crappy”

As for poor Bababooey, aka Gary Dell’Abate – well – maybe he wasn’t that bad. He threw as good a pitch as Nolan Fuckin’ Ryan. How many of us can say that?



I’m not a Braves fan, but they won me over this year. At the crack of dawn on August 2nd, they had a losing record (52-55) in baseball’s weakest division. On that sad morning in Atlanta, the guy who led the NL in HR and RBI last year was no longer available, and the other guy on pace for 50 homers this year was no longer available. That left them with no outfield production because they had lost their left and right fielders, and their center fielder can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

And now they are World Series champs. It took some slick mid-season acquisitions and some gritty, inspired play to pull off a great final third of the season, and then to defeat some powerhouse teams in the playoffs. I tip my hat to ’em.

“World Series 2021 – Braves’ Charlie Morton threw 16 pitches on a broken leg — and then apologized it wasn’t more”

Charlie is a good pitcher and a good luck charm. He’s played for three different teams in the past five years, and all three have gone to the World Series in one year or another!

He has had an odd career. It was miraculous that he survived the first half of it, when he struggled through a 46-71 record with a 4.54 ERA, with about 6 strikeouts per 9 innings. He found himself back in the minors nearly every year in that stretch, and suffered through a string of injuries and surgeries. He then came to life at age 33, and since 2017 has been 61-24 with a 3.34 ERA and about 11 strikeouts per 9 innings.

Who could have guessed that? Oh, yeah – me.

The AP poll still has Coastal Carolina ranked in the top 25, which is baffling when you consider that they have the easiest schedule of any FBS school in the top 90. (And one of the FCS schools has a tougher schedule!)

The most dramatic game of the week was the Illinois upset of 7th-ranked Penn State in NINE overtimes. Penn State came into the game as 24-point favorites.

The other significant upset was Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State. Oklahoma State dropped from 8th to 15th, while ISU vaulted into the lower echelons of the top 25. The computer geeks say that Iowa State is much stronger than that – #7 in the nation, despite their two losses.

Week 8 scoreboard

“In the home half of the fourth, though, the scorching Eddie Rosario hit a two-out, three-run homer off Los Angeles starter Walker Buehler to give Atlanta a 4-1 lead and change the tenor of Game 6. The home run was Rosario’s 14th hit of the 2021 NLCS, which ties the all-time record for most hits in a postseason series.”


My addition:

Each of those other guys did it in a seven-game series. Rosario is the only one to do it in six. The others had at least 28 at bats and as many as 34, while Rosario needed only 25.

The Braves seem overmatched, but then again they have seemed overmatched in every series. Hell, they seemed overmatched in their own division when they started the season 37-41 and were in fourth place out of five teams in baseball’s weakest division. It really looked bleak when they lost their best hitter four games later. Acuna had been the cornerstone of their offense in that first half, and appeared on his way to a 50-homer season. But they actually did better without him, and here they are, so you may not want to bet against them.

Credit their pitching staff with that amazing second half. The Braves allowed 4.5 runs per game before the break, 3.5 after. In theory, that’s the difference between a .500 team and a .620 team – therefore worth about .120 in the ol’ W-L pct, and that theory held up well. They were .494 before the break, .611 after (.117 difference). The biggest improvement came from Max Fried, who had a 4.71 ERA in the first half, 1.74 in the second.

Astros reach 3rd World Series in 5 seasons

The Red Sox could only manage two hits against Luis Garcia and the Houston relievers. It was sweet revenge for Garcia, who was shellacked by the Sox in game 2. (He faced only eight batters and gave up five earned runs.)

Yordan Alvarez was the series MVP with a .522 batting average capped by Friday’s 4-for-4 with three extra-base knocks. The big slugger is only 24 and appears headed for major stardom.

He didn’t need the ninth inning this time. He had already hit three homers by then.

“He’s just the 11th player to hit three homers in a postseason game and the first to do so with his team facing elimination. He also drove in six runs, becoming the first player in postseason history with at least six RBIs from the No. 7 spot or lower in the batting order.”

“Los Angeles’ five through eight hitters — Pollock, Pujols, Taylor and Cody Bellinger — combined to go a stunning 12-for-18 with five home runs

The Braves.

