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Calculating Charlie Brown’s Wins, Losses, & Other Stats: the 1960s

This is my attempt to answer the age old questions: how many games did Charlie Brown’s team lose? how many did they win? how many times did Charlie Brown get knocked over by a line-drive? and so on…

Using my collection of “The Complete Peanuts”, I’ve done my best to find every baseball-related strip produced and tally up any relevant stats that they reveal. For the most part this means counting wins and losses and documenting any stated scores, though there are a few strips here and there that mention other stats. I like to think of it as “Retrosheet: The Peanuts Chronicles”.

Please see Calculating Charlie Brown’s Wins, Losses, & Other Stats: Intro for more information on how these were calculated, what was included, and what other years have been completed so far.

1961 – 1970

1961

Notable: The major baseball-related storyline this year involves Schroeder quitting the team to focus on his piano playing. Once everyone sees him quit, they decide that they can quit as well – and they do. Charlie Brown, now without a team, places an ad in the paper to offer his services as manager. He’s excited when a response comes right away, until he realizes that it’s his old team looking to replace him.

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Scores & Stats: On April 10, the team loses its first game of the season 123-0. Afterwards, the entire team goes home to cry. In a Sunday strip on July 23, Lucy drops the ball and gets chewed out by Charlie Brown. In the first panel of the strip – the so-called “throwaway panels” because they aren’t published in every newspaper – Linus mentions “If she catches it, we win the game!” We therefore have to consider this a lost game, even if the focus of the strip isn’t on it.

On August 2, when Linus helps Charlie Brown write his newspaper ad, Linus asks how his won/lost record was. When Charlie Brown replies “forty games lost and no games won”, Linus puts a positive spin on it by writing: “Has a perfect record.”

Record: 0-2 (games shown; 0-40 full season); 2-9 (cumulative, games shown; 2-65 cumulative, full season); 0-2 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 1
Games Shown Losing: 1
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 37

1962

Notable: For the second season in a row, Charlie Brown’s team quits on him. This year, the quitting is in reaction to a loss. Each player comes up to Charlie Brown individually to hand in his or her cap, including Snoopy. There is no resolution to the series; the last we see of Charlie Brown and his team is Charlie Brown walking head-down on the road, depressed. This is also the year that we see Linus as team scout for the first time (his negative scouting report ends up being for his own team).

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And if there was ever any doubt about what professional team Charlie Brown rooted for:

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Scores & Stats: On March 26, Charlie Brown tells Lucy that they’re losing the game 57-0. The next day, he tells Schroeder that they’re losing 293-0 “and it’s only the fourth inning.” We have to consider those as the same ballgame, which we find out the team loses on March 28 (though no final score is given). On April 1, Charlie Brown strikes out to lose another game.

On July 29, in another Sunday strip, Schroeder tells Charlie Brown, after he complains that they’re about to lose another game 23-0, that he should be grateful that they can even play the game. The next day, on Monday, the team has lost another game (this is what prompts everyone to quit). Typically, Sunday strips don’t continue into the week, but they occasionally do. It’s hard to know for sure if these strips are meant to cover the same game, or if they just fit together coincidentally.

EDIT: On August 5, 1962, Snoopy and Linus turn a double-play to end the game. As a reader pointed out, this must mean that Team Peanuts won the game. I initially considered this strip as one with an unclear outcome, but that’s not so. The only way the game can end with the defensive team turning a double-play is if they have the lead in the top of the ninth. This is notable because it’s the first time that the team is shown winning a game without any strange circumstances. The nonchalance that Snoopy and Linus show with the win is also uncharacteristic. Maybe Charles Schulz didn’t realize the double-play implied a win for Team Peanuts? I don’t know…

Record: 1-3 (season); 3-12 (cumulative, games shown; 3-68 cumulative, full season); 0-2 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 2
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 47

1963

Notable: Charlie Brown is knocked down by a line-drive on the mound for the first time this year. His hat is knocked off each time.

This is also the first year that we’re introduced to Charlie Brown’s baseball hero, Joe Shlabotnik. He is first mentioned on May 6, when Charlie Brown reads in the paper that his “hero” has been sent down to the minors. He even writes a fan letter to him, which begins “To my baseball hero.” He’s not mentioned by name until August 18, when Lucy refuses to trade Charlie Brown his baseball card because she thinks he’s “kind of cute.”

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Scores & Stats: For yet another year, Team Peanuts loses their first game of the year. After sailing the first pitch over the backstop, and a few other big mistakes by the team, they lose the game by the final score of 184-0. On July 29, the team is playing for the championship. It’s the ninth inning and they’re up by one. After Charlie Brown loads the bases with a couple of hits and a walk, he balks in the final two runs to lose the championship. Needless to say, he is upset with himself.

