Here are a few fun and interesting factoids about this year’s 103-win Cubs. Let’s start with this one, that I posted in Sunday’s recap, in case you missed it:
#Cubs: 200 wins over last 2 seasons.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 2, 2016
First time with 200+ wins over 2-season span since 1909-10 (208)
There are a lot of things that happened for the Cubs in 2016 that hadn’t happened recently, or ever.
The Cubs set a franchise record with 656 walks, breaking the previous record of 650, which had stood for 41 years. The 1975 Cubs were a pretty good offensive ballclub that scored 712 runs -- a good number in a low-offense era. That was good for third in the National League. That team might have contended if it had a pitching staff, which, in general, it didn’t. The ‘75 Cubs allowed 827 runs, most in the N.L. — by 88. Yuck.
One more note about the walk record:
#Cubs with franchise record 656 walks in 2016. That's 11.18 Miles worth of walks.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) October 3, 2016
The 2016 Cubs held opponents to a .209 batting average. The only team in National League history — not just Cubs history, but the entire league — to have a lower opponents’ BA was the 1906 Cubs, who held the opposition to .206.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo might have taken the “Bryzzo” thing a bit too far. Both wound up with a BA of .292 and an OBP of .385. Bryant hit 39 HR and drove in 102 runs. Rizzo had 32 dingers and 109 RBI, just swapping last digits with his BFF. With both hitting 30 or more, that’s the first time a Cubs team has had a pair of 30-homer players since 2005, when Derrek Lee (46) and Aramis Ramirez (31) did it.
The Cubs played .701 ball for the first 67 games (47-20). Then they played .250 ball for three weeks (5-15). After that they came within one win of matching that .701 percentage for the balance of the year. The 51-23 mark for the remainder of the season is a .689 winning percentage. 52-22 would have made it .702. (If they had won the tie game to make it 52-23, that would have been .693.) Overall, the 103 wins are the most by any major-league team since the Yankees won 103 in 2009 and the most by a N.L. team since the Cardinals won 105 in 2004.
And, the Cubs are one of just 23 teams in the expansion era — 56 seasons since 1961 — to win 103 or more games. Here are all 23 teams who did that, a pretty exclusive list. Of the previous 22, 14 made the World Series and 10 won it.
You might have seen this tweet from Cubs catcher Miguel Montero Sunday:
Regular season Cubs catchers combine to hit 30hr and 100 RBI— Miguel Montero (@miggymont26) October 2, 2016
There’s an asterisk to that. Montero, David Ross, Willson Contreras and Tim Federowicz did indeed combine for 30 home runs and 103 RBI. However, Contreras played some left field and at least two of those homers (Montero’s Sunday and Contreras’ in his first big-league at-bat) were hit as a pinch hitter. Cubs catchers, as catchers, hit 26 home runs, had 90 RBI and hit .239/.339/.425, which is still awfully impressive.
Montero’s homer Sunday, the last Cubs homer of the year, was the team’s 199th. That’s fifth-most in team history, one behind the 2002 Cubs. The team record is 235, set in 2004.
Kyle Hendricks led the major leagues in ERA at 2.13. He is the first Cubs pitcher to lead both leagues since Bill Lee (2.66 in 1938) and the first Cubs hurler to lead the National League since 1945 (Ray Prim, 2.40). I don’t think I need to tell you what the Cubs did both of those years.
Also noted Sunday, but worth repeating: The Cubs’ +252 run differential edged out the 1935 team for second-best in team history, behind the +323 of the 1906 Cubs. Note the presence of two more Cubs pennant-winners in this paragraph.
Addison Russell’s 95 RBI are the most for a Cubs shortstop since Ernie Banks had 117 in 1960, and it’s the first time a Cubs team has had three players with 95 or more RBI since 2004 (Moises Alou, 106; Ramirez, 103; Lee, 98).
The Cubs won 57 games at Wrigley Field, a franchise record and just one win shy of the all-time team record for wins at home (58, set at West Side Grounds in 1910).
Sunday’s come-from-behind win in the ninth inning was the eighth time the Cubs won during 2016 when they were trailing entering the ninth. That’s a very large number of games to win that way — most teams win maybe once or twice a year when they are behind going into the ninth. Even last year’s 97-win Cubs team won only three times when they trailed after eight.
This one’s just for fun:
#Cubs Travis Wood is the first player to pitch 75+ games & play three-plus games in the field since Old Hoss Radbourn & Guy Hecker in 1884.— MLB Stats #16RIP (@MLBRandomStats) September 30, 2016
I could go on all day or all week with these, but you get the idea. This Cubs team did things as a whole that hadn’t been done in living memory, and players accomplishing feats we hadn’t seen in years, if not decades. It’s the most impressive baseball I have witnessed in all my years as a baseball fan. Got other numbers you particularly liked about this year’s Cubs? Post them in the comments.
Finally, indulge me a plug, if you will, given the title of this article. The new edition of my co-authored book “Cubs By The Numbers” is now available. Updated through the 2015 season with uniform numbers and new stories, it’s a fun read. You can find it at your local bookstore, at Costco, or on Amazon.
Here’s hoping the Cubs put up some more memorable numbers over the next few weeks — in particular, “11,” the number of victories they need this month to become 2016 World Series champions.