Roadkilling the competition

When last we met, I described the oddity of the Milwaukee Brewers having more wins at home than the Astros had all year.  Turns out its happened in 65 different seasons from 1904-2010.

So, the obvious follow-up question is . . . has a team ever won more road games than another team’s win total for an entire season?

Well, given that since 1901, road teams have won 45.6% of all games played, its understandably rarer, but its not an impossibility.  From 1904-1961 (58 seasons), there were 24 years in which this occurred.  In the 49 seasons since, its only occurred four times.  Here’s the full list from 1904-2010, with the differences in each season:

Year Best total road wins Worst total wins Diff
1904 50 38 12
1905 51 48 3
1906 60 49 11
1907 53 49 4
1908 56 49 7
1909 57 42 15
1911 50 44 6
1912 54 50 4
1915 49 43 6
1916 48 36 12
1919 45 36 9
1923 52 50 2
1927 53 51 2
1928 53 43 10
1932 45 43 2
1935 48 38 10
1937 47 46 1
1939 54 43 11
1941 50 43 7
1942 47 42 5
1945 49 46 3
1952 51 42 9
1954 52 51 1
1961 51 47 4
1962 48 40 8
1965 51 50 1
2003 51 43 8
2004 52 51 1

Some notes about the biggest differences:

  • 1904: Its the same pair of teams as in the “home wins” situation.  Here, the New York Giants’ 50 road wins outpaced the Washington Senator’s 38 total wins.
  • 1906: As part of their historic 116-36 record (best winning percentage in a season, at .763), the Chicago Cubs went an amazing 60-15 on the road (setting records for road wins and road winning percentage).  On the other end of the scale, the NL’s Boston Beaneaters and AL’s Boston Americans each won 49 games the entire season.
  • 1909: The Cubs had another solid season away from home, winning 57 road games (though they finished six games back of the pennant-winning Pirates). Meanwhile, the Washington Senators were having another wretched campaign, going 42-110.
  • 1916: The Boston Braves led the majors with (only) 48 road wins, but that was good enough to overwhelm the futility of the Philadelphia Athletics, who set a post-1900 record for worst season winning percentage (.235), based on their 36-117 ledger.
  • 1939: The Yanks ran away with the AL pennant by 17 games, thanks in large part to a 54-20 mark away from the Bronx.  The St. Louis Browns, with their 6.01 team ERA, struggled to a 43-111 finish.

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