Eddie Rosario homered twice and became the first player to have two four-hit games in a League Championship Series. (But he was not the first in the post-season. Robin Yount did it in games 1 and 5 of the 1982 World Series.)

Rosario had a terrible start to his regular season in the AL. Cleveland acquired him for the pop in his bat, and he totally disappointed, stroking only seven homers in more than 300 plate appearances. They traded him off to Atlanta, where he immediately rediscovered his stroke. His OPS had been a weak .685 for Cleveland, but rose to an impressive .903 for Atlanta. He has been white-hot in the playoffs, hitting .467 overall and .588 in this particular series.

He was not the only good acquisition made by the Braves this year to shore up their outfield:


They didn’t just start hitting well the post-season. Together they hit 44 homers and knocked in 116 runs in 676 at bats in the regular season, so obtaining them was roughly the equivalent of picking up Dale Murphy in one of his best seasons.

The Astros:

Framber Valdez went eight great innings and the offense scored five runs (four unearned) in the fifth, as Kyle Schwarber joined Billy Buck in the tradition of costly post-season errors by Red Sox first basemen. To be fair to Schwarber, (1) the Astros would have won even if he had made that play, (2) he’s just not a first baseman. He’s a left fielder who can fill in at catcher in a pinch. Before this season he had never fielded a major league chance at 1B, and had not played the position in the minors or college, except for two games in the Cape Cod Summer League in 2013! He only started nine games at first during this regular season, and in three of those he was pulled for a defensive replacement. But the man hit 32 homers this season in fewer than 400 at bats, and the Red Sox wanted his .928 OPS in the line-up. Powerful J.D. Martinez is filling the DH spot, so first base it was for Schwarber.

In my opinion, that was not an especially good decision, irrespective of Schwarber’s fielding abilities. Schwarber does not hit lefties well. His lifetime OPS against lefties is a weak .684 (the MLB average is about .730), as compared to a very solid .880 against right handers. The Sox left their natural first baseman, Bobby Dalbec, on the bench, although he hits lefties very well. His lifetime OPS is .902 against lefties, with 14 homers in only 203 at bats. Forget defense. Starting Schwarber against the left-handed Valdez was a mystifying offensive choice by manager Alex Cora.

But then again, it didn’t seem that anybody was going to solve Valdez in this game.

Summary here.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I wasn’t surprised to find out that Iowa’s #2 ranking was a house of cards waiting to collapse. It was lowly, unranked Purdue that blew that house over. I think that loss will vault ‘Bama back into the important #4 spot, just when we thought we might be through with them for a while.

I’m also not that big a believer in Cincinnati, which will presumably take over the #2 spot, but I guess I have to admit that their earlier win over Notre Dame gave them some street cred.

Some.

Eight pitchers – about an inning each. A 3-2 loss. It was another nail-biter, with the Braves winning in the bottom of nine. Austin Riley was the hero, tying it with a homer, then settling it with a walk-off single.

The Red Sox didn’t need Kiké Hernández heroics today. He was a solid support player with two hits, but the big guns had two grand slams. J.D. is so strong that he swung a little late in the first inning and didn’t really get his hips through, but still hit it out.

“In doing so, they became the first team in MLB history to hit two grand slams in a postseason game, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.” No prior team had ever hit two in a game, and they did it in two innings!

Grand slam trivia:

The first NL player to hit two grand slams in a game was a pitcher, and it wasn’t one of the legendary slugging pitchers like Wes Farrell, Schoolboy Rowe, Earl Wilson or Don Newcombe. It was Tony Cloninger, who hit only 11 homers in 366 major league games, but remains the only pitcher ever to hit two grand slams in one game. Cloninger had kind of an odd career. He was mediocre for just about the whole time, and always had problems with control. He led the league in walks and wild pitches two times each. In the middle of his career, however, he had three consecutive excellent years. In 1964 he won 19 games. The next year he was 24-11, giving the Milwaukee fans a few thrills in the Braves’ last year in that city. That is still the record for the most wins ever earned by pitching for a Milwaukee team. In the third year of that run, he dropped to 14-11, but really found his hitting stroke. It wasn’t just the one game with the two salamis that stood out. That year he had five homers and 23 RBI in just 117 plate appearances. In those three years he was 57-36 on the mound, averaging 260 innings per season, with a 19-12 record. In his nine other seasons he was 56-61, averaging 110 innings and a 6-7 record. I assume he threw his arm out in those three years, given all those innings, but I don’t know that for a fact. The official line is that he suffered a series of injuries (shoulder and elbow) and infections (eye) in 1967 and was never the same pitcher again.

