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Chicago Cubs

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Previously known as Chicago White Stockings, Chicago Colts, and Chicago Orphans.

Franchise Record: (through 2013) 10,438-9,976-152-11

Post Season Record: 33-66-2

World Series Titles: 2 (1907, 1908)

National League Pennants: 16 (1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1885, 1886, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, 1945)

Playoffs: 16 (1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, 1945, 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008)

Franchise Players: Cap Anson, Ernie Banks, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, John Clarkson, Johnny Evers, Mark Grace, Clark Griffith, Stan Hack, Gabby Hartnett, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Sammy Sosa, Joe Tinker, Billy Williams

Stadiums: Ogden Park (1870), Dexter Park (1870), Union Grounds (May 8-September 29, 1871), 23rd Street Grounds (May 13, 1874-October 5, 1877), Lake Front Park I (May 14, 1878-September 30, 1882), Lake Front Park II (1882-1884), West Side Park I (1885-1890), South Side Park I (1891-1893), West Side Grounds (1893-1915), Wrigley Field (1916-present)

Retired Numbers. 10 Ron Santo; 14 Ernie Banks; 23 Ryne Sandberg; 26 Billy Williams; 31 Greg Maddux/Ferguson Jenkins; 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout MLB)

Chicago Cubs Logo

[edit] Team History

"You the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs, So it's me that feels sorry for you!" - Steve Goodman, from "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" (1983)

One of the original National League franchises, dating back to 1876, the Chicago Cubs are known for their World Series drought. They have not played in a World Series since 1945 and have not won a World Series since 1908. Even before the Cubs were a National League franchise, its predecessor, the Chicago White Stockings played in the National Association from its inception in 1871, after having been a professional barnstorming team following its foundation in 1870. Only the Cubs and Braves, who moved cities twice in intervening years, can thus trace their origins to the beginnings of organized baseball through an unbroken connection.

The Chicago team, under different nicknames, was a National League powerhouse during the league's first decades. Led by 1B Cap Anson, they won a number of titles in the 19th century. When Anson retired, they were known as the "Orphans" for a while, having lost their father figure. The team had another great run of success in the 1900s. That team was led by the infield of Tinker to Evers to Chance, immortalized in a poem by Franklin Pierce Adams, and by pitcher Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown. They won four pennants in four years from 1906 to 1910 and won the only two World Series titles in team history during that span. That team was so good that some commentators have argued that it was the best in National League history.

The Cubs did not immediately fade into mediocrity. They returned to the World Series a number of times in the first half of the 20th century, but were famously thwarted by Babe Ruth-led teams - first the 1918 Boston Red Sox (who would go through an almost 90-year drought after that title), then the New York Yankees twice and the Detroit Tigers once in the 1930s. In between they lost a classic and wild World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929 on a team led by slugger Hack Wilson. The Cubs last hurrah came in the war-impacted 1945 season, when they lost the World Series in 7 games to the Tigers.

The Cubs developed a number of star players in the 1950s and 1960s, most notably Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ferguson Jenkins, but they never came close to returning to the postseason until 1969. That year, they got off to a great start under the leadership of veteran manager Leo Durocher only to run out of steam in August and be caught and passed by the "Miracle" New York Mets, who left them well in their wake by the time the season ended. There is a famous photo from that season of a black cat walking in front of the Cubs' dugout, an apt symbol if ever there was one of the apparent curse that had beset the team. Although that curse if most often blamed not on a cat but on a billy goat, one belonging to a local tavern owner in 1945, who was refused admission to a game with his pet during the 1945 World Series and, so the story goes, cursed the team ad vitam aeternam as a revenge. The Cubs got off to a good start in both the 1977 and 1978 seasons, leading the National League East at the All-Star break, but both teams faded away quickly after that. Those years were marked by ace reliever Bruce Sutter and homer-filled day games at Wrigley Field.

In recent decades, the franchise came close to a return to the Fall Classic in 1984, when they lost the NLCS after blowing a two games to none lead to the San Diego Padres. In 1989, the Cubs fell in 5 games to the San Francisco Giants. The 1998 Cubs were an unexpected playoff entry, needing an extra one-game playoff win at Wrigley Field over the San Francisco Giants to win the Wild Card. The Atlanta Braves subsequently swept the Cubs in 3 games in the NLDS. In 2003, the Cubs had a lead in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins when fan Steve Bartman grabbed a foul ball that Cubs left fielder Moises Alou attempted to catch. The Cubs then blew the lead and would lose Game 7 the next day. Realistically, it was Alex Gonzalez's blown double play that cost the Cubs the game, not Steve Bartman, but he got tagged with the ignominy of the collapse. In 2004, the Cubs had the wild card lead with 10 games left. They then lost 8 of the last 10 games to miss out on the playoffs.

In 2007, the Cubs won the NL Central division title. It was the first time they had made the playoffs since 2003, but they were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. They repeated as division champions in 2008, even posting the best record in the National League, but were swept once again in the NLDS, this time by the Los Angeles Dodgers, on the 100th anniversary of their last championship.

