MLB - NL CENTRAL
Stadium: Wrigley Field
Manager: David Ross
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
The Chicago Cubs are a Major League Baseball team based out of Chicago, IL. The Cubs are one of two teams based out of Chicago, the other being the White Sox. However, they play on the north side of the city while the White Sox are on the south side. The Cubs compete in the National League Central division. They have also played at the historic Wrigley Field since 1916. The Cubs have won three World Series titles, but they endured one of the longest World Series droughts all-time from 1908-2016.
Chicago Cubs History
The Chicago Cubs are one of the longest-standing franchises in Major League Baseball. They were introduced to the league as the Chicago White Stockings back in 1876. They rebranded in 1890 to the Chicago Colts, and that nickname stuck until 1897. They then spent 1898-1902 as the Chicago Orphans before finally transitioning to the Cubs which has stuck ever since.
One look at the World Series championship drought, which lasted over 100 years, may automatically cause one to assume that the Cubs have been one of the least successful organizations in baseball. But before 1945, the Cubs were actually quite successful.
From 1876-1945, the Cubs won 16 National League titles and two World Series championships which came in 1907 and 1908. But following 1945, the Cubs did not win another NL Pennant until 2016. Chicago also did not win a World Series from 1908-2016.
While the Boston Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino, which many blamed their World Series drought on, the Cubs had a curse of their own.
In-Game 4 of the 1945 World Series, a man who owned the “Billy Goat Tavern” was asked to leave the game because he had a smelly goat with him. The man happened to be a Chicago Cubs fan and he proclaimed that the Cubs would never win a World Series because he was kicked out of the stadium. Whether you believe in curses or not, it is fascinating that Chicago did not win another World Series or NL title until 2016.
In 2003, the Cubs led the NLCS 3-2 and were looking to clinch their first NL Pennant since 1945. The Cubs led the game 3-0 in the eighth inning when Florida Marlins infielder Luis Castillo sent a high pop fly heading towards foul territory down the left-field line. When Cubs left fielder Moises Alou attempted to catch the ball near the stands, he was interfered with by fans. One fan, named Steve Bartman, reached for the baseball and knocked it away from Alou. Alou was livid with the fan but the call stood as a foul ball. The Marlins would go on to comeback and take the lead and eventually win the series adding to Chicago’s misery.
The 2016 World Series finally ended the Cubs drought. But we will break down the 2016 World Series in just a moment.
2022 Key Stats
The Cubs had a successful run from 2015-2020 that saw them make the postseason five times while winning one World Series. But in 2021, everything came crashing down and the team entered rebuild mode. Chicago traded away core players such as Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez amongst others. The Cubs finished the 2021 campaign with a 71-91 record and a fourth-place finish in the NL Central.
But the Cubs do have young and exciting talent on the roster. Players such as Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal are quality players with high ceilings. Star catcher Wilson Contreras remains on the team for now, but he could end up being a trade chip in the near future. The Cubs will likely remain in rebuilding mode for the next couple of seasons before they are ready to compete again. But we could see them turn things around quickly if their young prospects end up panning out.
Championships Won by the Cubs
The Cubs won their first World Series in 1907 after sweeping the Ty Cobb-led Detroit Tigers. The Cubs followed the championship up with back-to-back World Series victories after winning again in 1908 against the Tigers in five games.
But little did the team know it would be over 100 years before they took home a World Series trophy again.
The Cubs spent the early portion of the 2010s developing a strong core. They added players through trades and free agency like Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta, Aroldis Chapman, Ben Zobrist, Jon Lester, and Jason Heyward. The organization also utilized the draft to its advantage by selecting future stars in Javier Baez and Kris Bryant.
After a successful season in 2015 that saw them make the playoffs, the Cubs clinched their first World Series berth in 2016 after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. But Chicago had to face a talented Cleveland Indians team that was facing a drought of their own. The Tribe had not won a World Series since 1948 despite coming close a number of times in the 1990s. One of the droughts had to end in this World Series.
Cleveland jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series and Cubs fans prepared for more heartbreak. But then Chicago won Game 5 at home to send the series back to Cleveland. The Cubs then beat the Indians in convincing fashion in Game 6 in Cleveland to force a Game 7.
And this Game 7 would be remembered as one of the best games of all time.
The Indians had ace Corey Kluber on the mound to start the game. But Kluber had already pitched twice in the series and he was practically running on fumes at this point. Thus, he surrendered a leadoff home run to Dexter Fowler to open the game.
After seven innings, the Cubs found themselves in front 6-3. But the eighth inning was when the drama began. Chicago called on star closer Aroldis Chapman to shut the door after Cleveland scored a run to cut the deficit to two. That was when outfielder Rajai Davis stepped up to the plate. Davis, who was not known for being a home run hitter, smashed a line drive down the left-field line that narrowly cleared the fence to tie the game and sent the hometown fans into a frenzy.
After neither team could score in the ninth, the game remained tied. There was then a rain delay in extra innings that quieted the stadium and the Indians momentum. In the top of the tenth, Ben Zobrist came up with a clutch RBI base hit that gave the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Chicago would go on to score one extra insurance run. Cleveland scored one run in the bottom of the tenth, but Chicago was able to hold the lead en route to their first World Series victory since 1908.
Important Team Events
The 1945 “curse” led to years of misery for Cubs fans and is one of baseball’s greatest legends.
The Steve Bartman incident is one of the most memorable moments in baseball history. It was just another painful moment for a franchise that could not seem to catch a break.
And of course, the 2016 World Series victory has to be mentioned in this section.
The Best Cubs Players
Ernie Banks was nicknamed “Mr. Cub” for a reason. The slugging shortstop made 19 all-star teams and won two MVPs during his Chicago tenure. He spent his entire career with the organization and is the greatest player in Cubs history.
Ryne Sandberg is a close second to Banks. Sandberg is one of the best second basemen to ever play the game and spent his best year with the Cubs. He was a 10-time all-star, 9 time Gold Glove recipient, and won an MVP in 1984.
Billy Williams spent 16 seasons in the Windy City. Williams hit 392 home runs during his time in Chicago and is one of the more underrated stars the game has ever seen.
Cap Anson finished his time with the organization with a .568 winning percentage and 5 NL Titles. Anson managed Chicago from 1879-1897.
Frank Chance is one of the best coaches you have never heard of unless you truly are a die-hard Cubs fan. Chance managed the team from 1905-1912 and finished his tenure in Chicago with an astounding .664 winning percentage. Chance also led the Cubs to 4 NL Pennants and 2 World Series Titles.
Joe Maddon is one of just two Cubs managers in the franchise’s storied history to lead them to a World Series Title. In addition to the 2016 World Series, Maddon led the Cubs to the postseason three times and left the team with a .581 winning percentage. Maddon’s reign as Cubs manager lasted from 2015-2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Sammy Sosa (545) 2. Ernie Banks (512)
Fergie Jenkins (2,038)