1876: The Chicago White Stockings become one of eight charter members of the National League led by their president William A. Hulbert, who was also the owner of the Chicago team. A.G. Spalding is the manager when the team plays its first game in the history of the Chicago National League Ball Club that takes place on April 25th. Spalding doubles as the pitcher and records the first NL shutout, a 4-0 win over Louisville. Center fielder Paul Hines scores the first run in team history on a throwing error in the second inning. The White Stockings go on to win the inaugural National League Championship with a 52-14 record.
1877: The loss of several key players from the Championship team, contributes to the White Stockings dropping to fifth place with a 26-33 record.
1878: The White Stockings finished in fourth place with a record of 30-30 record.
1879: The White Stockings get off to a terrible 5-12 start when their star player Cap Anson assumes the managerial duties away from Silver Flint. Under Anson, the White Stockings would play much better winning 41 of 62 games on the way to a 4th place finish with a 46-33 record.
1880: The White Stockings dominate the NL winning 67 of 84 games and to capture the National League’s Championship by 15 games.
1881: The White Stockings cruise to their second straight NL Championship with a 56-28 record winning comfortably by nine games.
1882: The White Stockings become the first team to win three straight National League Championships with a record of 55-29, holding off the Providence Grays by four games.
1883: The White Stockings, who finished with a 59-35 record, see their championship reign ends, as the Boston Red Stockings beat them out by four games.
1884: Ned Williamson becomes the first player to hit three home runs in a single game, against the Detroit Wolverines. However, the White Stockings finish a distant fourth with a 62-50 record.
1885: The White Stockings win their fifth National League Pennant in the ten-year history of the National League holding off the New York Giants by two games, with an 87-25 record. The White Stocking would go on to play in an early version of the World Series against the rival American Association’s St. Louis Brown Stockings, the two teams would split six games and tie another.
1886: The White Stockings win the National League Championship again with a 90-34 record and would go on to play in the third version of the 19th century World Series losing four of six games to the American Association’s St. Louis Brown Stockings.
1887: The White Stockings drive for a third straight NL Championship ends in disappointment, as the club finishes third with a 71-50 record, six and a half games out of first.
1888: The White Stockings continue to be among the best teams in the National League as they finish in second place with a solid 77-58 record.
1889: The White Stockings slip a little in the standings finishing in third place with a mediocre 67-65 record.
1890: The White Stockings rebound off a mediocre season and challenge all season for first place, falling just six games short with a record of 84-53.
1891: The White Stockings battle down to the final week of the season before ending up three and a half games short of first place with a record of 82-53.
1892: The NL experiments with a split season as the White Stockings are non-factor in either race finishing with a disappointing combined record of 70-76.
1893: The White Stockings struggles continue as they finish in ninth place with a poor record of 56-71.
1894: The team changes its nickname to Colts, as their struggles continue during an awful 57-75 season.
1895: After fourth straight losing seasons, the Colts end their struggles by finishing in fourth place with a 72-58 record.
1896: The Colts are a non-factor in the race for first place as they put up a solid 71-57 record while finishing in fifth place.
1897: During a June 29th game against Louisville, the Colts exploded for 36 runs set a new Major League Record. However, the 36-run explosion ends up being the sole highlight of a 59-73 season that also sees Cap Anson is regarded as the greatest player of the 19th century retires at the age of 45. Anson, whose playing career began in the old National Association in 1871, also filled the role of manager for a large chunk of his playing career.
1898: Without Anson to guide them, the team is dubbed the Orphans by the Chicago Papers. The Orphans end up doing all right fending for themselves, finishing with an 85-65 record.
1899: The Orphans finish in eighth place, despite posting a winning record of 75-73.
1900: The Orphans start the 20th century on the wrong foot finishing in fifth place with a record of 65-75.
1901: The Orphans struggle again, falling to sixth place with a miserable record of 53-86.
1902: The Chicago Daily News becomes the first-known entity to pen “Cubs” nickname as the team’s moniker. The nickname refers to the number of young players the team has. On September 15th, three of those young players Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, record its first double play in 6-3 win vs. Reds. The young Cubs would go on to finish in fifth place with a 68-69 record.
1903: The young Cubs begin to show some promise as they are in the race all season before finishing eight games out of first while placing third with a record of 82-56.
1904: The Cubs continue to improve as they finish in second place with a solid record of 93-60.
1905: The Cubs continue to be on the fringe of greatness as they finish in third place with a solid record of 92-61.
1906: The Cubs win a Major League record 116 games, enroot to taking the National League Championship by a comfortable 20 games. The Cubs would advance to the World Series, where they would take on the cross-town White Sox. Alternating games between the Westside home of the Cubs, and the Southside home of the Sox, the Cubs are upset by a weak-hitting White Sox team dubbed “The hitless wonders”, by the Chicago papers. Neither team won a home game until the White Sox closed the series in the sixth game with an 8-3 win.
1907: The Cubs win 110 games on the way to cruising to their second straight World Series appearance. This time the Cubs World Series opponent was the Detroit Tigers, who were led by a young Ty Cobb. Trailing 3-2 in Game 1, the Cubs would rally to send the game to extra innings where darkness eventually prevailed, as the clubs walked away with a 3-3 tie. From there, it would be a cakewalk for the Cubs, as the team from Chicago went on to sweep the next four games, holding the Tigers to a combined three runs.
1908: In one of baseball’s classic pennant races, the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs battle down to the finals days of the season with National League Championship up for grabs. The Giants appear to win the pennant when Fred Merkle gets a dramatic game-winning hit against the Cubs. However, due to fans flooding the field, Merkle is unable to circle the bases. A fiasco ensues where the Cubs try to tag second base with every baseball they could find. Not knowing what to do, the National League decides to replay the game with the Cubs winning the game, which would end up deciding the pennant. With a 99-65 record, the Cubs finished one game ahead of the Giants and Pirates. The Cubs would face the Detroit Tigers for the second straight year in the World Series. Trailing 6-5 in the opener, the Cubs would rally on six consecutive hits to claim a 10-6 victory. Game 2 would be a pitcher’s duel until the 8th inning before the Cubs exploded for six runs to take a 2-0 series lead. After the Tigers won Game 3, the Cubs would win the final two games shutting out the Tigers twice to become the first team ever to win two consecutive World Series. Little did anyone know that this would be the last World Series the Cubs would win for 108 years.
