Chicago Cubs: Mr. Cub had to play through some pretty lean years
We are amid the golden age of Cubs’ baseball. Four straight trips to the playoffs and a World Series qualifies as golden for most teams, but for the Cubs- oh boy! Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein have elevated this organization to heights previously unreached this millennium, and most of last as well. We’ve probably become so pampered and spoiled that a 2-7 start is almost too much to bear.
1960 saw the Cubs win 60 games, then uptick a bit to 64 wins in 1961, followed by an abysmal nadir of 59 wins in 1962 before climbing up to some mediocre seasons through the rest of the 1960s. Of course, even in the best year of the bunch, 1969, the Cubs found a way to dash a great season in the end, losing out to the Amazins in a year many seasoned Cubs’ fans remember with anything but fondness. Poor Ernie Banks.
Following the sweet swingin’ season of Sammy Sosa in 1998, the Cubs went on a skid in the next couple seasons, losing 95 games in 1999 and 97 in 2000. While they did win 88 in 2001, they plummeted again in 2002, dropping 95 again. Not good, not good.
2012 is a lot closer in the rear-view for most Cubs’ fans. It’s time we may look back fondly on in 2019 because it set the stage for what was to come very shortly. However, at the time, the Cubs were busy losing a staggering 101 games en route to their worst season in 46 years. The 101 losses also came sandwiched in the middle of 87, 91, 96, and 80 losses in the two years before and after. Those were bad times. Those years were bad times. This year is not.
2019, despite its bad drama and tragedy to start the season, is not going to be a 60 win season. We aren’t staring into the face of a rebuild; we aren’t watching a team that can’t do anything right. We’re watching a team that is struggling to find competence and success out of its bullpen and length out of its starters. It may seem like the sky is falling, but a five-game winning streak will make everyone forget the struggles of the pen to start the season.
Let’s see where we are come May 1 with this ballclub with the way the bats are swinging and the mind-numbing statistical anomaly that is our bullpen right now; there’s a lot to be hopeful for. And, even if it’s a slog through most of the spring and summer, just remember that we’re not the Marlins.