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Big League Stew

Cubs lose 100 games for first time in 46 years

Big League Stew

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For a team that owns the biggest reputation in sports for futility, the Chicago Cubs have been adept in avoiding 100 losses through the years. Not this season, though.

The lowly Houston Astros came to Wrigley Field on Monday night and helped the Cubs reach the century mark, beating them 2-0 for Chicago's 100th defeat of 2012. Not since 1966 had the Cubs lost at least 100 games, and it happened only once before that, in 1962. They do have 19 other 90-plus loss seasons since 1876. The franchise has seemed worse than that, but the truth is, the Cubs aren't even that good at leading the league in losing.

Hey, Chicago, what do you say?!

[Jeff Passan: Miguel Cabrera sits out Tigers' raucous celebration]

On the verge of setting their own franchise record for losses, the Astros avoided No. 107 behind a two-hit effort from right-hander Lucas Harrell and three bullpen accomplices, who handed the Cubs their 14th shutout of the season. The meeting of 100-loss clubs was the first since the Cubs and New York Mets engaged each other in late '62, when the Cubs finished ninth of 10 teams. No other major-league teams will drop 100 games this season, so take comfort in that. Take less comfort in knowing that only three other Cubs teams ('62, '66 and '81) finished with a worse winning percentage than this one has right now.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum noted that ''It didn't quite seem like a playoff atmosphere," at Wrigley, and reporter Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote that Sveum expected more from his players. Or said he did. This is what Sveum said during spring training after the team's first workout:

"I just let 'em know that's a team that can compete and do really well," he replied. "We're not here to rebuild. We're here to try to win the World Series this year."

Sullivan continues:

With an announced crowd of 32,167, the Cubs surpassed the 2.8 million mark in attendance — a feat few 100-loss teams can claim. More than half of Monday's tickets went unused, however, as season ticket holders and scalpers took yet another bath.

The scrubbing continues for the Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908, in case you were unclear. That '62 Cubs team, by the way, had four future Hall of Famers — Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks — and they finished last in attendance. And none of the fans would have done the wave, had it been invented. Times might not always change, but tastes apparently do.

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