- Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs 2012 Chicago Cubs season Established 1870
Major league affiliations Current uniform Retired numbers 10, 14, 23, 26, 31, 31, 42 Colors
- Blue, Red, White
- Chicago Cubs (1903–present)
- Chicago Orphans (1898–1902)
- Chicago Colts (1890–1897)
- Chicago White Stockings (1870–1871, 1874–1889)
- The Cubbies, The North Siders, The Boys in Blue, The Lovable Losers
Ballpark Major league titles World Series titles (2) 1908 • 1907 NL Pennants (16) 1945 • 1938 • 1935 • 1932
1929 • 1918 • 1910 • 1908
1907 • 1906 • 1886 • 1885
1882 • 1881 • 1880 • 1876
1870 (amateur) Central Division titles (3) 2008 • 2007 • 2003 East Division titles (2) 1989 • 1984 Wild card berths (1) 1998 Front office Owner(s) Family trust of Joe Ricketts Manager Dale Sveum General Manager Jed Hoyer President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago (the other being the Chicago White Sox). The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National League (the other being the Atlanta Braves). The team is currently owned by a family trust of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, and was previously owned by the Chicago Tribune and, prior to the Tribune, by the Wrigley Company.
The Cubs have not won the World Series in 103 years, a longer championship drought than that of any other major North American professional sports team, and are often referred to as "The Lovable Losers" because of this distinction. They are also known as "The North Siders" because Wrigley Field, their home park since 1916, is located in Chicago's north side Lake View community at 1060 West Addison Street. The Cubs have rivalries with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Houston Astros, and the cross-town White Sox.
The club played its first games in 1870 and was founded professionally in 1871. This makes the Cubs, along with the Braves who were also founded in 1871, one of the two oldest active teams in major North American sports. Because the Cubs lost two seasons to the Great Chicago Fire, the Braves have played more seasons, although the Cubs hold the record for oldest team still in its original city.
Early franchise history
1876–1902: A National League dynasty
William Hulbert, president of Chicago's club, the White Stockings, signed multiple star players, such as pitcher Albert Spalding and infielders Ross Barnes, Deacon White, and Adrian "Cap" Anson, to join the team prior to the N.L.'s inaugural season of 1876. The Chicago franchise, playing its home games at West Side Grounds, quickly established itself as one of the new league's top teams. Spalding won 47 games and Barnes led the league in hitting at .429 as Chicago won the first ever National League pennant, which at the time was the game's top prize.
After back-to-back pennants in 1880 and '81, Hulbert died, and Spalding, who had retired to start Spalding sporting goods, assumed ownership of the club. The White Stockings, with Anson acting as player/manager, captured their third consecutive pennant in 1882, and Anson established himself as the game's first true superstar. In 1885 and '86, after winning N.L. pennants, the White Stockings met the short-lived American Association champion in that era's version of a World Series. Both seasons resulted in matchups with the St. Louis Brown Stockings, with the clubs tying in '85 and with St. Louis winning in '86. This was the genesis of what would eventually become one of the greatest rivalries in sports. In all, the Anson-led Chicago Base Ball Club won six National League pennants between 1876 and 1886. As a result, Chicago's club nickname transitioned, and by 1890 they had become known as the Chicago Colts, or sometimes "Anson's Colts," referring to Cap's influence within the club. Anson was the first player in history credited with collecting 3,000 career hits, and when he left the team in 1898, the loss of his leadership resulted in the team becoming known as the Chicago Orphans (or Remnants) and a few forgettable seasons.
After the 1900 season, the American Base-Ball League formed as a rival professional league, and incidentally the club's old White Stockings nickname would be adopted by a new American League neighbor to the south.
1902–1920: A Cub dynasty
In 1902, Spalding, who by this time had revamped the roster to boast what would soon be one of the best teams of the early century, sold the club to Jim Hart, and the franchise became known as the Chicago Cubs. During this period, which has become known as baseball's dead-ball era, Cub infielders Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance were made famous as a double-play combination by Franklin P. Adams' poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon. The poem first appeared in the July 18, 1910 edition of the New York Evening Mail. Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, Jack Taylor, Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester, and Orval Overall were several key pitchers for the Cubs during this time period. With Chance acting as player-manager from 1905 to 1912, the Cubs won four pennants and two World Series titles over a five-year span. Although they fell to the "Hitless Wonders" White Sox in the 1906 World Series, the Cubs recorded a record 116 victories and the best winning percentage (.763) in Major League history. With mostly the same roster, Chicago won back-to-back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. Their appearance in three consecutive World Series made the Cubs the first Major League club to play three times in the Fall Classic. Likewise, their back-to-back World Series victories in 1907 and 1908 made them the first club to win two World Series. However, the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908; this remains the longest championship drought in North American professional sports.
The next season, veteran catcher Johnny Kling left the team to become a professional pocket billiards player. Some historians think Kling's absence was significant enough to prevent the Cubs from also winning a third straight title in 1909, as they finished 6 games out of first place. When Kling returned the next year, the Cubs won the pennant again, but lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1910 World Series.
In 1914, advertising executive Albert Lasker obtained a large block of the club's shares and before the 1916 season assumed majority ownership of the franchise. Lasker brought in a wealthy partner, Charles Weeghman, the proprietor of a popular chain of lunch counters who had previously owned the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League. As principal owners, the pair moved the club from the West Side Grounds to the much newer Weeghman Park, which had been constructed for the Whales only two years earlier. The Cubs responded by winning a pennant in the war-shortened season of 1918, where they played a part in another team's curse. The Boston Red Sox defeated Grover Cleveland Alexander's Cubs four games to two in the 1918 World Series. After the victory Boston's owner sold its star pitcher, Babe Ruth, to the New York Yankees to help funding of a Broadway play, and thus starting a tale of futility which would last 86 years, known as Curse of the Bambino.
The Wrigley years (1921–1981)
Double-Bills take over
During what is often called baseball's "golden age", one of Cubs's minority owners, William Wrigley Jr., who also happened to be the owner of Wrigley Company, a Chicago-based maker of chewing gum, would begin to increase his share of ownership. Wrigley was responsible for the 1917 acquisition of astute baseball man William Veeck, Sr. to serve as Vice-President and Treasurer, and for later promoting Veeck to Club President in 1919. In 1921 Wrigley bought Weeghman's shares and by 1925 had acquired most of Lasker's shares as well. Wrigley then changed the name of Weeghman Park to its current name, Wrigley Field, in perhaps the earliest example of corporate naming rights. With Wrigley's vast monetary resources and Veeck's front-office savvy, the "double-Bills" soon had the Cubs back in business in the National League, building a team that would put numerous future Hall of Famers in Cub uniforms. Some of the most notable of these players were Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett, and Rogers Hornsby and thus Chicago remained strong contenders for the next decade.
1929–1938: Every three years
During the end of the first decade of the double-Bills' guidance, the Cubs won the NL pennant in 1929 and then achieved the unusual feat of winning a pennant every three years, following up the 1929 flag with league titles in 1932, 1935, and 1938. Unfortunately, their success did not extend to the Fall Classic, as they fell to their AL rivals each time. The '32 series against the Yankees featured Babe Ruth's "called shot" at Wrigley Field. There were some historic moments for the Cubs as well; they claimed the '35 pennant in thrilling fashion, winning a record 21 games in a row in September. The '38 club saw Dizzy Dean lead the team's pitching staff and provided a historic moment when they won a crucial late-season game at Wrigley Field over the Pittsburgh Pirates with a walk-off home run by Gabby Hartnett, which became known in baseball lore as "The Homer in the Gloamin'". By 1939, the "double-Bills" (Wrigley and Veeck) had both died, and the front office, now under P.K. Wrigley, found itself unable to rekindle the kind of success that P.K.'s father had created, and so the team slipped into years of mediocrity.
