Ruane: A look at run differentials

From SABR member Tom Ruane at Retrosheet on June 18, 2016:

At the close of play on May 14, 2016, the Chicago Cubs had outscored their opponents by more runs (110) than the Atlanta Braves had scored (109), with both teams having played 35 games. So that got me to wondering what was the latest into a season (by the total number of games the teams had played) where one team had a run differential greater than another team’s runs scored.

Well, it wasn’t all that uncommon during the National Association. For example, here is the list for 1875.


This list, like the ones below, only include teams that played roughly the same number of games (with a difference of less than ten). And only one entry is shown for each pairing (the one with the most combined number of games).

On October 13, 1875, only one other team in the National Association (the Athletics) had scored as many runs as Boston’s run differential. And Boston would have had many more entries on the list above had more teams approached the number of games played by the Red Stockings.

And the talent in 1876 wasn’t spread much more evenly.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 20, 2016. Last Updated: June 20, 2016.