Is This The Worst Stretch In Cubs History?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have been pretty bad the last four years. Just how bad is this era, historically?

The answer to the question posed in the headline is... no, maybe and yes.

How can that be? It depends on how you look at it. Here are the worst four-year stretches in Cubs history, first ranked by total number of losses:

1960-63: 265-367 .4193
1948-51: 251-364 .4081
1999-02: 285-361 .4411
1997-00: 290-359 .4468
1947-50: 258-357 .4195
1954-57: 258-357 .4195
2010-13: 261-352 .4265 (through Thu.)

This year's Cubs must go 20-15 to avoid breaking the record for most defeats in a four-year span; that's not likely to happen, so we have been, over the four seasons ending this year, witnessing the most defeats over that span than any time in Cubs history. Of course, more recent seasons would have more chances for losses because there are more games. Here are the same totals, ranked by percentage:

1948-51: 251-364 .4081
1960-63: 265-367 .4193
1947-50: 258-357 .4195
1954-57: 258-357 .4195
2010-13: 261-352 .4265 (through Thu.)
1999-02: 285-361 .4411
1997-00: 290-359 .4468

Here's the same spans, broken down by average record per year and ranked by percentage:

1948-51: 63-91 .4081
1960-63: 66-92 .4193
1947-50: 65-89 .4195
1954-57: 65-89 .4195
2010-13: 69-93 .4257 (through Thu.)
1999-02: 71-91 .4411
1997-00: 72-90 .4468

Notes for the above: the 1960-63 span includes two 154-game seasons and two 162-game seasons; thus, I averaged those out to make a record over 158 games.

For 2010-13, I did the average over a 162-game season even though 2013 isn't complete yet. The Cubs would have to go 3-32 to break the record for worst winning percentage over a four-year span; that isn't likely to happen either, although as you can see, they're going to come close for the worst percentage over a four-year span for any Cubs team in the expansion era (counting the 1960-63 period as "expansion era", although only half of that span actually was post-expansion).

Yes, yes, I know. Things are going to get better. I sure hope so. Because in many ways, this is the lowest ebb of the franchise.

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