Countdown to #Cubs #DoubleTriple now at 40 losses

The Cubs lost again today, and had to survive blast furnace conditions at Wrigley Field to do it. And if today’s announced attendance of 38,000+ souls are really foolish enough to go to the ballpark in these conditions, humanity is in bigger trouble than I thought. But at least the journey through baseball in the 1970s can resume. Today’s focus is on 1971, when two teams hit the century mark in losses.

1971 Cleveland Indians

Expansion team: No

Overall record: 60-102

# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Eight

Manager(s): Alvin Dark, Johnny Lipon

Hall of Famers on roster: None

100 loss seasons since: 1985; 1987; 1991

Pennant wins since: 1995; 1997

Cubs fans do indeed have it bad when it comes to losing. But at least we aren’t as starved for a championship as those poor souls in Cleveland. Their baseball drought of 62 years is the second-longest active streak, but add to that the Browns (who have never won a Super Bowl) and the Cavs (who have never won an NBA title), and you’ve really got some serious misery going on.

The Indians fired manager Alvin Dark in late July, hoping that a team that was nearly 20 games under .500 could be resurrected with some new blood in the dugout. It didn’t work, though, as Dark’s replacement, Johnny Lipon, suffered through an 18-41 finish. Alvin Dark later won two World Series managing the Oakland A’s, but Lipon never managed in the majors again. The Indians will now take some time off from the 100 loss club, but they’ll be back a few more times before we’re finished with this exercise.

1971 San Diego Padres

Expansion team: No

Overall record: 61-100

# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Four

Manager(s): Preston Gomez

Hall of Famers on roster: None

100 loss seasons since: 1973; 1974; 1993

Pennant wins since: 1984; 1998

I’ve been through the whole 1984 thing with the Padres elsewhere, so there’s no need to rehash it here. The Padres were no longer an expansion team per se in 1971, but they weren’t yet established as a winning franchise, either. Preston Gomez finished out this season as the Padres’ manager, but was fired just 11 games into the 1972 season. Three full seasons of 99 or more losses will do that for a manager, even with a new franchise. We have now seen the last of him in these posts, but he turned up in a few other big league jobs, including a stint managing the Cubs during the 1980 season.

Note: The image above is of Satchel Paige, who did not play on either of these teams, but did play for the Cleveland Indians in the late 1940s, and was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

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