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Putting the Braves’ start in historical context

Apr 14, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Getty Images

Baseball has been around for a long, long time. But only 31 teams have ever started a season 11-1 or 12-0 in their first 12 games. The Braves became the 31st this afternoon with a 9-0 win over the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals, wrapping up a series sweep. They have now won nine consecutive games.

Only four other teams have accomplished the feat since 2000: the 2002 Cleveland Indians, the 2003 Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants, and the 2009 Florida Marlins. Coincidentally, of those four teams, only the Giants reached the post-season. In fact, the other three won 87 games or fewer. A hot start is no guarantee of long-term success.

Ten of the 31 teams accomplished the feat in the 19th century and an additional three occurred prior to the end of the Dead Ball Era. Since 1988, only six teams joined the club. So, we’re talking about a feat that happens in the contemporary era about once every four years.

The list:

Team Year W-L Tot W-L Rnk Postseason
BOS 1872 11-1 39-8 1 NA Pennant
BOS 1874 12-0 52-18 1 NA Pennant
HAR 1875 12-0 54-28 3
BOS 1875 12-0 71-8 1 NA Pennant
CHC 1879 11-1 46-33 4
CHC 1880 11-1 67-17 1 NL Pennant
PHA 1883 11-1 66-32 1 AA Pennant
SLM 1884 12-0 94-19 1 UA Pennant
NYG 1884 12-0 62-50 4
DTN 1887 11-1 79-45 1 WS Champ
DET 1911 11-1 89-65 2
PHI 1915 11-1 90-62 1 NL Pennant
NYG 1918 11-1 71-53 2
NYG 1938 11-1 83-67 3
BRO 1940 11-1 88-65 2
BRO 1955 11-1 98-55 1 WS Champ
PIT 1962 11-1 93-68 4
CLE 1966 11-1 81-81 5
BAL 1966 11-1 97-63 1 WS Champ
CHC 1969 11-1 92-70 2
CIN 1980 11-1 89-73 3
OAK 1981 11-1 64-45 1 Division Champ
ATL 1982 12-0 89-73 1 Division Champ
DET 1984 11-1 104-58 1 WS Champ
MIL 1987 12-0 91-71 3
ATL 1994 11-1 68-46 2
CLE 2002 11-1 74-88 3
SFG 2003 11-1 100-61 1 Division Champ
KCR 2003 11-1 83-79 3
FLA 2009 11-1 87-75 2
ATL 2013 11-1 ? ? ?
  1. proudlyfrenchcanadian - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Not a fan of the Braves, but the utter domination both offensively and defensively sure is fun to watch!

  2. atltoarizona - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Danny Espinosa approves of this article.

  3. randygnyc - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Assuming the braves stay healthy, I have them heavily favored as the best NL team.

  4. Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    How was a team WS champs in 1887?

    • Bill Baer - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      It was called the World Series then, too.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1887_WS.shtml

      • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM

        I see. Baseball just doesn’t recognize it if the AL wasn’t involved, then?

      • hittfamily - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:32 AM

        When Christofer Hitchens used to demolish someone, they’d call it a Hitch-slap. Kevin, you just got Baer-hugged!!!

      • hittfamily - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:33 AM

        …or Baer-trapped!

      • hittfamily - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:35 AM

        or Baer-boned. Ha! Now I’m cracking myself up.

  5. mrfloydpink - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    In other words, the Phillies fan Baer is telling Braves fan Calcaterra to suck it.

    • atltoarizona - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Annnnnnnd Phillies fans find another way to make the article about them.

    • mrfloydpink - Apr 15, 2013 at 6:26 AM

      Try again, chuckles. First of all, I’m an Angels fan. Second, the comment had nothing to do with the teams in question, and everything with the dynamics of the blog. If Gleeman had written the column, I would have written the same thing, except with ‘Twins fan Gleeman’ in place of ‘Phillies fan Baer.’

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        lol, I was all set to “defend” you…..

        You may be Syd Barrett, but you ain’t no Phillies fan ;)

  6. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    I’m happy they’re kicking the Nationals collectives asses.

  7. tfbuckfutter - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    My favorite part of this research is that it underscores just how hard it is for the Royals to accomplish anything…..

    For them to actually finish a season above .500 they have to begin by doing something only 28 teams in history have ever accomplished.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      This is quality comedy right here.

  8. stercuilus65 - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    Something that happens only about once every four years.

  9. mungman69 - Apr 15, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Yes, Atlanta is hot ( and good. ) but they aren’t running away in that division.

  10. bravojawja - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Now let’s see the list of how many teams have gone 11-1 or 12-0 in the middle of the season and gone to the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three teams do it at some point in any year. It’s a less than 10% stretch of the season, nothing to make October plans for.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Phillies once went 13-0 mid season, and didn’t even end with a winning record!

      That said – this was a team of Tommy Greene, Bruce Ruffin, Darren Fletcher, Dickie Thon…..Von Hayes was the stud.

  11. chalkruz1989 - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    The Atlanta Braves are playing out-of-their minds right now and I’ve been enjoying every second of it. I was at the game yesterday at Nationals Park and it was refreshing to see how many Braves fans were in attendance. Sure the winning has a lot to do with that but they have been lacking the strong fan turnouts.

    The winning streak is more impressive considering the performances from B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, and Dan Uggla. Factor in that Brian McCan is out and the recipe for long term winning is there.

  12. officialgame - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    It would be nice if those Brave fans went to their home games.

    • bravojawja - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Yeah, that 35,000+ average so far is just terrible.

  13. kalinedrive - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    If they’re at 35-5 after 40 games I’ll be impressed.

    DET 1984 11-1 104-58 1 WS Champ
    Bless You Boys!

  14. rg3zacharm - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Somebody should ask Espinosa if the Nats have a rebuttal on this…haha!

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