1945: The Curse
The Cubs enjoyed one more pennant at the close of World War II, finishing 98–56. Due to the wartime travel restrictions, the first three games of the 1945 World Series were played in Detroit, where the Cubs won two games, including a one-hitter by Claude Passeau, and the final four were played at Wrigley. In Game 4 of the Series, the Curse of the Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs when P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Sianis, who had come to Game 4 with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. They paraded around for a few innings, but Wrigley demanded the goat leave the park due to its unpleasant odor. Upon his ejection, Mr. Sianis uttered, "The Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs lost Game 4, lost the Series, and have not been back since. It has also been said by many that Sianis put a "curse" on the Cubs, apparently preventing the team from playing in the World Series. After losing the 1945 World Series to the Detroit Tigers, the Cubs finished with winning seasons the next two years, but those teams did not enter post-season play.
In the following two decades after Sianis' ill will, the Cubs played mostly forgettable baseball, finishing among the worst teams in the National League on an almost annual basis. Longtime infielder/manager Phil Cavarretta, who had been a key player during the '45 season, was fired during spring training in 1954 after admitting the team was unlikely to finish above fifth place. Although shortstop Ernie Banks would become one of the star players in the league during the next decade, finding help for him proved a difficult task, as quality players such as Hank Sauer were few and far between. This, combined with poor ownership decisions (such as the College of Coaches), hampered on-field performance.
1969: The fall of '69
The late-1960s brought hope of a renaissance, with third baseman Ron Santo, pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, and outfielder Billy Williams joining Banks. After losing a dismal 103 games in 1966, the Cubs brought home consecutive winning records in '67 and '68, marking the first time a Cub team had accomplished that feat in over two decades.
In 1969 the Cubs, managed by Leo Durocher, built a substantial lead in the newly created National League Eastern Division by mid-August. Ken Holtzman pitched a no-hitter on August 19, and the division lead grew to 8 1⁄2 games over the St. Louis Cardinals and by 9 1⁄2 games over the New York Mets. Ultimately, however, the Cubs wilted under pressure. Although they had their best season in decades at 92–70, they lost key games against the Mets and finished the season a disappointing eight games out of first place while the Mets exploded past them by winning 39 of their last 50 games. Many superstitious fans attribute this collapse to an incident at Shea Stadium when a fan released a black cat onto the field, further cursing the club, although the "Amazin' Mets" ended the season at a torrid pace, finishing with a remarkable 100 wins.
1977–1979: The June Swoon
Following the '69 season, the club posted winning records for the next few seasons, but no playoff action. After the core players of those teams started to move on, the 70s got worse for the team, and they became known as "The Loveable Losers." In 1977, the team found some life, but ultimately experienced one of its biggest collapses. The Cubs hit a high-water mark on June 28 at 47–22, boasting an 8½ game NL East lead, as they were led by Bobby Murcer (27 Hr/89 RBI), and Rick Reuschel (20–10). However, the Philadelphia Phillies cut the lead to two by the All-star break, as the Cubs sat 19 games over .500, but they swooned late in the season, going 20–40 after July 31. The Cubs finished in 4th place at 81–81, while Philadelphia surged, finishing with 101 wins. Ironically, the following two seasons also saw the Cubs get off to a fast start, as the team rallied to over 10 games above .500 well into both seasons, only to again wear down and play poorly later on, and ultimately settling back to mediocrity. This trait became known as the "June Swoon." Again, the Cubs' unusually high number of day games is often pointed to as one reason for the team's inconsistent late season play.
After over a dozen more subpar seasons, in 1981 the Cubs hired GM Dallas Green from Philadelphia to turn around the franchise. Green had managed the 1980 Phillies to the World Series title. One of his early GM moves brought in a young Phillies minor-league 3rd baseman named Ryne Sandberg, along with Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus. The 1983 Cubs had finished 71–91 under Lee Elia, who was fired before the season ended by Green. Green continued the culture of change and overhauled the Cubs roster, front-office and coaching staff prior to 1984. Jim Frey was hired to manage the 1984 Cubs, with Don Zimmer coaching 3rd base and Billy Connors serving as pitching coach.
Green shored up the 1984 roster with a series of transactions. In December, 1983 Scott Sanderson was acquired from Montreal in a three-team deal with San Diego for Carmelo Martinez. Pinch hitter Richie Hebner (.333 BA in 1984) was signed as a free-agent. In spring training, moves continued: LF Gary Matthews and CF Bobby Dernier came from Philadelphia on March 26, for Bill Campbell and a minor leaguer. Reliever Tim Stoddard (10–6 3.82, 7 saves) was acquired the same day for a minor leaguer; veteran pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was released.
The team's commitment to contend was complete when Green made a midseason deal on June 13 to shore up the starting rotation due to injuries to Rick Reuschel (5–5) and Sanderson. The deal brought 1979 NL Rookie of the Year pitcher Rick Sutcliffe from the Cleveland Indians. Iowa Cub Joe Carter and CF Mel Hall were sent to Cleveland for Sutcliffe and back-up C Ron Hassey (.333 with Cubs in 1984). Sutcliffe (5–5 with the Indians) immediately joined Sanderson (8–5 3.14), Eckersley (10–8 3.03), Steve Trout (13–7 3.41) and Dick Ruthven (6–10 5.04) in the starting rotation. Sutcliffe proceeded to go 16–1 for Cubs and capture the Cy Young Award.
The Cubs 1984 starting lineup was very strong. It consisted of LF Matthews (.291 14–82 101 runs 17 SB), C Jody Davis (.256 19–94), RF Keith Moreland (.279 16–80), SS Larry Bowa (.223 10 SB), 1B Leon "Bull" Durham (.279 23–96 16SB), CF Dernier (.278 45 SB), 3B Ron Cey (.240 25–97), Closer Lee Smith(9–7 3.65 33 saves) and 1984 NL MVP and Ryne Sandberg (.314 19–84 114 runs, 19 triples,32 SB).
Reserve players Hebner, Thad Bosley, Henry Cotto, Hassey and Dave Owen produced exciting moments. The bullpen depth of Rich Bordi, George Frazier, Warren Brusstar and Dickie Noles did their job in getting the game to Smith or Stoddard.
At the top of the order, Dernier and Sandberg were exciting, aptly coined "the Daily Double" by Harry Caray. With strong defense – Dernier CF and Sandberg 2B, won the NL Gold Glove- solid pitching and clutch hitting, the Cubs were a well balanced team. Following the "Daily Double," Matthews, Durham, Cey, Moreland and Davis gave the Cubs an order with no gaps to pitch around. Sutcliffe anchored a strong top to bottom rotation and Smith was one of the top closers in the game.
