Cubs and Astros will make history at Wrigley Field

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It's been 50 years since two teams that already had 100 losses had played each other. Come within to find out more about this rare bit of baseball history.

The Chicago Cubs. The Houston Astros.

Those are the two worst teams in the major leagues this season. You probably haven't given those two teams much thought this year... maybe, even if you are a fan of one of them.

Monday night, in front of an indifferent "crowd" that totalled maybe a third of the 32,167 announced, the Astros shut out the Cubs 3-0. It was the Cubs' 100th defeat of 2012, the first time a Cubs team has lost 100 or more since 1966. The Astros began the series with 106 defeats, which ties their franchise record set one year ago.

This might sound like the seventh circle of baseball hell to you, but that 100th loss creates a matchup which has occurred just three previous times in major-league history: two 100-loss teams playing each other after both of them have already put Loss No. 100 in the books.

Here are the other such matchups; in the three previous occurrences, nine total games were played.

1905, Brooklyn Superbas at Boston Beaneaters. Wouldn't it be fun to still have teams with these nicknames? They are, of course, the franchises we now know as the Dodgers and Braves, but neither had yet formally adopted those nicknames. Brooklyn entered a season-ending five-game series hosting Boston with a 44-103 mark; Boston began it 50-99. Brooklyn won the first game to give Boston its 100th loss, then won three of the remaining four. The 1905 season is one of just two 100-loss years in Brooklyn/Los Angeles history; the other was in 1908.

1923, Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Braves. The Boston N.L. team, now at last known as the Braves, was in the middle season of a three-year stretch of losing exactly 100 games. In their season-ending three-game set at Philadelphia, the 49-102 Phillies defeated the 52-99 Braves 10-2 to give Boston its 100th defeat. The two clubs then played two more games, a season-ending doubleheader, as brothers-in-100-loss-arms; the Braves won both. The second game was cut short, likely mercifully, after five innings.

1962, New York Mets at Chicago Cubs. This series was played 50 years ago at Wrigley Field, the same venue where the Cubs and Astros will play their 100-loss matchup Tuesday and Wednesday. The 1962 set has a unique distinction: It is the only such matchup where both teams had lost 100 games before the series began. The Mets had given the Cubs their 100th loss a few days earlier in New York; the Cubs entered the set at 58-102. The Mets were 39-118 when they came to Wrigley Field for a season-ending weekend series. The Cubs won two of three; total attendance for the series (in an era when turnstile count, not tickets sold, was announced) was 7,425, including a colossal throng of 595 people for the first game of the set, a 3-2 Cubs win on Friday, September 28. The Cubs turned a triple play in the season's final game, Sunday, September 30, the game that gave the Mets their record 120th loss, a mark that still stands as the most losses in the expansion era.

So the Cubs and Astros will join this curious little list Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field. It's not the history either team would probably like to make, but history nonetheless.

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