In 1906, the Chicago Cubs won 116 games, a Major League baseball record. They lost the World Series to the Chicago White Sox but then won the next two, becoming the first team to appear in three consecutive World Series.
Their last big win came in 1908. It was all uphill from there.
71 years ago, in 1945, they got into the World Series for the last time. During game four Wrigley Field officials ejected Cubs fan Billy Sianis, who had two box seat tickets: One for him and one for his goat. Apparently one of them stank. When he was thrown out Sianis declared, “The Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more”.
And they didn’t.
And that, kids, is why the Cubs being in the World Series is such a big deal. You want to make history, but you don’t want to make it the way they did in the last century.
The Cleveland Indians haven’t won the Series themselves since 1948, but the Cubs have them beat by twice as much. I have to root for the most underdoggie of underdogs. Incidentally, my wife works in Steuben County, Indiana, which is exactly halfway between Chicago and Cleveland. Apparently for decades, late at night in Pokagon State Park, you could hear the sound of baseball fans’ dreams shattering.
So, how long has it been for the Cubs?
The last time the Cubs won the World Series was also the year Ford rolled out the first Model T. It was the year of the first commercial radio transmission.
That was only five years after the Wright brothers took to the air for the first time. In 1908, Cellophane was developed. It would be five more years before the zipper was invented.
No one had ever heard of the Titanic, which wouldn’t sink for another four years. Arizona wasn’t a state, not to mention Hawaii or Alaska. No one had ever heard of Wheaties, Wonder Bread, traffic lights, or bubble gum.
The guy who played the first Doctor Who was born in 1908. That’s the longest running science fiction TV show in history, although TV hadn’t been invented yet. In 1945, the last time the Cubs went to the World Series, Doctor Who wasn’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye.
In 1945 the microwave oven, Slinky, and Tupperware were invented—the first modern, room-sized computer wouldn’t come around for another year. 1945 was full of history, as the Allies won World War II and the atomic age began.
The last time the Cubs went to the series, we did not yet have the bikini, disposable diapers, kitty litter, Velcro, or the TV remote control. Al Gore had not yet invented the internet, which is fine because there was no personal computer, microprocessor, or RAM.
I found all this on Google. They didn’t have Google. They didn’t even have the milk carton.
So yeah, it’s a big deal. How big of a deal we’ll find out in a few days, but be warned, Cubs fans: So far as I know, the goat never forgave them.