The shift in the Cubs' fortunes were characterized June 23 on the "NBC Saturday Game of the Week" contest against the St. Louis Cardinals. it has since been dubbed simply "The Sandberg Game." With the nation watching and Wrigley Field packed, Sandberg emerged as a superstar with not one, but two game-tying home runs against Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter. With his shots in the 9th and 10th innings Wrigley Field erupted and Sandberg set the stage for a comeback win that cemented the Cubs as the team to beat in the East. No one would catch them, except the Padres in the playoffs.
In early August the Cubs swept the Mets in a 4-game home series that further distanced them from the pack. An infamous Keith Moreland-Ed Lynch fight erupted after Lynch hit Moreland with a pitch, perhaps forgetting Moreland was once a linebacker at the University of Texas. It was the second game of a double header and the Cubs had won the first game in part due to a three run home run by Moreland. After the bench-clearing fight the Cubs won the second game, and the sweep put the Cubs at 68–45.
When the Cubs clinched the Eastern Division with a Sutcliffe complete-game 2-hitter at Pittsburgh on September 23, the franchise had its first title of any kind since 1945. The celebrating crowd outside at Wrigley Field was enormous despite the fact the Cubs were on the road. The Cubs concluded the regular season with a 96–65 record, 6.5 games ahead of the 2nd place Mets.
In 1984, the two leagues, American and National, each had two divisions, East and West. The divisional winners met in a best-of-5 series to advance to the World Series, in a "2–3" format, first two games were played at the home of the team who did not have home field advantage. Then the last three games were played at the home of the team, with home field advantage. Thus the first two games were played at Wrigley Field and the next three at the home of their opponents, San Diego. A common and unfounded myth is that since Wrigley Field did not have lights at that time the National League decided to give the home field advantage to the winner of the NL West. In fact, home field advantage had rotated between the winners of the East and West since 1969 when the league expanded. In even numbered years, the NL West had home field advantage. In odd numbered years, the NL East had home field advantage. Since the NL East winners had had home field advantage in 1983, the NL West winners were entitled to it.
The confusion may stem from the fact that Major League Baseball did decide that, should the Cubs make it to the World Series, the American League winner would have home field advantage. At the time home field advantage was rotated between each league. Odd numbered years the AL had home field advantage. Even numbered years the NL had home field advantage. In the 1982 World Series the St. Louis Cardinals of the NL had home field advantage. In the 1983 World Series the Baltimore Orioles of the AL had home field advantage.
In the NLCS, the Cubs easily won the first two games at Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres. The Padres were the winners of the Western Division with Steve Garvey, Tony Gwynn, Eric Show, Goose Gossage and Alan Wiggins. With wins of 13–0 and 4–2, the Cubs needed to win only one game of the next three in San Diego to make to the World Series. After being beaten in Game 3 7–1, the Cubs lost Game 4 when Smith, with the game tied 5–5, allowed a game-winning home run to Garvey in the bottom of the ninth inning. In Game 5 the Cubs took a 3–0 lead into the 6th inning, and a 3–2 lead into the seventh with Sutcliffe (who won the Cy Young Award that year) still on the mound. Then, Leon Durham had a sharp grounder go under his glove. This critical error helped the Padres win the game 6–3, with a 4-run 7th inning and keep Chicago out of the 1984 World Series against the Detroit Tigers. The loss ended a spectacular season for the Cubs, one that brought alive a slumbering franchise and made the Cubs relevant for a whole new generation of Cubs fans.
The Padres would be defeated by Sparky Anderson's Tigers in the World Series.
The 1985 season brought high hopes. The club started out well, going 35–19 through mid-June, but injuries to Sutcliffe and others in the pitching staff contributed to a 13 game losing streak that pushed the Cubs out of contention.
1989: NL East champions
In 1989, the first full season with night baseball at Wrigley Field, Don Zimmer's Cubs were led by a core group of veterans in Ryne Sandberg, Cy-Young runner-up Rick Sutcliffe and Andre Dawson, who were boosted by a crop of youngsters such as Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston, Greg Maddux, Rookie of the Year Jerome Walton, and Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Dwight Smith. The Cubs won the NL East once again that season winning 93 games. This time the Cubs met the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS. After splitting the first two games at home, the Cubs headed to the Bay Area, where despite holding a lead at some point in each of the next three games, bullpen meltdowns and managerial blunders ultimately led to three straight losses. The Cubs couldn't overcome the efforts of Will Clark, whose home run off Maddux, just after a managerial visit to the mound, led Maddux to think Clark knew what pitch was coming. Afterward, Maddux would speak into his glove during any mound conversation, beginning what is a norm today. Mark Grace was 11–17 in the series with 8 RBI. Eventually, the Giants lost to "The Bash Brothers" and the Oakland A's in the famous "Earthquake Series."
1998: Wild card race & home run chase
The '98 season would begin on a somber note with the death of legendary broadcaster Harry Caray. After the retirement of Ryne Sandberg and the trade of Dunston, the Cubs needed pop and the signing Henry Rodriguez to bat cleanup provided protection for Sammy Sosa in the lineup. Mark Grace turned in one of his best seasons. Called up after beginning the year at Iowa, the club got a Rookie of the Year effort from pitcher Kerry Wood. Wood's signature performance was a one-hit, 20 strikeout performance versus the Houston Astros that established the flamethrower as an immediate star. "H-Rod" paid dividends by slugging 31 round-trippers, Rod Beck anchored a strong bullpen and Sosa earned the N.L.'s MVP award with a 66 home run season. The club and Sosa caught fire in June, with Sosa hitting 20 home runs in the month. Eventually, with all media attention on Sosa and Mark McGwire of the Cardinals with their home run totals rising, the Cubs ended the regular season tied in the down-to-the-wire Wild Card chase with the San Francisco Giants. This resulted with the Giants and Cubs squaring off in a one game playoff at Wrigley Field. Third baseman Gary Gaetti hit the eventual game winning homer and Beck got Joe Carter to pop up to kill a Giants rally in the 9th inning and the Cubs celebrated. The win propelled the Cubs into the postseason once again with a 90–73 regular season tally. Unfortunately, the bats went cold in October, as manager Jim Riggleman's club batted .183 and scored only four runs en route to being swept by Atlanta. On a positive note, the home run chase between Sosa, Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. generated a great deal of media coverage, and helped to bring in a new crop of fans as well as bringing back some fans who had been disillusioned by the 1994 strike. The Cubs retained many players who experienced career years in '98, and after a fast start in 1999, they collapsed again (starting with being swept at the hands of the cross-town White Sox in mid-June) and finished in the bottom of the division for the next two seasons.
2001: Playoff push
Despite losing fan favorite Grace to free agency, and the lack of production from newcomer Todd Hundley, skipper Don Baylor's Cubs put together a good season in 2001. The season started with Mack Newton being brought in to preach "positive thinking." One of the biggest stories of the season transpired as the club made a midseason deal for Fred McGriff, which was drawn out for nearly a month as McGriff debated waiving his no-trade clause, as the Cubs led the wild card race by 2.5 games in early September. That run died when Preston Wilson hit a three run walk off homer off of closer Tom "Flash" Gordon, which halted the team's momentum. The team was unable to make another serious charge, and finished at 88–74, five games behind both Houston and St. Louis, who tied for first. Sosa had perhaps his finest season and Jon Lieber led the staff with a 20 win season.
