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Tuesday

17

January 2012

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COMMENTS

A Few To Forget

Written by , Posted in General

It’s OK if you’re feeling optimistic about the Chicago Cubs. I know I am. The fact that current leadership actually understands the value of on-base percentage is like a gift from the gods.

But what’s the fun of living in Cubblieland if you can’t share some misery? Recently I was knocking back a beverage or two with some fellow fans, and we stumbled upon the subject of our least favorite squads.

The master list of crappy Cubs teams is long and legendary, but here are a few of our stomach-turning favorites:

  • 1994 Cubs, 49-64, 5th place: The only good thing about the 1994 baseball strike was that we didn’t have to watch this team for 162 games. Led by Tom “Cubs Tree” Trebelhorn, the ’94 Cubs were especially unlikeable. Catcher Rick Wilkins followed up a 30-home-run campaign with a stat line of .227/.317/.387. Automatic outs like Derrick May and Tuffy Rhodes got way too many at bats. Mike Morgan turned in an ERA of 6.69. Willie Banks and Anthony Young made 42 starts. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Ryne Sandberg announced his retirement (for the first time).
  • 1997 Cubs, 68-94, 5th place: Nothing wrecks an offense like tons of playing time for Scott Servais, Rey Sanchez, and Brian McRae. Throw in Shawon Dunston’s usual out-making antics and a .300 OBP season from Sammy Sosa, and you’ve got a team that can’t score runs. The starting rotation committed its fair share of sabotage as well. Kevin Foster, Steve Trachsel, and Frank Castillo were especially awful in ’97. And who can forget the “contributions” of Mel Rojas? If you did, you’re lucky!
  • 2000 Cubs, 65-97, 6th place: This season was so painful that it actually makes me laugh. I swear, this part isn’t made up…Damon Buford in CF, Willie Greene at 3B, Joe Girardi at C, Ruben Freakin’ Quevedo  in the rotation (to the tune of a 7.47 ERA), and Rick Aguilera closing. The final kick in the nuts? Don Baylor at the helm. No wonder I drank so much back then.
  • 2006 Cubs, 66-96, 6th place: In Dusty we trusty? No thanks. Hard Bake ran the Cubs ship into the ground, and he did it with authority. His final year in Chicago saw lots of injuries, craploads of at bats for rotten baseball players, and the usual array of excuses (the heat, the park, the fans, the media, killer locusts, etc). The Cubs were 15th in runs scored and 14th in ERA that year. I’ve never been so happy to see a season end.

This little trip down catastrophe lane isn’t mean to take the air out of our current balloon. Rather, it’s a nice lesson in perspective. 2012 likely won’t be a great year for the Cubs, but no matter how bad it gets, it can always be worse!

  • Seymour Butts

    The ’83 season was especially disappointing to me. Though the Cubs had won back to back to back pennants in ’80, ’81, and ’82, they finished second that year. Blame was possibly laid on Adrian Anson for refusing to play against black players on the other team. He relented instead of forfeiting his game check. The Cubs got back to pennants in ’85 and ’86.
    Interestingly they had only 2 regular starting pitchers that ’83 year. One threw 473 innings and the other 383. Today’s lads must don women’s underwear.

  • chuck

    Unless the Cubs get at least one more legit star in either the lineup or rotation, they will be terrible. The rotation is mediocre at best. The lineup has no thump. The only standout aspect of this team is the bullpen. The bullpen has a chance to be pretty good.
    I don’t mean to be a negative nelly, but those are the cold-hard facts. Anyone who sees a winning team is drunk on the Kool-Aid.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Wow Chuck. You hit the nail right on the head.
    Go Cubs in 2013?

  • Doug S.

    Are you guys saying I should change my phone wallpaper and everyday cap back to the Jets?

  • Smitty

    Well..my seasons are a bit different..07 and 08..great seasons with absolute disappointment..I’d rather have a bad season then a great one with absolutely no result

  • @Chuck…I am not under the influence of sugars of any form when I say that a winning record isn’t that much of a pipe dream. The Central is a weaker division than last year, where we managed to win 71 despite being an utter train wreck. I’d say we can count on being right there again, but 10 wins is as attainable as a few people playing out of their asses. Or ten wins is Garza getting more than a run of support. Not that hard to picture.

  • MJ

    RIP, Kevin Foster.

  • Buddy

    I agree with J. The Cards are worse. The Brewers will be worse once Prince officially signs elsewhere. The Reds have a nit wit manager. The Pirates and the Astros are the Pirates and the Astros. Will the Cubs win the Central? Not likely. Could they have a 2011 Indians type season and finish around .500? Absolutely.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Buddy is right about jswanson being right. We might get blown out by most of the NL East and West teams, but I’m expecting us to compete within our own sorry division. With a few breaks, we could be a .500 team.

  • Buddy

    From MLBtraderumors.com…

    The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM).

  • cap’n obvious

    I knew Seymour was old…but I had no idea how old. Apparently he knows a trick or two about keeping the old ticker going for 150 years.

    I have to agree with Chuck. This is not a very good team right now, and unless some big changes are coming, it will be a long season. I’ve said it before, Theo has been a winner with a bottomless checkbook that I am not sure the Ricketts’ will (or can) provide. I hope I am wrong…but the next good season a Theo Epstein built team on a budget has will be the first.

