Credit Where Due: The Origin of the Ex-Cub Factor

It seems I’m late to the party with my thoughts on the impact of the Chicago Cubs on the 2004 World Series.

I got an e-mail this afternoon from the man who discovered the Ex-Cub Factor over 20 years ago. Writer Ron Berler, who is obviously another long-suffering Cubs fan, published his findings in the Boston Herald October 15, 1981. The article is archived at

According to The Baseball Encyclopedia, 600 men have called themselves Cubs since the team last won a pennant in 1945. Five of them — outfielders Oscar Gamble and Bobby Murcer, pitchers Dave LaRoche and Rick Reuschel and catcher Barry Foote — are currently New York Yankees.

This seems a trivial observation, but it will spell the Yankees’ doom should they reach the World Series. According to The Ex-Cub Factor, it is utterly impossible for a team with three or more ex-Cubs to win the series.

Bad news for Cardinals fans, but I’m not sure Tony Womack or Ray King really qualify as ex-Cubs. Womack only appeared in 21 games for the Cubs last year, and King pitched all of 11 innings for the Cubs in ’99. That barely counts.

The other consideration here is whether the Ex-Cub Factor will cancel out the Curse of the Bambino. Or whether the meeting of these two supernatural forces will result in The End of the World as We Know It.

I defer to the expert, Ron Berler, and hope, as a Cub fan in the midst of Cardinals Nation, that I don’t get blamed if the Red Sox win the Series.

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