I don’t know if anyone else does this, or if it’s just me – but each year I find myself comparing the current baseball season to past seasons. I try to find similar performances, or I often compare the Indians’ record on a certain date to a past year on that same date. So I decided to look at where the Indians were after 123 games in prior seasons where they went to the playoffs. A 7.5 game lead isn’t anything to sneeze at, but when you’re a paranoid person like me, you know it could evaporate quickly if something were to go wrong. I seemed to remember the Indians holding much larger divisional leads at this point in the season in years past, and I wanted to see if my memory was faulty.
So here is the comparison between 2016 and prior playoff seasons during the Jacobs Field era, after 123 games:
2016: 72-51, 7.5 game lead
2013: 66-57, 6 games back in division (End of season: 92-70, 1 game back in division)
2007: 68-55, 1.5 game lead (End of season: 96-66, 8 game lead)
2001: 69-54, 4.5 game lead (End of season: 91-71, 6 game lead)
1999: 76-47, 17 game lead (End of season: 97-65, 21.5 game lead)
1998: 68-55, 12.5 game lead (End of season: 89-73, 9 game lead)
1997: 65-58, 4 game lead (End of season: 86-75, 6 game lead)
1996: 74-49, 6.5 game lead (End of season: 99-62, 14.5 game lead)
1995: 86-37, 23.5 game lead (End of season: 100-44, 30 game lead in shortened, 144-game season)
For some reason, I thought the Indians had a much bigger lead at this point in August of 2007, but I was wrong. I remembered 2001 as being more dominant as well, but they were lagging slightly behind the 2016 team at this point in the season.
Overall, this season fares much better comparatively than I thought it would. (Proof that memories and perception can often be hazy). I fully realized that the 1995 season was off the charts, but at this point in the season that team already had 86 wins. I mean, that just seems bonkers.
I know that it was a little bizarre to randomly do this after 123 games, but I was thinking about this late Monday night and curiosity got the best of me. I figured I’d share in case anyone else finds themselves doing these weird little comparisons.