You don’t hear much anymore about the “Ex-Cub Factor,” introduced in 1981 to show that teams with three or more former Cubs on their rosters rarely won the World Series. Tribune columnist Mike Royko simplified the rule — “Modified Cub Factor” — a few years later: The team with the most ex-Cubs will lose.
(There is, by the way, no such White Sox counterpart, because the Cubs had the longer history of failure.)
Using those formulas, the Red Sox would be the overwhelming favorites in this year’s World Series. Regardless of what it foreshadows, here are the former Cubs and White Sox players or coaches on the Dodgers and Red Sox.
Chris Sale, starting pitcher
Sale will start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday. The White Sox drafted him in first round (13th overall) in the 2010 draft, and he made his major league debut on Aug. 6 of that year. Sale, 27, was 74-50 for the White Sox with a 3.00 ERA, 14 complete games, two shutouts and 1,244 strikeouts in seven seasons. He is the team’s single-season record holder with 274 strikeouts, set in 2015. On Dec. 7, 2016, The White Sox traded Sale to Red Sox for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz. For Boston, Sale has started the past two All-Star Games and has gone 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA and 545 strikeouts in 372 1/3 innings.
Tom Goodwin, first base coach
He played 14 years in the majors as an outfielder, the final two for the Cubs (2003-04), for whom he hit .254 and stole 24 bases. Goodwin ranks 96th among the all-time stolen base leaders with 369. After his playing career ended, he worked as a coach in the Red Sox minor league system. He replaced Mookie Wilson as the Mets’ first-base coach in 2011 and took the same job with Boston in November 2017.
Rich Hill, starting pitcher
The Cubs picked Hill in the fourth round of the 2002 draft. He is in his 14th major league season, the first four with the Cubs, where he was 18-17 with a 4.37 ERA. Considered to have one of the best curve balls in the game, he is now in his third season with the Dodgers with a 26-15 record and a 3.30 ERA. The Dodgers have won both playoff games he started this month. Hill, who grew up in the Boston area, is expected to start Game 2 at Fenway Park.
Dylan Floro, relief pitcher
Floro is in his third major league season. In 2017, after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from the Rays, he appeared in three games and threw 9 2/3 innings with a 6.52 ERA. This summer, the Reds traded him to the Dodgers, and this postseason he has made five appearances, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up no runs.
Mark Prior, bullpen coach
The Cubs picked him second overall in the 2001 draft. Prior pitched five years in the majors, all for the Cubs, ending with 42 wins, 29 losses and a 3.51 ERA. His best year was 2003, when he want 18-6 and had a 2.43 ERA. After several injuries and several failed comeback attempts, he retired and went into coaching. Now he is finishing his first year as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach. The key to his new job “is listening,” Prior told the Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein in June. “Listening and finding out what works for each individual, what language they speak, what makes them feel good. I’m a big believer in that everybody’s different.”
Brant Brown, assistant hitting coach
Drafted by the Cubs in the third round of the 1992 draft, Brown played five years in the majors, three with the Cubs (1996-98). He’s most famous for what happened Sept. 23, 1998, in a game between the Cubs and Brewers at County Stadium. With the Cubs up 7-5, two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Geoff Jenkins hit a fly ball to Brown in left. “It was not an easy play,” Cubs radio play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes recently told the Tribune’s Paul Sullivan. “It was in the afternoon shadow-and-sun period of the day, and it was very bright. … He was not the first guy to drop a ball at that time of day in that ballpark. But at the same time, it’s a play he should’ve made. …
“I said, ‘Brant Brown drops the ball,’ and I heard Ron Santo in my headset bellow out, ‘Oh, nooo!’” Hughes said. “It was the kind of despair you’d associate with someone losing a member of their family. His call will live on in Cubs lore — in infamy, you could say, because it was such a tough loss.” All three runners scored and the Cubs lost.
After Brown retired as a player, he coached for the Rangers and the Mariners before joining the Dodgers in December.