1909: Despite finishing with a 104-49 record, the Cubs Championship reign ends as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat out the Cubs by six and a half games.
1910: The Cubs win their fourth National League pennant in five seasons, winning 104 games and capturing the flag by 13 games. However, the Cubs would fall quickly in the World Series, losing four straight to the Philadelphia Athletics.
1911: Heinie Zimmerman tallies a Cubs record nine RBI in 20-2 win against the Boston Braves. The Cubs would go on to finish in second place with a 92-62 record.
1912: The Cubs slip to third place but surpass 90 wins again, posting a record of 91-59.
1913: Johnny Evers takes over as manager from Franck Chance as the Cubs finish in third place again, despite a solid 88-65 record.
1914: The Cubs continue to slide in the standings as they finish in fourth place with a mediocre 78-76 record.
1915: Zip Zabel pitches a record 18.1 relief innings in a 19-inning 4-3 win over the Brooklyn Robins. However, the Cubs would go on to finish in fifth place with a disappointing 73-80 record.
1916: Charles Weeghman and nine investors purchase the Cubs from Charles Taft. Three months later, on April 20th, the Cubs beat the Reds, 7-6, in the first National League game at Weeghman Park, which would then be renamed Cubs Park in 1920 and eventually Wrigley Field in 1926. The Cubs first season at Clark and Addison streets would not be a good one as the team finished in fifth with a 67-86 record.
1917: The Cubs Hippo Vaughn combines with the Reds Fred Toney for baseball’s only 9-inning double no-hit game. Eventually, the game is won by the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the tenth inning. The Cubs would go on to post their third straight losing season as they finish in fifth place with a record of 74-80.
1918: With an 84-45 record, the Cubs win the NL pennant by ten and a half games. In the aftermath of the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917, a government edict called for the end of major league baseball’s 1918 regular season by Labor Day with the playing of the World Series immediately after that. Accordingly, the 1918 Series was a late-summer classic that ran from September 5th through September 11th. After being shut down by Babe Ruth and the Boston Red Sox, the Cubs bounced back to win Game 2 behind the pitching of Lefty Tyler. After the Sox claimed Game 3, the Cubs fell behind 3-1 in the series as Babe Ruth was a one-man wrecking crew in a 3-2 victory in Game 4, as Ruth batted sixth and delivered the big hit, a two-run triple in the fourth inning. The Cubs would win Game 5, but the Sox would go on to claim the series in six games.
1919: The Cubs finish in third place as they post a respectable record of 75-65.
1920: After two straight solid seasons, the Cubs struggle all season on the way to finishing in fifth place with a record of 75-79.
1921: The Cubs struggle all season and finish in seventh place with a horrid record of 64-89.
1922: The Cubs post a winning record of 80-74 but finish in the middle of the pack in the National League again.
1923: The Cubs improve slightly as they finish in fourth place with a record of 83-71.
1924: The Cubs continue to remain on the fringe of the pennant race as they finish in fourth place again with a record of 81-72.
1925: On April 14th with Quin Ryan at the microphone WGN Radio broadcasts its first regular-season Cubs game, as Chicago defeats the Pittsburgh Pirates by 8-2. However, the season would not be as successful as the Cubs fell into last place with a 68-86 record.
1926: The Cubs rebound off their last pace season by climbing back to fourth place with a record of 82-72.
1927: A second deck is added to Wrigley Field increasing capacity to 40,000, as the Cubs draw over a million fans for the first time. The Cubs would go on to finish in fourth place with a solid 85-68 record.
1928: The Cubs are part of an exciting three-team race for the National League Pennant. The Cubs would end up finishing four games out of first place in third with a 91-63 record.
1929: After falling four games short in 1928, the Chicago Cubs would not be denied in 1929. With a 98-54 record, the Cubs win the National League pennant by more than ten games, as nearly 1.5 million people pack Wrigley Field. The fans would marvel at the hitting exploits of future Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby (the year’s NL MVP), Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett, and Kiki Cuyler. In the first World Series played at Wrigley Field, the Cubs faced the Philadelphia Athletics. After losing the first two games at home, the Cubs rebounded to take Game 3 in Philadelphia and looked well on their way to evening the series at 2 with an 8-0 lead in Game 4. The A’s would rally and stun the Cubs by scoring ten runs in the seventh yearning to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Cubs would not recover losing Game 5 to close out the series.
1930: Outfielder Hack Wilson puts together one of the greatest hitting seasons in baseball history, pounding 56 homers and driving in a single season record 191 RBI. However, the Cubs would fall two games short of their quest for a return trip to the World Series with a 90-64 record.
1931: The Cubs continue to be one of the top teams in the National League as they finish in third place with a solid record of 84-70.
1932: In the same year the Cubs become the last Major League team to add numbers to their uniforms, manager Charlie Grimm leads the Cubs to the National League pennant with a 90-64 record. The Cubs face the vaunted New York Yankees in the World Series and would end up being swept in four straight games. However, one moment stands as one of the biggest debates in World Series history. Did Babe Ruth call his shot? In the 5th inning of Game 3 at Wrigley Field, the Babe seemed to gesture to CF before smashing a majestic homer over the CF wall. While the debate on whether he called his shot will range on forever, it just served to build on the Babe’s legend.
1933: The Cubs attempt for a return trip to the Fall Classic ends in vein with an 86-68 record only good for third place in the NL.
1934: The Cubs fall eight games short of the World Series as they finish in third place with a solid record of 86-65.
1935: The Cubs use an incredible 21-game winning streak to overtake the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Pennant with a 100-54 record. In the World Series, the Cubs would face the Detroit Tigers. After winning Game 1, the Cubs would see the Tigers take the next three even after losing star 1B Hank Greenberg with a broken wrist after the Cubs won Game 5 to send the series back to Detroit. With the game tied 3-3 in the ninth inning of Game 6, Hack Wilson led off with a triple, but Tigers pitching would freeze him there, and would go on to win the game and the series in the bottom of the ninth.
