October 14 sums up what it means to be a Cubs fan in three games.
“Hitless Wonders” Beat Cubs in World Series
The 1906 Cubs won a record 116 games to earn their first trip to the World Series in the modern era. They faced their cross-town rival the Chicago White Sox in the first ever Subway Series. It was the last time two first-time teams played in the Series. The White Sox, who were known as the “Hitless Wonders” for having the worst batting average in the American League, exploded for 16 runs in Games 5 and 6 to clinch the Series on this day in 1906.
Cubs Repeat As World Series Champs
In 1908, the Cubs returned to the World Series for the third straight year. This was only after an epic pennant race in which they finished a game ahead of the New York Giants – due in part to the “Merkle Boner”. With runners on first and third, an apparent game-winning single for the Giants became an out when the Giant base runner on first base left the field as fans poured on before tagging second base.
The Cubs faced the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, who they had beat the year before. On this day in 1908, the Cubs clinched the World Series 4 games to 1 and retained their crown on a three-hit shutout by Orval Overall.
This remains their last World Series win. They would lose their next seven:
- 1910: Philadelphia Athletics 4, Chicago Cubs 1
- 1918: Boston Red Sox 4, Chicago Cubs 2
- 1929: Philadelphia Athletics 4, Chicago Cubs 1
- 1932: New York Yankees 4, Chicago Cubs 0
- 1935: Detroit Tigers 4, Chicago Cubs 2
- 1938: New York Yankees 4, Chicago Cubs 0
- 1945: Detroit Tigers 4, Chicago Cubs 3
Blame it On Bartman
After losing the 1945 World Series, the Cubs hibernated and would not play October baseball again until 1984. That year, the Cubs went up 2-0 on the San Diego Padres and were two outs from returning to the World Series when Steve Garvey’s walk-off homer forced a deciding Game 5 (which the Padres won 6-3).
After playoff loses to San Francisco (4-1) in 1989 and Atlanta (3-0) in 1998, in 2003 the Cubs won their first playoff series since 1908 when they beat the Braves 3-2 in the NLDS.
The Cubs would face the Miami Marlins, who were making only their second playoff appearance since entering the league in 1993 (they won the World Series on their first try in 1997).
The Cubs jumped to a 3-1 series lead and where 5 outs away from their first World Series in 58 years. The Cubs were up 3-0 in the 8th inning when Louis Castillo stepped to the plate with Juan Pierre on second base. Castillo hit a foul ball to left field that Moises Alou was unable to catch due to the interference of Cubs fan Steve Bartman (who was one of several fans reaching for the ball). Then the Cubs came unhinged.
Pitcher Mark Prior walks Castillo with a wild pitch that allows Pierre to advance to third-base. It was his 114th pitch but Cubs Manager Dusty Baker left him in. Ivan Rodriquez then singled to left to bring home Pierre. Miguel Cabrera then grounded to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who bobbled what should have been a double-play to end the inning but which now loaded the bases. Had Gonzalez executed on the play, the Cubs end the inning up 3-1 and Steve Bartman is a nobody.
Baker, however, left Prior in with bases loaded and Derrek Lee tagged him for a double that scored two to tie the game. Baker then went to the bullpen, but the Marlins scored five more runs before the inning was over. Bartman was placed in protective custody as the Marlins shut the Cubs down in the 8th and 9th to win 8-3.
The Marlins would win Game 7 at Wrigley 9-6 the next night. Yet the Cubs fans blamed Bartman.
The Marlins would go on to beat the Yankees in the World Series 4-2.
The Cubs returned to the playoffs in 2007, 2008 and 2015, getting swept each time. Last week, the Cubs won their first playoff game since the Bartman incident and this week won only their second playoff series since 1908. They will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.