The Chicago Cubs are one of the most iconic franchises in American sports.
They are also the oldest professional baseball team in the United States. They were founded as the Chicago White Stockings in 1870 and joined the National League in 1876 as a charter member. They became the Chicago Cubs in 1903.
The Cubs have appeared in 11 World Series, with championships in 1907, 1908 and 2016. They play their home games at Wrigley Field.
Here are some noteworthy incidents and players from the clubs’ 150-year history.
Steve Bartman incident
Leading the 2003 National League Championship Series three games to two and on top of the Florida Marlins 3-0 in the eighth inning of Game 6, the Cubs were in a strong position to clinch their first World Series berth since 1945. Everything began to fall apart when a Marlins batter hit a fly ball into left field foul territory. Cubs outfielder Moises Alou ran to the fence and jumped to catch it, but spectator Steve Bartman reached for the ball and deflected it. Alou did not catch the ball, and the Cubs allowed eight runs that inning. They were eliminated in Game 7 the following day.
Cubs fans made Bartman the scapegoat, and after his personal information was published online, police had to protect him at his home. Later, Bartman apologized for his actions.
Mentions of Bartman re-emerged in 2016 as the Cubs dominated the regular season with a 103-58 record and advanced to their first World Series since 1945. Bartman chose to stay out of the spotlight in favor of not being a distraction for what was the club’s greatest season in the modern era.
The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win the World Series - their first since 1908. The 108-year drought was the longest for a team in American sports history. Ben Zobrist, who was named Series MVP had one of two run-scoring hits for the Cubs in the top of the 10th inning, and they held on for an 8-7 victory.
The Cubs started hot in 2020 by winning 13 of their first 16 games. With 10 games left in the regular season, they were cruising to the NL Central Division title.
Centerfielder Ian Happ has led the Cubs’ hitters in 2020. Right-fielder Jason Heyward, second baseman Jason Kipnis and catcher Wilson Contreras have been big contributors, too. The Cubs have had a strong season despite Javier Baez and Kris Bryant struggling at the plate.
Yu Darvish has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the Majors, and Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills have been strong, too. Mills threw a no-hitter in a win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 13.
David Ross is in first season as the Cubs’ head coach, but he is not a stranger to the franchise. He was the catcher on the 2016 World Series-winning team. He was also a player on the 2013 Red Sox team that won the World Series. This is his first MLB managerial job.
President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has been in his role since 2011. He was the general manager for the Boston Red Sox when they won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. He delivered a title for the Cubs in 2016.
The owner is Tom Ricketts, who bought the team with his family in 2009 for $900 million.
It’s hard to think of a more iconic Cubs player than the one nicknamed “Mr. Cub.” Ernie Banks played shortstop and first place for the club from 1953 to 1971 and was a 14-time All-Star. He was a two-time NL MVP and two-time NL home run leader. He is the Cubs’ all-time leader in games played, at-bats and total bases. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 and had his No. 14 retired by the Cubs in 1982.
Ryne Sandberg was as dependable as a second baseman could be. He played for the Cubs from 1982-1997 and won nine Gold Gloves. A 10-time All-Star he was a .285 lifetime hitter and socked 282 home runs. He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and had his No. 23 retired by the Cubs the same year.
Ron Santo was a fixture for the Cubs on and off the field. He played in more than 2,100 games at third base from 1960-73 and was named to nine All-Star teams. From 1990-2010, he was the color commentator for Cubs games on WGN radio.
Sammy Sosa played for the Cubs from 1992-2004 and is the franchise’s all-time home run hitter with 545. He hit 243 of those home runs in a four-year span (1998-2001). Sosa, who was named NL MVP in 1998, made more headlines after the fact when the New York Times reported he was on a list of players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Sosa testified to Congress that he never took PEDs.