2003: Five more outs
The Cubs had high expectations in 2002, but the squad played poorly. On July 5th, 2002 the Cubs promoted assistant general manager and player personnel director Jim Hendry to the General Manager position. The club responded by hiring Dusty Baker and by making some major moves in '03. Most notably, they traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Kenny Lofton and third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and rode dominant pitching, led by Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, as the Cubs led the division down the stretch.
Chicago halted St. Louis' run to the playoffs by taking 4 of 5 games from the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in early September, after which the hapless Cubs finally won their first division title in 14 years.
In what was a dramatic five game series, their NLDS victory over the Atlanta Braves was the franchise's first postseason series win since they went to the World Series in 1908, when they beat the Detroit Tigers in five games. After losing an extra-inning game in Game 1, the Cubs rallied and took a 3 games to 1 lead over the Wild Card Florida Marlins in the NLCS. Florida shut the Cubs out in Game 5, but young pitcher Mark Prior led the Cubs in Game 6 as they took a 3–0 lead into the 8th inning and it was at this point when a now-infamous incident took place. Several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Luis Castillo. A Chicago Cubs fan by the name of Steve Bartman, of Northbrook, IL, reached for the ball and deflected it away from the glove of Moisés Alou for the second out of the 8th inning. Alou reacted angrily toward the stands, and after the game stated that he would have caught the ball. Alou at one point recanted, saying he would not have been able to make the play, but later said this was just an attempt to make Bartman feel better and believing the whole incident should be forgotten. Interference was not called on the play, as the ball was ruled to be on the spectator side of the wall. Castillo was eventually walked by Prior. Two batters later, and to the horror of the packed stadium, Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez misplayed a potential inning ending double play, loading the bases and leading to eight Florida runs and a Marlin victory. Despite sending Kerry Wood to the mound and holding a lead twice, the Cubs ultimately dropped Game 7, and failed to reach the World Series.
In 2004, despite the return of Greg Maddux and a midseason deal for Nomar Garciaparra, misfortune struck the Cubs again. They led the Wild Card by 1.5 games over San Francisco and Houston on September 25, and both of those teams lost that day, giving the Cubs a chance at increasing the lead to a commanding 2.5 games with only eight games remaining in the season, but reliever LaTroy Hawkins blew a save to the Mets, and the Cubs lost the game in extra innings, a defeat that seemingly deflated the team, as they proceeded to drop 6 of their last 8 games as the Astros won the Wild Card. Despite the fact that the Cubs had won 89 games, this fallout was decidedly unlovable, as the Cubs traded superstar Sammy Sosa after he had left the season's final game early and then lied about it publicly. Already a controversial figure in the clubhouse after his corked-bat incident, Sammy alienated much of his fan base, the few teammates still on good terms with him, and possibly tarnished his place in Cubs' lore for years to come. The disappointing season also saw fans start to become frustrated with the constant injuries to ace pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Additionally, the '04 season led to the departure of popular commentator Steve Stone, who had become increasingly critical of management during broadcasts and was verbally attacked by reliever Kent Mercker. Things were no better in 2005, despite a career year from Derrek Lee and the emergence of closer Ryan Dempster. The club struggled and suffered more key injuries, only managing to win 79 games after being picked by many to be a serious contender for the N.L. pennant. In 2006, the Cubs finished 66–96, last in the NL Central.
2007–2008: Back to back division titles
After finishing last in the N.L. Central with 66 wins in 2006, the Cubs re-tooled and went from "worst to first" in 2007. In the offseason they signed Alfonso Soriano to the richest contract in Cubs history at 8 years for $136 million, and replaced unpopular skipper Dusty Baker with fiery veteran manager Lou Piniella. After a rough start, which included a brawl between Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs overcame the Milwaukee Brewers, who had led the division for most of the season, with winning streaks in June and July, coupled with a pair of dramatic, late-inning wins against the Reds, and ultimately clinched the NL Central with a record of 85–77. They met Arizona in the NLDS, but controversy followed as Piniella, in a move that has since come under scrutiny, pulled Carlos Zambrano after the sixth inning of a pitcher's duel with D-Backs ace Brandon Webb, to "....save Zambrano for (a potential) Game 4." The Cubs, however, were unable to come through, losing the first game and eventually stranding over 30 baserunners in a 3-game Arizona sweep.
The Cubs successfully defended their National League Central title in 2008, going to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1906–08. The offseason was dominated by three months of unsuccessful trade talks with the Orioles involving 2B Brian Roberts, as well as the signing of Chunichi Dragons star Kosuke Fukudome. The team recorded their 10,000th win in April, while establishing an early division lead. Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds were added early on and Rich Harden was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in early July. The Cubs headed into the All-Star break with the N.L.'s best record, and tied the league record with eight representatives to the All-Star game, including catcher Geovany Soto, who was named Rookie of the Year.The Cubs took control of the division by sweeping a four game series in Milwaukee. On September 14, in a game moved to Miller Park due to Hurricane Ike, Zambrano pitched a no-hitter against the Astros, and six days later the team clinched by beating St. Louis at Wrigley. The club ended the season with a 97–64 record and met Los Angeles in the NLDS. The heavily favored Cubs took an early lead in Game 1, but James Loney's grand slam off Ryan Dempster changed the series' momentum. Chicago committed numerous critical errors and were outscored 20–6 in a Dodger sweep, which provided yet another sudden and stunning ending to what had once been looked at as a season of destiny.
2009–present: The Ricketts Era
Apparently handcuffed by the Tribune's bankruptcy and the sale of the club to the Ricketts' family, the Cubs' quest for a NL Central 3-peat started with notice that there would be less invested into contracts than in previous years. Once again, however, trade speculation dominated the headlines at the winter meetings, this time surrounding Padres' ace Jake Peavy, which, much like the Brian Roberts talks a year earlier, resulted in nothing. Piniella blamed the '08 post season failure on the lack of left-handed hitters, and a bevy of high caliber outfielders fit the bill. Ultimately, the club settled on inking oft-troubled switch hitter Milton Bradley over Adam Dunn, Raúl Ibáñez, and Bobby Abreu. The bench and bullpen were also overhauled in a bevy of money saving moves. Fan favorites Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa both left for the Cleveland Indians. Kevin Gregg was acquired from the Marlins to replace Wood, and Aaron Miles was signed to replace DeRosa.
Led by the strong play of Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and rookie pitcher Randy Wells, the club started well, but fell on hard times as injuries took their toll. Nearly every key player suffered injury and the Northsiders struggled into the All Star break with a disappointing .500 record. Carlos Mármol eventually replaced Gregg as closer and the team stayed in the race, but they were distracted by Bradley, whose poor hitting and even poorer attitude became a major issue. Bradley complained about being heckled, booed and "hated" by bleacher fans and expressed his overall unhappiness in Chicago, eventually leading to a season ending suspension. Despite this, Chicago engaged St. Louis in a see-saw battle for first place into August, but the Cardinals played to a torrid 20–6 pace that month, designating their rivals to battle in the Wild Card race, from which they were eliminated in the season's final week. The Cubs posted a winning record (83–78) for the third consecutive season, the first time the club had done so since 1972, and a new era of ownership under the Ricketts' family was approved by MLB owners in early October.