  • gymjok

    Is it too early for lineups?
    If the roster stays the way it is, here is what I think the lineup will be.
    DeJesus
    Byrd

  • gymjok

    DeJesus
    Byrd
    Castro
    Stewart
    Soriano
    LaHair
    Soto
    Barney/Dewitt

  • Buddy

    If nothing changes, I’ll say they go this way vs. RHP, at least until Rizzo comes up:

    DeJesus RF
    Castro SS
    LaHair 1B
    Soriano LF
    Stewart 3B
    Soto C
    Byrd CF
    Automatic Out of the Day 2B
    Pitcher

  • flyslinger2

    Geez. You made my head hurt trying to recall that one very special season full of disappointment, dillusenment, and disgust. Other then the few fleeting moments when they eeked out a division here or a penant there I am going to have to punt and say all. I’ve been so numbed by mediocrity and poor manageent that it’s really hard to be excited about anything. When you wear a Cubs hat and a complete stranger says to you “I feel your pain!” I’m almost of the opinion to put all of my cubbies gear in a sealed vault with mothballs and my mother-in-laws gnarly britches to keep the bugs out and go fishing. Theo….PLEASE! Save me from having to retrieve those britches.

  • gymjok

    Buddy-possible, but I don’t think they put their best hitter(Castro) in the 2 hole.
    Also I’m thinking they’ll want less pressure on the rookie Lahair and start him off farther down in the lineup.

  • BLPCB

    2004 was rough for me because I really thought we were going to win it all if we made the playoffs that year.
    2005 and 2006 are the worst seasons for me though. Because not only did we suck really bad, but the White Sox and Cardinals won the World Series those years. The only thing that could have made those 2 years worse is if they had played each other for the World Series.

  • BLPCB

    And what is the image you tried to post, it’s not showing up

  • chuck

    It is far too early to project lineups. And far too depressing. I am going to wait another month because the dust of free agency will have settled by then and we may have some sort of depth chart to work with. Then I will start crunching some numbers and see what I would come up with. I just pray to the Baseball Gods that management will have some sense and make seperate lineups for RHP and LHP.
    Now that I have a home office, I hope to listen to 100 day games this year on the radio. No matter how bad they are I will love them. Or at least love to hate them. Hate is a strong word. Maybe love to pity them.

  • Doc Raker

    Jeremiah Johnson is right about Buddy being right about jswanson being right.

  • Doc Raker

    1976- .236/.275/.326 hitting Steve Swisher is the Cubs only representative at the All Star game, nuff said.

  • Doc Raker

    In 1976 there were 12 teams in the NL, today there are 16 teams. What teams are in the NL now that weren’t in 1976?

  • BLPCB

    Brewers
    D-Backs
    idk the other 2

  • BLPCB

    Oh wait, Marlins and Rockies
    That was easy

  • Dusty Baylor

    Unless the Cardinals do not have:
    Berkman
    Molina
    Wainright
    Carpenter
    Westbrook
    Garcia
    Holliday
    They’re still much better than the Cubs…

  • Doc Raker

    INCOMPLETE BLPCB!

  • Lizzie

    He forgot the Nationals (née Expos)

  • Doc Raker

    Great catch Lizzie, there are actually 5 current NL teams that were not around in 1976, not 4 as the 16-12 suggests. The Montreal Expos are defunct and replaced with the Washington Nationals. Us old folks remember the Montreal Expos, I thought the youngins around these parts might miss that one.

  • *all-the-way back to 2004

  • MJ

    I was an Expo fan when the Cubs really stunk. Stupid 1994….

  • Buddy

    The early 80s Expos were fun to watch as well. Steve Rogers was one of my favorites, except when he shut down the Cubs of course.

  • Doc Raker

    The Expos had a great system for a while. Remember ‘the best outfield in baseball’ Dawson, Tim Raines and Ellis Valentine. Moises Alou, Randy Johnson, Gary Carter, Tim Wallach, Ted Williams all got there start as Expos.

  • Larry Sproul

    The last time I was in Canada I saw a special on the Expos .Who remembers the almost vacant stadium during their games ? The reporter led you to beleive the Blue Jays stole what fans were left . Hockey rules north of the border .

  • BLPCB

    That’s not fair, Doc.

  • Doc Raker

    I hear Montreal is a wonderful city but the stadium was a dump says all the folks who I have heard comment on it. Santo hated Olympic stadium in Montreal. Speaking of the Expos, former Expo Orlando Cabrera announced his retirement after 15 years in the bigs. I wonder if Cabrera is the last Expo to still be playing?

  • BLPCB

    Why about Vlad?

  • Buddy

    Bartolo Colon was an Expo for a while, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Buddy

    I cheated, but here are a few more…

    E. Chavez
    N. Johnson
    J. Carroll
    L. Hernandez
    S. Downs
    J. Rauch

  • BLPCB

    I heard that about Montreal’s stadium as well. It had so many problems. It was built for the 1976 Olympics, which were a disaster, and they only recently paid it off

  • BLPCB

    I looked into it a little more just now, if the stadium having so many structural issues is not enough, due to the location of the stadium and the design, it could cost as much as a billion dollars to get rid of it, because they can’t blow it up

  • Doc Raker

    Ok, good work so there are still some Expos out there. I forgot about Vlade.

  • Buddy

    Did we mention Javier Vazquez? Also a former Expo.