CHICAGO – Today the number that has been bantered about among Cubs fans, pundits and even some in the organization becomes official.
This Friday, October 14th is the 108th anniversary of the franchise’s last World Series championship.
It was on this day in 1908 that the Cubs had their last crowning moment in Major League Baseball at Bennett Park in Detroit. It was there in Game 5 of the World Series that the Cubs defeated the Tigers 2-0 to win the series 4-1.
The game made Major League Baseball history for two reasons. First the Cubs became the MLB’s first team to win back-to-back championships having defeated Detroit the previous year in five games as well.
Yet the most interesting trivia concerns the people who were there to see it live. Considering the eventual historical significance of the event, only 6,210 people showed up to watch it – the smallest crowd in World Series history.
For how long Cubs’ fans have had to wait since that October 14th they sure didn’t have to stick around too long for this championship. Coming off a title the year before against the Tigers, the Cubs whipped through their clinching Game 5 in a lightening-quick one hour and 25 minutes.
Player/Manager Frank Chance got the Cubs an early lead with a single to center field in the first inning that brought home Johnny Evers to make it 1-0. He would get an RBI of his own with a double in the fifth inning and that was plenty for Cubs’ pitcher Orval Overall.
Already with a win in Game 2 of the series, the right hander pitched a complete game shutout while surrendering just three hits and striking out ten. That included holding legendary hitter Ty Cobb without a hit in three plate appearances.
Overall got the last out when he got Tigers catcher Boss Schmidt’s hit in front of the plate was picked up by Cubs catcher Johnny Kling who threw to Chance at first to end the game. Oddly enough, it was Schmidt who also popped out to end of the 1907 World Series which also gave the Cubs a championship victory.
The victory triggered the last World Series championship celebration the team has had for the past 108-years. From that year through 1945 the Cubs won seven pennants but lost in the World Series every time. In the division era the Cubs have made the playoffs seven times but never advanced past the National League Championship Series.
Maybe 2016 will be the year this anniversary becomes a positive footnote rather than a landmark moment in Cubs’ franchise history.