These aren’t easy on the eyes

One of the things that baseball has started doing in recent years, which I really like, is the “throwback” uniforms. The Cubs are actually 5-0 all time in throwbacks, with the most recent win coming when they beat the Red Sox in Fenway Park last May. Looking back on it, that game was one of many that this year’s Red Sox choked away. If the Red Sox had been able to hold on to even one of these games, it would have made the Baltimore Collapse less catastrophic than it turned out to be. But that’s all over now.

Trevor Cahill has the good fortune, if that’s really what it is, to play for a team with some absolutely hideous throwbacks at their disposal. The Oakland A’s in the Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, and Catfish Hunter era could throw green and/or yellow at you in a veritable technicolor whirlwind. Such is the case with the Cahill uniform above.

The game itself won’t ever return to what it was back in the early 1970s, but thanks to the A’s throwback uniforms and the Topps’ Company’s decision to embrace this mustard and avocado look, we’ll always be reminded of  what passed for big league style back then.

#Cubs are now 31 losses from the #DoubleTriple

Thanks to pitching meltdowns by two Carloses–Zambrano and Marmol–this post will be the first double shot of historic baseball mediocrity. First off, a reminder about what the #DoubleTriple is. The Cubs have decided to start winning lately, now that the games are sufficiently meaningless, and the reports are that Tom Ricketts will put his thumb in the eye of fans like me by bringing Jim Hendry back next season.

It now looks like this #DoubleTriple thing will become more than just a one-time thing for this season, since I’ll say this right now: the Cubs will lose 100 in a season before they win the Big One, so long as Jim Hendry gets to make the decisions. It gives me no great pleasure to say that, either. Onward through the losingest teams from days gone by.

And yes, I know the image above doesn’t have anything to do with losing teams, or even the major leagues in general. But the Baseball Furies scared the hell out of me, then as now. The angry, defiant look above is one that any or all of these teams probably felt at some point, anyway.

1979 Toronto Blue Jays

Expansion team: No

Overall record: 53-109

# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Five

Manager(s): Roy Hartsfield

Hall of Famers on roster: None, but Bobby Doerr served as a coach

100 loss seasons since: None

Pennant wins since: 1992 (World Series winner); 1993 (World Series winner)

Different year, same result for the Blue jays, who become the first franchise to pull off the TripleTriple , which is three consecutive years of 100-loss seasons. It also turned out to be the final year for manager Roy Hartsfield, who was let go at the end of the season and never managed in the majors again. He had never managed in the majors before Toronto, either, and I can’t imagine there’s ever been another manager to lose 100 or more games in every season that he managed at the big league level.

The most intriguing development for this team came in game #42, where the team beat the Indians by the score of 8-1. The truly interesting thing was the performance of their rookie second baseman, who went 3-4 with an RBI in his big league debut. The rookie, still a sophomore at BYU, went on to have a long and accomplished career–in the NBA. His name was Danny Ainge.

1979  Oakland Athletics

Expansion team: No

Overall record: 54-108

# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Five

Manager(s): Jim Marshall

Hall of Famers on roster: Rickey Henderson

100 loss seasons since: None

Pennant wins since: 1988; 1989; 1990

How the mighty had fallen. Earlier in the decade, the A’s were on their way to winning three straight championships, while Jim Marshall was managing the mediocre Cubs. Just five short years later, Marshall was managing a worse-than-mediocre A’s team that was stripped of Jackson, Hunter, Blue, Campaneris, and all of the other great stars, as soon as free agency had taken hold. The franchise would not reach these depths again, and a decade later they were in the midst of  a similarly-but-not-quite-as-impressive three year run of three pennants and no World Series wins. But that’s still three more pennants than I’ve seen my team win, and I’m quite jealous of that accomplishment.

1980 Seattle Mariners

Expansion team: No

Overall record: 59-103

# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Five

Manager(s): Darrell Johnson, Maury Wills

Hall of Famers on roster: None

100 loss seasons since: 1983; 2008; 2010

Pennant wins since: None

The Mariners began their second decade in existence (if you look at it the right way) by winning 7 of their first 10 games, and coming home on Memorial Day with a record two games above .500. The bottom fell out shortly thereafter, and they wound up in the loser’s circle yet again. The franchise would have to wait another eleven years before it finally had a winning record.

We’re in the 80s now, which is the decade I came of age personally, even though the 70s were the decade I came of age as a baseball fan. The Cubs will have to go 8-31 from here on out (a .205 winning percentage) to make the DoubleTriple a reality. I realize that this is very unlikely to happen, and that I may not even make it out of the 80s before the Cubs win game #63. But, as in real life, I’m going to keep on having fun for as long as I can.