1936: The Cubs fall just five games short in their quest to get back in the World Series as they post a record of 87-67 while finishing in second place.
1937: Bill Veeck is hired and plants the now-famous ivy on the outfield wall. That same year, the bleachers are constructed, and a new scoreboard is installed, both of which remained untouched for years. The Cubs would go on to finish three games out of first with a 93-61 record.
1938: One of the most dramatic moments in team history occurs when catcher-manager Gabby Hartnett hits the legendary “Homer in the Gloaming” at Wrigley Field. Hartnett’s round-tripper off Pittsburgh Pirate Mace Brown in a near dark Wrigley Field gives the Cubs their third NL pennant of the decade with an 89-63 record. However, the Cubs would be overmatched in the World Series as the New York Yankees swept them for the second time in six years.
1939: The Cubs close out a successful decade by finishing in fourth place with a solid record of 84-70.
1940: The Cubs see a string of 14 straight winning seasons come to an end as they finish in fifth place with a record of 75-79.
1941: The Cubs finish in sixth place with a record of 70-84. Following the season, the Cubs begin plans to add light to Wrigley Field. However, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, P.K. Wrigley donates the lighting equipment that he had recently purchased to the War Department. As a result, Wrigley Field would not see lights added for another 47 years.
1942: The Cubs’ struggles continue as they post their third straight losing season, finishing in sixth place with a record of 68-86.
1943: With many baseball’s top stars fighting in World War II, the Cubs continue to struggle as they finish in fifth place with a record of 74-79.
1944: The Cubs get off to a miserable start losing nine of their first ten games when Manager Jimmie Wilson is fired. Under new manager Charlie Grimm, the Cubs would finish the season strong posting a 75-78 record on the season.
1945: The Cubs make their final World Series appearance of the 20th century by posting a 98-56 record. In the World Series, the Cubs would face the Detroit Tigers for the fourth time. The Cubs get off to a promising start when Hank Borowy pitches the Cubs to a 9-0 shutout win in Game 1. The Tigers would bounce back to take Game 2, as the series shifted to Wrigley. The Cubs would use another standout pitching performance as Claude Passeau tossed a one-hitter in Game 3 to retake the series lead. During their Game 3 win, local tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave because his pet goat’s odor was bothering other fans. Sianis declares the Cubs would not win again. The Tigers would win the next two games, as the Cubs faced a 3-2 series deficit heading back to Detroit. In Game 6, OF Stan Hack reaches safely in six of seven plate appearances while driving in the winning run in 12th inning as Cubs beat Tigers 8-7 to force Game 7. However, the Cubs would fall losing 9-3 in what would be their final World Series game of the century.
1946: The Cubs follow up their trip to the World Series by finishing in third place with a solid record of 82-71.
1947: On May 18th the largest crown in Wrigley Field history comes to see Jackie Robinson’s first game in Chicago. The Cubs would lose to Robinson’s Brooklyn Dodgers 4-2. The Cubs would go on to finish sixth place that season with a 69-85 record.
1948: A preseason exhibition game against the cross-town White Sox on April 16th is the setting for the Cubs debut on WGN-TV, as Jack Brickhouse broadcasts a 4-1 White Sox win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs would go on to finish in last place with a 64-90 record.
1949: The Cubs finish in last place for the second straight season as they post a record of 61-93.
1950: The Cubs’ struggles continue as they finish in seventh place with a record of 64-89.
1951: The Cubs finish in last place for the third time in four years as they post a miserable 62-92 record.
1952: Hank Sauer wins the NL Most Valuable Player award after he hit a major league-leading 37 home runs with 121 RBI. With Sauer’s help, the Cubs climb out of the cellar and finish fifth with a 77-77 record.
1953: In a season that sees the debut of Ernie Banks, the Cubs fall to seventh place with a 65-89 record.
1954: The Cubs continue to wallow in the second division as they finish in seventh place with a record of 64-90.
1955: On May 12th Sam Jones closes out a no-hitter in dramatic fashion by walking the first three batters of the ninth inning to load the bases before striking out the side. However, success does not come often for the Cubs who finish in sixth place with a 63-81 record.
1956: The Cubs end up back in the basement as they post a terrible record of 60-94.
1957: Rookie Dick Drott strikes out 15 Milwaukee Braves, including famed slugger Hank Aaron three times in a 7-5 win. However, the Cubs would finish with an awful 62-92 record that would have them tied to the NL’s worst record.
1958: Ernie Banks wins the NL MVP hitting 47 homers while driving in 129 runs. However, the Cubs still struggle and finish in fifth place tie with a 72-82 record.
1959: Ernie Banks becomes the first National Leaguer to win the MVP trophy in back-to-back seasons as he hits 45 home runs and a major-league-leading 143 RBI. Once again, the Cubs finish in a fifth-place tie with a 74-80 record.
1960: The Cubs’ struggles continue into a new decade as they finish in seventh place with a miserable record of 60-94.
1961: Owner P.K. Wrigley experimented with manager position, implementing a “College of Coaches.” The system was meant to be a blending of ideas from several individuals instead of the traditional one skipper ended without success after just two seasons. The Cubs would finish in seventh place with a record of 64-90.
1962: The “College of Coaches” experiment is abandoned after two failed seasons as the Cubs end up with a horrific 9th Place 59-103 season, finishing worse than the expansion Houston Colt .45s. However, not all news is grim for the Cubs as 2B Ken Hubbs takes home Rookie of the Year honors.
1963: With Bob Kennedy, hired as the sole manager of the Cubs, the team shows marked improvement finishing with an 82-80 record, a mere 23-game improvement over the previous season.
1964: Tragedy strikes the Cubs when promising young 2B Ken Hubbs is killed when the plane is piloting crashes into a mountain in Utah before the start of the season in which the Cubs took a step backward finish with a 76-86 record.
1965: The Cubs slide into eighth place with a record of 72-90 record.
1966: Following an eighth-place Leo Durocher is hired as manager, and states, “The Cubs are not an eighth-place team.” Durocher is right as the Cubs fall into the NL Cellar with an awful 59-103 record.
