As a lifelong Chicagoan, I may be biased, but it seems the entire world is watching the Chicago Cubs battle the Cleveland Indians in this year’s World Series. By now I’m sure you’re well-versed in the tales of serial misfortune, exasperating curses, odd coincidences and renowned folklore that seem to plague the Cubs, which would make any conspiracy theorist salivate. However, despite all the hoopla and ballyhoo surrounding their reputation, this Chicago ball club has one amazing story.
Even if you do not consider yourself a Cubs fan, you cannot escape their storied history, which adds to the charm of these lovable underdogs. For example, the Cubs (formerly known as the White Stockings, Orphans, Colts and, yes, even the Microbes) are the only Chicago ball club franchise to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League in 1876.
Five years earlier, in 1871, the ball club would feel the effects of another night in Chicago history. That was the year the decision was made to build a ballpark for the fledgling White Stockings in a downtown Chicago park known as Lake Park (better known today as Grant Park). However, on the night of October 8th a great fire erupted on the near south side and swept northward through the downtown. The wooden ballpark was right in the firestorm’s path, and the grounds, along with all the team’s equipment and uniforms, were decimated, along with much of the city. It would be another 43 years until Wrigley Field (lovingly known as ‘the friendly confines’) was built on the north side of Chicago. (Read more interesting facts about Wrigley Field here.)
Not to say that everyone in Chicago is root, root, rooting for this (other) home team. I cannot say with certainty that all of Chicago’s south-side baseball devotees, like this famous lifelong White Sox fan, are having an easy time jumping on the Cubbie bandwagon; but perhaps a few have embraced the historical significance for Chicago as a city.
I cannot overlook the serious determination of the Indians ball club either, not that I am rooting for them, of course. The last time Cleveland tasted World Series victory Harry Truman was president, the average cost of a new car was around $1,250, and the bikini was just gaining popularity. Stepping back even further in time to when the Cubs last won and it is even more apparent how times have changed. In 1908, only 8% of homes had a telephone, most did not have a bathtub, and Henry Ford was just rolling the first Model-T off the assembly line. Yes, folks, this World Series is one for the ages.
Whatever the outcome may be in the next week or two, the Cubs’ story will live on, and the grit, heart, credence and loyalty that both sides embody will endure. Moreover, Chicagoans as a people, no matter how divided we may seem at times, are all part of this woven tapestry that connects us together; creating one amazing Chicago story.
What was the world like the last time the Cubs won the World Series? Take this quiz to find out!
Have you been watching the World Series? Do you have any interesting Chicago baseball story? Leave a comment below!
Annual Fall Fest & Frikadeller Fest is coming up on Sunday, November 6th at The Danish Home!
(Read about The Danish Home’s amazing story here).