A timely comic strip from 1969. (Click to enlarge).
Next month, the comic strip world will mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Charles M. Schulz, creator and illustrated of Peanuts. His ragtag bunch of characters are a part of American culture, and nothing embodied that more so than Charlie Brown’s attempts at baseball. I say “attempts” in the loosest of ways because Charlie and his team made the Kansas City Royals look great.
Year in and year out, Charlie Brown will lead his team to the baseball diamond, and year in and year out, his team would lose badly. This week, Larry Granillo at Wezen Ball decided to figure out just how bad Charlie Brown’s teams really were. Granillo offered up this introduction:
For fifty years, Charlie Brown took the field with his makeshift ballclub – the piano playing Schroeder behind the plate, the apathetic Lucy in centerfield, the blanket-toting Linus at second, and Snoopy, the slobbery superstar, at shortstop – and took beating after beating. Finding themselves on the wrong side of scores like 123-0 and 93-0 on a regular basis, the Peanuts crew was just never the talented powerhouse that Charlie Brown hoped for. But boy did they try. Few managers, and few teams, would have the heart to go out there day-after-day against such odds, but Charlie Brown and his crew were forever optimistic. It was endearing.
But losing takes it toll – if not on Charlie Brown’s spirits then, at the very least, in the record books. After decades of losing and seemingly-countless knockdown line-drives up the middle (the first one came in 1963), the stats can’t look too favorably on Team Peanuts. However, save for a short time when Linus was also team statistician, no one has ever taken the time to compile their stats. Granted, they aren’t going to be pretty, but someone should find the answer to the questions: how many games did Charlie Brown’s team lose? how many did they win? how many times did Charlie Brown get knocked over by a line-drive? and so on…
As anyone familiar with the Peanuts could tell you, the results are not pretty. So far, Granillo is through two decades, the 1950s and the 1960s, and Brown’s Nine are on par with the Mets. They managed to win a game in 1958 but ended the decade 1-25. By the end of the 1960s, they are a cumulative 7-85 in definite outcomes.
Anyway, check out Larry’s work. He traces the losses, the forfeits, the wins and even a mention of Charlie Brown’s walking 11 batters in a row. Eat your heart out, Retrosheet.
So this is your open thread tonight. Be good to each other. The Islanders are at home against the Red Wings, and the Devils and Rangers face off in the World’s Most Famous Arena. In light of this, it might be worth tuning in to the first ten minutes of Conan’s Tonight Show also.