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Old Apr 9th 2010, 8:32 pm
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SkullKey SkullKey is offline
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Post Some Cubs Statistical Trivia

While following the 09 April 2010 game on MLB GameDay I did what I commonly do between innings looking for baseball info. I got stuck on Baseball-Reference's Cub Team Page ( http://www.baseball-reference.com/te.../batteam.shtml ) with it's sortable stats. Some things I found interesting, you might as well:

Do you know, for example, the highest the Cubs - as a team - have hit? Amazingly it's .337. .337 as a team average! The "catch" - it was in the 19th Century; their first year in existence (1876) to be exact. I stll find that stat amazing.

The most Home Runs the Cubs have hit as a team?: 235 - quite recently in 2004. The least ever?: ZERO - zip, nada, none - in the 19th Century. The interesting thing is the Cubs have hit 200 or more HR only 4 times in team history (2004, 1998, 1987, 2002). A lot less than you might think for such a "home run haven".

Kind of a mundane stat so how about 2Bs? They peaked at 340 twice. In 1931 and again in 2007. That strikes me as an impressive number. The 2008 team hit 329 and the 2005 team 323. You have to go back to 1929 for your next team then this century again and then back to the '30's.

Triples? This day and age 20 to 30 by a team is common. In 1911 they rapped out 101 ! Wow.

But the bottom line is runs scored, what's the most times they've ever crossed the plate? In 1894 they exceeded the "magical" 1000 runs barrier for the only time in franchise history: 1056. The highest scoring team ever is the Red Sox: 1220 in 1894. In the modern era: the Yankees (1931 - they had a couple of guys named Ruth and Gehrig) at 1067. Those Hack Wilson Era teams scored well too: 982 in 1929 and 998 in 1930. (The 1930 team got a lot of it's runs against 1 team: Philadelphia [now Oakland]: with 218). Last year: 707, 52nd of all time, right in the middle. 2008?: 855 - 3rd best of the 'modern era' (behind 1929 and 1930) and 7th best of all time. Does that 2008 team impress you more now?

The most in a single game?: 36 - in 1897 vs Louisville (?): does that count? Baseball-Almanac says it does. The 1883 Cubs also hold the record for the most scored in 1 inning: 18 vs. Detroit. Wow! That had to be fun to watch.

But how about runs/game average? In the modern eras it's that 1930's team: 12th of all time with 6.40 runs per game. You have to drop 2 slots to that 1929 team again and other than that it's all 19th Century until the 1935 team way down at #22. [An interesting and bizarre aside: Dwight Gooden once got an astounding 7+ runs per game in run support and lost 13 games. How do you do that?]. So what's the most R/G ever?: 9.45 !!! back in 1876. Not surprisingly it's all 19th century and the 1929, 1930 - 1931 teams until , at #27 - yep - the 2008 team, with 5.31/game. Now do you respect them more?

Why did they score so much in the 19th century? Here's a hint - the 1884 team committed a mind-boggling 595 errors! That's over 5 per game on average! They "bested" the 1883 team who erred 543 times. The least ever?: 81 in 1994. Wasn't Sandberg playing then?

One more hitting stat. The Cubs are not known as a team that draws walks but they walk a heck of a lot more now than they did in the 1800's when they scored all those runs. 300 or fewer walks - often much less - was common. That's the team. Santo walked around 100 times a year alone. The most ever? Surprised to learn it was 1975 with 650 (I'll have to look up who was on that team some day) followed by ... ? That's right: 2008 with 636. (They really "clogged the bases" that year !)

And to end this did you know the 2004 team, posted .986 fielding percentage? In terms of fielding % it's dominated by teams of the 21st Century: 8 of the top 10. This fact (and Baseball Perspectus) would tell you that the recent Cubs teams actually field well above average, in spite of the likes of Soriano and Theriot, etc. Speaking of defensive numbers ...

Tinker to Evers to Chance. The historically great Cubs middle infield of 100 years ago. The guys who won a record .763 percentage of games played (116 wins of 154)(And .707 - 107 wins - in 1907). Surely they dominate the double plays turned right? After all everybody knows they won with pitching & defense (and established that manta) - right? Nope. Their best is way down the list. In fact the top 5 is dominated by the early 1960's teams: 1961-175 double plays, 1963 with 172 and 1962 with 171. That's why Ken Hubbs was ROY in 1962 (and the first rookie ever to win Gold Glove). But, you rightly say, Hubbs only had 28 ABs and played sparingly in 1961. So who did all the stellar 2B work in 1961? It was a guy named Jerry Kindall. And another guy named Don Zimmer - who was an All-Star that year (both games! - In 1959, 1960 and 1961 MLB played two All-Star games - remember that?) He didn't start -- Frank Bolling (?) of the (Milwaukee) Braves did - but "Zim" was a very fine glove man.

***

How about a trivia pop-quiz to end this? In the mid 1960's the Cubs had two young left-handed pitchers as prospects, both from the University of Illinois. One was Ken Holtzman. Some people thought the other might turn out to be the better pitcher in the long run. Who was he?
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