They did not likely consider OPS a key statistic in 1912, but outfielder Tris Speaker was already impressive with a .383 batting average. His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average) was equally applaudable at 1.031.

Speaker and pitcher Smoky Joe Wood, with his 34-5 record and 1.91 ERA over 344 innings, led the Boston Red Sox to a franchise-best 105-47 record (.691 winning percentage) and the World Series championship.

In 1915, Speaker and Wood still starred for Boston, along with 20-year-old Babe Ruth. The result: a 101-50 record and another title.

The Red Sox did not win 100 games again until 1946. A lineup that included Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio paced Boston to a 104-50 mark. The Red Sox reached Game 7 of the World Series, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Three historic seasons, without doubt.

Now comes another 100-plus-win Red Sox team. This 2018 version has stars who will likely be talked about for years – outfielders Mookie Betts (.339/1.055) and J.D. Martinez (.331/1.035) and a tall lefty named Chris Sale, with his 1.91 ERA and 221 strikeouts.

With 13 games remaining, Boston is 102-47. It’s a historic run for the Red Sox and, although Boston fans wait to see results in October, there must be appreciation for what this team has done.

Not only are the 2018 Red Sox only the fourth Boston team to win at least 100 games, but they are on pace to become one of the best regular-season teams in history.

While reaching the 100-win plateau is impressive – Boston became the 103rd team to get there, according to the Baseball Almanac – the Red Sox are on the threshold of exclusive territory. They can’t reach the major league record of 116 wins (set by the Cubs in 1906 and matched by the Mariners in 2001), but they could reach other milestones.

Even if Boston stumbles at the end and finishes with “only” 105 wins, it would join just 24 other teams to reach that mark and tie the 1915 Boston team; although that team did it in 152 games.

Teams never played more than 154 games until expansion brought a 162-game schedule (in 1961 for the American League and 1962 for the National League). The equivalent of winning 100 games in a 154-game schedule is 105 wins now.

Since the advent of the 162-game schedule, eight teams have reached 105 wins, but none since the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals.

Those Cardinals are part of Red Sox history, of course, because Boston swept that St. Louis team, winning its first World Series since 1918.

That brings us to equating regular-season success with postseason celebrations.

Of the 24 teams that won 105 games, 15 won the World Series. But as the playoff format expanded to include two more rounds, plus a wild-card game, postseason success has become more difficult.

Before 1969, when the postseason simply consisted of the World Series, 11 of the 16 teams that won at least 105 games also won the championship.

From 1969 to 1993, even with the addition of two more playoff teams, all four teams with at least 105 wins reached the World Series – the 1969 Orioles (109 wins), the 1970 Orioles (108), the 1975 Reds (108) and 1986 Mets (108).

The 1969 Orioles ran into the Amazin’ Mets and lost the World Series. The 1970 Orioles topped the Reds. As for 1975 and 1986, Red Sox fans know all too well about those, with Boston losing both of those World Series in seven games.

In 1995, the playoffs were expanded to eight teams. Since then, four more teams have recorded at least 105 wins. Only two reached the World Series, and only one became champion.

In 1998, the 114-win Yankees seemed on a course to meet the 106-win Braves in the World Series. But Atlanta could not beat San Diego’s pitching in the NLCS. New York then swept the Padres.

The 2001 Mariners were a powerhouse but, across the continent, a team in New York was still a dynasty. In the 2001 ALCS, Andy Pettitte won two games and Paul O’Neil batted .417 as the Yankees topped Seattle four games to one. New York then lost to Arizona in the World Series.

The 2004 Cardinals went 105-57. But Boston (98-64) got on a roll and stopped St. Louis – reversing the roles of 1946 when the 98-win Cardinals topped the Red Sox.

As for this 2018 Boston team, fans are nervous about the postseason. It’s too early to look back on this magical year.

But give it time. This 2018 season is one to be appreciated.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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