A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 06, 2016
“Any team can have a bad century” ("Anyone can have a bad century")

"Anyone can have a bad game” is a sports saying of unknown origin. “Any team can have a bad century” ("Anyone can have a bad cenury") is a sports saying that has been printed on many images. It’s usually associated with the Chicago Cubs, who won the World Series in 1908 and didn’t win it again until 2016.

A book published in 1986 stated in a preface:

“At Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox—ed.), where fans have not scented a title for eighty-five years and more, hawkers offer t-shirts that say ‘Any team can have a bad century.’”

There is some dispute about who coined the saying. Chicago Cubs play-by-play announcer Jack Brickhouse (1916-1998) from 1948 to 1981 is often given credit. In a 2008 YouTube video, his wife stated that he had said it in 1980.

Harvey Walken, a Chicago real estate developer and a Pittsburgh Pirates owner, said “Well, I guess any team can have a bad century” about the Cubs in 1991. Walken was reported saying “Anyone can have a bad century” in The Wall Street Journal in October 1993. Walken filed trademarks in 1994 and 1997 for “Any Team Can Have a Bad Century.”


Wikipedia: Jack Brickhouse
John Beasley “Jack” Brickhouse (January 24, 1916 – August 6, 1998) was an American sportscaster. Known primarily for his play-by-play coverage of Chicago Cubs games on WGN-TV from 1948 to 1981, he received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1985, Brickhouse was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with the Voice of the Yankees Mel Allen and Red Sox Voice Curt Gowdy. Brickhouse served as the organization’s Secretary/Treasurer and was a member of its Board of Directors.

Just One Bad Century
Also, one final note about the phrase that inspired this site: “Any team can have a bad century”. While this phrase is often attributed to Jack Brickhouse, Harvey Walken, former part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates claims that he coined the phrase in a conversation with Jack, and that Jack adopted it as his own. Harvey went on to actually trademark the phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in 1998, and gave us his blessing to use it in 2008, with the priviso that we fully acknowledge his contribution to the phrase.

Google Books
Toronto, No Mean City (Third Edition)
By Eric Ross Arthur
Revised by Stephen A. Otto
Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press Incorporated
1986
Pg. XXI:
At Fenway Park, where fans have not scented a title for eighty-five years and more, hawkers offer t-shirts that say ‘Any team can have a bad century.’

14 July 1991, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Baseball” by Bob Hertzel, pg. C5, col. 1:
Tough luck
Harvey Walken, one of the Pirates’ owners, attended the recent series between the Chicago Cubs and the Pirates in Wrigley Field.

Walken looked around and wondered where the Cubs’ championship banners were. Most teams display the flags from their championship seasons.

Told the last championship for the Cubs came in 1908 and the flag probably had unraveled, Walken shrugged and said, “Well, I guess any team can have a bad century.”

22 September 1992, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Odds & Ins” by Mike Conklin, pg. 9:
Hey, as Jack Brickhouse likes to say, every team can have a bad century now and then.

12 October 1993, The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY), “Trip to True North Revives White Sox” by Frederick C. Klein, pg. A18, col. 2:
This (Chicago’s baseball history—ed.) is the sort of record that inspires wry jokes, not optimism. “Anyone can have a bad century,” says Harvey Walken, a Chicago real-estate man and part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’d be funnier if he weren’t talking about this century.

Chicago (IL) magazine
Give It Up, Cub Fans
Chicago’s Cubs reigned as the world champions of baseball in 1908, but they’ve been waiting till next year ever since—a record of failure unmatched by any other pro team. Why is this beloved ball club so good at being bad? One tortured fan journeys to the heart of Cub darkness, looking for answers

BY RICHARD BABCOCK
PUBLISHED APRIL 1, 1996
(...)
TIME FLIES
Harvey Walken, a former co-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, famously remarked about the Cubs, “I guess any team can have a bad century.” Presumably, he was joking. But, in fact, if you parse Cubs history, 87 years of failure slips by remarkably quickly.

