ABCL: Team Preview – 1906 Chicago Cubs

TEAM PREVIEW

cubs_1906

1906 Chicago Cubs

W:  116  L:  36   PCT: .763

1906Cubs

 The 1906 Cubs are known for a gaudy record, to say the least.  116 wins, with only 36 losses.  The W-L record, instead of being the “Lighthouse” for how great this team was in 1906, becomes a riddle when you consider they lost the 1906 World Series to a much lesser foe, the 1906 crosstown AL Champion White Sox.  The Cubs known for their pitching, the likes of Three-Finger Mordicai Brown who finished 26-6 with a 1.04 ERA along with Jack Pfeister who went 20-8 with a 1.51 ERA at the top of the rotation.  The bottom half of the 4-man rotation would be 2 more pitchers worthy of being at the top of any team’s rotation.  Ed Ruelbach, 19-4 with a 1.65 ERA and Carl Lundgren, 17-6 with a 2.21 ERA.

   Three-Finger Brown/Jack Pfiester

Mordecai_Brown_3_fingers

3 images, showing Mordecai Brown’s 3 mangled fingers … and a thumb

Ed Reulbach/Carl Lundgren

It was a different era for baseball, where pitching and the Hit&Run style offense ruled and a baseball which allowed the era to be nicknamed “deadball”.  The Cubs staff ERA was 1.75.  This was at least a half-run better than the rest of the NL, with the next closest team having a 2.21 ERA (the Pirates).  Placing the 1906 Cubs into this 4-team scramble might not be all that fair, and I am not referring to the other 3 teams.  It might not be fair to the 1906 Cubs.  Their game with their pitching, and ability to manufacture runs, probably plays out accurately in a replay of the 1906 season.  But up against the power of the 1953 Dodgers, and the hitting of the 1927 Pirates, might be too much for their pitching staff to overcome in this version of “cross-era” baseball.  The 1969 Mets, while lacking the hitting of the Dodgers and Pirates, might also pose a struggle for the ’06 Cubs, since the Mets are well equiped with plenty of starting pitching and solid relief pitching.

Grade-wise the Cubs will have no less than 3 A&C hurlers.  This will be their chance at rising to the top of this 4 team group.  If they can limit the number of base runners, while hoping when the long ball strikes, it is with the bases empty, they might be able to string together some nice winning streaks.  The #4 starter in the rotation, Lundgren, is a grade A pitcher, meaning he will usually be facing off vs a B starter at best, and more likely facing a C starter and even a few D starters.

06cubs_rotation

(The best 4-man rotation in APBA Baseball?)

The lineup for the Cubs is an entirely different nut to crack.  Not including the pitchers hitting numbers (my league uses a DH), the Cubs hit .274 as a team, with an OBP of .341 and a slugging PCT of only .357.  That is an OPS of .698.  Comparing to the other 3 teams in ABCL Season 1, the ’27 Pirates OPS of .773, the ’53 Dodgers OPS of .840, only the ’69 Mets OPS of .662 is lower than that of the ’06 Cubs.  While the Mets .662 OPS is lower than the Cubs .698 OPS, the Mets at least have some bats in the lineup who can hurt you with one swing of the bat.  The Mets pitching might have an easier time shutting down the Cubs lineup, than the Cubs pitching shutting down the Mets lineup.

06cubs_of

(1906 Cubs outfield)

The ’06 Cubs hitting strategy will be to use the Hit&Run when the opportunity presents itself.  2 players have 3 31’s on their cards for the ’06 Cubs, meaning they are prime H&R options when at the plate, especially when the runner 1st base has an “11” on his card.  The “31” result with the H&R on, turns what is normally a fly out to CF, into a line drive single.  With 3 31’s on an APBA card (some cards only have 1 31) you now have 3 more chances in 36 to end up with a base-hit instead of an out.  The other 7 starting players in the Cubs lineup have 2 31’s, meaning the H&R can be used anywhere in the lineup with success.  I use the latest Basic Game booklet from APBA Game Co., which also means there will be more chances for the H&R to fail, which was not the case with the old version of the H&R option (it is now more realistic).  A PRN of 13 with the H&R on means a strike on the batter, but the runner on 1st is thrown out stealing 2nd (regardless to whether or not he has an “11” on his card).  The old H&R option resulted in the “13” result to be a strike on the batter, with the “11” aided baserunner stealing 2B.  Leading the Cubs in hitting was Harry Steinfeldt, .327 BA and a .395 OBP.  1stbaseman/Manager Frank Chance hit .319 with a .419 OBP.  Catcher Johnny Kling hit .312 with a .357 OBP.  While not much for power, the team did hit 71 triples to go with 181 doubles and 20 HR.  Frank Schulte led the team with 7 HR.  On the other hand, the Cubs could steal bases, and steal bases they did.  283 steals in all, led by of all people, 1stbaseman/manger Frank Chance, with 57.  It only made sense the manager, confident in his own abilities to read the pitcher, called for his own steal more than for another player.

Harry Steinfeldt (3B-5)/Johnny Kling (C-8)

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Defensively, the Cubs are adequate, and more than adequate at certain positions.  While the NY Giant fan’s poetic refrain was more hype than show, Tinker (SS-9) to Evers (2B-7) to Chance (1B-4) will make outs for the Cubs.  The team infield rating will be stuck at a Fielding-Two, unless there is a P-2 on the mound.  I expect the double-plays turned will still pile up for the Cubs, especially with a Fielding One 3rdbaseman (Steinfeldt, 3B-5) helping turn the DP on PRN #27.

tinkers_evers_chance

(Tinkers to Evers to Chance)

 tinker_evers_chance_2

1906 Chicago Cubs Schedule:

nl_1906_chicago

Games 1-2, (13-14, 25-26):  ’06 Cubs at ’69 Mets

Games 3-4, (15-16, 27-28):  ’53 Dodgers at ’06 Cubs

Games 5-6, (17-18, 29-30):  ’27 Pirates at ’06 Cubs

Games 7-8, (19-20, 31-32):  ’69 Mets at ’06 Cubs

Games 9-10, (21-22, 33-34):  ’06 Cubs at ’53 Dodgers

Games 11-12, (23-24, 35-36):  ’06 Cubs at ’27 Pirates

1906_all_chicago_WS

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APBA BASEBALL CHALLENGE LEAGUE – SEASON 1:

(Up next, the 1969 New York Mets)

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