The Cubs are known for other traditions, such as playing in one of baseball's oldest and quaintest ballparks - Wrigley Field. Built for the Federal League's Chicago Chi-Feds in 1914, it became the Cubs' home when the Federal League folded after the 1915 season and has remained in use with only minor modifications since. It boasts a brick outfield fence covered with ivy, has short distances that can become even more hitter-friendly on days when the wind is blowing out, and was the last stadium in Major League Baseball to be equipped with artificial lights, in 1989. The Cubs still play more afternoon games than any other team and have kept drawing fans in spite of their lack of on-field success, earning the nickname of "lovable losers".

[edit] Further Reading

  • Art Ahrens: The Cubs (The Complete Record of Chicago Cubs Baseball), 1986.
  • Art Ahrens: Chicago Cubs, 1926-1940 (Images of Baseball), Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2005.
  • Art Ahrens and Eddie Gold: Day by Day in Chicago Cub History, 1982.
  • Art Ahrens and Eddie Gold: The Golden Era Cubs, 1876-1940, 1985.
  • Art Ahrens and Eddie Gold: The New Era Cubs, 1941-1985, Bonus Books, Santa Monica, CA, 1985.
  • Art Ahrens and Eddie Gold: Cubs: The Renewal Era, 1985-1990, 1990.
  • Gil Bogen: The Billy Goat Curse: Losing and Superstition in Cubs Baseball since World War II, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2009.
  • Warren Brown: The Chicago Cubs, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 2001 (originally published in 1946).
  • George Castle: The Million-to-One Team: Why the Chicago Cubs Haven't Won a Pennant Since 1945, Diamond Communications, 2001.
  • Bruce Chadwick and David M. Spindel (Photographer): The Chicago Cubs: Memories and Memorabilia of the Wrigley Wonders (Major League Memories), Abbeville Press, 1994.
  • Robert Ehrgott: Mr. Wrigley's Ball Club: Chicago & the Cubs During the Jazz Age, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2013. ISBN 978-0-8032-6478-6
  • George Ellis: The Cubs Fan's Guide to Happiness, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2007. ISBN 9781572439368
  • Lew Freedman: Game of my Life: Chicago Cubs, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, IL, 2007.
  • Derek Gentile & Stats Inc.: The Complete Chicago Cubs: The Total Encyclopedia of the Team, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2002.
  • Gary Gillette and Pete Palmer: The Ultimate Cubs Companion: A Complete Statistical and Reference Guide, Maple Street Press, Hingham, MA, 2008.
  • Dan Helpingstine: The Cubs and the White Sox: A Baseball Rivalry, 1900 to the Present, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2010.
  • Peter Golenbock: Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs, St. Martin's Griffin, 1999.
  • Joe Gray: "Why a Curse Need not Be Invoked to Explain the Cubs' Woes", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 53-55.
  • Jimmy Greenfield: 100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2012. ISBN 9781600786624
  • Jerome Holtzman and George Vass: The Chicago Cubs Encyclopedia Baseball Encyclopedias of North America, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 1997.
  • Jerome Holtzman and George Vas]: Baseball, Chicago Style, Bonus Books, Santa Monica, CA, 2001.
  • Donald Honig: The Chicago Cubs: An Illustrated History, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1991. ISBN 0131313274
  • Steve Johnson: Chicago Cubs Trivia Teasers, Trails Books, 2006.
  • Bob Logan: Cubs Win! A Celebration of the 1984 Cubs, McGraw-Hill, 1984.
  • Bob Logan: Tales from Chicago Sports: Cubs, Bulls, Bears and Other Animals, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, IL, 2002.
  • Bob Logan: More Tales From the Cubs Dugout, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, IL, 2003.
  • Bruce A. Rubenstein: Chicago in the World Series, 1903-2005: The Cubs and White Sox in Championship Play, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2006.
  • Ron Santo and Phil Pepe: Few And Chosen: Defining Cubs Greatness Across the Eras, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2005.
  • Bill Savage: "The Cubs Fan Paradox: Why Would Anyone Root for Losers?", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 7-8.
  • Ray Schmidt: "Growing Up with the 1950s Cubs", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 46-48.
  • John C. Skipper: Take Me Out to the Cubs Game: 35 Former Ballplayers Speak of Losing at Wrigley, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2000.
  • John Snyder: Cubs Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876, Emmis Books, 2006.
  • Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "The 1906-10 Chicago Cubs: The Best Team in National League History", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 12-24.
  • Marc Stang: Cubs Collection: 100 Years of Chicago Cubs Images, Orange Frazer Press, 2001.
  • Floyd Sullivan: Waiting for the Cubs: The 2008 Season, the Hundred-Year Slump and One Fan's Lifelong Vigil, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2010.
  • Jim Vitti: The Cubs on Catalina: A Scrapbookful of Memories About a 30-Year Love Affair Between One of Baseball's Classic Teams & California's Most Fanciful Isle, Settefratti Press, Bay City, CA, 2003.
  • Bob Vorwald: Cubs Forever: Memories from the Men Who Lived Them , Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2008. ISBN 9781617498244
  • Gene Wojciechowski: Cubs Nation (162 Games, 162 Stories, 1 Addiction), Doubleday, New York, NY, 2005.
  • Gerald C. Wood and Andrew Hazucha, ed.: Northsiders: Essays on the History and Culture of the Chicago Cubs, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008.
  • Al Yellon, Kasey Ignarski and Matthew Silverman: Cubs By the Numbers: A Complete Team History of the Cubbies by Uniform Number, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY, 2009.

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