1967: After an awful first season, Leo Durocher finally gets the Cubs to play his type of baseball, as the Cubs experience an impressive 28-game improvement on the way to a third Place 87-74 season.
1968: The Cubs continue to show some promise as they finish in third place with a respectable record of 84-78.
1969: Weather or not you are suppositious and believe in curses like a black cat, you must admit what happened to the Cubs is an extraordinary coincidence. After leading the NL East all summer, the Cubs entered a key a two-game series at Shea Stadium, leading the Mets by two and a half on September 9th. During that first game, a black cat came out of nowhere and circled the Ron Santo in the on-deck circle before pacing back and forth on the top step of the Cubs dugout. The Cat would eventually take off down the tunnel leading to Cubs clubhouse. The Cubs would not recover, eventually finishing eight games out first place with a 92-70 record.
1970: Mr. Cub Ernie Banks belts his 500th career HR, as the Cubs fall five games short of first place with an 84-78 record.
1971: Ernie Banks retires following his 19th season in a Cubs uniform, through his career, Mr. Cub blasted 512 career HR, but never was fortunate to play in the postseason. In his final season, the Cubs finish in a third-place tie with an 83-79 record.
1972: Two No-Hitters one by Burt Hooton on April 16th and one by Milt Pappas September 2nd highlight a second-place 85-77 season. During the season, Leo Durocher is fired after trouble with players and management boiled over and began affecting the team’s play.
1973: In a wacky season in which the entire National League East struggles to play .500 baseball, the Cubs finish just five games out of first despite a record of 77-84.
1974: After the departure of Ferguson Jenkins, the Cubs sink back into the cellar while posting a terrible 66-96 record.
1975: The sole highlight of an otherwise forgettable 75-87 season comes on August 21st when Rick and Paul Reuschel become first brothers to combine on a shutout in Cubs’ 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
1976: In the year of the Bi-Centennial, nobody is more patriotic then Rick Monday, who rescues an American flag from two protesters attempting to burn the nation’s symbol in centerfield at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs would repeat their 75-87 finish of the previous year, despite the efforts of Bill Madlock, who wins the batting title by going 4-for-4 on the final day of the season.
1977: The Cubs get off to a fast start, and spend most of the first half of the season in first place. However, in the second half, the Cubs falter, ending the season with a mediocre 81-81 record.
1978: The Cubs would again hover on the fringe of the pennant race as they finish just 11 games out of first place despite only posting a record of 79-83.
1979: Bruce Sutter establishes himself as baseball’s most dominant closer by taking home the NL Cy Young award. However, Sutter does not take the Cubs far as they finish in fifth place with an 80-82 record.
1980: Following a miserable last place 64-98 season ace close Bruce Sutter is traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Leon Durham.
1981: Amid a terrible season interrupted by a two-month strike, in which the Cubs finish with the worst record in the National League at 38-65 for the total season, the Cubs are sold by William Wrigley to the Tribune Company for $20.5 million.
1982: Ferguson Jenkins returns to the Cubs and becomes the seventh pitcher to eclipses the 3,000 strikeouts. However, the Cubs only managed to finish in fifth place with a 73-89 record.
1983: The frustration for the Cubs boils over when Manager Lee Elia unleashes a profanity-laced tirade aimed at the fans known as “Bleacher Bums” who fill the seats in the outfield during the day at Wrigley Field following an April 29th loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Elia would be replaced by Charlie Fox the rest of the season as the Cubs finish in fifth place with a record of 71-91.
1984: On June 23rd Ryne Sandberg goes five-for-six and hits two late-inning game-tying home runs off St. Louis Cardinals reliever Bruce Sutter in a thrilling Cubs 11-inning 12-11 win. Sandberg would go on to win the National League MVP. Meanwhile, Rick Suttcliffe, who was acquired in a mid-June deal with the Cleveland Indians, posts a 16-1 record on the way to claiming the Cy Young Award. Together Suttcliffe, ad Sandberg lead the Cubs to their first NL Eastern Division championship with a 96-65 record. In the Cubs’ first postseason appearance since 1945, the Cubs face the San Diego Padres in the NLCS. The Cubs would get off to a fast start demolishing the Padres in Game 1 at Wrigley Field 13-0. The Cubs would follow up with 4-2 win in Game 2, which would send them to San Diego only to win just one game to advance to the World Series. In San Diego, the Cubs would hold leads in all three games, but the bullpen could not hold it as the Padres won three straight to advance to the World Series. Some heartbreaking moments came in Game 4 when Steve Garvey hit a walk-off home run, while Leon Durham’s error in Game 5 opened the flood gates, as the Padres won the finale 6-3.
1985: The Cubs are not able to repeat their magic as they fall to fourth place with a 77-84 record, as injuries take their toll all season long.
1986: The Cubs continue to slide in the standings as they fall to fifth place with a record of 70-90, as Gene Michael replace Jim Frey as Manager in the middle of the season.
1987: The Cubs make a big splash by signing free agent All-Star OF Andre Dawson away from the Montreal Expos. Dawson would go on to lead the National League in Home Runs with 49, taking home the MVP despite the Cubs finishing in last place with a 76-85 record.
1988: On August 8th, in a contest against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cubs play the first night game in Wrigley Field history, as number one Cubs fan; President Ronald Regan throws the switch from the White House. The night’s debut was eventually rained out after three and a half innings, as the first official night game occurred the next night when the Cubs defeated the New York Mets 6-4. The Cubs would go on to finish the season in fourth place with a record of 77-85.
1989: Led by Manager Don Zimmer, the Cubs enjoyed All-Star seasons from Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Rick Sutcliffe. In addition, the Cubs enjoyed strong relief from closer Mitch Williams, who earned the name “Wild Thing” for his walk filled relief appearances. With these critical contributions, the Cubs win the NL East with a 93-69 record. However, the Cubs would go on to lose in the NLCS again, falling victim to the hitting of Will Clark as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cubs s four games to one.
1990: The Cubs come back to earth finishing in a fourth-place tie with a disappointing 77-85 record, in a year in which Wrigley Field hosts the All-Star Game.
1991: Manager Don Zimmer is replaced by Jim Essian as the Cubs struggle again to finish in fourth place with a 77-83 record.
