It’s a long season ahead. Every fan has a friend or significant other that reminds us of that whenever we suffer a loss. But Red Sox fans know that every game counts and that postseason plans can be dashed by a couple of games, or even just one.
Getting out of the gate strong is valuable not just for the wins, but for the psyche of a team. Last year marked the 44th time since 1914 that the Red Sox started the first 30 games of a season with a sub .500 record.
1946 was a special year for the Red Sox. Six Boston players earned spots on the American’s League’s Top 20 batting averages of the season, led by Ted Williams (.342), Johnny Pesky (.335), and Dom DiMaggio (.316), for 2nd, 4th, and 7th-best in the AL that year, respectively. 1946 set the franchise record for best win percentage over Boston’s first 30 games: 24 wins, a remarkable 80% win percentage. That record is tied for the 3rd best win percentage over the first 30 games in all of baseball since 1914. Only the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers (25) and the 1984 Tigers (26) have had more.
The Red Sox came tantalizingly close to their franchise record with 23 wins over their first 30 games of 2002. The World Series Champions of 2007 and 2013 each notched 20 wins, tied with 8 other Red Sox teams for the 6th-most wins over the first 30 games.
Recovering from a tough start
In 1914 the then-Boston Braves won the World Series despite amassing the fewest wins by any team over their first 30 games since that time. The Braves won just 9 of 30 games that season but overcame that deficit to finish first in the National League with a 94-59 record. They met up the AL Champion Philadelphia Athletics (99-53), sweeping them in four straight games led by Hank Gowdy and Johnny Evers, who combined to go 13-for-27 (.482) in the Fall Classic.
Since the 1914 Braves just 8 other teams have won the World Series when opening the season with a sub .500 win percentage over the first 30 games:
- 1942 Cardinals, .483
- 1915 Red Sox, .483
- 1925 Pirates, .467
- 2009 Yankees, .467
- 1969 Mets, .467
- 1924 Washington Senators, .448
- 1926 Cardinals, .433
- 1979 Pirates, .400
- 1914 Boston Braves, .310
With the exciting moves in the 2015 offseason fans will be keenly focused on a restoration of Red Sox power. Here are some Red Sox offensive records for the first 30 games:
- Most hits: 327 (2002)
- Most home runs: 43 (1969)
- Most RBI: 183 (1950)
- Highest batting average: .305 (2002)
- Highest on-base percentage: .394 (1950)
- Highest slugging percentage: .482 (2002)
- Most walks: 179 (1946)
- Most doubles: 84 (2012)
- Most triples: 20 (1934)
- Most stolen bases: 40 (1918)