The San Francisco Giants have 14 comeback wins so far in 2013. This number stands out this season as a testament to their resilience. To have comebacks in 50% of the team’s wins this season puts the team so far ahead of any other season in MLB history. I like their odds of breaking the 36-year-old record of 27.
What is the definition of a comeback win? A comeback in baseball is defined as a game in which your team was losing prior to the seventh inning and then “comes back” to win the game. Coming back in baseball games is also what led to the terminology and stat known as the Save. A Save is earned by a pitcher coming in the 7th inning or later with a two-run lead or less. The main relief pitcher that earns these saves is of high value to their team.
Let’s take a look at the history of the comeback and some of the all-time clutch baseball teams in modern history. The best season recorded for comeback wins was the 1977 Pittsburgh Pirates with 27 comeback wins. Any baseball fan from that year will remember the ’77 Pirates by two things: a striped jersey (sort of a bumble bee), and one funky, psychedelic, square-type hat! That’s right, I said square. While the 1979 Pirates would leave their mark with “We Are Family” and a MLB World Series title, the ’77 team represents the all-time comeback kids.
The second team on the list is a classic. The 1927 Yankees are number two with 25 comeback wins. This also represents the largest percent of wins that are comebacks for the season at 24.03%. This team and season was very well known as one of the best ever, as it included Murder’s Row – the first six Yankee hitters – which was highlighted by Babe Ruth’s then-record 60 home runs. The team itself had the 4th most wins in history, going 110-44.
So where does this 2013 Giants team fit in with history? Only time will tell. There is no way the team can compare with the 1927 Yankees from an offensive perspective. Lou Gehrig by himself batted .373, had 52 doubles, 47 home runs, and 18 triples for a .765 slugging percentage, and a then-record 175 RBIs. The team outscored its opponents by the largest margin in history, 326 runs.
The beauty of baseball is it’s a team game. This team is clutch, can win games and has heart. With 14 comeback wins in only 51 games, the record of 27 may be broken. We shall see where this team fits in with these other clutch seasons, and it’s going to be fun!
Photo credit: thebleacherreport.com