Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Best 50-Game Stretches in Baseball History

Last season, the Houston Astros had one of the worst runs in MLB history, losing 43 out of 50 games during July and August. I wrote about the worst 50-game stretches ever then, but now, almost exactly a year later, I have reason to write about the best 50-game stretches, because the Los Angeles Dodgers have been on an incredible run. At the end of play on June 21, the Dodgers were 30-42, in last place in the NL West, and baseball's biggest disappointment. Since then though, LA has gone 42-8, taken over 1st place and built a commanding lead, and become the betting favorites to win the World Series. How often does a team go on a run this good?

Author's Note: This post was originally published in August of 2013, but most recently updated on at the end of the 2017 regular season. Anything unchanged from the original post is in italics, while anything new or updated is in regular font.

Here are the best 50-game stretches in baseball since 1901, when the American League was formally organized and what is commonly thought of as the modern era began:

1) 45-5 (1906 Cubs)

2) 43-7 (1912 Giants, 2017 Dodgers)

4) 42-8 (1941 Yankees, 1942 Cardinals, 2013 Dodgers, 2017 Indians)

7) 41-9 (1909 Pirates, 1913 Giants, 1914 Athletics, 1931 Athletics, 1938 Yankees, 1939 Yankees, 1944 Cardinals, 1946 Red Sox, 1953 Dodgers, 1975 Reds, 1998 Yankees)

19) 40-10 (1902 Pirates, 1907 Cubs, 1910 Cubs, 1928 Yankees, 1929 Athletics, 1947 Yankees, 1951 Indians, 1953 Yankees, 1954 Giants, 1954 Indians, 1977 Royals, 1977 Yankees, 2001 Athletics, 2001 Mariners, 2005 Athletics)

Yep, the best 5-game stretch in baseball history was turned in by the Cubs. It was 107 years ago, but hey. The Dodgers' stretch this season hasn't been bettered in 101 years and hasn't even been matched for 71 years. Since 1953, the only teams to come within even a game of it were the 1975 "Big Red Machine" Reds and the 1998 Yankees, widely considered to be the two best teams of the last 40 years.

Franchises with at least one "40+ wins in 50 games" stretch:

Yankees (8)
Athletics (5)
Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, and Indians (3)
Cardinals and Pirates (2)
Mariners, Red Sox, Reds, and Royals (1)

Only 12 of the 30 teams have had a stretch that good. The Mariners and Royals are the only ones that weren't among the 16 franchises that existed in 1902. (The Yankees weren't around in 1901.) That's not particularly surprising, given that of the 33 stretches with 40+ wins in 50 games, 23 of them came before 1961, when expansion began. As was true with the worst 50-game stretches, most of the best ones happened a long time ago. For what I'm sure is a combination of reasons, it seems to have become much harder for a team to be good enough to win like this.

It also seems worth pointing out that of the 31 teams prior to 2017 with such a successful run during the season, 28 of them made the playoffs, with the only exceptions being the 1902 Pirates (who didn't go to the postseason because the postseason didn't exist that year), the 1951 Indians (who didn't go to the postseason despite a 93-61 record), and the 2005 Athletics (who won 88 games). Of those 31 teams, 25 of them played in the World Series, with 15 of them winning it.

The best 50-game stretches in each season during the 2000s:

2000: 36-14 (Giants and White Sox)
2001: 40-10 (Athletics and Mariners)
2002: 39-11 (Braves and Athletics)
2003: 38-12 (Braves)
2004: 39-11 (Cardinals)
2005: 40-10 (Athletics)
2006: 38-12 (Twins)
2007: 36-14 (Red Sox)
2008: 34-16 (Angels, Astros, Brewers, Cubs, and Rays)
2009: 37-13 (Angels and Yankees)
2010: 37-13 (Phillies, Twins, White Sox)
2011: 37-13 (Phillies)
2012: 36-14 (Reds and Yankees)
2013: 42-8 (Dodgers)
2014: 35-15 (Nationals and Orioles)
2015: 37-13 (Blue Jays)
2016: 37-13 (Cubs)
2017: 43-7 (Dodgers)

Finally, here is the best 50-game stretch for each franchise since 1901:

Angels: 37-13 (2009)
Astros: 38-12 (2017)
Athletics: 41-9 (1914, 1931)
Blue Jays: 37-13 (2015)
Braves: 39-11 (1993, 2002)
Brewers: 36-14 (2011)
Cardinals: 42-8 (1942)
Cubs: 45-5 (1906)
Diamondbacks: 38-12 (1999)
Dodgers: 43-7 (2013, 2017)
Giants: 43-7 (1912)
Indians: 42-8 (2017)
Mariners: 40-10 (2001)
Marlins: 34-16 (2003)
Mets: 38-12 (1969)
Nationals: 35-15 (1994, 2012, 2014)
Orioles: 38-12 (1966, 1969, 1970)
Padres: 35-15 (1998)
Phillies: 37-13 (1976, 1977, 2010, 2011)
Pirates: 41-9 (1909)
Rangers: 36-14 (2016)
Rays: 34-16 (2008, 2010)
Red Sox: 41-9 (1946)
Reds: 41-9 (1975)
Rockies: 35-15 (2009)
Royals: 40-10 (1977)
Tigers: 39-11 (1984)
Twins: 38-12 (2006)
White Sox: 39-11 (1983)
Yankees: 42-8 (1941)


  1. Of course, going 42-8 over 50 games if you are an otherwise 0.400 ballclub, then 45 wins over the other 112 games brings you to 87-75. Not too shabby, that.

