As another MLB baseball season comes to an end and us die hard fans prepare for four months of hibernation, what better way to end it then to watch two teams, storied in history as underachievers, battle for the trophy declaring them the best team of 2016.
Each has their story, the Chicago Cubs have persevered through the longest drought in baseball history between series titles. It’s been 108 years since the Cubs hoisted the trophy. It was 1906 when the Cubs posted an astounding 116-36 record and a .763 winning percentage - unheard of in present day.
The “Cubbies,” as the team was called after changing their name from the “White Stockings,” went on to play in the World Series, losing to their cross-town rivals the Chicago White Sox, nicknamed “The Hitless Wonders” at the time, four games to two.
The Cubs would go on to win back to back titles in 1907 and 1908. Who could have imagined it would take another 108 years and generations of fans before they would battle again for the championship.
We all remember poor Mr. Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan that interfered with Moises Alou securing an out in the 8th inning of the 2003 playoffs. The Cubs went on to lose, Bartman required a police escort as he left the stadium and around the clock police surveillance for the next four months. Those Cubs fans take their baseball pretty serious.
Then there is the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” In 1945 the Cubs lost the series to Detroit after escorting tavern owner William Sianis from the stands because of the odor of his pet goat. Who brings a goat to a baseball game? It was 1945 and I’m sure tickets were considerably less than $3,500.
Sianis reportedly placed a “curse” on the Cubs, declaring they would never win another title. After the incident with Sianis and his goat Murphy, the Cubs would not play in another World Series for 71 years, on the 46th anniversary of Billy Sianis’s death.
It was 1948 the last time the Cleveland Indians played for the title (which they won). future Hall of Fame inductee Bob Feller failed to record a win in either of his two starts. Feller led baseball in strikeouts in 1948 - an All Star hurler - the Madison Bumgarner of his time.
It was the first World Series to be televised on a national network. Television was in its infancy and telecasts were was strictly regional. Games played in Boston were only seen in the Northeast, while games played in Cleveland were the first to be seen in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Detroit, and Toledo.
Northwest Ohio (Toledo) was a hot bed for baseball at the time and has a storied history with the Toledo Mud Hens.
So even though my beloved and most recent dynasty team, the Giants aren’t playing for another title, I find comfort in knowing that both teams are well deserving of winning the title.
Myself, I’m pulling for the Indians after watching the Cubs “Moon Walk” into the National League title series, thanks to the Giants imploding bullpen (kids, learn to throw strikes).
I’m intrigued by the “curse” - back to that question, who brings a goat to a ball game - and I wouldn’t mind it continuing another 108 years.