The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.
The Cubs are one of the two remaining charter members of the National League (the other being the Atlanta Braves) and one of two active major league clubs based in Chicago, the other being the Chicago White Sox of the American League.
The Cubs played their first games in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings. This makes the Cubs, along with the Braves who were founded in 1871, the two oldest active teams in major North American sports.
There is an argument as to who is actually older because although the Cubs are a full season “older” they lost two seasons to the Great Chicago Fire; thus the Braves have played more seasons.
The Cubs are still the longest continuously existing franchise (notwithstanding the two lost seasons), having existed in the same city for their entire history.
They are also known as “The North Siders” because Wrigley Field, their home park since 1916, is located in Chicago’s north side Lake View community at 1060 West Addison Street (as opposed to their crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox, who play on the city’s South Side).
1908 World Series
With mostly the same roster, the Chicago Cubs went against the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 1907 Series. This World Series appearance made the Cubs the first major league club to play three times in the Fall Classic and the first team to win it twice.
This was also the year of the infamous “Merkle’s Boner” play that allowed the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series after beating the New York Giants in a one-game “playoff”, actually the makeup game for the tie that the Merkle play had caused.
The 1908 World Series became anti-climactic after tight pennant races in both leagues. Ty Cobb had a much better Series than in 1907, as did the rest of his team. The final two games, in Detroit, were shutouts. This was also the most poorly attended Series in history, with the final game drawing a record-low 6,210 fans. Attendance in Chicago was harmed by a ticket-scalping scheme that fans accused the club’s owner of participating in, and the Series was boycotted to some degree.
For the first time, four umpires were used in the series, in alternating two-man teams.
On October 14, 1908 in Detroit, the Cubs defeated the Tigers 2-0 in game 5 of the series, clinching back-to-back World Series championships.
The Cubs would go on to appear in seven World Series in the years 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945, losing each time.
The Cubs had one of baseball’s most dominant teams in the early 1900s.
The Cubs have not won the World Series in 104 years, the longest championship drought of any major North American professional sports team, and are often referred to as the “Lovable Losers” because of this distinction.
The Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series championship since 1908, and have not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1945, although between their postseason appearance in 1984 and their most recent in 2008, they have made the postseason six times.
It is the longest title drought in all four of the major American professional sports leagues, which includes the NFL, NBA, NHL, as well as Major League Baseball.
In fact, the Cubs’ last World Series title occurred before those other three leagues even existed, and even the Cubs’ last World Series appearance predates the founding of the NBA.
The Cubs were one win away from breaking what is often called “The Curse of the Billy Goat” in 1984 and 2003, but was unable get the victory that would send it to the World Series.
The Curse of the Billy Goat
The Cubs enjoyed one more pennant at the close of World War II, finishing 98–56. Due to the wartime travel restrictions, the first three games of the 1945 World Series were played in Detroit, where the Cubs won two games, including a one-hitter by Claude Passeau, and the final four were played at Wrigley. In Game 4 of the Series, the Curse of the Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs when P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis, who had come to Game 4 with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. They paraded around for a few innings, but Wrigley demanded the goat leave the park due to its unpleasant odor. Upon his ejection, the outraged Mr. Sianis declared, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” The Cubs lost Game 4, lost the Series, and have not been back since. It has also been said by many that Sianis put a “curse” on the Cubs, apparently preventing the team from wining the World Series again.
In the following two decades after Sianis’ ill will, the Cubs played mostly forgettable baseball, finishing among the worst teams in the National League on an almost annual basis. Longtime infielder/manager Phil Cavarretta, who had been a key player during the ’45 season, was fired during spring training in 1954 after admitting the team was unlikely to finish above fifth place. Although shortstop Ernie Banks would become one of the star players in the league during the next decade, finding help for him proved a difficult task, as quality players such as Hank Sauer were few and far between. This, combined with poor ownership decisions such as the College of Coaches, and the ill-fated trade of future Hall of Famer Lou Brock to the Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio (who won only 7 games over the next three seasons), hampered on-field performance.
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