The phrase "ex-Cub factor" has been thrown around quite a bit. It was originally coined by writer and Cub fan Ron Berler, who wrote an article in 1981 stating that since the Yankees of that season had five ex-Cubs on their roster, they were doomed to lose the World Series if they got there. He was right -- they lost to the Dodgers in six games.
Up until 2001, the curse of the ex-Cub had been almost complete. Since the Cubs last won the NL pennant in 1945, only once had a team with three or more ex-Cubs won the World Series. That was the 1960 Pirates, and Berler even manages to explain that anomaly away in his article.
In 2001, though, the Arizona Diamondbacks won the championship with a healthy contingent of ex-Cubs: Mark Grace, Luis Gonzalez, Mike Morgan, and Miguel Batista. It would appear that the curse has been broken, and Mark Grace even said as much during a post-game interview. In response, all I can say is it's pretty interesting that the World Series to which this one has most been compared is the 1960 Series, won by the Pirates. In both cases, the National League team beat the New York Yankees in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 7th game of the Series. Coincidience? Or SOMETHING MORE???
You can now read the entire original Ex-Cub Factor article right here. Special thanks to Ron Berler, and as always to Mark McClusky, for bringing this website to Berler's attention.
Atlanta (4): Will Cunnane, Matt Franco, Ray King, Greg Maddux
San Francisco (3): Benito Santiago, Tim Worrell, Eric Young
New York Yankees (2): Felix Heredia, Jon Lieber (DL)
Cubs (2): Doug Glanville, Mark Guthrie
Houston (2): Orlando Merced, Jose Vizcaino
Florida (1): Lenny Harris
Boston (1): Bill Mueller
Oakland (1): Micah Bowie (DL)
As usual, the Braves look to be in trouble when it comes to ex-Cubs in the playoffs. Maddux will be on the post-season roster, and I imagine Franco will be, too. That leaves the two relief pitchers. Cunnane has been effective in John Smoltz's absence, so he very well may make the playoff roster. If he does, the Braves are doomed. Likewise the Giants, who feature ex-Cubs at starting catcher and closer. Eric Young was acquired as insurance against Ray Durham's injury. With Durham healthy, Felipe Alou would be wise to leave Young off the October roster unless he wants to treat fans to a repeat of last year's heartbreak.
I've been tracking the ex-Cub factor for the past few years, and Carl Condon has gone back to the earliest days of the World Series to track The Factor. I have combined the work he and I have done and I am in the process of making it available on the Historical Ex-Cub Factor page. You'll see that the Curse of the Ex-Cub has held true almost perfectly throughout the years.
Is there a lesson to be learned from this? I think so. If you find your team in a pennant race, RELEASE ANYONE WHO USED TO BE ON THE CUBS. It's really pretty simple. Guys like Shawon Dunston and Mike Morgan might help you get into the playoffs, but you'd better ditch them come playoff time.
2002 UPDATE: Angels (one ex-Cub) defeat Giants (three ex-Cubs) in World Series. Ex-Cub Factor fulfilled for the 20th time.