1992: Near the end of spring training, the Cubs make a deal with White Sox swapping George Bell for Sammy Sosa. In Sosa’s first season with Cubs, the team finishes in fourth place with a 78-84 record.
1993: Despite ending a string of four straight losing season manager Jim Lefebvre is fired after a fourth-place season in which the Cubs finish 84-78.
1994: Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes hits three Homer Runs during an opening day loss to the Mets. The Cubs would be stunned a few weeks later when star 2B Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires to save a failing marriage. Without Sandberg, the Cubs would last place in the newly formed National League Central with a 49-64 record when the season ended on August 12th because of a player’s strike.
1995: The Cubs emerge from the strike under new management as third-generation General Manager Andy MacPhail takes over as president of the Cubs. In the first year of the MacPhail era, the Cubs finish in third place with a record of 73-71.
1996: Ryne Sandberg returns after a nearly two-year hiatus in an attempt to set the career record for Homer Runs among second baseman, as the Cubs finish in fourth place with a 76-86 record.
1997: The Cubs stumble out of the gate losing their first 16 games as closer Mel Rojas, the Cubs significant off-season acquisition becomes one of the biggest free-agent busts of all-time. Rojas would end up being dealt to the New York Mets in August, as the Cubs went on to finish in last place with a 68-94 record. Following the season, Ryne Sandberg would retire again, holding the record for homer among second baseman.
1998: On May 6th, rookie Pitcher Kerry Wood ties a major-league record by fanning 20 batters in a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros. Wood would go on to win the Rookie of the Year, but it was overshadowed by the story of the year. That story would involve Cubs OF Sammy Sosa, and St. Louis Cardinals 1B Mark McGwire battle all season for the single-season Home Run record held by Roger Maris. On September 13th, in a ten inning 11-10 win against the Milwaukee Brewers, Sosa hits home runs Nos. 61 and 62 to tie and then surpass Roger Maris on the single-season home run list. Sosa would eventually end up with 66 HR leaving him just four behind McGwire for the record. Thanks to Sosa, who claims the National League MVP, the Cubs end the season tied with San Francisco Giants for the Wild Card with a record of 89-73. The Cubs would capture that wild card spot with a 5-3 win over the Giants in a one-game playoff at Wrigley Field. However, the Cubs would go on to be swept in three straight games by the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
1999: On his way to winning the first Hank Aaron award for slugging, Sammy Sosa becomes the first player to hit 60 Home Runs in two consecutive seasons. However, as he did in 1998, he would finish second to Mark McGwire for the NL lead. The Cubs would fall back into last place with a 67-95 record, as the Cubs sorely missed Kerry Wood, who missed the entire season with an arm injury.
2000: The Cubs face the New York Mets at the start of the season with a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan. The Cubs would win the first game of the series, as the two teams split the series. Sammy Sosa would go on to lead the National League in Home Runs with 50. However, the Cubs finished in last place again with a 65-97 record.
2001: Sammy Sosa tags 425 total bases for his second 400-plus campaign, setting club marks for extra-base hits (103) and slugging percentage (737), topping the records set by Hack Wilson. In addition, Sosa recorded just the seventh 50-homer/150 RBI season in Major League history, becoming the only player since World War II to accomplish this feat twice, having previously reached it in 1998. The Cubs would get strong pitching in the early part of the season highlighted by back-to-back one-hitters from John Lieber, who goes on to win 20 games, and Kerry Wood on May 24th and 25th. Thanks to the pitching staff and Sosa, the Cubs are in first place until late August. However, the Cubs would end up fading in September, finishing in third place behind the playoff-bound Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals with a solid 88-74 record.
2002: After contending for the National League Central, hopes were high for the Cubs entering the season. However, early on it was clear the Cubs were going to be a disappointment as they found themselves well below .500 all season while struggling to score runs. Making matters worse, the Cubs started to take controversial measures, including putting up dark netting over the fence in the back of the bleachers, to prevent fans from watching the game at the apartment buildings surrounding Wrigley Field. As midseason approached manager Don Baylor was singled out as the scapegoat. However, under his replacement Bruce Kimm the Cubs would not do any better finishing in 5th place with an awful 67-95 record. The only thing Cubs had to look forward to was the debut of rookie pitcher Mark Prior, who goes 6-6 in 19 starts. Following the season, the Cubs would change managers again, hiring Dusty Baker, who had just led the San Francisco Giants to the World Series.
2003: The Cubs began the season on a milestone watch, as Sammy Sosa needed just one long ball to achieve his 500th career Homer. Sosa would accomplish the feat on the 4th day of the season going deep on the road in the Cincinnati Reds new ballpark. Sosa struggled early and in May was placed on the disabled list. Despite the loss of Sosa, the Cubs played solid baseball behind the terrific one-two punch of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, who were quickly establishing themselves as the best pitching combo in the NL. When Sosa returned from the Disabled List, he was still struggling, so he tried to use a corked bat to get himself out of his slump. Instead, in brought embarrassment as his bat broke in a June 3rd interleague game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays spreading cork all over the field, and earning the star an eight-game suspension. After the suspension, Sosa caught fire and overcame his early power struggles to end the season with 40 homers and 103 RBI. The Cubs, however, would spend much of the next two months hovering around .500. Hoping to get back in the race, the Cubs made several deals with the Pittsburgh Pirates acquiring Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, and Randall Simon, which helped kick start the Cubs offense. Despite a mediocre 69-66 record entering September, the Cubs were in thick of a three-team race for the NL Central Division title. The Cubs would establish themselves as a serious contender by taking four out of five from the St. Louis Cardinals to begin the season’s last month. It would kick start a 19-8 month as the Cubs pitching and improved offense was just enough to catapult them into first place where they won the first division title in 14 years with an 88-74 record. Facing the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, the Cubs got off to a good start as Kerry Wood started on the mound and at the plate pitching a solid seven-plus innings while delivering a two-run double as the Cubs won Game 1 in Atlanta 4-2. After the Braves took Game 2, the series shifted to Wrigley Field, where Mark Prior outdueled Greg Maddux to give the Cubs a 3-1 win. With a chance to close the series out in Game 4, Matt Clement struggled as the Braves evened the series with a 6-4 win setting up a decisive fifth game in Atlanta. Game 5 in Atlanta would see the return of Kerry Wood, who dominated the Braves again as the Cubs won their first postseason series in 95 years with a 5-1 win. Facing the Florida Marlins in the NLCS, the Cubs experienced a roller coaster of emotions in Game 1, as they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. The Marlins rallied and took the lead into the ninth, where Sammy Sosa delivered a two-out two-run homer to tie the game at 8-8. However, the Marlins would recover and win in the 11th inning. The loss would not deter the Cubs who came back the next night and won going away 12-3, as they took the next three games for a 3-1 series lead. After losing Game 5 in Florida, the Cubs returned to Wrigley Field, needing just one win to reach their first World Series since 1945. A party atmosphere was hovering over Wrigleyville as the Cubs had Mark Prior on the mound and a 3-0 lead going into the 8th inning. The cheers got louder as Mike Mordecai flew out to start the inning. After a Juan Pierre double the Cubs appeared to have the innings second out as Moises Alou drifted to the stands, but a fan named Steve Bartman knocked the ball away, opening the flood gates. The batter Luis Castillo would walk, which was followed by an Ivan Rodriguez single that put the Marlins on the board. Things would only get worse as SS Alex Gonzalez booted a double-play ball as the Marlins went on to score eight runs to force a 7th game with an 8-3 win. Not even Kerry Wood could save the Cubs in Game 7 as the Cubs ace was shaky as the Marlins took the game by a score of 9-6 to go on to the World Series, leaving Cubs fans with heartbreak like they had never suffered before.