Fernando Tatis is the only player in MLB history to hit two grand slams in the same inning. Oddly enough, the same pitcher was still in the game for the second one, making Chan Ho Park the only pitcher to give up two salamis to one guy in one inning. I suspect that Park’s record will last forever. Diamond Jim Gentile came close to Tatis’s achievement in his epic 1961 season, with salamis in successive innings among the five he hit that year. In that season, Gentile became the only man in modern baseball history to knock in more than 140 runs in fewer than 490 AB. Even Barry Bonds couldn’t pull that off in the year he hit 73 homers. (He had 137 RBI in 476 at bats, quite comparable to Gentile’s 141 in 486.) One 19th century player did manage to match Gentile’s feat. Hall of Famer Big Sam Thompson pulled it off in 1894 with only 13 homers. (28 triples and a .415 batting average really helped!*)

Robin Ventura is the only player to hit two grand slams in the same day twice, but that record comes with an asterisk. When he did it in 1995, it was in the same game, but when he did it in 1999, it was in both ends of a double header.

===

Footnote:

Big Sam Thompson was an RBI machine. He holds a lifetime record that probably will never be broken- the ratio of RBIs per game played. Sam averaged nearly one RBI per game for his entire career (.923). One year he knocked in 165 runs in only 119 games. Other years included 166 RBI in 127 games , and 149 RBI in 102 games.

He also holds a National League record that seems safe. In the long history of baseball there have only been five guys with 5000 or more plate appearances who batted in runs at a rate greater than one every five appearances at the plate. Big Sam was the only one to do it in the National League. You’ve heard of the other four fellas: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Greenberg. (Greenberg is the all-time king, edging Ruth 4.79 to 4.80. )

Kiké had four hits including two homers and a double. He also saved three runs with a diving, bases-loaded catch with two outs and runners going.

But he’s just one guy. When it came to the entire team, the Astros had the right stuff. Carlos Correa now has as many post-season homers as Mickey Mantle. (They had a similar number of opportunities. Correa has 288 post-season plate appearances, while Mantle had 273.) As good as Mantle in the post-season? That is very good indeed – but the rest of the story is that Altuve has two more than either of them!

Sidebar: The article says, “In best-of-seven postseason series with the current 2-3-2 format, teams winning Game 1 at home have gone on to win the series 62 of 94 times (66 percent).” It’s interesting that 66% is the exact percentage predicted by mathematical probability. Assuming two teams are equal, either of them has a 34% chance of winning four or more out of six.

Before their elimination, they had 107 regular-season wins, the highest NL total in 35 years, the third-highest total in the NL in the lively ball era, and the fifth-highest NL total of all time.

1906 Cubs 116
1909 Pirates 110
1986 Mets 108
1975 Reds 108
2021 Giants 107

  • There will probably never be another team like the 1906 Cubs, with 116 wins and only 36 losses (.763). They had the greatest pitching staff ever assembled. The 1907, 1909 and 1906 Cubs have the three lowest ERAs in the history of the modern pitching distance (1.73, 1.74, 1.75). In addition, all of their eight other positions featured one of the three best in the league at their positions. Consider the bottom of their line-up: their 6th and 7th hitters were Hall of Famers in their primes, and their 8th hitter was the league’s best catcher. They were basically the all-star team, but wearing the same uniform. Yet somehow, they managed to lose the World Series!

The Giants’ opponents last night, the Dodgers, set the all-time MLB record for the most regular season wins by a team that did not lead the league in wins, 106, topping the 104 wins of the 1942 Dodgers and 1909 Cubs.

  • Those wartime Dodgers blew a 10-game lead in the final going as they were overtaken by a Cardinals team that had a pretty good rookie on the roster. You may have heard of him. They eventually called him The Man.
  • The 1909 Cubs began the century-long “curse.” The 1908 team had won the World Series, but the Cubbies could not repeat in the subsequent years, and would not being a championship to Wrigley Field until 2016.