December 7, 2013
And here's the full roster.
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
Or you can search by:
THT E-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
our CafePress store. We've got baseball caps, t-shirts, coffee mugs and even wall clocks with the classy THT logo prominently displayed. Also, check out the THT Bookstore. Please support your favorite baseball site by purchasing something today.
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Cubs .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
12/06/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: Ed Charles and 42by Bruce Markusen
12/06/2013: The Athletics get busyby Brad Johnson
12/06/2013: Getting to know Ryan Haniganby Chad Dotson
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
10/21/2013: World Series workhorsesby Frank Jackson
10/20/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/19/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/19/2013: WPS Recap: NLCS, 10/18/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: WPS recap: ALCS, 10/17/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/18/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Bob Baileyby Bruce Markusen
10/18/2013: The 2013 Atlanta Braves and core WARby James Gentile
10/18/2013: The best rookies of the ‘60sby Chad Dotson
10/17/2013: The Screwball: What about Bob Lemon?by Azure Texan
10/17/2013: WPS Recap: LCS, 10/16/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
10/16/2013: WPS recap: LCS, 10/15/2013by Shane Tourtellotte
<< Click here to return to the category list.
July 20, 2012
Ron Santo career highlightsBetter late than never. This weekend, at the annual Hall of Fame Cooperstown induction ceremony, the late former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo will gain his plaque.
When a player has a such a high honor for his career, it’s nice to look back on his playing days. I did something like this for Barry Larkin back in January when the BBWAA voted him in. Now let’s do it for Ron Santo.
Below is a list of his career highlights. They are his personal bests and worsts, milestones achieved, great games he appeared in. And just because I find it interesting, I'll throw in some odd or bizarre games Santo happened to be on hand for. Here they are, in chronological order:
Click for more...
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
June 04, 2012
Cubs approaching franchise futility markWhen you’re a franchise like the Chicago Cubs, it takes quite a bit of doing to challenge an all-time club mark for futility, but danged if the Cubs aren’t threatening to do it here in 2011.
On June 4, in the final game of a four-game series against the Giants, the Cubs lost by a score of 3-2. This means they were swept in that series and have dropped 15 of their last 18. In fact, they’ve now been swept in five of their last six series.
But that’s not what I want to note.
Not only have the Cubs lost a lot of games lately, but they’ve lost an impressive number of contests by that slenderest of all margins, one run. In fact, the Cubs have now dropped their last 10 one-run decisions.
And that’s where they threaten to make some unwanted franchise history.
This is the fourth time in their history the Cubs have dropped 10 consecutive one-run decisions. The franchise record is 11, set nearly a century ago. So if the Cubs drop the next game decided by one run, they’ll have tied a mark of frustration. Yeah, no one wants to do that.
This is the fourth time the Cubs have lost 10 consecutive one-runners. They did it in July 1915, September 1921, and May 1921—and now June 2012.
On May 14, 1972, they lost 2-1 to the Braves. It was their sixth one-run game of the year and they’d lost them all. They hadn’t one a game by one run since Sept. 18, 1971. Four of their close losses had come in extra innings.
But three days later they beat the Phillies 3-2 for their first close win of the year.
In 1921, they dropped 10 one-run games from Aug. 18 to Sept. 6. Then, after nearly two weeks without a close game, they finally won one, 1-0 over the Dodgers, to end their skid in these contests.
The 1915 slump is still the record. In the stretch of 18 games, the Cubs played in 11 contests decided by one run and lost every single one of them. Finally, on Aug 1, 1915 they won a 2-1 game, to end the streak at 11.
The 2012 Cubs got a chance to tie and even break the old club record. Their last close win was 1-0 over the Braves on May 9. Since then the Cubs have gone 5-18—which means 5-8 in games decided by at least two runs and 0-10 in the others.
Eventually the streak will end. All things do. But will it be in time to avoid breaking a 97 year old franchise record?
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
May 26, 2012
Worst Cubs starts everWell, the Cubs did it again—they lost another game today, their 11th straight. It's just the 10th time in franchise history they've had a losing streak that long. If there's a bright side, it's that one of those 11-game losing streaks happened to the 1970 Cubs club, which actually ended the year with a winning record. Then again, that club had a lot more talent on it than this sad sack 2012 squad does.
The Cubs' record now stands at 15-31, safely the worst in either league. Okay, but how does that rank in the history of this championship-deprived franchise? Well, let's look it up.
It turns out this is the sixth time in the Cubs' 137 seasons that they've dropped at least 31 of their first 46 contests.
Their worst record at this point in the season came back in 1981, when the Cubs were an inept 10-36 through 46 games. Yeah, that almost makes the 2012 team look good. (Well, no, not really, but let's just say that anyway.) That '81 bunch might've lost 100 games, but that year lost a third of its contests due to a players' strike. The strike came in the right season for the Cubs.