2004: Coming off their heartbreaking loss in the NLCS, the Cubs were the popular pick to win the NL at the start of the season. Their dynamic young pitching duo of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior was joined by future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who was returning to the Cubs after 11 years with Atlanta Braves. The Cubs would get off to a solid start winning 12 of their first 18 games. As the season wore on, the Cubs had issues with injuries as both Wood and Prior missed significant time due to injury making only a total of 43 starts, with neither winning ten games. Picking up the slack for Wood and Prior was Maddux and Carlos Zambrano who each won a team-high 16 games. Included in the year’s accomplishments was Maddux’s 300th career win against the San Francisco Giants on August 7th. While the Cubs were well out of the picture for the Division Title, they remained in the Wild Card race until the end of the season. With a week left in the season, the Cubs bullpen failed them as protecting a 3-0 lead against the New York Mets with two outs in the ninth Inning Closer LaTroy Hawkins allowed a three-run homer to September call up Victor Diaz. The Mets would go on to win in 11 innings as another minor league call up Craig Brazell won the game with a homer. The Cubs would not recover as they lost seven of their final nine games, missing the Wild Card spot by just three games as they finished in third place with an 89-73 record. On the last game of the season, a simmering feud between Sammy Sosa and Manager Dusty Baker exploded as Sosa left early and was criticized heavily by Baker. Immediately trade rumors began to emerge as Sosa, who, despite hitting 35 Home Runs, only managed 80 RBI while hitting .253, with a poor average in clutch situations. Eventually, Sosa would be dealt to the Baltimore Orioles for Jerry Hairston Jr. and at least two minor-leaguers.
2005: From the start of the season, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood dealt with nagging arm injuries that would limit them to just 37 total starts, as the Cubs play mediocre baseball all year, on the way to a disappointing 79-83 record that saw them land in 4th place. Despite not being in the playoff picture all year there still were several bright spots as 1B Derek Lee had a breakout year leading all three triple crown categories for much of the first half. Lee would manage to win the batting crown with a .335 average while his 46 homers ranked second in NL. With few people on base in the second half, he fell out of the top ten and ended with 107 RBI. Also, having a solid offensive season was 3B Aramis Ramirez, who hit .302 with 31 homers and 93 RBI. However, Nomar Garciaparra continued to struggle with injuries as a torn groan limited him to just 62 games, as the Cubs decided to let him walk away as a Free Agent at the end of the season.
2006: The Cubs started the season as injuries continued and Mark Prior, as the two one time aces would hardly pitch, making just 13 appearances combines, with Prior posting a 1-6 record with a robust 7.21 ERA. Despite the problems of Wood and Prior, the Cubs often got to a decent start, winning 12 of their first 19 games. However, when Derek Lee suffered a fractured wrist in a collision with Rafael Furcal of the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 20th the Cubs offense suddenly lost its punch. While Lee would be limited to just 50 games, the Cubs plunged quickly, winning only five of 28 games leading into Memorial Day, as the Cubs embarked on another season to forget. As the season wore on frustrations in Chicago mounted as the Cubs set records for no shows at Wrigley Field. One night Cubs fans rather forget is a Sunday Night National TV game against the New York Mets in July, in which the Cubs allowed two Grand Slams in an 11-run 6th leading to fans showering the field with debris. It was one of several incidents of fans throwing garbage during the season. By the time the season was over, manager Dusty Baker who entered 2003 as a hero, had become public enemy number one as fans booed him every time he changed pitchers. The Cubs would end the season in last place with a terrible record of 66-96, as Baker was fired and replaced by Lou Piniella, who immediately became the source of the new hope for Cubs fans. With the hiring of Piniella, the Cubs would also go on a wild off-season spending spree signing Alfonso Soriano. It was seen by many as the top Free Agent following a 40-40 season with the Washington Nationals. In addition, the Cubs signed Free Agent Pitchers Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis to build a rotation they could count on beyond Carlos Zambrano.