Record: 0-2 (season); 3-14 (cumulative, games shown; 3-70 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 1
Games Shown Losing: 1
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 50
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 2

(Click “Read More” to continue reading.)

1964

Notable: Joe Shlabotnik shows up a little more this year and we see Charlie Brown get knocked down by line drives more often. In one strip, while playing centerfield, he is knocked down to his underwear. In other strips, his hat, shirts, and shoes & socks are knocked off. This is also the year that Charlie Brown is diagnosed with “Little Leaguer’s elbow”, which keeps him off the team for most of the summer.

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Scores & Stats: Charlie Brown develops his “Little Leaguer’s elbow” during the first game of the season; Linus replaces him on the mound and has immediate success. On March 19, after a number of strips showing Linus as a great pitcher, Lucy asks Charlie Brown “Do you realize we haven’t lost a game since you had to stop pitching?” There are no specific numbers given, however. On May 19, Charlie Brown is finally able to rejoin the team. He goes to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, but strikes outs in front of the Little Red-Haired Girl to lose the game.

On May 29, after convincing Lucy to continue playing by telling her that they have at least a billion-to-one chance of winning, they lose the game. They also lose the last game of the season on August 21.

Record: ?-3 (season); 3?-17 (cumulative, games shown; 3?-73 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 3
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 57
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 3

1965

Notable: Charlie Brown goes to camp for the first time this year. The baseball games are never shown “on-screen”, but it’s established pretty early that camp & baseball go hand-in-hand. This is also another year where mound discussions and debates happen frequently. Charlie Brown goes on a “personal motto” kick, where he tries to boil everything down to a single phrase to live by.

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Scores & Stats: On April 8, a depressed Charlie Brown mentions that they lost the first game of the season. While at camp, on June 10, Charlie Brown receives a letter from Linus mentioning that they won “the first game we’ve won all season!” On June 28, the team is down by one run in the last of the ninth. After convincing everyone to “grit their teeth”, they load up the bases only to send Charlie Brown to the plate. He is unable to grit his teeth and bear down, and he strikes out to lose the game. In the throwaway panels of a Sunday strip on July 18, Charlie Brown complains about the 12 errors in one inning from his team. On August 16, the team has lost another game but no one seems to care – Charlie Brown wonders if they’ve “built up an immunity to losing.”

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Record: 1-3 (season); 4?-20 (cumulative, games shown; 4?-76 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 1
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 32
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 1

1966

Notable: This is a busy year. The baseball strips begin early when, in January, Charlie Brown reminisces about past baseball seasons from atop his snow-covered mound. The mound plays an important role throughout the rest of the year. In one series, a heavy rain washes the mound away and his teammates rebuild it for him. In another series, Charlie Brown becomes psychologically allergic to the mound (his stomach hurts every time he steps on the mound). This forces him to the outfield and allows Linus to pitch a few games. It’s also a good excuse to show him get knocked down by line drives over and over again.

My favorite series of strips as a kid ran in February. Charlie Brown somehow discovers a talent for spelling and is doing well in the local spelling bee. Until he is asked to spell the word “maze.”

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The biggest event of the year, though, is the introduction of Peppermint Patty. She is a friend of Roy, the kid Charlie Brown met at camp the year before, and, when she hears that he loves baseball, she forces her way on his team. Despite her Darryl Strawberry-in-Springfield performance, the team still loses handily.

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Scores & Stats: Team Peanuts loses another Opening Day game on April 4, this time losing the first game of the season 123-0 (“we never got any breaks!”). On August 5, Charlie Brown is forced out of the game after he is conked on the head by a batted ball. The team goes on to win the game with Charlie Brown on the bench. Peppermint Patty shows up on August 22 and, after some introductions, takes over Charlie Brown’s spot on the mound. After pitching a no-hit game and hitting five home runs herself, they still lose the game 37-5 (“whoever heard of 37 unearned runs?”).

Record: 1-2 (season); 5?-22 (cumulative, games shown; 5?-78 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 1
Games Shown Losing: 2
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 56
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 9 (7 strips)

1967

Notable: Peppermint Patty returns to play with Team Peanuts, and she brings along her friend – a killer ballplayer named Jose Peterson. They don’t last too long, though, telling Charlie Brown that he might be better off trying shuffleboard or something. At camp, Peppermint Patty is able to get Charlie Brown onto the baseball team, but, when the girls’ camp plays the boys’ camp, she has no choice but to strike him out.

