The 1906 Cubs share two things with the 2001 Seattle Mariners
: a Major League-record 116 win season, and no World Series
title to show for it. The Cubs reached their 116 wins by having an all-around exceptional team. They finished first or second as a team in every hitting statistic except at-bats, first in shutout
s, and ERA
ing. Their roster was as follows:
The Cubs scored 705 runs and allowed 381 in 1906, with a team ERA of 1.75. This led them to a mark of 116-36, 20 games ahead of the second-place New York Giants
, and the highest winning percentage in baseball history, at .763. This was near the height of the dead-ball era
, where pitching was dominant and one-run strategies paid off handsomely. Unsurprisingly, this edition of the Cubs were second in the league in stolen base
s. Mordecai Brown
led the league in ERA with a 1.04 and in shutouts with nine. Frank Chance
led the team in OBP
and slugging percentage
with marks of .419 and .430 respectively, for an OPS
of .849. This mark was good for fourth in the league. For reference, a league-average or slightly below-average left fielder can be counted on for that level of production in modern baseball, and the top hitters in each league routinely top 1.000.
Tinker, Evers, and Chance had not yet been immortalized in Baseball's Sad Lexicon, but they were together in 1906 and playing well. Chance's hitting led the team, and his fielding at first base appears to have been above-average. Evers was a solid glove at second base, with good power and plate discipline for a middle infielder. Tinker's range at short was below-average, but his hitting was solid, with good doubles power. Only one Cubs starter had an ERA above 2.00 for the year--Carl Lundgren, with a mark of 2.21.
The Cubs played the Chicago White Sox in the World Series in 1906 and lost, four games to two. The Sox were an offensively poor team that year, nicknamed "The Hitless Wonders" for their woeful offense. They scored 570 runs and hit .230 as a team, despite only playing in a moderate pitcher's park. The Cubs would return to the Series each of the next two years and win, but those are the only two World Championship banners that fly at Wrigley Field today.
Thanks to mauler for advice and editorial suggestions.