Milton Bradley was traded to Seattle in the off-season, and was replaced by Marlon Byrd and Xavier Nady as Lou Piniella entered his fourth season with the team. The Cubs were expected to contend with the St. Louis Cardinals for the divisional title. Rookie Starlin Castro debuted in early May as the starting shortstop. However, the club played poorly in the early season, finding themselves 10 games under .500 at the end of June. In addition, long-time ace Carlos Zambrano was pulled from a game against the White Sox on June 25 after a tirade and shoving match with Derrek Lee, and was suspended indefinitely by Jim Hendry, who called the conduct "unacceptable."
On July 20, Piniella announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2010 season.
On August 2, The Cubs tied a club record for most allowed hits in a single game. Cubs pitchers gave up a total of 26 hits in their 18 to 1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs only recorded 4 hits and were out hit by Prince Fielder alone who had five hits. The last time Cubs pitchers allowed 26 hits was on September 2, 1957 against the Milwaukee Braves.
On August 22, Lou Piniella announced that he would leave the Cubs for the rest of the 2010 season to take care of his sick mother. Mike Quade took over as the interim manager for the final 37 games of the year. Despite being well out of playoff contention the Cubs went 24–13 under Quade, posting the best record in baseball during that 37 game stretch. During these games, the Cubs got a chance to see what their roster would look like in 2011, by bringing up minor league players such as Darwin Barney, Brad Snyder, Bobby Scales, Welington Castillo, Jeff Samardzija, Micah Hoffpauir, Scott Maine, Marcos Mateo, and Thomas Diamond.
On October 19, Mike Quade was named the next Cubs manager. He was given a two-year deal and a club option for 2013. On December 3, Cubs broadcaster and former third baseman, Ron Santo, died due to complications from bladder cancer and diabetes. He spent 13 seasons as a player with the Cubs, and is regarded as one of the greatest players not in the Hall of Fame.
On January 7, 2011, Matt Garza was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Cubs as part of an eight-player deal. The Cubs sent outfielder Sam Fuld, and prospects Christopher Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, and Robinson Chirinos to the Rays for Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez and minor league left-handed pitcher Zachary Rosscup.
The Cubs finished the 2011 season 20 games under .500 with a record of 71-91. On August 19, 2011 they relieved general manager Jim Hendry of his duties.
On October 21, 2011 the Cubs officially hired Theo Epstein as president of baseball operations.  On October 26, Jed Hoyer was hired as executive vice-president and general manager. Jason McLeod will serve as senior vice-president and head scouting and player developement. On November 2, Cubs manager, Mike Quade, was fired. On November 17, 2011, Dale Sveum agreed to a three year contract with an option for a fourth to become new manager of the Cubs. 
Crosstown Classic: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox – Cubs Rivalry (also known as the BP Crosstown Cup, Crosstown Classic, The Windy City Showdown, Red Line Series, City Series, Crosstown Series, Crosstown Cup or Crosstown Showdown) refers to the rivalry between two Major League Baseball teams that play their home games in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs of the National League play their home games at Wrigley Field located on the city's North side, while the Chicago White Sox of the American League play their home games at U.S. Cellular Field (previously known as Comiskey Park) on the city's South side. The Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line runs north-south through Chicago's neighborhoods, stopping at Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field.
The terms "North Siders" and "South Siders" are synonymous with the respective teams and their fans, setting up an enduring rivalry. The White Sox currently lead the regular season series 41–38. There have been six series sweeps since interleague play began: four by the Cubs in 1998, 2004, 2007, and 2008, and two by the White Sox in 1999 and 2008.
I-94 Rivalry: Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers and Cubs have been playing each other in spring training Cactus League games since the Brewers franchise began as the Seattle Pilots in 1969. However, this budding rivalry did not begin to grow until 1998, when the Brewers moved from the American League Central Division to the NL Central. Until then, the Brewers had a rivalry with Chicago's AL team, the White Sox.
I-55 Rivalry: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals–Cubs rivalry refers to games between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cubs. The rivalry is also known as the I-55 series (or in earlier years the Route 66 series), deriving its name from the roadway connecting the two cities, Interstate 55 (which itself succeeded the famous U.S. Route 66). The Cubs lead the series 1,091–1,044 through 2010, while the Cardinals lead in National League pennants with 18 against the Cubs' 16. However, the Cardinals have a clear edge when it comes to World Series successes, having won 11 championships to the Cubs' 2. Cardinals-Cubs games see numerous visiting fans in either St. Louis' Busch Stadium or Chicago's Wrigley Field. When the National League split into two, and then three divisions, the Cardinals and Cubs remained together. This has added excitement to several pennant races over the years, most recently in 1989 and 2003; both times the division title was won by the Cubs.
Awards and honors
Baseball Hall of Famers
Chicago Cubs Hall of Famers Affiliation according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Chicago Cubs/White Stockings
- Players listed in bold are depicted on their Hall of Fame plaques wearing a Cubs, Orphans, Colts, or White Stockings cap insignia.
- * – depicted on Hall of Fame plaque with no cap or cap insignia, or with cap insignia area obscured; Hall of Fame recognizes Cubs/Orphans/Colts/White Stockings as "Primary Team"
- † – inducted as an Executive/Pioneer due in part to his contributions to baseball as an executive with the Cubs; depicted on Hall of Fame plaque without a cap
- 1 – inducted as player; managed Cubs/White Stockings/Colts or was player-manager
- 2 – inducted as manager or executive; played for Cubs or was player-manager
The Chicago Cubs retired numbers are commemorated on pinstriped flags flying from the foul poles at Wrigley Field, with the exception of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers player whose number 42 was retired for all clubs. The first retired number flag, Ernie Banks' number 14, was raised on the left field pole, and they have alternated since then. 14, 10 and 31 (Jenkins) fly on the left field pole; and 26, 23 and 31 (Maddux) fly on the right field pole.
Retired September 28, 2003
SS, 1B: 1953–1971
Retired August 22, 1982
Retired August 28, 2005
Retired August 13, 1987
Retired May 3, 2009
Retired May 3, 2009
Retired by MLB (however number doesn't
fly from a flag on the foul poles)
Retired April 15, 1997
- There is also a movement to retire numbers for other players, most notably the uniform shirt of Gabby Hartnett. The Cubs first wore numbers on their shirts in 1932, and Hartnett wore #7 initially but switched to #9 for the next four seasons. From 1937–40 he wore #2, which is the number considered for retirement. Petitions have been sent in to the team for Cap Anson (shirt), Hack Wilson (shirt), Phil Cavarretta (3), Andre Dawson (8), and Mark Grace (17), as well as more recent departures Sammy Sosa (21), Kerry Wood (34), and Derrek Lee (25).
Al Spalding, who also owned Spalding sporting goods, played for the team for two seasons under club founder William Hulbert. After Hulbert's death Spalding owned the club for twenty one years, after which the Cubs were purchased by Albert Lasker and Charles Weeghman. That pair were followed by the Wrigley family, owners of Wrigley's chewing gum. In 1981, after 6 decades under the Wrigley family, the Cubs were purchased by Tribune Company for $20,500,000. Tribune, which also owned the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, WGN Television, WGN Radio and many other media outlets, controlled the club until December 2007, when Sam Zell completed his purchase of the entire Tribune organization and announced his intention to sell the baseball team.
