Placing the Dodgers' run into historical perspective

Harry How

Have you been wondering where the Dodgers' recent 42-8 run ranks in major-league history?

C'mon, you know you have been. Fortunately, Jason Lukehart's done all the work and has this handy-dandy list:

1) 45-5 (1906 Cubs)

2) 43-7 (1912 Giants)

3) 42-8 (1941 Yankees, 1942 Cardinals, 2013 Dodgers)

6) 41-9 (1909 Pirates, 1913 Giants, 1914 Athletics, 1931 Athletics, 1938 Yankees, 1939 Yankees, 1944 Cardinals, 1946 Red Sox, 1953 Dodgers, 1975 Reds, 1998 Yankees)

17) 40-10 (1902 Pirates, 1907 Cubs, 1910 Cubs, 1928 Yankees, 1929 Athletics, 1947 Yankees, 1951 Indians, 1953 Yankees, 1954 Giants, 1954 Indians, 1977 Royals, 1977 Yankees, 2001 Athletics, 2001 Mariners, 2005 Athletics)

As you might expect, these are all fantastic teams. Just eyeballing them, I'm seeing just one club that did not qualify for the postseason: the 1951 Indians, who wound up 93-61 for the season, five games behind the pennant-winning Yankees. You might notice the Indians won 40 of 50 in 1954, too, which means they're one of the very few clubs with two 40-10 (or better) runs within a five-season stretch.

Which is a good reminder that the Indians in that era, despite winning just one pennant, were consistently excellent. Their winning percentages from 1948 through 1956:

.626 (won World Series)
.578
.597
.604
.604
.597
.721 (lost World Series)
.604
.571

Just imagine being an Indians fan during that stretch of mostly second-place seasons, the brass ring seemingly so close. And of course when the Indians did actually ace out the Yankees in 1954, they were swept in the World Series by another New York team. And people wonder why midwesterners can be resentful ...

Oh, now I've read the whole article, and the 2005 Athletics also missed the postseason. As did the 1902 Pirates, for the simple reason that the postseason didn't exist that year.

It's been pointed out many times already that no team has gone 42-8 since World War II, but I think it's more meaningful to point out that only 14 teams have won at least 40 of 50 games since World War II. No, that's not as impressive. But yes, it does give us a better idea about the rarity of the Dodgers' fundamental performance during this recent stretch. Of course they've been incredible. But they belong in a group with the 2005 A's almost exactly as much as they belong in a group with the 1942 Cardinals.

For much more about baseball's hottest team, please visit SB Nation's True Blue LA.


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