Early Projections and the Royals Current Streak

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Twenty-four and six! Amazing. It’s been an amazing run. I can’t remember too many streaks like it. Although the 1977 Royals had a few that had to be that good or even better. It begs a big question: are the projections that suggested the Royals were just an average team wrong?

The simplest way of evaluating that is to ask: what are the odds that a coin flipped thirty times will return 24 or more heads. Answer: 1 in 1400, approximately. There are 133 sets of 30 games in a 162 game season. So an average team should be able to pop such a streak once every ten or eleven seasons. I thought it would be less common than that, but the math is pretty straightforward. Emotionally, the result seems wrong – but it’s not. This streak, while impressive, is still not to a level that I would say for certain – that it means the Royals are not an average team.

Surprisingly a 24-6 run is between the likelihood of a ten game winning streak and the likelihood of an eleven game winning streak. Gut feeling would suggest that it is less likely than that.

So, the 1977 Royals? They were 64-51 on August 16. They went 38-9 the rest of the way. From August 17 they won 10; they lost 1; they won 1; they lost 2; they won 16; they lost 1; they won 7. At the end of this they were 99-55. They had a 35-4 run. As good as these Royals are – 35-4 seems like a long way to go. I can think of another team that popped a 35-5, but they aren’t average (the 1984 Tigers started a season that way, I think 35-5 was their record).

I guess I could look for a 24-6 from an average team…. There should be dozens out there, right? But they would be hard to find, I think. See, if the team were average and popped a 24-6 it might throw off their record. Supposing they were average the other 132 games might be 64-68 or 68-64 or something like that and thus their overall record would come in at 92 or 94 wins and they would not look average at all.


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Author: Charles Winters

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