In 2008 Zell began what was basically a competition for a buyer. In late July, a long list was narrowed down to ten, and those ten prospective investors were then narrowed to three, all of whom offered over $1 billion for both the Cubs and Wrigley Field, with the presumptive fan favorites being outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a group led by former announcer Steve Stone and Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron. However, the list inflated back to five by August as private equity investor and Brewers minority owner John Canning, Jr. and Tom Ricketts, the son of Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts were added to the "contest." The Canning move was highly scrutinized, because when Zell originally trimmed the candidates down, Canning Jr. had been eliminated, but commissioner Bud Selig had apparently picked him as a favorite of the fraternity of MLB owners. During a Chicago Bulls-Dallas Mavericks telecast on October 9, 2008, Cuban, in a courtside interview with Comcast Sports Net, claimed he had made the highest bid, and although he did not know where he stood, noted that the state of the economy would likely affect the time frame of the eventual sale. Nonetheless, on January 8, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that a new group of three finalists, Tom Ricketts advised by Salvatore Galatioto of Galatioto Sports Partners, Hersch Klaff advised by Michael Levy of Paragon Capital Partners, and a partnership of private equity investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery Jr., were expected to submit polished offers "within days," after which the winning bid would be accepted and, pending the winning bidders approval by 2/3 of the current MLB owners, "would be final," with Zell holding on to a minor share of the team. The Ricketts family won that bidding process as the 2009 season came to a close. Ultimately, the sale was unanimously approved by MLB owners and the Ricketts family took control on October 27, 2009.
The Cubs' flagship radio station is WGN/720 AM. With the recent end of the Pittsburgh Pirates' run on KDKA, this may now be the longest team-to-station relationship in MLB. Pat Hughes did the play-by-play along with color commentator Ron Santo (until the latter's death in December 2010) and pre- and post-game host Judd Sirott; Keith Moreland, a member of the 1984 Cubs, became Hughes's color man with the start of spring training in February 2011. Hughes did play by play for the Milwaukee Brewers prior to coming to Chicago, and Santo, a former Cubs star and a devout fan of the team (Hughes introduced Santo as "Cub legend Ron Santo" on a daily basis), was known for his emotional highs and lows during games. One example of a "low" was his "Noooo! Noooo!" when Brant Brown dropped a fly ball in a key game in 1998. A "high" for Santo was upon the retirement of his number on the last day of the 2003 season, in which he declared his #10 flag to be "my Hall of Fame." Because Santo was a type 1 diabetic who had lost both his legs to the disease, most sponsors of the radio program centered their promotions around the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and other diabetes-based charities. The Chicago Cubs Radio Network consists of 45 stations and covers at least eleven states. WGN Radio is owned and operated by Tribune Company.
Cubs telecasts are locally aired on three different outlets: Over broadcast television via the WGN television outlets (both the local station on Channel 9 and the superstation nationally), Weigel Broadcasting's WCIU-TV (Channel 26.1) and on cable television over CSN Chicago (of which the Ricketts family owns a 20% interest), with some games, mainly on Wednesday evenings, airing over the supplemental CSN+ channel. WCIU came into the fold in the early 2000s due to demands by The WB Television Network for WGN to devote more time to the network's programming, and later on the same has been expected by The CW, though WGN still does push back CW primetime programming to accommodate game broadcasts.
Len Kasper is the play-by-play announcer, and Bob Brenly, a former major league catcher and Arizona Diamondbacks manager, is the color commentator for the games. WGN also produces the games shown on WCIU; for those games, the score bug changes the "WGN" logo to "CubsNet." WCIU games additionally air over MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYS-LP (Channel 69) in the South Bend, Indiana market. WGN and CSN Chicago generally show an even number of Cubs games, while WCIU averages about 8 games per season.
In 2009, the Chicago Cubs expressed interest in creating their own regional cable network. Crane Kenney, the Cubs' president, said that a regional network owned by the Cubs would create additional revenue streams. The hope was that this would be similar to other successful regional sports networks such as the YES Network and NESN. The only difference would be that the Cubs could not immediately broadcast Cubs games due to the existing contracts and/or ownership stakes in CSN Chicago, WGN-TV and WCIU-TV. According to Kenney, the new Cubs network would be like the MLB Network, but showing Cubs-only programming. Classic Cubs games from the past could be scheduled as well as in-depth specials. Live telecasts of the minor league affiliate Iowa Cubs games were also being considered (when there are no Cubs games scheduled or available due to contract agreements).
In addition to The Chicago Tribune itself, the club also produces its own print media; the Cubs' official magazine Vineline, which has 12 annual issues, is in its third decade, and spotlights players and events involving the club.
Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray
Two broadcasters in particular have made their mark on the team. Jack Brickhouse manned the Cubs radio and especially the TV booth for parts of five decades, the 34-season span from 1948 to 1981. He covered the games with a level of enthusiasm that often seemed unjustified by the team's poor performance on the field for many of those years. His trademark call "Hey Hey!" always followed a home run. That expression is spelled out in large letters vertically on both foul pole screens at Wrigley Field. "Whoo-boy!" and "Wheeee!" and "Oh, brother!" were among his other pet expressions. When he approached retirement age, he personally recommended his successor.
Harry Caray's stamp on the team is perhaps even deeper than that of Brickhouse, although his 17-year tenure, from 1982 to 1997, was half as long. First, Caray had already become a well-known Chicago figure by broadcasting White Sox games for a decade, after having been a St Louis Cardinals icon for 25 years. Caray also had the benefit of being in the booth during the NL East title run in 1984, which was widely seen due to WGN's status as a cable-TV superstation. His trademark call of "Holy Cow!" and his enthusiastic singing of "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch (as he had done with the White Sox) made Caray a fan favorite both locally and nationally. Harry occasionally had problems pronouncing names, to comic effect, such as his attempt at saying "Héctor Villanueva" which was captured on WGN's memorial CD to Harry. He also continued his long-standing bit (dating back to the Cardinals years) of pronouncing names backwards. Caray had lively discussions with commentator Steve Stone, who was hand-picked by Harry himself, and producer Arne Harris. Caray often playfully quarreled with Stone over Stone's cigar and why Stone was single, while Stone would counter with poking fun at Harry being "under the influence." Stone disclosed in his book "Where's Harry" that most of this "arguing" was staged, and usually a ploy developed by Harry himself to add flavor to the broadcast. Additionally, Harry once did a commercial for Budweiser, dressed as a "Blues Brother" and parodying "Soul Man", singing "I'm a Cub fan, I'm a Bud man," while dancing with models dressed as Cubs ball girls.
The Cubs still have a "guest conductor," usually a celebrity, lead the crowd in singing "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch to honor Caray's memory. The quality of their renditions and ability to sing in tune vary widely. Chicago icons often return annually, such as former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who tends to sing the song very fast and worse than awful. Caray is also honored with a statue located at the corner of Sheffield and Addison street. During the 1998 season, a permanent window with Caray's caricature was installed in the Wrigley Field broadcast booth, and a patch with the same caricature along with Brickhouse's trademark "Hey Hey" were worn on the players sleeves to honor the passing of both commentators within a span of a few months. Harry's popularity also led to his grandson Chip Caray joining the broadcast team in winter of 1997, shortly before Harry's death. Chip Caray worked the Cubs games alongside Stone until events that unfolded in 2004, when Stone became increasingly critical of management and players toward season's end. At one point, reliever Kent Mercker phoned the booth during a game and told Stone to "keep out of team business." Stone left the team, taking a position with Chicago-based WSCR, and is now an announcer for the south side team, the Chicago White Sox. Chip Caray also left, joining his father Skip Caray (who would die in 2008) on TBS, providing play-by-play for the Atlanta Braves.
