From 1906 to 1908 the Chicago Cubs dominated baseball winning 322 games vs just 136 losses for a winning percentage of .703. That is the highest winning percentage any team has ever had over a three year span in baseball history. The Cub made the World Series each year and won two of those World Series.
Despite such greatness each Chicago Cubs team from 1906-1908 had weaknesses which prevent any one of the teams from being considered the greatest baseball team of all-time.
1906 Chicago Cubs
In 1906 the Cubs set the all-time record for wins in a season with 116 and for winning percentage for a year at .763. Led by Hall of Fame players Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown the Cubs rolled through the regular season like no team has before or since.
The 1906 Cubs had no real weaknesses offensively or in their pitching
Every single Cubs starting position player scored runs at a rate above the National League average of .111 in 1906 (4,389 runs in 39,649 at-bats).
Every Cubs pitcher with at least 10 starts had an ERA below the NL average ERA of 2.62. Though both Fred Beebe (2.70 ERA) who started 6 games and pitched in 14 and Bob Wicker (2.99 ERA) who started 8 games and pitched in 10 had ERA’s above the league average. Still the Cubs had no real weaknesses in pitching.
But the 1906 Chicago Cubs lost the World Series to their crosstown rivals the Chicago White Sox 4-2. No team that loses the World Series can be considered the greatest team ever. A loss in the World Series could signal that the Cubs had beat up on inferior competition in 1906 in the National League.
To be considered the greatest team ever a team has to win the last game played in a baseball year.
1907 Chicago Cubs
The 1907 Cubs went 107-45 (.704) and swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. But the 1907 Cubs had weaknesses in both their offense and pitching.
In 1907 in the National League the average ERA was 2.46 and the average player scored a run at a rate of .106 (4,184 runs in 39,337 at-bats).
SS Joe Tinker – scored 36 runs in 402 AB’s for run average of .090
3B Harry Steinfeldt – scored 52 runs in 542 AB’s for run average of .096
P Jack Taylor – 13 starts, 18 games, 123 innings pitched with 3.29 ERA
All three players performed well below the National League averages in 1907.
1908 Chicago Cubs
The 1908 Cubs went 99-55 and beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in the World Series. Every single starting position player on the 1908 Cubs scored runs at a rate above the National League average of .103.
However the Cubs had weakness in their starting pitching. The ERA in the NL in 1908 averaged 2.35.
P Carl Lundgren – 15 starts, 23 games, 138.2 innings pitched with a 4.22 ERA
Though not a huge weakness the pitching of Carl Lundgren was a weakness the Cubs had in 1908 that other teams in baseball history did not have.
The 1906-1908 Chicago Cubs Among Best Teams Ever but Cannot Be Considered the Greatest
The Chicago Cubs dominated baseball from 1906-1908 fielding some of the greatest teams in baseball history. But none of the Cubs teams over the three years can be considered the greatest team of all-time.
The 1906 Cubs had no real weaknesses on offense or in pitching but they lost the World Series. A team cannot lose the World Series and be considered the best team of all-time.
The 1907 and 1908 Cubs teams both won the World Series but both teams had weaknesses that other teams in baseball history who also won the World Series did not have and therefore neither team can be considered the greatest baseball team of all-time.
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