2007: No matter how bleak the situation has been in the past, the Cubs always begin the season full of optimism. A good reason for that optimism despite coming off a last-place season was new Manager Lou Piniella and their big free-agent signings. However, early on it was more of the same as the Cubs got off to a slow start losing six of their first nine games, as they posted a 10-14 record in April. In May, the Cubs played a light better as they climbed above .500 on May 9th. A week later, the Cubs showed they still had a way to go as they blew a 5-1 lead in the ninth inning against the New York Mets who were playing several reserves. The Cubs would rebound quickly as they took two of three against the cross-town White Sox. However, the Cubs still struggled the rest of the month and started June with a record of 22-30. As June began, the Cubs looked like they were about to come apart at the seems as ace pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett got in a dugout shoving match as the Cubs were beaten by the Atlanta Braves 8-5. A day later, it was Piniella blowing his top as he began kicking dirt and threw his cap after a close play at third base sent him out to argue with Umpire Mark Wegner. Piniella was suspended four games for the incident. It seemed to light a fire under his team as the Cubs won eight of their next 12 games. Problems still existed as Michael Barrett, end up being dealt to the San Diego Padres, was involved in another altercation this time with pitcher Rich Hill, the Cubs seemed to be turning the corner. As June was coming to a close, the Cubs were playing solid baseball, winning seven straight to approach .500 again as they swept a three-game series with the White Sox on the South Side. After ending the first half with a record of 44-43, the Cubs began to make their move in the Central Division. They ended the month of July just a half-game behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers as they posted a 17-9 record, including wins in 9 of their first 12 games after the All-Star Game. Despite a rough stretch in August, after losing Alfonso Soriano for a few weeks to an injury, the Cubs entered September in the thick of the pennant race. Down the stretch, it would be the Cubs led by their pitching staff that would end up getting the edge as they won 10 of 12 games during a critical stretch in mid-September to take over first place. The Cubs would end up completing a worst-to0first turnaround as they won the NL Central with a record of 85-77, as they set a new attendance record of 3,252,462. In the NLDS, the Cubs were matched up against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Game 1, pitching was the story as Brandon Webb, and Carlos Zambrano had solid starts as the game was tied 1-1 after six innings. However, the Cubs bullpen would falter as the D-Backs won 3-1. After losing 8-4 in Game 2, the series shifted to Wrigley Field with the Cubs needing a win to avoid a sweep. Things did not start well as Chris Young homered on Rich Hill’s first pitch. The Cubs would not be able to fight back as the Diamondbacks completed the three-game sweep with a 5-1 win.
2008: Coming off a division championship, there was renewed hope that the Cubs could finally break through and win a World Series, as they entered the 100th anniversary of their last title. Opening Day at Wrigley Field would see a pitcher’s duel, as Carlos Zambrano blanked the Milwaukee Brewers over six and two-thirds innings. However, the Cubs were unable to break through against Ben Sheets, the Brewers starter. The Brewers finally dented the scoreboard in the ninth inning with three runs. However, the Cubs would answer back as Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome became an instant fan favorite with a game-tying three-run homer. While the Brewers still won the game 4-3, the Cubs were right on track to get off to a terrific start: they posted a 17-10 record over the first month of the season and found themselves in a first-place tie. The Cubs would continue their strong play in May, as rookie catcher Geovany Soto became a vital part of the lineup. Soto would make the All-Star team and would go on to win Rookie of the Year honors with 23 home runs and 86 RBI, as the Cubs held the best record in baseball over Memorial Day Weekend. The Cubs would continue to hold that honor until the All-Star Break, as they held a four and half-game lead with a record of 57-38. Coming out of the All-Star Game, the Cubs hit a road bump as they were caught by the Milwaukee Brewers, who spurred by the acquisition of CC Sabathia became the Cubs only obstacle to a return to the playoffs. On July 28th the Cubs entered a critical four-game series with those Brewers in Miller Park, leading the Central Division by one game. Facing Sabathia in the opener, the Cubs would rally against the Brewers bullpen for a 6-4 win, as they would go on to sweep the series, outscoring the Brewers over the final three games 25-7. The Cubs would not be challenged again as they cruised the rest of the way to a second straight division title. September would prove a month to remember early for the Cubs, as they returned to Miller Park on September 14th for a game against the Houston Astros after Hurricane Ike forced the game to be moved out of Houston. Thousands of Cubs fans trekked north to see Carlos Zambrano make history, as he became the first Cubs pitcher in 36 years to throw a no-hitter, as he blanked the distracted Astros 5-0. Zambrano would be on the mound six days later as the Cubs clinched the division against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, a tired arm limited him down the stretch, as the Cubs posted a solid 97-64 record. In the NLDS, the Cubs faced the Los Angeles Dodgers, who ended the season, as one of the hottest teams in baseball. In Game 1, the Cubs got off to a fast start as Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homer to give the Cubs an early lead. However, Ryan Dempster would lose home plate, before serving up a fifth-inning grand slam to James Loney as the Dodgers took the opener 7-2. Game 2 would not go any better, as Carlos Zambrano struggled, while the Cubs defense unraveled with four errors, as the Dodgers took a 2-0 series lead with a 10-3 win. The Dodgers would go on to sweep the series with a 3-1 win in Game 3.
2009: Coming off two straight division titles that ended in bitter disappointment with sweeps in the NLDS, the Cubs found themselves handcuffed during the free agency season as the Tribune Company looked to sell the team. At the same time they were finalizing a deal with the Ricketts’ family the Cubs became the first team in MLB history to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Not only were the Cubs unable to sign a bat to improve their offense, but they also lost Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa, who both signed deals with the Cleveland Indians. Early on, things looked good for the Cubs, as they won eight of their first 12 games. However, they would drop seven of their next nine games, establishing a pattern of inconsistency that would affect the Cubs. As every time it appeared they would make a run and get back in front of the Central Division, they would have a bad week and drop back to .500. July would see the Cubs make significant gains, as they posted an 18-9 record, and took over the divisional lead on July 26th. However, after starting August in first place, the Cubs again hit a bad stretch as the season of injuries that saw nearly every pivotal player miss time began to take its toll. The Cubs were also distracted by the continued erratic behavior or Milton Bradley. He was the Cubs biggest off-season acquisition and struggled to clash with fans and Manager Lou Piniella all season. In August they would post a record of 11-17, and went from first place to ten and a half games out of first place. The Cubs would recover and post a record of 17-12 in September, but it would be too late, as they finished in second place with a record of 83-78. While it did end in disappointment, it marked the first time since 1972 that the Cubs posted three straight winning seasons.
