Chicago Cubs: Taking a look at the Cubs’ top starting rotations in franchise history

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Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

#4: 1906

It’s tough to rate a starting pitching staff from the early 1900’s since in those days pretty much the entire pitching staff consisted of starters. The practice at the time was to run a starter out to the mound until he really could not pitch anymore.

So relief appearances were a rare occurrence and complete games were the norm.

From our viewpoint, the numbers from 1906 staff are incredible. Of the four pitchers who pitched more than 200 innings, three of them had an ERA under 2.00. Two of those pitchers averaged less than 1.0 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched).

They boasted two 20-game winners. Staff ace, Mordecai Brown, gave up 32 earned runs all year. Oh, and the team won a record 116 games (though they lost to the White Sox in the World Series).

Now we have to place those pitching numbers in the context of the early 1900’s (the 116 wins is impressive no matter what era). In 1906, There were eight 20-game winners. There were six guys who pitched over 200 innings and had sub-2.00 ERAs.

But here is where the Cubs separate: three of those sub-2.00 pitchers were Cubs. In fact, the top three ERAs belonged to Cubs (Brown, Jack Pfiester and Ed Reulbach). Not surprisingly, the Cubs top pitchers had impressive WAR (Brown: 7.1, Pfiester: 4.7, Reulbach: 4.6, Carl Lundgren: 2.5).

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