In honor of the Chicago Cubs' 100th anniversary of their last World Series title, This Great Game is counting down the 40 years between 1909 and 2007 in which the Cubs came nearest to winning another. Our Tragical History Tour of Wrigleyville continues this week with:
34. 1913 88 Wins, 65 Losses
Third Place, 13.5 Games Back
The Cubs continued their downward slide following their heyday of the late 1900s that gave them their last World Series triumph; only a strong finish would make their final record look good after playing .500 ball for much of the year. Part of that slide was the creation of controversial owner Charles Murphy, who released player-manager Frank Chance before the season and, after naming Johnny Evers as Chance’s replacement, had to trade shortstop Joe Tinker because he refused to play under Evers. (The Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance combination may have been historically poetic, but the ill relationship between Tinker and Evers made it far from harmonious.) Vic Saier, Chance’s replacement at first base, clubbed 14 homers and 21 triples after notching just three homers playing full-time over the previous two seasons; Larry Cheney won 21 games for an inexperienced yet effective rotation.
Fortunately, They're Just Fake At-Bats
In the Seattle Mariners’ first 11 games of spring training, Ichiro Suzuki went a collective 0-for-17 at the plate.
Unfortunately, They're Just Fake Wins
Who has the best spring training record at the end of this past weekend? Your Tampa Bay Rays (7-2), who apparently are taking exhibition games more seriously than others. New York Yankee manager Joe Girardi is the latest to complain about the Rays’ over-aggressiveness on the field after Tampa Bay’s Elliot Johnson bowled over and broke the right wrist of Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli in a collision at home plate on Saturday. “I don’t understand it,” said Girardi of the collision, “During the season, I’m all for it. In spring training, I don’t believe in it.”
The Yearly Reader: 2007
Check out This Great Game’s 2007 update to the Yearly Reader section. Entitled “Bow if You Will, Spit if You Wish,” the 2007 page takes a detailed look at Barry Bonds’ overtaking of Hank Aaron’s home run record and the controversial path he took to get there. Also dissected is the sudden late-season rise of the Colorado Rockies, and how they may have finally conquered the mile-high atmosphere of Coors Field. Along with the 2007 page is our news-and-notes “It Happened In...” pop-up, our “Leaders & Numbers” review of the most productive players during the season, and a pop-up of the final 2007 standings. Enjoy these latest additions, and please read responsibly.
The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.