By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) Over the years, Chicago has seen a lot of bad baseball.
(Have you noticed?)
But it’s been a long time since the city has seen baseball as bad as this on both sides of town.
Heading into Friday’s games, both the Cubs and the White Sox were mired in last place in their respective divisions with near identical records that have them on pace to drop 95 games apiece.
As it stands right now, that projected total of 190 losses puts them within very close striking distance of matching – or topping – the record 191 defeats that the Cubs and Sox combined for way back in 1948.
This ain’t the Golden Age of Chicago baseball, folks.
It’s a sport that the city started playing at the Major League level in 1876, and since then Chicago has endured 41 seasons in which either the Cubs (22 times) or the White Sox (19) have lost at least 90 games.
Only four times, however, have they both lost that many in the same season. And never before have they both lost 95 at the same time. So, you know, at least we have that bit of history going for us.
The last time both teams lost at least 90 games each was the 1986 season, when the Cubs and the Sox both lost exactly that many for 180 total losses. The other three instances were 1980 (Cubs 98, Sox 90 for 188), 1949 (Cubs 93, Sox 91 for 184) and the aforementioned ’48 campaign when the Cubs lost 90 and the Sox 101 for the total of 191.
The two teams have also combined to lose at least 180 games three other times – in 1962, 1966 and 1970. But those totals came about only because one team was so bad, while the other was at least mediocre.
In 1962, the Cubs lost 103 games and the Sox 77 for 180 total losses. In ’66, the Cubs again lost 103 while the Sox dropped 79 for 182 defeats. And in 1970, the Sox lost 106 games with the Cubs losing 78 for a total of 184 setbacks.
This week, White Sox TV broadcaster Hawk Harrelson said about the disastrous 20123 White Sox season, “It’s been hell on me, I can tell you that. To watch them, the way we’ve played, it’s hard to take. Because we’re finding ways to beat ourselves. I’ve seen things on the basepaths I’ve never seen. We’re making huge mistakes in every aspect of the game with the exception of pitching.”
Imagine what someone might say but the Cubs.
Although, with the North Siders on track for their third season of 90-plus losses in a row, fans at Wrigley might just be feeling numb by now. It’s gotten to the point that perhaps the most interesting thing we have to now watch the rest of the summer is whether the Cubs and Sox can combine for more than the 191 losses of 1948.
If they do, at least they’ll have beaten something, I suppose.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.