Cubs' most games without a day off

Every season, there is a lot of discussion about how many days in a row the Cubs must play a game.

The collective bargaining agreement between the players association and owners says a team may not play more 20 straight days unless its agrees to do so.

The longest scheduled stretch for the Cubs without a day off this season is 16 games.

They have done it once already, April 25-May 10, and will do it again, July 25-Aug. 9.

The Cubs have a day off separating stretches of 9 and 13 games, 10 and 16 games, and 12 and 13 games.

If any of those days are needed for makeup games, they could play 23, 27 or 25 days in a row.

None of those would come close to their record for most consecutive days on the field.



In Major League Baseball's early days, most teams could not play more than 6 days in a row because of laws that prohibited baseball on Sunday.

The American Association, founded in 1882, permitted games on the Sabbath, and 3 teams that had switched to the National League were allowed to continue to do so in 1892.

The Cubs followed suit in 1893.

But Sunday baseball was not allowed in Boston until 1903; in Brooklyn, 1904; in New York, 1917; and in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 1934.

The Cubs thus spent many a Sunday, between games, sitting in hotels or sight seeing.



"Western" teams, such as the Cubs and Cardinals, would embark on "Eastern swings," and "Eastern" teams on "Western swings" that lasted 3 weeks or more.

Often, the Cubs would conclude a home stand on Sunday, then not play an NL game again until Friday, as they journeyed by train to Boston, New York or Brooklyn.

They frequently played exhibition games each day along the way, at towns in Michigan, Ontario and upstate New York.

There was usually a day off at the end of a prolonged road trip, too, especially if the final game were east of Pittsburgh.



The introduction of the All-Star Game, in 1933, guaranteed a break in the schedule each July.

From the 1930s through 1960s, the Cubs averaged about a dozen Sunday doubleheaders per year. Many of these were followed by a day off on Monday.

When the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, in 1958, the Cubs typically spent a day traveling west and another returning home.

And, of course, postponements could break up a long stretch of scheduled games.



The Cubs' longest stretch of consecutive days playing in the 19th Century was 23 days, in 1893.

In 1901, first season of the Modern Era, they played 29 straight days, July 4-Aug. 1.

They played 21 and 20 in 1906, and 22 in 1908.

They didn't surpass those 22 in any of the next 14 seasons.

Then, in 1923, they played an incredible 33 straight days, a number they have exceeded only once in the past century.



Following back-to-back losing seasons, the Cubs had finished with a winning record in 1922, going 80-74-2. But that was only good for fifth place in the 8-team league.

They lost their season opener in 1923, at home against the Pirates, then won 7 in a row.

The next day, April 25, they played at Pittsburgh, first stop on a 29-day tour of all 7 other NL cities.


They had 2 scheduled days off during the odyssey: Monday, May 7, while traveling from St. Louis to New York, and Sunday, May 20, in Boston.

Games at Pittsburgh, New York, Brooklyn and Boston were prevented by rain or cold, with only the game at Brooklyn made up right away, so the Cubs wound up playing 23 games during the trip.

A 6-4 loss at Boston in the finale, on Wednesday, May 23, made the Cubs' record 8-15 on the trip and 15-16 overall, leaving them in fourth place, 8.5 games out of first.

"Bad luck in the shape of injuries and poor weather pursued the Bears in nearly every city," Frank Schreiber wrote in the Chicago Tribune on Friday, May 25, "and all the boys were glad to get back to their own diggings."



They wouldn't enjoy the comforts of home for long, however. They played 2 games each against the Reds and Pirates, Friday through Monday, then headed back onto the road.

The Cubs beat the Reds twice, lifting them to third place.

They lost to the Pirates on Sunday, then rallied for a 5-4 win on Monday, tying the game with 2 runs in the ninth and winning on a double and walk-off single in the 11th.

On Tuesday, at Pittsburgh, the Cubs led, 5-1, midway through the fifth, only to lose, 7-6, and slip back to fourth in the standings.

Wednesday was Memorial Day. The teams played a morning-afternoon doubleheader, with the Cubs losing both games, 5-4 and 10-2.



The Cubs' next stop was Cincinnati, where they lost 3 in a row on Thursday through Saturday, by scores 3-2, 5-3 and 2-1.

On Sunday, they led, 4-0, going to the bottom of the ninth. The Reds scored 3 runs and had a runner on third before the Cubs secured the final out to end their 6-game losing streak.

On Monday, it was the Cubs' turn to rally. Trailing, 6-3, after 8 innings, they sent 5 men across the plate in the ninth, then held on for an 8-7 win.

Then the Cubs returned home, having played on 11 straight days, with a record of 5-7. They were 20-23 overall and in sixth place, 12 games behind.



