Thursday, September 29, 2016

One Hundred and One

On Tuesday night, the Cubs passed yet another milestone on their way to a (hopefully) historic season.  In a year where it seems like every day produces a headline in the mold of "the Cubs did ______ for the first time since ______," it's easy to become fatigued with such information.  However, this particular marker was particularly stunning, in my humble opinion.

In that 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, thanks to an explosive performance from utility man Chris Coghlan, the Cubs won their 101st game of the season.  Winning over 100 games is a benchmark for any truly great team and, for frame of reference, it was only three seasons ago that the Cubs had lost as many games.

Furthermore, the last time the Cubs had gone beyond the century mark was over a century ago... 106 years ago, to be specific.  The last time that the Chicago National League Ball Club won their 101st game of the season, the lineup card read as follows:

Leading off and playing left field, the utility man with a name seemingly more appropriate for a silent movie starlet than a ballplayer - Ginger Beaumont

Batting second base and manning right field, the eternally underappreciated and next season's MVP award winner - Frank "Wildfire" Schulte

Batting third and starting in centerfield before moving to first base mid-game, a clown prince of baseball - Solly Hofman

Batting fourth and starting at first before being removed early (injury?), manager and 1/3 of baseball's most famous double play combo - Frank Chance.

Eventually batting fourth (in Chance's place) and subbing in center after Hofman shifted to first, minor league-lifer John Kane (the only one I do not have a card of).

Due up fifth and playing second base, eventual Triple Crown winner and baseball pariah for betting on the game - Heinie Zimmerman

 Batting sixth and manning third base, the answer to every baseball fan's favorite trivia question - Harry Steinfeldt

Batting seventh and starting at shortstop, another part of baseball's most poetic double play partners - Joe Tinker.

Due up eighth and playing behind the dish, backup catcher and person depicted on one of my few period-authentic tobacco cards - Tom Needham.

Finally, batting ninth and taking the mound at the old West Side Grounds, a shooting star and tragic tale with a royal name - "King" Cole.  Coincidentally, "King" is represented here by a Monarch Corona single.

According to the box score, on October 9th, 1910, the Chicago Cubs won their 101st game in style, with a walk-off, 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals... nothing like beating up on the Cards, right?  Ironically, despite the presence of two Hall of Famers, an MVP winner and a Triple Crown title-holder, it was the most obscure name on this roster that drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth - John Kane.

That 1910 Cubs team went on to win 104 games on the year and win the National League pennant by a comfortable 13 games over the New York Giants.  Of course, they went on to lose to the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series, four games to one.

The 2016 edition of the Cubs have four games left in the regular season; so, unlikely though it may be, they still have a chance to out-pace their 106 year old counterparts.  Doing so would give them the third-most winning season in franchise history (116 is the Cubs and MLB record).  That said, I think we Wrigley rooters can all agree that we would trade in those potential wins for 11 more in October.

At any rate, no matter how this season ends up, we've witnesses some things that the North Side of Chicago hasn't seen in a hundred years.  Thanks to yesterday's extensions of Theo Epstein and the whole front office staff, these things could potentially become commonplace now.  This could be a new Cubs Golden Age.

Take it in - savor it all.


  1. It's always nice when your team does well, but to suffer a drought so long, it's gotta be spectacular right now. Hope they do this regularly for your sake!

  2. And then there are teams who have never won 100 games... The closest the Jays have come was 99 in 1985. But we know how that ended

    1. The Mariners won 116 in 2001 to tie the Cubs record and Seattle didn't even make the World Series *groan*

  3. It was great to hear about the extensions. In Theo we trust. Great job in putting together the lineup in cards and with almost all different sets no less. The championship is not guranteed but we can be like the Cubs themselves and celebrate the accomplishments as them come. Minus the googles. Unless you want to really get crazy. :)

  4. Neat history here. I'm going to go check out King Cole. I have t206 cards of Tinkers, Evers and Chance. I had never thought about finding a Steinfeldt but I may have to look into it.