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How have the White Sox historically fared in their first 60 games?

by Sox On 35th Staff

Summer camp is set to get underway at Guaranteed Rate Field today, bringing us one giant step closer to Major League Baseball in 2020. Thanks to postponements caused by the ongoing pandemic and an exhausting stretch of “negotiations,” a once expected full season has now been shrunk down to just 60 games. The White Sox will look to make the most of this stretch, hoping to taste the postseason for the first time since 2008.

In this article, I will be diving into past seasons to see what went right (or wrong) during the first 60 games. I’ve decided to break things up into the following: the best 60-game start to a season, the worst, the average – taken from every season in club history, a year-by-year breakdown from 2019 back to 1901, and a brief outlook of what we can expect over the next few months. Let’s get to it!


Best 60-Game Start: 41-19, (2005)

No shocker here. The White Sox held the top record in all of baseball at the 60-game mark in the ’05 season. They also boasted the second-best run differential in the league, outscoring opponents 282-224 (+58) to give them an impressive 19-8 record at home and 22-11 record on the road.

Offensively, the Sox had a combined .263 AVG (16th) .328 OBP (20th), .413 SLG (T-13th), to go with 68 home runs (6th), 271 RBI (12th), .741 OPS (20th), and 6.6 WAR (17th). On the pitching side, the staff was dominant with a collective 3.46 ERA (2nd), 9.8 WAR (1st), 6.51 K/9 (11th), .267 BABIP (T-2nd), and 1.23 WHIP (3rd). Put the two together and you get a very hot team that was amid a five-game winning streak with a solid 5.5 game lead over Minnesota.


Worst 60-Game Start: 19-41, (1948)

The 1948 White Sox had a season to forget. Out of their 152 games, they would win just 51 to place dead last in the American League by year’s end.

Through their first 60 games, the squad hit a dismal .247/.328/.326. Things only got worse on the rubber with pitchers putting up a 4.83 ERA, 291 walks to 157 strikeouts ratio, and 43 home runs surrendered.

Aside from this group, the team that landed as runner-up for having the worst 60-game start was the 2018 rebuilding team with a 20-40 record. Luckily, that’s behind us.


Average 60-Game Start: 30.35-29.65

When you combine all of their past seasons, the Sox have historically gone a total of 3,612-3,528 over the first 60 games. That breaks down to a .506 winning percentage with a record of 30.35 wins and 29.65 losses on average. The team performed much closer to these numbers in 2019, and should perform at or above average if all goes well this season. More on that can be found in the 2020 outlook later in the article.


Year-by-Year Breakdown

2010-19

  • 2019: 29-31, (11.5 GB)
  • 2018: 20-40, (12.0 GB)
  • 2017: 26-34, (7.0 GB)
  • 2016: 30-30, (3.5 GB)
  • 2015: 28-32, (6.5 GB)
  • 2014: 30-30, (4.0 GB)
  • 2013: 26-34, (8.0 GB)
  • 2012: 33-27, (first-place, up 0.5)
  • 2011: 28-32, (7.0 GB)
  • 2010: 27-33, (8.5 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 277-323, (.461 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 27.7
  • Average Number of Losses: 32.3

2000-09

  • 2009: 27-33, (6.5 GB)
  • 2008: 33-27, (first-place, up 2.0)
    • Playoffs: ALDS, L 1-3
  • 2007: 27-33, (9.0 GB)
  • 2006: 37-23, (0.5 GB)
  • 2005: 41-19, (first-place, up 5.5)
    • Playoffs: World Series, W 4-0
  • 2004: 34-26, (first-place, up 0.5)
  • 2003: 26-34, (8.5 GB)
  • 2002: 30-30, (4.0 GB)
  • 2001: 28-32, (11.0 GB)
  • 2000: 37-23, (first-place, up 2.0)
    • Playoffs: ALDS, L 0-3
  • Cumulative Record: 320-280, (.533 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 32.0
  • Average Number of Losses: 28.0

1990-99

  • 1999: 31-29, (9.0 GB)
  • 1998: 24-36, (12.5 GB)
  • 1997: 28-32, (3.5 GB)
  • 1996: 39-21, (Tied, first-place)
  • 1995: 27-33, (15.5 GB)
  • 1994: 34-26, (1.0 GB)
  • 1993: 31-29, (1.5 GB)
    • Playoffs: ALCS, L 2-4
  • 1992: 29-31, (8.0 GB)
  • 1991: 29-31, (7.5 GB)
  • 1990: 37-23, (4.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 309-291, (.468 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 30.9
  • Average Number of Losses: 29.1

1980-89

  • 1989: 22-38, (16.5 GB)
  • 1988: 27-33, (12.5 GB)
  • 1987: 23-37, (11.5 GB)
  • 1986: 25-35, (9.0 GB)
  • 1985: 34-26, (first-place, up 1.5)
  • 1984: 30-30, (2.0 GB)
  • 1983: 28-32, (5.5 GB)
    • Playoffs: ALCS, L 1-3
  • 1982: 34-26, (1.0 GB)
  • 1981: 35-25, (3.0 GB)
  • 1980: 30-30, (8.5 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 288-312, (.480 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 28.8
  • Average Number of Losses: 31.2

1970-79

  • 1979: 29-31, (6.5 GB)
  • 1978: 29-31, (3.5 GB)
  • 1977: 33-27, (1.5 GB)
  • 1976: 28-32, (10.0 GB)
  • 1975: 26-34, (10.0 GB)
  • 1974: 29-31, (3.0 GB)
  • 1973: 33-27, (first-place, up 0.5)
  • 1972: 36-24, (4.0 GB)
  • 1971: 22-38, (19.0 GB)
  • 1970: 22-38, (17.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 287-313, (.478 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 28.7
  • Average Number of Losses: 31.3

