FanPost

Cubs' biggest second-half free falls

It may be hard to remember now, but the Cubs had a winning record, 42-39, at the halfway point of the season.

Since then, through Sunday, they are 10-29.

Their .256 winning percentage in the second half so far is 263 points below their .519 at the end of the first half.

That .256 is 86 points lower than they have had in any prior second half. Their worst was .342, when they were 27-52 in 1956.

If they maintain their current .256 rate until the season ends, the Cubs will win 11 more games, ending the half at 21-60 and the season at 63-99.

To exceed the record low of .342, the Cubs would have to go 18-24 in their final 42 games, which would make them 28-43, .346.

Doing so would reduce their current drop of 263 points by 90, to 173 -- which still would be their third largest drop ever.

..........

HALF A SEASON

I defined the first half of a season as through 77 games of a 154-game schedule (1904-17 and 1920-61) and through 81 games of a 162-game seasons (1962-2021, which a few exceptions).

I defined the second half as all games after the 77th or 81st.

To simplify calculations, I ignored ties.

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WORST UNTIL NOW

At 263 points, this year's second-half drop is the Cubs' biggest ever, but by only 3 points. They plummeted 260 points in 1977, in which they went 51-30, .630, in the first half, then 30-51, .370, in the second.

Four years earlier, in 1973, they were 48-33, .593, at midseason, then tumbled to 29-51, .363, the rest of the way, for a drop of 230 points.

Those are the only 2 seasons in which their percentage fell by at least 200 points.

Their next-biggest drop was "just" 162 points, 101 fewer than their current slide. They fell by 162 twice.

The first of those 2 seasons was 1927, when they started 49-28, .636, but finished 36-40, .474.

The second was 1969, when a 52-28, .650, start was followed by a 40-42, .488, finish.

In only 1 other season did the Cubs' percentage fall by 150 points: 150 on the nose, in 1955, when they began 42-35, .545, and ended 30-46, .395.

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OTHER BIG DROPS

Here are the 9 other seasons in which their percentage dropped by at least 100 points, with record and percentage in first half, then second. (Ties omitted from calculation):

136: 1988 (44-37, .543, to 33-48, .407)

126: 1950 (37-40, .481, to 27-49, .355)

124: 1979 (45-36, .556, to 35-46, .432)

117: 1936 (48-29, .623, to 39-38, .506)

112: 1918 (53-23, .695, to 31-22, .585)

111: 1999 (38-43, .469, to 29-52, .358)

110: 1915 (40-35, .533, to 33-45, .423)

106: 1985 (43-38, .531, to 34-46, .425)

104: 1942 (38-39, .494, to 30-47, .390)

...

Note that the second half of 1918 lasted only 54 games, including 1 tie, as the season was cut short because of World War I.

...

Twice, the Cubs' second-half percentage was 99 points lower: 1963 (.457, from .556) and 2001 (.494, from .593).

In 1956, it fell by 98 points (.342, from .440).

A 94-point drop in 1987 (.425, from .519) was the only other decline by more than 86 points.

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WINNING AND LOSING HALVES

Of the 15 seasons in which their percentage dropped by 100 or more points, the Cubs had a winning record in both halves of just 2, 1918 and 1936.

They had a losing record in both halves of 3: 1942, 1950 and 1999.

...

This season is the 118th since the National League adopted a schedule of at least 154 games in 1904.

The Cubs have had a lower second-half winning percentage in 60 of the previous 117 seasons and a higher second-half percentage in 51. They had identical percentages in 6, most recently in 1996: 38-43, .469.

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BEST SECOND HALVES

In the first half of 1906, the Cubs were an impressive .688 (53-24), then improved upon that by 150 points in the second half: .838 (62-12).

Remarkably, they came close to matching that upswing twice.

In 1968, they went from .444 (36-45) to .593 (48-33), a gain of 149 points.

In 2017, they improved by 148, from .494 (40-41) to .642 (52-29).

They had only 2 other seasons in which their fortunes rose by more than 116 points: 1982 (136, to .519, from .383) and 1935 (130, to .714, from .584).

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OTHER BIG RISES

Here are the 7 other seasons in which their percentage rose by at least 100 points, with record and percentage in first half, then second. (Ties omitted from calculation):

116: 1981 (27-52, .342, to 11-13, .458)

111: 1966 (25-56, .309, to 34-47, .420)

111: 2015 (44-37, .543, to 53-28, .654)

106: 1944 (32-42, .432, to 43-37, .538)

106: 1953 (28-48, .368, to 37-41, .474)

104: 1933 (39-38, .506, to 47-30, .610)

100: 1908 (45-31, .592, to 54-24, .692)

Note that the second half of 1981 lasted only 25 games, including 1 tie, as the season was cut ended prematurely by a strike.

...

In 1913, the Cubs' second-half percentage was 97 points higher, .623 from .526. It was no higher than 87 points in any other season.

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ALL HALVES COMBINED

Before this season, since 1904, the Cubs' average difference between halves was 5 points lower in the second, .503, than in the first, .508.

They had won 145 more games than they lost in the first half but only 54 more in the second half.

Going into tonight, that second-half total stands at 35. It will fall below zero if the Cubs go 3-39 the rest of the way.

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WINS, LOSSES AND PERCENTAGES

First half

Most wins: 56, in 1907

Second-most wins: 53, in 1906 and 1918

More recent most wins: 52, in 1969; 51, in 1977 and 2016

Fewest wins: 25, in 1966

Second-fewest wins: 27, in 1957 and 1981

More recent fewest wins: 30, in 2006

...

Fewest losses: 20, in 1907

Second-fewest losses: 23, in 1918

More recent fewest losses: 28, in 1969; 30,in 1977 and 2016

Most losses: 56, in 1966

Second-most losses: 52, in 1981

More recent most losses: 51, in 2006; 50, in 2012

...

Highest winning percentage: .737, in 1907

Second-highest percentage: .697, in 1918

More recent highest percentage: .630, in 2016

..

Lowest winning percentage: .309, in 1966

Second-lowest percentage: .342, in 1981

More recent lowest percentage: .370, in 2006

..........

Second half

Most wins: 62, in 1906

Second-most wins: 55, in 1910 and 1935

More recent most wins: 53, in 2015; 52, in 2016 and 2017

Fewest wins: 27, in 1950 and 1956

(excludes 1981, when 11-13, and 1994, when 15-17)

Second-fewest wins: 27, in 1993

More recent fewer wins: 30, in 2012

...

Fewest losses: 12, in 1906

Second-fewest losses: 22, in 1909, 1910 and 1935

(excludes 1981 and 1994)

More recent fewest losses: 28, in 2015 and 2016

Most losses: 52, in 1956, 1962, 1980 and 1999

Second-fewest losses: 51, in 1973, 1974, 1977 and 2012

...

Highest winning percentage: .838, in 1906

Second-highest percentage: .714, in 1910 and 1935

More recent highest percentage: .654, in 2015

...

Lowest winning percentage: .342, in 1956 (current is .256)

Second-lowest percentage: .355, in 1950

More recent lowest percentages: .370, in 2012, and .383, in 2013

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