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.

Recent comments

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  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:

    It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

    The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

  • Wait...you're flip-flopping again?!

    Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind?

    I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

  • Happ signs w Jays

    Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

  • needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

  • As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing

  • + Bankruptcy Court

  • +Price

  • Rondon 2.0!!

  • 2 spots left on the 40-man...wonder if they're going to play around in the rule-5 market...

  • A special after day after Thanksgiving thanks to AZ for his insanely detailed posts on all things roster. I don't know how you keep track of all that stuff - I suspect a chip implant, but whatever it is, it's cool.

  • ...the wrong half.

  • there's nothing like crapping out of the playoffs with a strong/young cheap team after pinching pennies for years then having theo talk about having to be creative with money to make things work for 2016...but hey, baseball isn't baseball without a farmer's market and beer garden plaza with ice rinks.

    they can do both...then again, if you want to look at it from a business point of view, they don't have to do both because the team is expected to be competitive and the merch+tickets+eyes-on-team are going to be at a peak unless they fail badly.

  • Really ?

    They are trying to bring the facility to the 20th century.
    I think they know what they are doing.

  • With the Cubs adding Pierce Johnson to their roster and not exposing/losing him to the Rule 5 Draft keeps the trade ancestry tree alive that started in 1999 with Tom Gordon and undrafted Adam Morrissey and includes 17 players, the trade tree progressed to involve the Hee Sop Choi for Derrek Lee deal and the famous Aramis Ramirez/Kenny Lofton deal..Pierce Johnson is the compensation pick for Aramis Ramirez in 2012