1960-69

  • 1969: 26-34, (7.5 GB)
  • 1968: 27-33, (13.0 GB)
  • 1967: 36-24, (first-place, up 2.5)
  • 1966: 29-31, (11.0 GB)
  • 1965: 36-24, (0.5 GB)
  • 1964: 34-26, (3.5 GB)
  • 1963: 35-25, (first-place, up 1.0)
  • 1962: 29-31, (6.0 GB)
  • 1961: 26-34, (12.5 GB)
  • 1960: 31-29, (5.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 309-291, (.515 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 30.9
  • Average Number of Losses: 29.1

1950-59

  • 1959: 33-27, (1.5 GB)
    • Playoffs: World Series, L 2-4
  • 1958: 29-31, (9.5 GB)
  • 1957: 37-23, (0.5 GB)
  • 1956: 37-23, (2.5 GB)
  • 1955: 38-22, (2.0 GB)
  • 1954: 39-21, (4.0 GB)
  • 1953: 33-27, (12.5 GB)
  • 1952: 33-27, (3.5 GB)
  • 1951: 40-20, (first-place, up 2.5)
  • 1950: 27-33, (14.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 346-254, (.577 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 34.6
  • Average Number of Losses: 25.4

1940-49

  • 1949: 24-36, (14.0 GB)
  • 1948: 19-41, (18.5 GB)
  • 1947: 28-32, (7.5 GB)
  • 1946: 25-35, (19.5 GB)
  • 1945: 31-29, (5.0 GB)
  • 1944: 30-30, (5.0 GB)
  • 1943: 29-31, (5.0 GB)
  • 1942: 25-35, (17.5 GB)
  • 1941: 32-28, (6.0 GB)
  • 1940: 27-33, (12.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 270-330 (.450 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 27
  • Average Number of Losses: 33

1930-39

  • 1939: 31-29, (16.5 GB)
  • 1938: 26-34, (11.5 GB)
  • 1937: 35-25, (3.0 GB)
  • 1936: 29-31, (11.0 GB)
  • 1935: 32-28, (6.0 GB)
  • 1934: 21-39, (14.5 GB)
  • 1933: 31-29, (6.5 GB)
  • 1932: 22-38, (20.5 GB)
  • 1931: 21-39, (22.0 GB)
  • 1930: 23-37, (16.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 271-329 (.452 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 27.1
  • Average Number of Losses: 32.9

1920-29

  • 1929: 22-38, (21.5 GB)
  • 1928: 23-37, (23.0 GB)
  • 1927: 34-26, (7.0 GB)
  • 1926: 33-27, (9.5 GB)
  • 1925: 31-29, (9.5 GB)
  • 1924: 29-31, (4.5 GB)
  • 1923: 29-31, (11.0 GB)
  • 1922: 29-31, (7.5 GB)
  • 1921: 26-34, (12.0 GB)
  • 1920: 35-25, (4.0 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 291-309, (.485 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 29.1
  • Average Number of Losses: 30.9

1910-19

  • 1919: 36-24, (2.5 GB)
    • Playoffs: World Series, L 3-5
  • 1918: 29-31, (6.5 GB)
  • 1917: 39-21, (first-place, up 2.0)
    • Playoffs: Won World Series, W 4-2
  • 1916: 31-29, (3.5 GB)
  • 1915: 40-20, (first-place, up 5.0)
  • 1914: 29-31, (6.5 GB)
  • 1913: 32-28, (12.0 GB)
  • 1912: 36-24, (4.0 GB)
  • 1911: 32-28, (9.0 GB)
  • 1910: 27-33, (13.5 GB)
  • Cumulative Record: 331-269, (.552 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 33.1
  • Average Number of Losses: 26.9

1901-09

  • 1909: 26-34, (15.5 GB)
  • 1908: 35-25, (1.0 GB)
  • 1907: 39-21, (first-place, up 2.0)
  • 1906: 32-28, (4.0 GB)
    • Playoffs: Won World Series, W 4-2
  • 1905: 39-21, (tied, first-place)
  • 1904: 36-24, (1.0 GB)
  • 1903: 30-30, (9.5 GB)
  • 1902: 37-23, (first-place, up 3.0)
  • 1901: 39-21, (first-place, up 3.0)
  • Cumulative Record: 313-227, (.579 Win %)
  • Average Number of Wins: 34.78
  • Average Number of Losses: 25.22

2020 Outlook

Whew! You made it. With the past now behind us, what can we expect for the 2020 season?

As acknowledged above, the White Sox average 30.35 wins through their first 60-games. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly they’ll fall on the spectrum this season due to all of the variables at play like expanded rosters, divisional realignments, in-game rule changes, prospect performances, etc. Some betting services, like OddsSharks.com, have the Sox’s projected win total at 31.5, which might actually be in the sweet spot.

I believe this team can realistically top the over and land anywhere between 32-35 victories. For them to reach the higher end of this win total or exceed it, the majority of the players will need to play to their potential offensively, defensively, and on the mound. If things don’t mesh and the club goes through a rough patch, then I’d expect the win total to be closer to 30 if not lower.

With all of that being said, I’ll carefully set the Sox’s overall range of victories at 28-35. I think this accounts for a team that could either underperform, land in the middle at .500, or catch fire and live up to the hype. Hopefully, the latter holds true because looking back at previous seasons, the Sox have never been in first-place with no less than 33 wins. Not to say if they reach that number they’ll be a first-place team, but victories at or above 33 could put them in playoff contention this season.


As summer camp gets going and the official schedule is released, we’ll continue breaking down the 2020 White Sox season in more detail via both articles and podcasts. Be sure to keep an eye out on social media @SoxOn35th and here at SoxOn35th.com for coverage!


Featured Photo: @FotoGenocide_/Twitter

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