The 2012 Chicago Cubs have lost 100 games, the most a Cubs team has lost since the 1966 team was defeated 103 times. Although this year's Cubs team consists mostly of promising young players with a few veterans mixed in, it is surprising that the 1966 Cubs were not more successful when looking at the lineup.
Below is a look at the 1966 Cubs and how the roster compares to the current one.
The 1966 team was solid at the corners, where Ernie Banks and Ron Santo combined for 45 home runs and 169 RBIs. Randy Hundley hit .236 in the catcher's spot, but provided good power with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs. Up the middle, Glenn Beckert and Don Kessinger were strong defensively and combined for 102 RBIs on offense, despite hitting only one homer each.
Today's team has gotten more offense from second base and shortstop, with Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney driving in 122 runs with 21 home runs, and Anthony Rizzo's 15 homers and 48 RBIs have been a bright spot at first base during the second half of the year. Bryan LaHair was named an All-Star after having a big first half at first base. However, third base and catcher have not been very productive.
Billy Williams led the outfielders in 1966 with 29 home runs and 91 RBIs. Byron Browne and Adolfo Phillips filled the other two spots most of the year, hitting a combined 32 home runs and 87 RBIs.
Alfonso Soriano has had one of his best seasons in Chicago this year, totaling 32 homers and 108 RBIs so far. Soriano also leads the team with 33 doubles. David DeJesus has been productive in right field, hitting .264 with a .351 on-base percentage. He has also collected 133 hits, 28 doubles, 50 RBIs and a team-leading 60 walks. Center field will need to be improved next year, as Marlon Byrd, Tony Campana, Brett Jackson and others did not supply much offense this year.
The weakest area of both teams, Dick Ellsworth, Ken Holtzman and Bill Hands combined for a 27-51 record as the three regular starters in 1966. The staff ERA was a respectable 4.33, yet the Cubs still finished last in the NL.
In 2012, of course, the Cubs have traded away starters Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, while losing Matt Garza early to injury. The team has used 12 different starters, with none of the top four from Opening Day finishing out the year in the rotation. The team has a 4.54 ERA for the season.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.