Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians to battle in World Series
Last Updated: 25/10/16 9:15am
We look at the World Series, Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship final between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians that opens on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.
Long-suffering Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians supporters will be dreaming of a fairy-tale finish when the World Series gets underway on Tuesday, but only one of Major League Baseball's longest championship droughts will end in the epic showdown.
We delve into the archives and look at five facts ahead of the opener...
The Chicago Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. That's the longest championship drought of any team in major North American sports history. They have not played for the title since 1945. The Indians have not won the World Series since 1948, the second-longest drought in baseball and third overall behind the Cubs and the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who last won a title in 1947, when they were based in Chicago.
Some blame the Cubs' drought on the "Curse of the Billy Goat," which the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern supposedly put on the Cubs after he and his pet goat were ejected from the World Series in 1945 because fans complained about the animal's odor.
The Cubs' president of baseball operations is Theo Epstein, who became the youngest general manager in MLB history when hired in 2002 by the Boston Red Sox at age 28. He resigned in 2011 to take over the Cubs. In 2004, the Red Sox won their first World Series title in 86 years, ending what had been dubbed "The Curse of the Bambino."
In early 1920, the legendary Babe Ruth was sold by the Red Sox to the rival New York Yankees, where "The Bambino" became an epic figure in US sports folklore. Over the next 84 seasons, the Red Sox lost all four of their trips to the World Series while the Yankees won 26 of their 27 World Series titles.
Did you know...
The Cubs winning the World Series could actually be the best thing since sliced bread, which was invented in 1928 - 20 years after they last won the World Series in 1908.
The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, but they almost never got the chance to play in that year's championship showdown, needing the help of a blunder known in baseball as "Merkle's Boner."
The visiting Cubs and New York Giants were tied 1-1 in the ninth inning when Giants rookie Fred Merkle singled to put the potential winning run on third base. Al Bridwell singled to drive in what appeared to be the winning run as spectators raced onto the field to celebrate. In the chaos, Merkle - the youngest player in the National League at 19 and making his first start - did not touch second base. The Cubs retrieved the ball and touched second base, with umpires ruling Merkle out and the run did not count. The field could not be cleared and darkness fell on what was declared a 1-1 draw, costing the Giants a victory.
The Cubs and Giants finished deadlocked for the National League crown and replayed the draw to decide who went to the World Series. The Cubs beat the Giants 4-2 and then beat the Detroit Tigers for their most recent World Series crown.
World Series: Game-by-Game (best-of-seven)
|Game 1||Tue, Oct 25||Progressive Field|
|Game 2||Wed, Oct 26||Progressive Field|
|Game 3||Fri, Oct 28||Wrigley Field|
|Game 4||Sat, Oct 29||Wrigley Field|
|Game 5*||Sun, Oct 30||Wrigley Field|
|Game 6*||Tue, Nov 1||Progressive Field|
|Game 7*||Wed, Nov 2||Progressive Field|
Cubs lose on 10-run rally
In 1929, the Cubs played the first World Series games at their current home, Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park. It became Wrigley Field in 1927.
The Cubs played the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series in 1929 and trailed 2-1 in the best-of-seven matchup entering game four on the road. Chicago took an 8-0 lead in the seventh inning and were only nine outs from pulling level in the series, but the Athletics scored 10 runs in the seventh inning, won 10-8 and captured the title by winning game five two days later.
The rally from an eight-run deficit remains the greatest comeback in Major League Baseball playoff history.
NBA-MLB title double?
Cleveland sports teams had gone 52 years without a title in major team sports, failing each year after the Cleveland Browns won the NFL title in 1964, until LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA crown last June. Now the Indians can win their first MLB title since 1948 by extending the misery of the Cubs.
It would be only the third NBA-MLB title double by the same city in the same year, following baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers winning in 1988 and the Lakers and the Anaheim Angels winning in 2002.
It also would be the second title double in Cleveland since 1948, when the Indians and Browns, who were champions of the All-America Football Conference before joining the NFL in 1950, won titles.