They began a 16-game home stand on Tuesday, June 5, with an 8-3 loss to the Giants.

Then they beat the Giants twice and took 5 straight against the Braves. The last win, 12-11 on June 12, boosted the Cubs back to third place, 8 games back.

The rest of the home stand was peculiar, to say the least. The Cubs never won 2 in a row. But they never lost 2 in a row, either.

They alternated losses and wins in 4 games against the Robins, today's Dodgers, then did the same in 4 vs. the Phillies.

That stretch ended with a 16-1 rout on Wednesday, June 20, in which all 9 starters and 2 replacements all made at least 1 hit.

The Cubs now had played on 27 consecutive days, going 16-12.



They spent the next 3 days in St. Louis, where they won twice before losing on Saturday and heading home again.

On Sunday, June 24, a crowd of 20,500 gathered at Cubs Park to watch Grover Cleveland Alexander blank the Reds on 3 hits.

But on Monday, the Cubs squandered a 3-1 first-inning lead and lost, 6-5.

And on Tuesday, they tied the score with a leadoff homer in the eighth, but wound up losing, 4-3, when the first batter for the Reds homered in the 14th.


The Tribune's account of the game in its June 27 edition concluded:

"Today is an off day for the Bears, the St. Louis Cards coming tomorrow."

Over 33 consecutive days, the Cubs had played 34 games.

They had won 19 and lost 15, ending the stretch with a record of 34-31, in fourth place, 9.5 games to the rear.



After their long-awaited day of rest, the Cubs played 4 games against the Cardinals, then 4 more against the Reds, capped by a Fourth of July doubleheader, in which each team won a game by 6-3.

By the time the holiday was over, the Cubs had played on 40 of 41 days.

They were rewarded with 2 straight days off, the first of which they spent on a train bound for Boston.



The Cubs played on 26 straight days in 1931, then on 27 in 1949, 1967, 1968 and 1974.

In 1975, the Cubs were rained out at Atlanta on June 11. They played a doubleheader the next day, beginning a stretch of 32 consecutive days, 1 shy of their record, in which they played 36 games.

Remarkably, the only makeup game on any day was part of a doubleheader at Pittsburgh. The original schedule had no days off for the Cubs between June 12 and July 13, the Sunday before the break for the All-Star Game.

Had the game on June 11 not been postponed, the Cubs would have played 41 days in a row, as they also had played each day from June 3-10.

Their 32 days in a row consisted of:

Doubleheader at Atlanta (0-2)

7 games at home vs. Reds (1-2) and Phillies (2-2)

3 at St. Louis (1-2)

3 at Montreal (2-1)

6 in 4 days at Pittsburgh (1-5)

4 at New York (1-3)

4 at home vs. Pirates (1-3)

3 at home vs. Padres (1-2)

3 at home vs. Giants (2-1)

The Cubs had been 29-26, just 2 games out of first, before the stretch began. Their 13-23 performance left them 42-49, 14.5 games behind.



Ten years later, in 1985, the Cubs shattered their 1923 record by playing a staggering 41 days in a row.

The original schedule called for 16 straight, Aug. 20-Sept. 4, then a 3-game weekend series, another day off and 20 games in as many days, Sept. 10-29.

But players had gone on strike on Aug. 6. The dispute was ended after just 2 days, when the Cubs were to have played at St. Louis.

Their only remaining series at St. Louis was the final weekend of the season, so the August games were made up on the 2 scheduled days off in September, resulting in the 41 consecutive days with a game for the Cubs:

3 games at Atlanta (3-0)

3 at Cincinnati (1-2)

3 at Houston (1-2)

4 at home vs. Braves (2-2)

3 at home vs. Astros (0-3)

1 at St. Louis (0-1)

3 at home vs. Reds (1-1-1)

1 at St. Louis (1-0)

3 at Pittsburgh (1-2)

3 at home vs. Cardinals (0-3)

2 at Montreal (1-1)

2 at New York (0-2)

3 at Philadelphia (3-0)

2 at home vs. Expos (0-2)

2 at home vs. Mets (1-1)

3 at home vs. Phillies (3-0)

The Cubs had been 56-59, in fourth place, 14 games out of first, when the stretch began. They went 18-22-1 and still were fourth, at 74-81-1, but 23.5 games behind.



The Cubs' most consecutive days with a game since then has been 27 games, in 1995.

They played 26 in a row in 2007, 24 in 2004 and 2016, 23 in 2007, 22 in 2009 and 21 in 2013.

The last time they played on 20 straight days was Aug. 22-Sept. 10, 2017.


Since 1876, the Cubs have played at least 20 days without a break 55 times: 42 of 20-24 days, 10 of 25-29 and 1 each of 32, 33 and 41.

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