Stoler: Finishing the season strong: The 1908 pennant races

From SABR member Mark Stoler at Things Have Changed on August 18, 2016:

On the evening of August 18, 1908, the Pittsburgh Pirates, led by their great shortstop, Honus Wagner, sat atop the National League with a record of 64 win and 40 losses.  They finished the season even stronger, winning 34 of their last 50 games, a .680 winning percentage.  The Pirates did not win the pennant.

The New York Giants were in second place that night, sitting 2 games behind Pittsburgh.  Over the next seven weeks, they’d outdo the Pirates, winning 36 of their last 50, a winning percentage of .720.  The Giants also failed to win the pennant.

On that same evening, the Chicago Cubs were in third, 5 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh and only a half game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.  But the Cubs would win 40 of their last 49 (including 9 of 11 against the Pirates and Giants), scoring 232 runs and yielding only 94, to win the race by one game.  Remarkably, it was only the second hottest streak by the Cubs in their historic run from 1906 to 1910, during which they captured four pennants.  In 1906, they’d won 37 of 39 games from mid-August to mid-September and ended the season going 48-6 (for more, see Cubs Hot Streak Ends).  The 1909 club won 37 of its last 51 contests.  Coincidentally, that adds up to 154 games, giving them a 125-29 record over their three season ending streaks.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 19, 2016. Last Updated: August 19, 2016.