By the Numbers: Cubs have more quirky facts than World Series titles

Greg Jayne: By the Numbers

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Editor



Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

With one of baseball’s most beloved franchises visiting Seattle this weekend, putting together a list of 20 Chicago Cubs factoids is an irresistible proposition. Yes, we’ve done this before, but that was 11 years ago; surely there has been much Cubs glory and several championships in the intervening years.

Hasn’t there? OK, maybe not.

Still, there’s never any shortage of quirky Chicago Cubs facts. Here are 20 of them:

1) After the retirement of Cap Anson, the franchise was known as the Chicago Orphans from 1899-1902. They’ve been the Cubs since then.

2) The Cubs won the World Series in 1907 and 1908 and haven’t won it since. You might have heard something about that.

3) Since last appearing in the World Series in 1945, Chicago has 18 winning seasons, 47 losing seasons, and two .500 seasons.

4) The Cubs still are 479 games over .500 all-time.

5) With the induction of Ron Santo a couple years ago, the franchise has Hall of Famers at every position.

6) Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett‘s given name was Charles Leo Hartnett. According to, his nickname was “Old Tomato Face” — as if “Gabby” weren’t enough of a nickname.

7) Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown is best known today as Three Finger Brown — the result of a farming accident. But during his playing days he most often was referred to as Miner Brown.

8) In 1906, Brown had a 1.04 ERA, the second-best mark since 1900. The team’s ERA was 1.75.

9) The 1906 Cubs won 116 games, tied with the 2001 Mariners for the major-league record.

10) The 1906 Cubs lost the World Series to a White Sox club known as “The Hitless Wonders.”

11) Based on Wins Above Replacement, the best season for a position player in Cubs history was by Rogers Hornsby in 1929, when he hit .380 with 47 doubles, 39 homers, 156 runs, and 149 RBI.

12) In 1930, Hack Wilson had 191 RBI, still the major-league record. Wilson was credited with 190 RBI for 69 years, until a box score error was discovered in 1999.

13) As fan Steve Bartman was unfairly vilified for his role in Chicago’s collapse in the 2003 NLCS, people conveniently forgot about shortstop Alex Gonzalez booting a potential double-play ball in the same inning.

14) Vancouver native Randy Myers holds the franchise record with 53 saves in 1993.

15) Wrigley Field was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park, home of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. The Cubs took up residence in 1916, meaning they’ve never won a World Series while calling the stadium their home.

16) Harry Caray, largely responsible for the Cubs’ national following through his announcing of games on cable network WGN in the 1980s, actually spent more years as a radio broadcaster for the St. Louis Cardinals.

17) The Cubs haven’t had a 100-win season since 1935. They’ve had three 100-loss seasons since then, including a 61-101 record last year.

18) Chicago came into Seattle this weekend with a 33-44 record, meaning we can probably add one more to the streak of seasons without a championship.

19) All-time Chicago Cubs team:

C — Gabby Hartnett

1B — Frank Chance

2B — Ryne Sandberg

3B — Ron Santo

SS — Ernie Banks

LF — Billy Williams

CF — Jimmy Ryan

RF — Sammy Sosa

SP — Ferguson Jenkins

SP — Three Finger Brown

SP — Grover Cleveland Alexander

SP — Charlie Root

RP — Bruce Sutter

RP — Lee Smith

Mgr — Frank Chance

20) Cap Anson probably was the best player in franchise history, but he’s left off the all-time team because of his role in establishing baseball’s color line in the 1800s.

Question or comment for By the Numbers? You can reach Greg Jayne, Sports editor of The Columbian, at 360-735-4531, or by email at Follow him on Twitter: @col_gjayne