Memorable events and records
On September 23, 1908, the Cubs and New York Giants were involved in a tight pennant race. The two clubs were tied in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Polo Grounds, and N.Y. had runners on first and third and two outs when Al Bridwell singled, scoring Moose McCormick from third with the Giants' apparent winning run, but the runner on first base, rookie Fred Merkle, went half way to second and then sprinted to the clubhouse after McCormick touched home plate. As fans swarmed the field, Cub infielder Johnny Evers retrieved the ball and touched second. Since there were 2 outs, a forceout was called at second base, ending the inning and the game. Because of the tie the Giants and Cubs ended up tied for first place. The Giants lost the ensuing one-game playoff and the Cubs went on to the World Series.
The Homer in the Gloamin'
On September 28, 1938, with the Cubs and Pirates tied at 5, Gabby Hartnett stepped to the plate in a lightless Wrigley Field that was gradually being overcome by darkness and visibility was becoming difficult. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the umpires ready to end the game, Hartnett launched Pirate hurler Mace Brown's offering into the gloom and haze. This would be remembered as his "Homer in the Gloamin."
Rick Monday and the U.S. flag
On April 25, 1976, at Dodger Stadium, two protestors ran into the outfield and tried to set fire to a U.S. flag. When Cubs outfielder Rick Monday noticed the flag on the ground and the men fumbling with matches and lighter fluid, he dashed over and snatched the flag to thunderous applause. When he came up to bat in the next half-inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the stadium titantron flashed the message, "RICK MONDAY... YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY..." Monday later said, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it."
The Sandberg game
On June 23, 1984, Chicago trailed St. Louis 9–8 in the bottom of the ninth on NBC's Game of the Week when Ryne Sandberg, known mostly for his glove, slugged a game-tying home run off ace closer Bruce Sutter. Despite this, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the tenth. Sandberg came up again facing Bruce Sutter with one man on base, and hit yet another game tying home run, and Ryno became a household name. The Cubs won what has become known as "The Sandberg Game" in the 11th inning.
On April 23, 2008, against the Colorado Rockies, the Cubs recorded the 10,000th regular-season win in their franchise's history dating back to the beginning of the National League in 1876. The Cubs reached the milestone with an overall National League record of 10,000 wins and 9,465 losses. Chicago is only the second club in Major League Baseball history to attain this milestone, the first having been the San Francisco Giants in mid-season 2005. The Cubs, however, hold the mark for victories for a team in a single city. The Chicago club's 77–77 record in the National Association (1871, 1874–1875) is not included in MLB record keeping. Post-season series are also not included in the totals. To honor the milestone, the Cubs flew an extra white flag displaying "10,000" in blue, along with the customary "W" flag.
Tape-measure home runs
On May 11, 2000, Glenallen Hill, facing Brewers starter Steve Woodard, became the first, and thus far only player, to hit a pitched ball onto the roof of a five-story residential building across Waveland Ave, beyond Wrigley Field's left field wall. The shot was estimated at well over 500 feet (150 m), but the Cubs fell to Milwaukee 12–8.
No batted ball has ever hit the center field scoreboard in Wrigley Field, although the original "Slammin' Sammy", golfer Sam Snead, hit it with a golf ball in an exhibition in the 1950s. In 1948, Bill Nicholson barely missed the scoreboard when he launched a home run ball onto Sheffield Avenue and in 1959, Roberto Clemente came even closer with a home run ball hit onto Waveland Avenue. In 2001, a Sammy Sosa homer landed across Waveland and bounced a block down Kenmore Avenue. Dave Kingman hit a shot in 1978 that hit the third porch roof on the east side of Kenmore, which was estimated at 555 feet (169 m), and is regarded as the longest home run in Wrigley Field history.
The official Cub mascot is a young bear cub, which has gone through various transformations through the years. The Cubs have no official physical mascot, though a man in a 'polar bear' looking outfit, called "The Beeman" (or Bearman, B-man), which was not very popular with the fans, was employed by the club briefly in the early 1990s.
"White flag time at Wrigley!"
The term "White flag time at Wrigley!", coined by former play-by-play broadcaster Chip Caray, means the Cubs have won.
Beginning in the days of P.K. Wrigley and the 1937 bleacher/scoreboard reconstruction, and prior to modern media saturation, a flag with either a "W" or an "L" has flown from atop the scoreboard masthead, indicating the day's result(s) when baseball was played at Wrigley. In case of a doubleheader that results in a split, both the "win" and "loss" flags are flown.
Past Cubs media guides show that originally the flags were blue with a white "W" and white with a blue "L". In 1978, consistent with the dominant colors of the flags, blue and white lights were mounted atop the scoreboard, denoting "win" and "loss" respectively for the benefit of nighttime passers-by.
The flags were replaced by 1990, the first year in which the Cubs media guide reports the switch to the now familiar colors of the flags: White with blue "W" and blue with white "L". In addition to needing to replace the worn-out flags, by then the retired numbers of Banks and Williams were flying on the foul poles, as white with blue numbers; so the "good" flag was switched to match that scheme.
This long-established tradition has evolved to fans carrying the white-with-blue-W flags to both home and away games, and displaying them after a Cub win. The flags have become more and more popular each season since 1998, and are now even sold as T-shirts with the same layout. In 2009, the tradition spilled over to the NHL as Chicago Blackhawks fans adopted a red and black "W" flag of their own.
Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville
The Cubs have played their home games at Wrigley Field, also known as "The Friendly Confines" since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Whales, a Federal League baseball team. The Cubs also shared the park with the Chicago Bears of the NFL for 50 years. The ballpark includes a manual scoreboard, ivy-covered brick walls, and relatively small dimensions.
Located in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood, Wrigley Field sits on an irregular block bounded by Clark and Addison Streets and Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. The area surrounding the ballpark is typically referred to as Wrigleyville. There is a dense collection of sports bars and restaurants in the area, most with baseball inspired themes, including Sluggers, Murphy's Bleachers and The Cubby Bear. Many of the apartment buildings surrounding Wrigley Field on Waveland and Sheffield Avenues have built bleachers on their rooftops for fans to view games. On game days, many residents rent out their yards and driveways to people looking for parking spots.
The "Bleacher Bums" is a name given to fans, many of whom spend much of the day heckling, who sit in the bleacher section at Wrigley Field. Initially, the group was called "bums" because it referred to a group of fans who were at most games, and since those games were all day games, it was assumed they did not work. Many of those fans were, and are still, students at Chicago area colleges, such as DePaul University, Loyola, Northwestern University, and Illinois-Chicago. A Broadway play, starring Joe Mantegna, Dennis Farina, Dennis Franz, and James Belushi ran for years and was based on a group of Cub fans who frequented the club's games. The group was started in 1967 by dedicated fan Ron Grousl and "mad bugler" Mike Murphy, who was a sports radio host during mid days on Chicago-based WSCR AM 670 "The Score". Murphy alleges that Grousl started the Wrigley tradition of throwing back opposing teams' home run balls. The current group is headed by Derek Schaul. Prior to the 2006 season, they were updated, with new shops and private bar (The Batter's Eye) being added, and Bud Light bought naming rights to the bleacher section, dubbing them the Bud Light Bleachers. Bleachers at Wrigley are general admission.
