Random research inspired by today’s Treder column

Steve Treder has a fun column up today. It’s the second part of one of his specialties: imagining an alternate-universe team, in this case the 1961 Indians if a series of trades had not been made in the preceding years. In it, he figures Cleveland would’ve posted a pythag mark of 104-58.

One thing I found odd/interesting: despite winning 104 games as a team, no single pitcher personally claimed more than 16 victories. I know this shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but I wondered: has this ever happened? Has a team ever won that many games without anyone picking up his 17th win?

As a matter of fact, yeah. Among the 33 teams who won at least 104 games, it’s happened twice.

Most recently, the 2004 Cards, who went 105-57, did it. They had a trio of 15-game winner and their big winner tallied 16 wins. (Care to guess the name of the big winner on this 105-win squad? It’s recent enough so you have a shot? I’ll list him on the bottom of this THT Live blurb). Please note the Cardinals allowed fewer runs than any other team in the league that year.

An even more impressive incident happened in 1975, when the Big Red Machine went 108-54 despite lacking anyone who won more than 15 games. Even Treder’s Virtual 1961 Indians had someone do that. Instead, Cincy had six guys win double digits, including three tied at 15 victories.

The big winner on the 2005 Cardinals was Jeff Suppan. Yup, that’s right – Suppan was the top dog in the win column for a team that won 105 games in a season. Awesome.

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If I’d had 5 guesses, I’d have been guaranteed to get it right, but it would have taken me four, as I’d have guessed Carpenter, Morris, Williams, Suppan, Marquis in that order. Looking at the stats, it’s clear Carpenter should have been the guy to lead the team in Ws, and I guess he probably would have if he’d stayed healthy through the end of the year. And then maybe we’d have won a game or two against the Red Sox. Sigh…