Ex-Cub Factor

The phrase "ex-Cub factor" has been thrown around quite a bit. It was
originally coined by writer and Cub fan Ron Berler, who wrote an
article in 1981 stating that since the Yankees of that season had five
ex-Cubs on their roster, they were doomed to lose the World Series if
they got there. He was right -- they lost to the Dodgers in six games.

Up until 2001, the curse of the ex-Cub had been almost
complete. Since the Cubs last won the NL pennant in 1945, only once had
a team with three or more ex-Cubs won the World Series. That was the
1960 Pirates, and Berler even manages to explain that anomaly away in
his article.

In 2001, though, the Arizona Diamondbacks won the championship
with a healthy contingent of ex-Cubs: Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez, Mike
Morgan, and Miguel Batista. It would appear that the curse has been
broken, and Mark Grace even said as much during a post-game interview.
In response, all I can say is it's pretty interesting that the World
Series to which this one has most been compared is the 1960 Series, won
by the Pirates. In both cases, the National League team beat the New
York Yankees in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 7th game of the
Series. Coincidience? Or SOMETHING MORE???

You can now read the entire original Ex-Cub Factor article right here. Special thanks to Ron Berler, and as always to Mark McClusky, for bringing this website to Berler's attention.

2003 Update: How will the ex-Cub factor affect
this year's playoff race? Well, here are the teams in the playoff races
and the ex-Cub contingent on their rosters:

Atlanta (4): Will Cunnane, Matt Franco, Ray King, Greg Maddux
San Francisco (3): Benito Santiago, Tim Worrell, Eric Young
New York Yankees (2): Felix Heredia, Jon Lieber (DL)
Cubs (2): Doug Glanville, Mark Guthrie
Houston (2): Orlando Merced, Jose Vizcaino
Florida (1): Lenny Harris
Boston (1): Bill Mueller
Oakland (1): Micah Bowie (DL)
Minnesota: None

As usual, the Braves look to be in trouble when it comes to
ex-Cubs in the playoffs. Maddux will be on the post-season roster, and
I imagine Franco will be, too. That leaves the two relief pitchers.
Cunnane has been effective in John Smoltz's absence, so he very well
may make the playoff roster. If he does, the Braves are doomed.
Likewise the Giants, who feature ex-Cubs at starting catcher and
closer. Eric Young was acquired as insurance against Ray Durham's
injury. With Durham healthy, Felipe Alou would be wise to leave Young
off the October roster unless he wants to treat fans to a repeat of
last year's heartbreak.

I've been tracking the ex-Cub factor for the past few years,
and Carl Condon has gone back to the earliest days of the World Series
to track The Factor. I have combined the work he and I have done and I
am in the process of making it available on the Historical Ex-Cub Factor page. You'll see that the Curse of the Ex-Cub has held true almost perfectly throughout the years.

Is there a lesson to be learned from this? I think so. If you find your team in a pennant race, RELEASE ANYONE WHO USED TO BE ON THE CUBS. It's really pretty simple. Guys like Shawon Dunston and Mike Morgan might help you get into the playoffs, but you'd better ditch them come playoff time.

2002 UPDATE: Angels (one ex-Cub) defeat Giants (three ex-Cubs) in World Series. Ex-Cub Factor fulfilled for the 20th time.

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  • trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.

    eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.

    we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).

    crunch 4 hours 18 min ago view
  • As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.

    I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.

    billybucks 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.

    billybucks 4 hours 40 min ago view
  • Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!

    What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.

    Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...

    The E-Man 4 hours 42 min ago view
  • Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.

    The E-Man 4 hours 51 min ago view
  • Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.

    I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.

    billybucks 5 hours 17 min ago view
  • Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?

    Maybe the three-headed dragon?

    John Beasley 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth

    Eric S 6 hours 4 min ago view
  • Three amigos time?

    7-8-9th

    jacos 6 hours 19 min ago view
  • he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs

    crunch 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.

    billybucks 11 hours 17 min ago view
  • ...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.

    I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.

    He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.

    billybucks 11 hours 21 min ago view
  • How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.

    videographer 13 hours 15 min ago view
  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 15 hours 37 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 15 hours 51 min ago view