THE CUBTOBER DIARY: Could this be the greatest era of Cubs baseball?
CHICAGO – Usually chilly early October days were reserved as moment to say goodbye to the “Boys of Summer” on the North Side.
Not anymore. Not in this era.
The chill of the early fall is an indication that things are about to heat up with the Cubs in October. It’s indeed a lucky time to be a fan of the once hard luck franchise that is enjoying some newfound success.
In fact, is it the best time to be rooting for the Chicago National League Ballclub in history? It’s certainly possible.
Over the past three years, the Cubs have made the playoffs in every season. That’s only happened one other time in franchise history – from 1906-1908 when the team won three National League Pennants and a pair of World Series championships. During that stretch, the Cubs won 322 games while losing just 136 for a .703 winning percentage back when the schedule ranged from 155-to-158 games.
The four years following that were also quite successful for the Cubs as they topped the 90-win mark in each campaign. That included back-to-back 104 win seasons in 1909 and 1910 with the Cubs winning the National League pennant in the last of those years. Add in 1911 and 1912, the Cubs won 391 games.
Under the leadership of Joe Maddon, the Cubs have won 292 games while losing just 192 in snagging the Wild Card in 2015 and winning the NL Central in 2016 & 2017. The crowning jewel so far is the middle season when the Cubs won 103 games (Most since the 1910 Cubs) and their first pennant since 1945 and their first World Series title in 108 years.
Few other stretches from the early 1900s till now can match the Cubs’ volume of success. The team only made the playoffs back-to-back times once since the 1906-1908 stretch, doing so with NL Central titles in 2007 and 2008. That accomplishment was tempered after the team was swept by the Diamondbacks and Dodgers, respectively, in the National League Division Series.
From 1928-1930 the Cubs posted three-straight 90-win seasons and won the NL Pennant in 1929. The 1930s saw the longest sustained success of a Cubs franchise when the team won no less than 84 games from 1930-1939 while claiming three pennants yet couldn’t break through for a World Series title.
From 1967-1972 under Leo Durocher, the Cubs won at least 83 games every season but could never win a pennant or an Eastern Division when the playoff format switched in 1969. Durocher was actually fired in the middle of the 1972 season with Whitey Lockman taking over for the rest of the season.
Division championships that followed from 1984-2003 and after were typically “One-Hit-Wonders” with the Cubs unable to sustain the success beyond that season.
Hence if you’re a Cubs fan, take a moment to look around over the next week or two. For a franchise known for its bad luck, this is rarefied air around the Friendly Confines in 2017.