A Brief History of the Cubs and the World Series

The Cubs are currently enjoying one of their best seasons since, since forever! That is, since 1945. It’s been 108 years since the Cubs last won a World Series. The only other team with a comparable Series slump would be the Cincinnati Reds, but even they’re slump clocks in at a staggering 22 years less than the Cub at 86 years.

By 22 years more than any other team in the MLB, the Cubs reign as the kings of the slump. By 22 years more than any other team in the MLB, the Cubs are ready for a victory.

1876

President at the Time: Ulysses S. Grant

Poster advertising the 1876 Chicago Cubs

The 1876 Chicago Cubs AKA White Stockings.

One hundred and forty years ago, Baseball was a very different game. The teams making up the at-the-time nascent national pastime had foreign names like the Hartford Dark Blues, the New York Mutuals, and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. At the time, the Cubs were known as the Chicago White Stockings. Needless to say, colors and stockings were all the rage at the time. (For a look at how today’s MLB teams got their names, check out this piece in Mentalfloss). With a name like the Chicago White Stockings you would think we’re talking about the Chicago White Sox, but we’re not. However, there was a period of time where the Chicago White Stockings did shed their name for a series of less than stellar one’s (Anson’s Colts, the Colts, and the Orphans) before the press dubbed them with the name we know them as today in 1902. During that period of time, Charles Comiskey of Comiskey Park relocated the St. Paul Saints to Chicago and in a smooth marketing move decided to call them the Chicago White Stockings (*cough* name-stealers *uncough*).

In 1876, as the Chicago White Stockings, the Cubs managed to score the first of their six National League titles. At the time it was impossible to win a World Series. There was no American League, there was only the National League. So winning the NL Championship was for all intents and purposes equivalent to winning the World Series.

That is until, 1903 when the first World Series game was held.

1906

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

The Crosstown rivalry between the Cubs and Sox runs deep. In 1906, these two teams found themselves facing off against one another for the World Series Championship. Both teams played rather pitifully in the series, but in the end, the Sox won with an 8-3 advantage.

1907

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

Up until 1985, winning a National  League Championship was a lot more cut and dry. All you had to do was have the greatest amount of wins in your league, and you were the champ. In 1907, the Cubs had 110 wins. In the World Series, they faced off against the Detroit Tigers. Although the first couple of games in the Series were tough, the team went on to sweep the next four. This was it: the first World Series win for the Cubs.

1908

President at the Time: Teddy Roosevelt

The 1908 Chicago Cubs posing with their terrifying mascot.

The 1908 Cubs mascot was a lot more terrifying than its contemporary counterpart.

When it comes to Cubs history, the saying truth is stranger than fiction most definitely applies. The New York Giants, The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs were neck-and-neck vying for the National League Championship. Finally, on one summer day, it all comes to a head.

Cubs vs. Giants. Winner get the championship and goes onto the World Series. The Cubs manage to secure a lead and are barely hanging on to it when near the end of the game the Giants’ Fred Merkle scores what looks to be a game winning hit. Within seconds, Chicago fans rush the field in outrage, preventing Merkle from rounding the bases. Seizing the opportunity of the moment, the Cubs make a scramble to tag second base with a number of baseballs. The National league decides to end the game in a draw and decides to order a re-play. In that re-play the Cubs manage to win, taking the National League title over the Giants and the Pirates by one game.

Once again, the Cubs face the Tigers in the World Series Championship. Once again, the Cubs win.

1910, 1918, 1929

Presidents at the Time: William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge –> Herbert Hoover

The Cubs make it to the World Series, but lose to the Philadelphia Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and the Philadelphia Athletics, respectively.

1932

President at the Time: Herbert Hoover

The Cubs play against the New York Yankees in the 1932 World Series. Unfortunately, the Yankees make out with a total sweep. This is also the legendary game where Babe Ruth pointed to center field and called his dazzling home run.

1938

Babe Ruth at Wrigley Field during the World Series

Did Babe point? Or was he just stretching? One of baseball’s greatest mysteries.

President at the Time: Franklin D. Roosevelt

It wasn’t until 1988 that lights were installed at Wrigley Field. It was hear in near-dark that the Cubs catcher-manager Gabby Hartnett hit his “Homer in the Gloamin” catapulting the Cubs into their third NL pennant of the decade. Unfortunately, once they go to the World Series they faced a total shutdown by the Yankees. Again.

 

1945

President at the Time: Franklin D. Roosevelt –> Harry S. Truman

Billiy Sianis holding his Billy Goat getting ejected from Wrigley Field.

Billy Sianis getting ejected from Wrigley Field.

This is the game of the Billy Goat Curse.The one that changed it all. Once again, for the fourth time, the Cubs find themselves facing off against the Tigers in the World Series. In game four of the series, Billy Sianis the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern brought his goat into the stadium. But Sianis and his goat were then ejected from the field. Upset, Sianis shouted “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more!” Who would have thought that the words would from a tavern owner could be so full of magical power?

This Series made for one of the most dramatic yet. Going almost tit-for-tat, the Cubs and the Tigers force a Game 7. Here, the Tigers amazing Stan Hack runs past home plate for 6 of his 7 at-bats. In the end, the Cubs end up losing 9-3.

And they haven’t been able to make it back to the series sense.

 

So it’s been 108 years since the Cubbies have won a World Series and 72 since they’ve even made an appearance, but as any Cubs fan know any season just might be the season. Looking at the stellar performance of the club over the past several months, it looks like this season might just be that season. Fingers crossed!

 

Tony Angiuli