Coming from behind


Sep 28, 2014
SABR member Bob Mecca published a paper back in January, using the Retrosheet Game Logs, to determine the following questions:

(1) Since 1903 – the first year of the modern World Series – has a team ever been 15 games under .500 and made the playoffs

Boston Braves 1914 and Houston Astros were the two out of 850 teams that had been at least 15 games below .500 during a season who managed to make the playoffs.

Because there were so few, he dropped the criterion to 10+ games below .500 and found another ten that made the playoffs.

(2) Has a team ever been 15 games below .500 and finished at or above .500?

Of the 881 teams dipping 15 games below .500, only 13 finished above .500

(3) Conversely, has a team ever been 15 games above .500 and finished under .500?

Expanding the search back to 1901, he found 14 teams that were at least 15 games over .500 at one point that finished under .500.

(4) Has a team ever been over .500 by 15 or more games and under .500 by 15 or more games in the same season?

Finally, there were four clubs that were both at least 15 game under and over 15 the .500 mark in one season with the 1914 Braves, who won the NL title by 10.5 games, then swept the Philadelphia Athletics in the Word Series being one..

The complete paper is at: