The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros figured to be at the bottom of the NL Central at the conclusion of the 2012 MLB season. But I doubt most fans expected the Cubs and Astros to each lose over 100 games. In fact, since divisional play began in 1969, no two teams in the same division had ever recorded over 100 losses in a season.
As a lifelong Cubs' fan, I have seen a lot of bad baseball in Wrigley Field. But in my 40 years on this planet, I had never personally witnessed a 100-loss season. The last time the Cubs had lost at least 100 games in a season was 1966 when Chicago posted a 59-103 record.
I thought a hot streak from late June to late July had rescued the Cubs from a 100-loss season. But Chicago seemed to disintegrate after the front office jettisoned many of the best Cub players at the trade deadline. Somehow, Chicago was completely inept against some of the worst teams in the National League down the stretch.
I guess the expression "misery loves company" applies to the Astros. The Cubs had an opportunity to avoid 100 losses if they could have swept Houston. But the Astros shutout the Cubs 3-0 in consecutive games to give Chicago 101 losses on the season.
Still, Chicago managed to finish six games ahead of Houston in the NL Central. The Astros lost a whopping 107 games on the season. Unfortunately, the Cubs will definitely not finish ahead of the Astros in 2013. Next year, Houston will move to the AL West.
2002 AL Central
The only other time two teams in the same division lost at least (but not more than) 100 games was in 2002. That year, the Kansas City Royals went 62-100 while the Detroit Tigers went 55-106 in the AL Central. However, the Cubs and Astros lost two more total games this season than the Royals and Tigers did 10 years ago.
Every year, there are surprise teams that shock the MLB. But for Cubs' and Astros' fans to even dream of their teams making an epic turnaround in 2013 seems more far-fetched than Barry Bonds' Hall of Fame hopes. Although they would be in different divisions, 100-loss seasons for Chicago and Houston next year are a distinct possibility.
Patrick Michael is a resident of New Orleans, but grew up watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN with Harry Caray and Steve Stone as the announcers. A diehard Cubs fan, Patrick's favorite season was 1984 when Chicago was one win away from reaching the World Series. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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