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Which Team Records Could The 2016 Cubs Break?

This year's Cubs are off to a great start. Could they break some longstanding team records?

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Cubs, at 17-5, tied the club record for wins in April. Unfortunately, Saturday's rainout prevented them from a chance to break it.

Which got me thinking... with this great start, what club records could be in jeopardy this year? Let's take a look at some records that could fall if the Cubs keep going the way they have been. All of these are post-1900 marks, since the way the game was played and organized before then is too different from today's baseball to make any meaningful comparisons.

Best starts

Here are the best starts for Cubs teams after the specified number of games. I've listed the top two in each case, to show where this year's team could wind up. (In order to account for tie games for teams in the distant past, "games" in this case means "decisions.")

25 games: 21-4 (1907), 18-7 (1906, 1932, 1969) 
30 games: 24-6 (1907), 21-9 (1903)
35 games: 27-8 (1907), 25-10 (1906)
40 games: 31-9 (1907), 29-11 (1903)
50 games: 39-11 (1907), 35-15 (1918)
60 games: 47-13 (1907), 42-18 (1918)
70 games: 53-17 (1907), 50-20 (1918)
81 games: 61-20 (1907), 57-24 (1906)

As you can see, it'll be pretty hard to top the 1907 team's run through early July. That team entered September 89-32, but then went "just" 18-13 the rest of the way to finish 107-45.

Except for 1903 (82-56, the last year of the 140-game schedule) and 1969 (92-70), all of those Cubs teams won the National League pennant, and of course 1907 was a World Series-winning year.

It should be noted that the 1977 Cubs were 47-23 after 70 games, the famous year where they started 47-22 and Lou Boudreau said on WGN radio, "They can kiss the .500 mark goodbye!" That team finished 81-81, exactly .500, and had to lose their last five games to do it.

This year's team probably won't approach 1907 (they already can't do the 25-game mark, as they have five losses), but ... this team's already done incredible things this year, so who knows?


You all know about the 1906 Cubs, who set the major-league mark of 116 wins, since tied by the 2001 Mariners (in 10 more games!). The 1907 Cubs are second in team history with 107 wins. The Cubs also have had 100-win seasons in 1909 (104), 1910 (104) and 1935 (100). All of those years are pennant-winning seasons; the 1908 World Series champions won 99 games.

We are only a little more than one-eighth the way through this season, but the Cubs already are hinting they could do something that no Cubs team has done in 81 years, win 100 games. They'd have to go 83-57 to do that, 26 games over .500 for the rest of the year. That's doable.

Regarding winning 110 or more, only six teams in major-league history have done that. In addition to the 1906 Cubs, it was done by the 1909 Pirates (110), 1927 Yankees (110), 1954 Indians (111), 1998 Yankees (114) and 2001 Mariners (116).

It'd be great, but that's really, really hard to do.


The 1930 Cubs hold the team record with 998 runs. I think I'm on solid ground in saying this year's Cubs won't do that. Since 1990 only one team -- the 1999 Indians -- has scored that many, scoring 1,009 runs. Also since 1990, only 32 teams have scored more than 900 runs, a little more than one per season. Only eight of those are N.L. teams, only three of those not named "Rockies."

The Cubs also scored a ton of runs in the 1929 pennant season -- 982. Both 1929 and 1930 were accomplished in a much higher-offense era than we are in now.

The Blue Jays scored 891 runs last year, which was 127 runs more than anyone else and 154 runs more than the N.L. leader, also the Rockies. Coming close to that would be pretty amazing, in my view. The most runs scored by any Cubs team since 1930 is 855, by the 2008 Cubs, who did some pretty incredible things, at least until October began. That year and 1970 (806) are the only times any Cubs team has scored 800 or more runs since 1935 (847).

If this year's team can match the run output of the 2008 team, they'll win a lot of games.

Run differential

Much has been made of the Cubs' +79 run differential. Through Friday, that was 35 runs better than anyone else (Cardinals) and equal to or better than the run total of eight other teams.

The team record for run differential in a season is +323, set in 1906 (704 runs scored, 381 allowed). In a year the team won 116 games, this should not surprise you.

The aforementioned 1930 Cubs, who hold the season record for runs, were +128 -- again, that's a year when offense was up across the board. Even the 107-win 1907 Cubs were just +184, in a very low-offense era. The great 1984 team? +104. 1945, a bit better at +203.

Last year's Blue Jays were +221. If the Cubs can get to that level, they'll win a lot of games.


Here's the one I mention in every recap, but if you missed the last one, here it is. The Cubs have walked 121 times in 22 games, or 5.5 per game. Entering Saturday's games, that was 21 more than anyone else (Pirates), and a pace for 891 on the season. The Cubs' team record is 650, set in 1975. They nearly broke that in 2008 (638). The National League record is 732 (1947 Dodgers). The major-league record is 835 (1949 Red Sox).

All of those marks are within reach. I think the Cubs' team record for walks will be shattered, they have a reasonable shot at the league mark, and an outside shot at the major-league record.

There are just a few of the things that this year's Cubs team might do. If they do, it will be the best Cubs regular season in my lifetime, and most likely yours as well.

And if they do that, hopefully it will also mean going on to a successful October.