The North Siders' next worst start came in 1966, when they began 13-33. That club went on to lose over 100 games, one of two times in franchise history it's done that.
Twice the Cubs have begun the year 14-32—in 1953 and 1957. The 1955 squad sorta recovered, playing nearly .500 the rest of the way to end the 154-game season with fewer than 90 losses. Let's call that a moral victory. The 1957 team did a little worse, ending the year 62-92.
The Cubs began the year 15-31 in 1962, the other time the team lost 100 games on the season. Until this year, that's the only time the Cubs began the the season with a record of 15-31 through 46 contests.
The Cubs have three 16-30 starts as well: 1943, 1948 and 1894. (The 1943 team ended the year at nearly .500, a fluke possibly caused by all the real players getting drafted for World War II as the season wore on.)
Tallying it up, in the six previous times the Cubs dropped at least 30 of their first 46 games they ended the year with an average winning percentage of .407. That's like a team going 66-96. Yeah, that sounds about right for the Cubs so far.
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
May 18, 2012
Kerry Wood career highlightsIt was stunning, but not surprising, news. On the morning of Friday May 18, 2012, news broke that Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood intended to retire. He’d been having a very rough time of it in 2012 after years of battling injury.
Now that his career is over, it makes sense to take a look back. Below are Wood’s career highlights; these are his bests (and worsts): most important games, milestones, and other odds and ends from his career:
Click for more...
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
October 28, 2011
Shortstops, GMs and the CubsLast week, Theo Epstein took over running the Cubs and Roy Smalley Jr. died. That got me thinking about Wid Matthews and Starlin Castro.
Perhaps I should explain.
I have spent my entire baseball consciousness following the Cubs, and they have spent that entire time without a championship. That hardly makes me unique among the under-110 set, but as the Theo Epstein era dawns, I'm among the dwindling number who remember the Wid Matthews era.
If you don't count a couple of short-term, interim placeholders, that was 10 general managers ago. (I know, they aren't calling Epstein GM in the new bureaucracy, and Matthews was "director of player personnel," but you get the point.) The Cubs had won the wartime pennant of 1945, lost the World Series, and saw their fortunes drop rapidly. They brought in Matthews in 1950, coming off two last-place finishes.
Matthews inherited a team with one semi-star (Andy Pafko, whom he would trade to the Dodgers in an awful fleecing of the Cubs), and just a few young prospects. As is the case with Epstein, the brightest of those was a shortstop entering his third season. His Starlin Castro was Roy Smalley.
Smalley was tall (6-foot-3 in the days when shortstops were nicknamed Pee Wee and Scooter) and had terrific range in the field. But...
Let me stop here to pay my respects. By all accounts, Smalley was a fine human being. He served his country in the Navy during World War II, his marriage to Gene Mauch's sister Jolene lasted a lifetime, and he fathered major leaguer Roy Smalley III. He was part of the first Cubs infield I remember, a fond memory.
The Cubs had signed Smalley as a 17-year-old. (And Castro at 16.) Smalley broke in just before his 22nd birthday, having lost a season-plus to military service. Castro was 20.
Smalley led the league in errors his first two seasons. He also didn't hit. Then came 1950, year one of the Matthews regime. Smalley made 51 errors, leading the league again. No one has approached that number since. But such was the state of the seventh-place Cubs that he started at shortstop in every one of their 154 games.
Smalley also struck out 114 times. Now, that doesn't seem like many in the age of Drew Stubbs (205 Ks in 2011), but that was a different time. The shortstop of the NL champion Phillies, Granny Hamner, struck out 35 times in 685 plate appearances. Phil Rizzuto, shortstop for the World Series-winning Yankees, fanned 39 times in 735 plate appearances. His teammate, Yogi Berra, playing nearly every game, struck out 12 times all year!
It didn't get any better. Smalley slipped to part-time play with the Cubs after that year, lost his job to Ernie Banks in late '53, and played out his major league career in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, never reaching a .250 batting average in 11 seasons. Final line: .227 batting average, .300 on-base percentage, four stolen bases in his career.
The new guy's guy at shortstop, over two seasons: Second and first in the league in errors (27 and 29), .304 average and .343 OBP at the plate in two pitching-leaning years, 32 stolen bases, lots of expectations.
Matthews lasted until 1956, his Cubs teams never finishing out of the second division. When his manager, Cubs icon Phil Cavarretta, told owner P.K. Wrigley during spring training one year that his players weren't very good, Matthews fired him. (Be careful what you wish for, Ryno.)
And Smalley? His major league days over, he went back to Triple-A ball in Minneapolis. His team wound up in the Junior World Series, American Association champs versus International League winners, Smalley's team playing at Havana. Accompanied by a posse armed with machine guns, a bearded man appeared in the visitors' dugout.
References and resources:
Statistics from Baseball-Reference.com
Biographical details from the Green Valley (Ariz.) News and Sun
Posted by: Joe Distelheim
Click here for more THT Notes.