    The point is, you'd have to have a pretty bad team otherwise to go 42-8 and fail to make the playoffs.

    1. And in a 154-game schedule, 84-70 is a decent record, although there are fewer playoff spots...

    2. The 2005 A's seem like the 'worst' team to win 40+ out of 50, given that they're the only one who failed to make the playoffs since expansion began.

    3. Hey

      In the last 2 weeks, I've been bombarded with dozens of emails from
      people asking me to review the Z Code Sports picks service.

      Finally I decided to give it a try. Here is how it works:

      These guys combine the power of their human cappers who are experts in
      sports with the power of technology: statistical data since 1999.
      Their wins are documented and proven - each winning and losing pick is
      available for members to check and verify in the members zone.

      The performance chart goes straight into profits. Over $12,000 usd
      profit for average bet of $100 during the last 2 months!

      No wonder... I mean,

      even if you are skeptical you really NEED to check out how transparent
      these guys truly are...
      Videos of bank accounts stuffed with money, videos of bookmaker
      accounts, screenshots proving how effective this killer software is,
      videos of how to make the money risk free, hundreds of real people

      ...proof, proof, and more proof!! All sitting there for you to
      absorb! Don't take my word for it - you have to see it to believe it.

      ===> My Z Code System & picks review <=====

      And the best part about it is just how easy it is to use! Everything
      about this product is TOP class-

      - from the software itself
      - to the video tutorials showing how to use the software & picks
      - to the comprehensive FAQ & Money management tips
      - to the bookmaker reviews, tips how to improve your profits and avoid
      the losses.

      These guys have everything covered!

      Check it out for yourself:

      ===> Is ZCode System SCAM or a real deal? <=====

      This is the highest quality product I've seen in a long time and the
      developers have clearly spent a ton of time on it to make sure that
      you and I get the most accurate sports predictions possible

      If you haven't downloaded your copy yet, I encourage you to do it now!
      You're missing guaranteed profits with every passing second...

      ===> Here is how you can win using the statistical data since 1999 <=====

      [Your closing]

      P.S. There's a free tool, called Sports Predictions, that you can get
      simply by visiting the site...
      They're giving it out as a gift so head over there quickly :)

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Such an informative blog it is

  4. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful information with us

  5. Useful information. We provide 24x7 online pogo gaming support at pogo support number

  6. You can just fill one form and Pay day Loans USA will submit the application to many lenders. Save your time! Let us search for the best lenders for you!

  7. Hi Guys,
    IAM BANDICOOT. It’s not just a game. First game in the world has this unique logic. Endless runner game with new features plus noble messages. Fight the social media bosses and monsters. Throw your special weapon on them. ? Collect atoms and books! ? Using vacuum cleaner! ? Using pencil &book hammer !! ? Throw your pencil Rocket when fighting the bosses!! Learn more about-IAM BANDICOOT

  8. Mesmerized article written on this blog with other relevant information. It is straight to the point that how we can improve our skills as well as how we can be represented to a new stream of professionalism.
    ร้าน บอร์ด เกม

  9. This free love tarot reading is great way to enhance the longevisty of your luck and happiness. Go Tarot !!!

  10. The mega two-day Indian Leading 2018 auction has ended. Across Sunday and Weekend, the eight franchisees set up under one roof top to restore their squad for the future season of the cash-rich IPL.
    Buy KKR 2018 Jersey From Amazon & Flipkart
    Royal Challengers Bangalore – RCB 2018 Schedule & Tickets

  11. Sometime it becomes very hard to find a well written and well established bog which give you correct and useful information. However, I found this blog and got some relevant information which are really helpful for me.sbobet

  12. I welcome all the suggestion mentioned in this blog related to new learning skills. It is definitely going to help me to adopt new exited way of learning. I think, others will also feel helpful this blog for their needs.
    poker theory

  13. helps you in every problem related to club Pogo games. If you face any issues related Pogo games like Troubleshooting Java, Loading errors, Pogo games not loading & etc. Get Pogo Support Number Pogo games not loading Pogo support number Pogo games not working Pogo technical problem

  14. I love this.. going to share and put it to use

    Pulled Groin Stretches

  15. I found this blog after a long time which is really helpful to let understand different approaches. I am going to adopt these new point to my career and thankful for this help.
    Video wall