Obscured by the passage of time, the history of the Chicago Cubs franchise is still discernible after well over 100 years. The Cubs were founded as the White Stockings in 1870 and played their first game against a team from St. Louis on April 29th of that year. Throughout the next two decades Chicago would remain a very successful team. The Chicago teams of these years were led by future Hall of Famers Cap Anson and John Clarkson.
The 1890s were a less successful time for Chicago. The team also went through several nicknames during this period, increasingly being called the Colts. By the end of the decade they were known as the Orphans after Anson's departure. It wouldn't be until 1906 that the team would become known as the Cubs. By that time, the White Stockings nickname had been adopted by a Chicago-based American League team, now known as the White Sox.
During the first decade of the 1900s, the Cubs began to reclaim the dominant form of their 1880s teams. Contributing to the team's success was one of the great defensive trios in baseball history: shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance. The trio became known simply as Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance and helped the Cubs win four National League pennants and two World Series. Such was their renown that they even inspired a poem by Franklin P. Adams in his Sad Baseball Lexicon
"These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double--
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance." "
The Cubs' first World Series appearance was in 1906, following a 116 win regular season. The season, however, ended in disappointment as the Cubs lost to the crosstown White Sox in six games. This would turn out to be the first of three straight World Series appearances for the Cubs.
The following year the Cubs faced off against the Detroit Tigers and fared much better. Despite having the legendary Ty Cobb, the Tigers were swept in four games.
Both clubs had a rematch the following season, with the Cubs once again prevailing. Although the Tigers played better, the Cubs still won in five games behind strong pitching from Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown.
The Cubs returned to the World Series in 1910. Unfortunately for them, this trip corresponded with the beginning of the first Philadelphia Athletics dynasty. The Athletics pounced on the Cubs, with pitcher Jack Coombs winning three of the five games.
The Cubs made another trip to the World Series in 1918, where they met the Boston Red Sox and were dispatched in six games. The Red Sox had superior pitching including Babe Ruth and Carl Mays, each of whom won two games during the series.
The Cubs returned to the World Series in 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945. Unfortunately, they met some of the finest teams in baseball history, including the Ruth and Gehrig-led New York Yankees of the late 1920s and the Jimmie Foxx-led Athletics of the early 1930s. Despite not winning the World Series in any of these trips, the Cubs had an enviable array of talent, including future Hall of Famers Hack Wilson, Rogers Hornsby and Gabby Hartnett.
The 1945 Series, which the Cubs lost in six game to the Detroit Tigers was to date their last appearance in the Fall Classic. Although the Cubs enjoyed a few bright spots over the next few decades, the success the franchise had at one time enjoyed would largely be just a memory.
The Cubs would enjoy a brief resurgence during the late 1960s, keyed by Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins, all future Hall of Famers.
The Cubs experienced more frustration during the 1970s, but by the early 1980s had begun to lay the groundwork for a resurgence with the acquisition of Ryne Sanberg and Larry Bowa. By the end of the decade other key players included Andre Dawson, Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe. During these season the Cubs were post season participants twice.
Since then the Cubs have manged to make it to the playoffs three times. In total, the Cubs have made it to the playoffs just five times since their 1945 World Series appearance.
World Series Appearances
Hall of Famers
- 1906: Lost 4-2 to the Chicago White Sox
- 1907: Won 4-0 over the Detroit Tigers
- 1908: Won 4-1 over the Detroit Tigers
- 1910: Lost 4-1 tot he Philadelphia Athletics
- 1918: Lost 4-2 to the Boston Red Sox
- 1929: Lost 4-1 to the Philadelphia Athletics
- 1932: Lost 4-0 to the New York Yankees
- 1935: Lost 4-2 to the Detroit Tigers
- 1938: Lost 4-0 to the New York Yankees
- 1945: Lost 4-3 to the Detroit Tigers
- Grover Cleveland Alexander, pitcher (1918-1926)
- Cap Anson, 1st base (1876-1897)
- Richie Ashburn, outfielder (1960-1961)
- Ernie Banks, shortstop/1st base (1953-1971)
- Roger Bresnahan, catcher (1900, 1913-1915)
- Lou Brock, outfielder (1961-1964)
- Mordecai Brown, pitcher (1904-1912, 1916)
- Frank Chance, 1st base (1898-1912)
- John Clarkson, pitcher (1884-1887)
- Kiki Cuyler, outfielder (1928-1935)
- Dizzy Dean, pitcher (1938-1941)
- Hugh Duffy, (1888-1889)
- Dennis Eckersley, pitcher (1984-1986)
- Johnny Evers, 2nd base (1902-1913)
- Jimmie Foxx, 1st base (1942, 1944)
- Clark Griffith, pitcher (1893-1900)
- Burleigh Grimes, pitcher (1932-1933)
- Gabby Hartnett, catcher (1922-1940)
- Billy Herman, 2nd base (1931-1941)
- Rogers Hornsby, 2nd base/manager (Player: 1929-1932; Manager: 1930-1932)
- Monte Irvin, outfielder (1956)
- Fergie Jenkins, pitcher (1966-1973, 1982-1983)
- George Kelly, 1st base (1930)
- Mike "King" Kelly, outfielder/catcher (1880-1886)
- Ralph Kiner, outfield (1953-1954)
- Chuck Klein, outfielder (1934-1936)
- Tony Lazzeri, 2nd base (1938)
- Fred Lindstrom, 3rd base/outfielder (1935)
- Rabbit Maranville, shortstop/2nd base (1925)
- Robin Roberts, pitcher (1966)
- Ryne Sandberg, 2nd base (1982-1997)
- Al Spalding, pitcher/manager (1876-1878)
- Joe Tinker, shortstop (1902-1912, 1916)
- Rube Waddell, pitcher (1901)
- Hoyt Wilhelm, pitcher (1970)
- Billy Williams, outfielder (1959-1974)
- Hack Wilson, outfielder (1926-1931)
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