During the summer of 1969, a Chicago studio group produced a single record called "Hey Hey! Holy Mackerel! (The Cubs Song)" whose title and lyrics incorporated the catch-phrases of the respective TV and radio announcers for the Cubs, Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd. Several members of the Cubs recorded an album called Cub Power which contained a cover of the song. The song received a good deal of local airplay that summer, associating it very strongly with that bittersweet season. It was played much less frequently thereafter, although it remained an unofficial Cubs theme song for some years after.
For many years, Cubs radio broadcasts started with "It's a Beautiful Day for a Ball Game" by the Harry Simeone Chorale. In 1979, Roger Bain released a 45 rpm record of his song "Thanks Mr. Banks," to honor “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks.
The song "Go, Cubs, Go!" by Steve Goodman was recorded early in the 1984 season, and was heard frequently during that season. Goodman died in September of that year, four days before the Cubs clinched the National League Eastern Division title, their first title in 39 years. Since 1984, the song started being played from time to time at Wrigley Field; since 2007, the song has been played over the loudspeakers following each Cubs home victory.
In 2007, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder composed a song dedicated to the team called "All the Way". Vedder, a Chicago native, and lifelong Cubs fan, composed the song at the request of Ernie Banks. Pearl Jam has only played this song live one time, on August 2, 2007 at the Vic Theater in Chicago, IL.  Eddie Vedder has played this song live twice, at his solo shows at the Chicago Auditorium on August 21 and 22, 2008.
An album entitled Take Me Out to a Cubs Game was released in 2008. It is a collection of 17 songs and other recordings related to the team, including Harry Caray's final performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on September 21, 1997, the Steve Goodman song mentioned above, and a newly-recorded rendition of "Talkin' Baseball" (subtitled "Baseball and the Cubs") by Terry Cashman. The album was produced in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Cubs' 1908 World Series victory and contains sounds and songs of the Cubs and Wrigley Field.
When securing a home victory, the tune "Go Cubs Go", by Steve Goodman, is played over the loudspeakers.
The Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series championship since 1908, and have not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1945, although between their postseason appearance in 1984 and their most recent in 2008, they have made the postseason six times. It is the longest title drought in all four of the major American professional sports leagues, which includes the NFL, NBA, NHL, as well as Major League Baseball. In fact, the Cubs' last World Series title occurred before those other three leagues even existed, and even the Cubs' last World Series appearance predates the founding of the NBA.
Current rosterChicago Cubs roster
Active roster Inactive roster Coaches/Other
- -- Dale Sveum
- 11 Iván DeJesús (third base)
- 2 Bob Dernier (first base)
- 7 Rudy Jaramillo (hitting)
- 95 Andrew Lane (bullpen catcher)
- 4 Pat Listach (bench)
- 47 Mark Riggins (pitching)
- 35 Lester Strode (bullpen)
- 98 Édgar Tovar (bullpen catcher)
60-day disabled list
30 Active, 0 Inactive
7- or 15-day disabled list
† Suspended list
# Personal leave
updated November 18, 2011
→ All MLB rosters
Minor league affiliations
Level Team League Location AAA Iowa Cubs Pacific Coast League Des Moines, IA AA Tennessee Smokies Southern League Sevierville, TN Advanced A Daytona Cubs Florida State League Daytona Beach, FL A Peoria Chiefs Midwest League Peoria, IL Short Season A Boise Hawks Northwest League Boise, ID Rookie AZL Cubs Arizona League Mesa, AZ DSL Cubs 1 Dominican Summer League Boca Chica, Dominican Republic DSL Cubs 2 Dominican Summer League Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
Spring training history
The Cubs spring training facility is located in Mesa, Arizona, where they play in the Cactus League. The club plays its games at HoHoKam Park, Dwight Patterson Field. "HoHoKam" is literally translated from Native American as "those who vanished." The park seats just under 13,567, and the Cubs annually sell out most of their games both at home and on the road. The Northsiders have called Mesa their spring home for most seasons since 1952. In addition to Mesa, the club has held spring training in Champaign, Illinois (1901–02, 1906); Los Angeles (1903–04, 1948–1949), Santa Monica, California (1905); New Orleans (1907, 1911–1912); Vicksburg, Miss. (1908); Hot Springs, Arkansas (1909–1910); Tampa (1913–1916); Pasadena, Cal. (1917–1921); Santa Catalina Island, California (1922–1942, 1946–1947, 1950–1951); French Lick, Indiana (1943–1945); Mesa (1952–1965, 1979–present); Long Beach, California (1966); and Scottsdale, Arizona (1967–1978).
The curious location on Catalina Island stemmed from Cubs owner William Wrigley Jr.'s then-majority interest in the island in 1919. Wrigley constructed a ballpark on the island to house the Cubs in spring training: it was built to the same dimensions as Wrigley Field. (The ballpark is long gone, but a clubhouse built by Wrigley to house the Cubs exists as the Catalina County Club.) However by 1951 the team chose to leave Catalina Island and spring training was shifted to Mesa, Arizona. The Cubs' 30-year association with Catalina is chronicled in the book, The Cubs on Catalina, by Jim Vitti . . . which was named International 'Book of the Year' by The Sporting News.
The current location in Mesa is actually the second HoHoKam Park; the first was built in 1976 as the spring-training home of the Oakland Athletics who left the park in 1979. Apart from HoHoKam Park the Cubs also have another Mesa training facility called Fitch Park, this complex provides 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of team facilities, including major league clubhouse, four practice fields, one practice infield, enclosed batting tunnels, batting cages, a maintenance facility, and administrative offices for the Cubs.
The practice of teams traveling for organized spring training practice games and drills is almost as old as baseball itself. One of the earliest recorded spring training camps took place in 1870, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) held organized baseball camps in New Orleans.
- Chicago Cubs team records
- Chicago Tribune
- Curse of the Billy Goat
- Grant DePorter
- Lee Elia
- History of the Chicago Cubs
- Iowa Cubs
- List of Major League Baseball franchise postseason droughts
- Major professional sports teams of the United States and Canada
- Old Style Beer
- Thomas S. Ricketts
- West Side Park
- WGN Radio 720 AM
- WGN TV Channel 9 / WGN America
- Sam Zell
References and notes
- ^ Helyar, John (April 2, 2007). "Lovable losers? Not at this sale price". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2823256. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- ^ Nadel, John (2008-10-05). "Wait 'til next year, again: Cubs eliminated by LA". Associated Press. Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap;_ylt=AmqT0AWKFlqJ4tN_mVr_w5ipu7YF?gid=281004119&prov=ap&print=1. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- ^ "1890 Chicago Colts". baseball-reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/1890.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
- ^ "1898 Chicago Orphans". baseball-reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/1898.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
- ^ "1903 Chicago Cubs". baseball-reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/1903.shtml. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
- ^ Thomson, Cindy; Brown, Scott. Three Finger. University of Nebraska Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-8032-4448-7.
- ^ Stout, Glenn; Johnson, Richard. The Cubs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 98. ISBN 978-0618595006.
- ^ Zarefsky, Marc (2007-08-08). "'Homer in the Gloamin' most memorable". MLB.com. http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/content/printer_friendly/chc/y2007/m07/d20/c2099223.jsp. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- ^ a b c d "1984 Chicago Cubs Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/1984.shtml. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
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