Opening Back Up

With approval from city and state officials, the White Sox and the Cubs both announced yesterday that they would be increasing capacity to 60% later this month, with the White Sox starting on May 24 against the Cardinals and the Cubs on May 28 against the Reds.  For this weekend’s games against the Royals, the White Sox will feature two vaccinated-only sections without social distancing for fans showing proof of vaccination.  The Cubs will do the same for their series against the Nationals next week.  Fans will still be required to wear masks, although very few actually do.

The expectation is that both teams will be back to full capacity by the end of June, which may jumble up plans on how to sell tickets for the early part of next month.  Other than the additional capacity added to games already on sale, neither team has announced future sales plans as of this morning.

All Time Team Records

In a shocking development, the 2021 baseball season got underway last night without issue or delay.  With hopefully a full 162 game schedule on the docket, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to contend in a weak NL Central with one final year of having the core of their World Series Championship team under contract, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions put them over the top and make them true World Series contenders.  The 2021 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town, even more interesting if we are able to see it in person.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
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By The Numbers – 67

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #67.  9 players have donned #67 while playing in Chicago, 8 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Jim Kern joined the White Sox in a August 1982 trade with the Reds, becoming the first player in Chicago baseball history to wear #67.  He did not pitch particularly well for the South Siders down the stretch, putting up a 5.14 ERA in 13 games.  He was expected back in the bullpen in 1983, but he blew out his elbow in the second game of the season and missed the rest of the year.  When he was released towards the end of spring training in 1984, he accused the team of “destroying my arm and then shucking me off like last year’s shotgun shells.”  GM Roland Hemond claimed it was strictly a business decision, as the team saved nearly $300,000 by releasing Kern.

Tsuyoshi Wada, who appeared in 13 games and went 4-4 for the 2014 Cubs, is the only Cub to ever don #67.  He switched to #18 the following year, appeared in only 8 games, and never played in the big leagues again.

Jake 2.0

The Cubs are bringing Jake Arrieta back for the 2021 season, signing the right-hander to a one year, $6 million deal.  Arrieta, who will turn 35 next month, was originally acquired by the Cubs in July of 2013, coming over from the Orioles, along with Pedro Strop, in a trade for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger.  After 7 starts for Iowa, Arrieta joined the rebuilding Cubs and showed vast improvement over the pitcher he was with the Orioles.  He turned into an ace for the Cubs in 2015, winning the NL Cy Young Award, and was a key contributor to their World Series championship in 2016.  He threw two no-hitters for the team, one in 2015 against the Dodgers and the second in 2016 against the Reds.  But, after leaving following the 2017 season for the Phillies, he has not been the same pitcher, suffering injuries each of the past 3 years.

Hopefully Cub fans have realistic expectations for Arrieta in 2021.  If they expect Arrieta to be a leader in the team’s attempts to repeat as division champions, they are likely to be disappointed and that disappointment may tarnish their memories of Arrieta and what he accomplished from 2014-2017.  If they see this as the nostalgia-based move it likely is, and accept the neither Arrieta nor the team will see the same success that they’ve become accustomed to, then it could be a nice distraction to take away from what looks to be a rebuilding (or reloading, at best) year.

By The Numbers – 68

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #68.  5 players have donned #71 while playing in Chicago, 6 for the White Sox and 1 for the Cubs.

Jorge Soler was originally signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 2012.  Part of the so-called Core Four, the prospects meant to finally lead the Cubs to post-season glory, Soler made his major league debut on August 27, 2014, going 2 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBIs against the Reds.  He became the primary right fielder in 2015, starting 95 games and putting up a .723 OPS as the Cubs made a surprising run to the NLCS before falling to the Mets.  With Jason Heyward on board in 2016, Soler saw most of his playing time in left field, filling in for the injured Kyle Schwarber.  While he struggled during the regular season, he made the most of his World Series opportunity, hitting .400 against the Indians in his 2 appearances.  After achieving that initial goal of a World Series title, Soler was sent to the Royals for closer Wade Davis.

The pickings are slim on the south side of town for players wearing #68.  Dylan Covey wore it the most, going 6-29 over his 3 seasons with the White Sox after being acquired as a Rule 5 draft choice out of the A’s organization.  He was thankfully let go following the 2019 season.

