Al asked earlier in the thread about Friday's game when the last time was that the Cubs had actually had the best record this late in the majors. I thought it would be interesting to look into some other years, using 47-22 as a jumping-off point.In reverse order (and skipping the already-known quantity of June 28, 1977):
July 2, 3, 22, 24, 1967: An infamous pennant race with the Cardinals, the Cubs were also tied with the Cards for first place on every day listed. The Cards pulled away, playing 45-20 the rest of the way, while the Cubs finished three games under .500 at 31-34, for a 87-74 finish.
July 12, 1945 through September 30: The last of the wartime teams, and Chicago's most recent entry in the World Series, the Northsiders led both leagues in wins in almost the entire second half. They lost the World Series 4-1 to Detroit; a goat was involved.
September 17 through September 29, 1935: a tight division race between the Cards, Cubs, and Giants, with only a game and a half separating the three on September 1, the Cubs went 22-3 the rest of the way. They lost 4-2 to the Tigers in the World Series.
August 27, 1929: the 1929 Cubs held, for one day late in the season, the best record in the majors. They were overtaken by the Philadelphia A's, who were having an unusual good season that year, and eventually beat the Cubs 4-1 in the World Series.
July 7 through Sept. 2, 1918. The Cubs cruised into August an easy 10 games over the Giants, playing an abbreviated schedule that ended on September 2. They lost the World Series to the Red Sox, 4-2, famously the last that Babe Ruth played in that uniform.
August 1 through August 4, 1910. The heyday of the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield, this team put together a 21-9 July and, for an encore, assembled an even better 21-7 August. Lost 4-1 to the Philadelphia A's in the World Series.
Various dates, July 9 through October 8, 1908. Another iteration of the Tinker-Evers-Chance teams of the late 19-oughts, this one was interesting in that the Cubs did not hold the league lead continuously, dropping from first to third on July 15 after losing two to the Giants and Pittsburgh beat the Braves; the team reacquired the best record in baseball on August 31, lost it again the next day after a loss to St. Louis, and reacquired it on September 22 beating the Giants in the first game of a doubleheader, part of a four game series, and the fourth game of a five game win streak.
On September 23, Fred Merkle made his famous baserunning error, the net result of which was to eventually hand the Cubs the pennant as the game had to be replayed on October 8; the Cubs beat the Giants, 4-2.
One other point about the 1908 season: many of those days the Cubs shared the best record in baseball with the Giants, though they were percentage points ahead or behind. Those Cubs beat the Tigers 4-1 in the World Series.
Update: SportCenter is saying that the 1908 Cubs had the best record in baseball on this date, June 1. It's true, but for the purposes of this post, misleading, because they use calendar date (June 1, when the Cubs were 23-14), but the 1908 season started on April 14. That is, the 2008 Cubs are better later than that team was, at least, so far.
July 6 through October 6, 1907: Tinker-Evers-Chance, again, and a reverse Murderer's Row of pitchers that included Mordecai Brown. Continuously owning the best record in baseball in the second half, this team beat the Tigers 4-0-1 in the World Series.
July 4 through October 7, 1906. The high-water mark for all Cubs teams, this one won 116 games, and like the 1907 version, owned the best record in baseball continuously in the second half (July 4 on). This team had three 20+ winning months, a 20-8 July, a 26-3 August, a 21-5 September, and narrowly missed a fourth in May when they went 19-9, losing both ends of a doubleheader to St. Louis on May 30. They lost 4-1 to the White Sox in the World Series.