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There was no story bigger, though, than what happened that winter. In November, Charlie Brown gets fed up at all of the losing and, in the tradition of the winter meetings, decides to “improve the team with a few shrewd trades.” He ends up trading Snoopy to Peppermint Patty for five players, but immediately regrets it. No one else can understand how he’d do such a thing either. In the end, he feels too bad about it and tears up the contract (though the five players refused to be traded anyway, saying they’d rather give up baseball than play for Charlie Brown’s team).

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Scores & Stats: On March 15, Team Peanuts again loses it’s first game of the year. On April 24, Lucy mentions that Charlie Brown has just walked his eleventh batter in a row. The summer camp game between the boys’ and girls’ camps is played on June 18. Peppermint Patty strikes out Charlie Brown and mentions that he could’ve been the hero, but there’s no certainty that the game was lost. On June 28, the team loses another game and Charlie Brown goes home to hide in the dark. The next day, when he doesn’t show up to the game, the team plays anyway and wins. On August 24, the team is finally winning a game, but it gets rained out. In a Sunday throwaway panel on September 17, Charlie Brown mentions that he has just given up nine home runs in a row.

Record: 1-2 (season); 6?-24 (cumulative, games shown; 6?-80 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 1
Games Shown Losing: 3
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 59
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 2

1968

Notable: Charlie Brown experiments with the team this year by stepping back and letting Snoopy manage the team. Snoopy proves to be a fiery manager, kicking dirt in the air and booting underperforming players in the butt, but it doesn’t go over well with the club. The experiment doesn’t last long. The team also has a short-lived experiment with nightgames – using candles to light the game.

Scores & Stats: The first game of the season is played on March 19, with Snoopy as manager. After Charlie Brown gives up a home run on the first pitch of the season, the team goes on to lose the game. On July 22, the team loses another game – and Charlie Brown laments, “We can’t even win enough games to have a slump!” On August 12, Charlie Brown is pitching on the mound when he notices that the Little Red-Haired Girl is in the stands. After working himself into a nervous wreck imagining her running onto the field and hugging him after he wins the game, he leaves the game and lets Linus finish it. After he calms down, he comes back to find out that the game is over, they’ve won the game, and the Little Red-Haired Girl rushed the mound to give Linus a hug.

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Record: 1-2 (season); 7?-26 (cumulative, games shown; 7?-82 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 0
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 44
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 3

1969

Notable: The baseball season starts early for Peanuts this year, as we see Charlie Brown lowering the mound in accordance with the new Major League rules that year. The 1969 big leagues also bleed into the Peanuts league when they play an expansion club. Linus experiments with a new drink, a “balanced electrolyte solution” like “all the big teams are using”. This is first year that we see Snoopy in his Superstar persona – he also wins the Rookie of the Year this year, despite playing on the team for the last ten years.

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Scores & Stats: On March 24, the team loses its first game of the season 48-0 – to an expansion club. On March 29, they lose a game 200-0, mainly because they drank too much of Linus’ Gatorade replacement. On April 22, Peppermint Patty comes over to tell Charlie Brown that she has to forfeit because too many players on her team are sick (even though she could have beaten them by herself – she is compassionate, after all). The next day, Franklin calls to tell Charlie Brown that he has to forfeit too. Linus informs Charlie Brown that, with one more forfeit, they’d be in first place. But then the next team shows up. They still have a chance to win the game, though, until Snoopy lets a pop-fly land behind him.

Record: 2-2 (season); 9?-28 (cumulative, games shown; 9?-84 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 2
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 40
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 2

1970

Notable: Joe Shlabotnik re-appears this year. The sports banquet that he forgets to attend concludes the first week of January, and Charlie Brown writes the first ever Joe Shlatbotnik Fan Club newsletter.

Scores & Stats: The only game mentioned this year with a definitive result comes on July 27, when it starts raining immediately after the team loses the game (“Where were you in the fourth inning?!”).

Record: 0-1 (season); 9?-29 (cumulative, games shown; 9?-85 cumulative, full season); 0-3 in Championships
Games Shown Winning: 0
Games Shown Losing: 0
# of Baseball-Themed Strips: 35
# of Knockdown Line Drives: 0

Please see Calculating Charlie Brown’s Wins, Losses, & Other Stats: Intro for more information on how these were calculated, what was included, and what other years have been completed so far.

Larry Granillo

About Larry Granillo

Larry Granillo has been writing Wezen Ball since 2008 and has dealt with such touchy topics as Charlie Brown's baseball stats and Ferris Bueller's day off. In 2010, he got the bright idea to time every home run trot in baseball; he has been missing ever since.

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