5’s All Around

On the back of 5 solo home runs, the White Sox and Dallas Keuchel took down Trevor Bauer and the Reds 5-0 to reduce their magic number to clinch the Central Division to, you guessed it, 5.  Meanwhile, on the north side, the Twins have a 7-1 lead over the Cubs heading into the bottom of the 7th, so it doesn’t look like we will be getting any additional help there tonight.

In other news, Tim Anderson raised his batting average up to .366 and trails DJ LeMahieu by .001 points for the league lead.

All Time Team Records

What was planned to be the earliest non-international start in Major League Baseball history turned into the latest, thanks to a combination of the corona virus pandemic and pointless bickering between the MLBPA and team owners.  With the 2020 baseball season finally set to get underway today, although with no fans in the stands, it is time once again to look at the all-time team records for games that I have identified as having attended dating back to 1984.  Thanks to some eBaying of pocket schedules from the 80s, I was able to identify one additional game that I attended in 1988, a California Angels victory at Comiskey Park against the White Sox.

The Cubs look to bounce back from last year’s September collapse that kept them out of the postseason for the first time since 2014, while the White Sox hope their offseason additions push them towards contention as their young talent starts to blossom.  With only 60 games to make their mark, the 2020 season should be an interesting one on both sides of town.

All-Time Team Records
Team Name Won Loss Winning Pctg
California Angels 2 0 1.000
Arizona Diamondbacks 13 2 0.867
Florida Marlins 15 8 0.652
Colorado Rockies 10 6 0.625
Boston Red Sox 18 13 0.581
Toronto Blue Jays 15 11 0.577
New York Yankees 15 11 0.577
Los Angeles Angels 19 14 0.576
Cleveland Indians 28 24 0.538
Chicago Cubs 219 197 0.526
Philadelphia Phillies 10 9 0.526
Houston Astros 22 20 0.524
Chicago White Sox 306 287 0.516
Continue reading →

Looking Ahead To 2021

For reasons that I don’t entirely understand, Major League Baseball released their tentative 2021 schedule late last week, 3 weeks before the 2020 season begins. The local squads should have common goals in mind for 2021: competing for a title.  Assuming, of course, that the 2020 season goes off as planned and the pandemic winds down enough for 2021 to proceed as planned.  So, for one day, at least, let’s turn our attention to next summer for both teams.

The White Sox open their season against the Angels in (Los Angeles, California, Anaheim), the first time that has happened since 1993.  Which, I guess, is a decent sign if one’s looking for omens towards a division title.  They return home a week later, facing the Royals for the home opener.

The interleague schedule pits the White Sox against the NL Central, with trips to Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee and home series against the Reds, Cardinals, and the Pirates. The rivalry with their north side foes continues with a series at Wrigley at the beginning of August and a follow-up at Guaranteed Rate Field at the end of the month.

The season ends with a 5 game homestand against the Reds and Tigers.

On the north side, the Cubs open their season up at home against the Pirates, which seems to be a familiar Opening Day foe.

The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the AL Central, with trips to Cleveland, Detroit, and Minnesota and home series against the Indians, Royals, and the Twins.

The Cubs end the year with a 12 of their final 14 games against the NL Central, with 9 of those coming against the Brewers and the Cardinals, who are likely to challenge them for the NL Central crown.

Reds All Time Leaders – Through 2019

redsWith baseball shut down because of the corona virus, I thought it would be an interesting time to look at the all time leaders in both offensive and defensive categories for all 30 teams.  We continue today with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds began life in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association, joining the National League in 1890.  I’ve seen them play 39 times, at 4 separate stadiums across 2 states.

Home Runs

Name Total
Adam Dunn 12
Austin Kearns 3
Edwin Encarnacion 3

Hits

Name Total
Adam Dunn 24
Ken Griffey Jr. 19
Sean Casey 18

Runs

Name Total
Adam Dunn 22
Sean Casey 12
Brandon Phillips 10

RBI

Name Total
Adam Dunn 27
Ken Griffey Jr. 12
Austin Kearns 10

Doubles

Name Total
Jason LaRue 5
Adam Dunn 4
Austin Kearns 4

Triples Continue reading →