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Could this really, finally, be the Cubs year?

By: Nick Johns

They probably would have smiled more had they known the title drought that was coming after their victory.

They probably would have smiled more had they known the title drought that was coming after their victory.

Hello, and welcome back to Down Goes Frazier. Sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been trying to figure out how Roger Goodell decides how long a suspension will be. After extensive research, a complicated diagram involving newspaper clippings and yarn, and over a year without exposure to sunlight…I got nothin’. It’s completely arbitrary and there is no understanding it.

Anywhoozle, moving on. The Chicago Cubs are back in the NLCS for a second-straight year and after a season in which they won a league-best 103 games, they can really start turning their hope into belief tht this is finally their year. I don’t know if you know this, but the Cubs haven’t won a championship in a really long time. Like, a REALLY long time. Their last title was in 1908. To put that into perspective, the gap between when the Cubs last won the World Series and today (108 years) is larger than the gap between the Cubs’ last title win and when Thomas Jefferson took office (107 years). My love of schadenfreude has inspired me to illustrate just how long ago that was.

The last time the Cubs won the World Series…

  • There were only 46 states. Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii had yet to join the Union
  • Teddy Roosevelt was president. Roosevelt left office in 1909
  • Thailand was still called Siam. It wasn’t renamed Thailand until 1939.
  • Russia still had a Czar. Russia’s last Czar, Czar Nicholas II, was forced to abdicate his throne in 1917 after the October Revolution.
  • The Ottoman Empire still existed. It wasn’t until 1922 that the Ottoman Empire dissolved in the aftermath of World War I and subsequent social revolution.

Since the Cubs last won the World Series…

  • Explorers first visit the North Pole (1909). Though other explorers claim to have reached it first, Robert Perry was credited as the first person to reach the North Pole.
  • Construction began on the Titanic (1909) only for it to sink on its maiden voyage (1912).
  • Joe DiMaggio was born (1911).
  • Stainless steel was created (1913). Not to get all metal on you, but stainless steel is an alloy of chrome and steel (which itself is an alloy of carbon and iron) that, unlike regular steel, resists rust.
  • Ford Motor Company creates the assembly line (1913). Prior to the development of the assembly line, manufacturing was a long and laborious process, but the assembly line vastly increased efficiency and made mass production possible.
  • The Panama Canal opened (1914). This feat of engineering allowed ships to pass between Central and South America rather than sailing all the way around the South American continent.
  • Babe Ruth made his professional debut (1914). I don’t mean Yankees debut. I don’t mean Red Sox debut. Babe Ruth had not even taken the field in the minors the last time the Cubs won the World Series
  • Income taxes were instituted in the U.S. (1914). That’s right, the Cubs’ last World Series trophy is older than taxes…
  • World War I occurred (1914-1918). The most interesting part of this is that World War I was so long ago that no veterans of that war are still living.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard was established (1915). Prior to this, the duties of the U.S. Coastguard were split between the United States Revenue Cutter Service, which enforced maritime law, and the United States Life-Saving Service, which was responsible for, you know, saving lives.
  • The first communist government came to power (1917). Following the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin rose to power and instituted a communist government.
  • The baseball world was rocked by the “Black Sox” scandal in which several players from the 1919 Chicago White Sox team were accused of intentionally losing the World Series. Say it ain’t so Joe. Say it ain’t so.
  • The first commissioner of baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was appointed (1920). The most amazing part of this is that Kenesaw Mountain Landis is his real name.
  • Women got the right to vote in the U.S. It wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 that women were allowed to vote in the U.S.
  • King Tut’s tomb was uncovered (1922). Unlike monumental tombs like the Great Pyramids of Giza, which were pillaged by grave robbers long before the modern era, the tomb of Tutankhamen was relatively untouched until it was uncovered by Howard Carter, giving Egyptologists their best glimpse of Egyptian funerary practices and giving the world the iconic golden mask that has become one of the best know symbols of ancient Egypt.
  • Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the Atlantic (1927). The Wright Brother’s first flight predates the last Cubs World Series title by five years, but almost every other first in aviation occurred later, with Lindbergh’s flight being among the most famous.

There’s a lot of history between the Cubs’ last title and today, but this list should give some context as to just how long ago that victory occurred. I’m not trying to make fun of the Cubs. I’m really pulling for them. I hope the long-suffering but ever-loyal Cubs fans of today can finally see their team hoist the Commissioners Trophy. And hopefully no team in any sport has a title drought that long ever again.

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