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View Full Version : Hitless Wonder factor lives!!


TommyJohn
10-28-2004, 11:30 AM
The Hitless Wonder factor lives! A couple of years ago, I got tired of all
the blahblahblah about the infernally stupid "ex-Cub" factor, so I did a
little research on my own and found an "ex-Sox" factor. That is, a team
having three or more ex-Sox has pulled off a tremendous comeback to
win the pennant, pulled off an upset to win the World Series, or both.
I call it the "Hitless Wonder" factor, after the 1906 White Sox, who came
back from 9 games down to win the AL pennant and beat the winningest
single season team in baseball history (the Cubs, 116-36) in a World Series
upset. Sometimes, the ex-Sox contribute mightily, as only they can. So
the teams are:

1968 Detroit Tigers: Norm Cash, Don McMahon, Denny McLain. I'm fudging
on McLain, because he never played a league game with the White Sox,
but he did play with them in spring training and wore the uniform, so the
magical Sockie pixie dust rubbed off on him. The Tigers won the AL pennant
going away (thanks to McLain's 31 wins) then fell behind 3 to 1 to a superior
Cardinal team. They came back to win the series, getting a must-win Game
6 win from McLain. Norm Cash's .385 average also contributed. I don't know
if the Cardinals were favored or not, they were a faster team and had Bob Gibson. I'll say they were. Now that I am a serious baseball writer, I am
allowed to make stuff up as I go along.

1969 New York Mets: Tommie Agee, Al Weis, J.C. Martin. Everyone knows
their story. Down 10.5 games to the Cubs, they roared back to win the NL
East, win the NL and beat the mighty Baltimore Orioles in a tremendous
upset. Agee, Martin and Weis ALL made significant World Series contributions.
Agee with his spectacular catches, Martin with his famous sacrifice bunt, and
Weis with his game 5 home run. Where all these bunts, bops and breathtaking
catches were in 1967 when the White Sox needed them is a mystery.

1978 New York Yankees: Bucky Dent, Goose Gossage, Jim Spencer, Bob
Lemon. The mother of them all!!! Down by 14.5 games to the eternally
woeful, suffering, suffering Boston Red Sox, the Yankees roared back to
tie them for the AL East. The one game playoff went down in history of
course, with Bucky Dent hitting a historic home run that would help beat
the Red Sox and give the Boston media, Doris Kearns Goodwin, John Updike
and Dan Shaugnessy reams and reams of useful material. Goose Gossage
closed out the Red Sox in the 9th. Dent was also the World Series MVP.

To be continued in next post.

TommyJohn
10-28-2004, 11:51 AM
1997 Florida Marlins: Bobby Bonilla, John Cangelosi, Alex Fernandez, Don Pall,
Russ Morman, Jim Leyland. First wildcard team to win the World Series. Sur-
prised the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs (who the hell hasn't?) and beat the
Indians in the World Series, which I believe is considered an upset. They were
also down to their last three outs in Game 7 before tying it and winning in extra
innings. Donn Pall and Russ Morman didn't play in the postseason, but like McLain
they spread the magical Sockie pixie dust around Joe Robbie Stadium.

2004 Boston Red Sox: Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, Ron Jackson (hitting coach)
Ellis Burks. Now Burks only played for them briefly, and Jackson was only a
hitting coach, but again, it's all about the dust. They pulled off the most
astonishing historical comeback in baseball postseason history, being down
0-3 and down to their final three outs. They roared back, as only a team
with the Hitless Wonder factor on their side could, beat the Yankees and
pushed aside the 105 win Cardinals. Keith Foulke was a major contributor
in both the ALCS and the World Series. Of course!

I was a bit unsure about this one, because the Yankees have 4 ex-Sox on
their roster; Kenny Lofton, Tanyon Sturtze, Esteban Loiaza and Tom Gordon.
So it would reason that the "ex-Sox" factor is baseless, right? WRONG! I did
a little research, and the 2004 Yankees have six ex-Cubs (Lofton, Sturtze,
Gordon, Jon Lieber, Miguel Cairo, Donovan Osborne). So since they had more
ex-Cubs than ex-Sox, the ex-Cub factor trumps the ex-Sox factor. Likewise,
Boston had fewer ex-Cubs than the Yankees (four: Bellhorn, Mueller, Ricky
Guiterrez and Terry Francona), hence their victory. They had the same
number of ex-Cubs as the Cardinals (four: King, Tavarez, Womack, LaRussa) but the Cardinals have fewer ex-Sox (two, Eldred and LaRussa) so in this
case the ex-Sox factor trumped the ex-Cub factor.

Dumb? Stupid? A pile of dung? Maybe. But the ex-Cub factor is legendary,
so why not an ex-Sox factor?

EDIT: This, by the way, applies to teams since 1960, the year after the
White Sox' last pennant. If anyone has any examples I missed, I'd love to
hear of them.