The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series
So, looks like I may have to recant one of the earliest things I wrote in this website, back when I called the Chicago Cubs the most disappointing team in sports. As of last night, after not only coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, but winning a thrilling Game 7, the Chicago Cubs have defeated the Cleveland Indians to become the World Series champions.
This marks the first time the Cubs have won the World Series since 1908. Which is a mind blowing thing when you think about it – for all the talk from Red Sox fans about the Curse of the Bambino, the Cubs were the unluckiest team in sports. At least until last night.
Which is why today, while Cubs fans are likely still nursing their collective hangovers, I figure its a good time to take the long list of things that have changed since the last Cubs World Championship team out to pasture. So dear readers, join me in looking back at what the world looked like the Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series.
The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series… the World was a very different place. Save a few republics in the Western Hemisphere, most of the world was divided up between empires based out of either Europe or East Asia. The Ottoman Empire still ruled much of the Middle East, Kaiser Wilhelm II was ruler of Germany, and the sun never set on the British Empire, which was currently near its height. Communism was just an academic idea, and fascism wasn’t even that. In just six years, with the outbreak of World War I, so much of this would come to an end.
The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series… the United States was very different as well. The US only had 46 states, with Arizona and New Mexico not achieving statehood for another four years, while Alaska and Hawaii would wait another half century. Puerto Rico, still waiting for statehood, had only been part of the US for a decade at this point.
Women still couldn’t vote, and wouldn’t be able to until 1920. Teddy Roosevelt meanwhile, was enjoying his second term as the 26th President of the United States. The National Park system was just two years old, and the income tax didn’t exist yet. Civil War veterans were still alive, as were former slaves.
The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series… racial relations were near a low point in the US. “Separate but equal” was the law of the land in much of the South, and we were just a few years out from the revival of the Ku Klux Klan and events like the destruction of Black Wall Street. Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois were both still alive, and the NAACP would be founded in a year.
Perhaps most relevantly, black people weren’t allowed to play baseball – they wouldn’t be until the Negro Leagues were founded in 1920, and not in the MLB until Jackie Robinson stepped up to the plate almost 40 years later.
The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series… daily life was still changing at a rapid pace at the turn of the century. Thomas Edison was still alive, tinkering with motion pictures in New Jersey. The Ford Motor Company had just rolled out the first Model T off the assembly lines. The Wright Brothers had only flown just five years prior, and boats were still the fastest way to travel. Immigrants still flooded into Ellis Island, passing a Statue of Liberty that had only recently turned green. Sliced bread didn’t exist, and wouldn’t exist until 1928. Canned beer and canned soda had longer waits than that.
The Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series… the sport of baseball itself was a radically different sport. The World Series itself was just five years old. The sport was in the midst of the infamous “Deadball Era”, characterized by low scores and the lack of home runs. Babe Ruth wouldn’t play for more than a decade, and the few heavy hitters of the era were men like “Home Run” Baker, who had just played his first season, or Roger Conner, who had retired with a career total of 138 homers.
Cy Yong was near the end of his career, while Ty Cobb was only beginning his. Babe Ruth meanwhile, was just 13 years old at the time. And the only way to follow the sport was to catch the game or read about it in the paper – the first radio broadcast baseball game wasn’t until 1921.
So much has changed in the 108 years since the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Here’s hoping that the world changes just as much in the next 108 years – and that the Cubs don’t take nearly as long to win a fourth World Series.