Google Groups: alt.sports.baseball.chicago-cubs
When Woods ends up pitching for Atlanta, will you still be a fan?
Rory Sellers
5/7/98
And Ken Hubbs. Hey folks, look, we know Woods ain’t gonna end up in the Hall as a Cub. Can’t happen. Won’t happen. Never happens. As Jack Brickhouse said, anyone can have a bad century.

30 September 1998, Rockford (IL) Register Star, “Wait ‘til this year?” (editorial), pg. 11A, col. 1:
The history is all too familiar to diehard Cubs fans: No World Series title since 1908. No World Series appearance since 1945. The collapse of 1969. Playoff losses in 1984 and 1989. A 14-game losing streak to start the 1997 season.

As the late announcer Jack Brickhouse, the patron saint of optimistic Cubs fans, often said, “Anyone can have a bad century.”

Google Books
Seven Convincing Miracles:
Understanding the Claims of Christ in Today’s Culture

By Erwin W. Lutzer
Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers
1999
Pg. ?:
No wonder a Cub T-shirt is selling in Chicago that reads, “Anyone Can Have a Bad Century.”

3 October 1999, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, ‘The indignity of it: Cubs clinch season series” by Rick Hummel, pg. D13, cols. 5-6:
Some of the signs seen atop the Stadium Club, next to Big Mac Land: “70 is McGreat, 62 is just Sosa,” and (WIth the Cubs logo) “Anyone Can Have a Bad Century.”

2 February 2002, Indiana (PA) Gazette, “Scoop” by Liz Smith, pg. 8, col. 1:
One joke of the night was about a CHicago Cubs fan. Someone noted that the club hadn’t won a World Series since 1908. Said the fan, “Well, anyone can have a bad century.”

Google Books
Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today
By Steve Johnson
Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur Press
2008
Pg. 136:
Reflecting on the Cubs’ long dry spell in postseason play, Brickhouse once remarked, “Anyone can have a bad century.”

YouTube
Anybody can Have a Bad Century
Randall Cross
Uploaded on Mar 21, 2008
http://www.justonebadcentury.com/ | Jack Brickhouse came up with the phrase, anyone can have a bad century. His wife Pat tells the story of the phrase that the Chicago Cubs wished didn’t exist.

Crain’s Chicago Business
June 18, 2009
‘Story teller’ developer Harvey Walken dies
By: Thomas A. Corfman
(Crain’s)—A memorial service will be held later Thursday for Chicago developer Harvey Walken, who died Sunday.
(...)
Mr. Walken’s best-known quip was about the Chicago Cubs’ World Series drought.

“Any team can have a bad century,” he was quoted as saying in Sports Illustrated magazine in 1993. The wisecrack is also attributed Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.

Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, MA)
November 6, 2016
Cheers for some of the week’s newsmakers
CHEERS to the Chicago Cubs and their long-suffering fans, finally celebrating a World Series championship after a 108-year drought. As the old joke goes, anyone can have a bad century. The Cubs’ streak of bad luck and missed opportunities lasted just a little longer.

(Trademark)
Word Mark ANY TEAM CAN HAVE A BAD CENTURY
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 025. US 039. G & S: men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, namely sweatshirts, T-shirts, jerseys, caps and hats
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74554548
Filing Date July 28, 1994
Current Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition May 23, 1995
Owner (APPLICANT) Walken Company, The CORPORATION ILLINOIS One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2280 Chicago ILLINOIS 60606
Attorney of Record David S. Cho
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date February 16, 1996

(Trademark)
Word Mark ANY TEAM CAN HAVE A BAD CENTURY
Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, namely, sweatshirts, T-shirts, jerseys, caps and hats. FIRST USE: 19970517. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19970517
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 75232723
Filing Date January 29, 1997
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition August 19, 1997
Registration Number 2189914
Registration Date September 15, 1998
Owner (REGISTRANT) Walken Company, The CORPORATION ILLINOIS One South Wacker Drive, Suite 2280 Chicago ILLINOIS 60606
Attorney of Record JENNIFER ZORDANI
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20081120.
Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 20081120
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Sunday, November 06, 2016 • Permalink