2010: With the Cubs’ ownership settled, they looked to rebound and reclaimed the Central Division in the National League. However, signs that the Cubs would struggle were evident right from Opening Day as they were slammed by the Atlanta Braves 16-5. After posting a 2-4 record on the road, the Cubs played well in their home opener beating the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5, as they posted a mediocre 11-13 record in April. As May began, the Cubs continued to struggle, looking for a spark they called up prospect Starlin Castro from AA Tennessee on May 7th. Castro, the first player born in the 1990s, had a debut for the ages, with six RBI as the Cubs doubled up the Cincinnati Reds 14-7 on the road. However, despite the play of their rookie Shortstop, the Cubs continued to play lackluster baseball in June. On June 25th, the Cubs’ frustrations would boil over as temperamental pitcher Carlos Zambrano was suspended after a tirade in the dugout that led to a scuffle with 1B Derek Lee as the Cubs dropped to 32-41 with a loss to the Chicago White Sox on the South Side. The Cubs would enter the All-Star Break with a disappointing 39-50. Shortly after the break, Manager Lou Piniella announced plans to retire following the season. However, as the Cubs continued to play lackluster baseball, it became apparent a change was needed sooner, and on August 22nd, Piniella would step down to take care of family matters. In his final game, the Cubs would be blasted by the Braves at Wrigley Field 16-5. For the remainder of the season, the Cubs would be led by Mike Quade. Under Quade, the Cubs who had a 51-74 record with Piniella showed immediate improvement sweeping the Washington Nationals on the road, in the Interim Manager’s first three games. With the September call ups playing solid baseball, the Cubs would finish the season strong, posting a 24-13 record in their final 37 games under Quade. There would be no saving the season, as the Cubs finished in fifth place with a disappointing 75-87 record. The strong play down the stretch would be enough to allow Mike Quade to hand as Manager of the Cubs as he was given a two year deal following the season. The off-season would also bring sadness to Wrigleyville, as long time Cubs icon Ron Santo died at the age of 70 on December 3rd due to complications from bladder cancer and diabetes.
2011: As the season began for the Cubs, it was clear that these were gloomy days in Wrigleyville. Despite fans objections, General Manager Jim Hendry was still in charge, and the Cubs Manager Mike Quade, who had the interim removed from his title, did not instill much excitement in the fan base. The Cubs tried to improve their rotation by acquiring Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays while signing Free Agent 1B Carlos Pena. To help the bullpen, the Cubs welcomed back Kerry Wood, who left following the 2008 season. One thing adding to the depression on the North Side of Chicago was the loss of Ron Santo, who died during the off-season after a life long struggle with diabetes. Since retiring, Santo had been a faithful cheerleader for the Cubs on WGN. The Cubs would struggle right from the start of the season, as they posted a 12-14 record in April, and barely even saw the .500 mark. Things would only get worse in May, June, and July as the Cubs were quickly out of the race. In August, the Cubs would post their only winning month, with a record of 16-13 as GM Jim Hendry was fired on August 21st. A week earlier, Hendry and Quade had to deal with one last outburst from Carlos Zambrano, who threatened to retire after allowing five home runs to the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs would suspend Zambrano for the rest of the season. In the off-season, he would finally be traded away as the Cubs received Chris Volstad from the Miami Marlins in return. The Cubs would go on to finish in fifth place with a terrible record of 71-91. Following the season, the Cubs would reach a deal with the Boston Red Sox and name Theo Epstein as the club’s new president of baseball operations. While in Boston, Epstein ended the Red Sox 86 year World Series drought using some of the same Moneyball tactics as Billy Beane in Oakland. The Cubs hope he can do the same with their drought, which is now 104 years. In addition to Epstein, the Cubs added Jed Hoyer as General Manager, while Dale Sveum replaced Mike Quade as manager.
2012: As the Theo Epstein era began, the Cubs reminded their fans that Rome was not built in a day, and that championship doesn’t happen overnight. Epstein, who was credited with ending the Boston Red Sox, winning two World Series in 2004 and 2007, took over as the Cubs President, hiring Jed Hoyer as the team’s new General Manager and Dale Sveum as the Cubs new manager. Early on, it was clear that Cubs had a long way to go before contending as they lost 11 of their first 14 games on the way to posting a record of 8-15 during April. Things did not get any better in May as they posted a record of 10-17, as Kerry Wood decided to call it a career on May 18th, striking out Dayan Viciedo of the Chicago White Sox in his final appearance. The fans at Wrigley Field gave Wood a long-standing ovation as his son, Justin, ran out to greet him as he exited the field for the final time. The Cubs again went 10-17 during June. In the two weeks leading up to the All-Star Break, the Cubs played their best baseball of the season, winning 12 of 16 games as they posted a winning record of 15-10 in July. August and September brought more losses as they lost 42 of their last 60 games to finish the season with a record of 61-101 marking the first 100 loss season for the Cubs since 1966 as they finished in fifth place. Individually there were few bright spots as Alfonso Soriano led the team with 32 home runs and 108 RBI, as rookie Anthony Rizzo, who was named Rookie of the Month during July gave Cubs fans a player to watch for the future with 15 home runs and 85 RBI in just 87 games. The 23-year-old Rizzo was also the feel-good story as he survived a bout of Hodgkin’s lymphoma a form of cancer in 2008.
2013: After their first 100 loss season in 46 years, the Cubs looked to improve, while remaining patient with their plan to rebuild through the farm system. The Cubs started the season with a 3-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates, as Jeff Samardzija earned the win. The Cubs would drop four of their first six games on the road before coming home to face the Milwaukee Brewers in the home opener. Veteran Edwin Jackson, who the Cubs signed to give them a reliable arm in the rotation, struggled as the Cubs lost 7-3. It would be a regular occurrence for Jackson, who posted a record of 8-18 with an ERA of 4.98. For much of the first two months, the Cubs looked to be on track for another 100-loss season as they held an 18-30 record. However, they began to show some signs of improvement with five straight wins, as they won the first three games against the Chicago White Sox, and later completed the sweep, winning the rain date make up on July 8th. July would be the only month in which the Cubs posted a winning record of as they again were among the worst teams in baseball, posting a record of 66-96. Jeff Samardzija was the Cubs’ best pitcher, with a record of 8-13, with an ERA of 4.34 as he was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the National League with 214. However, the Cubs had a distinct lack of power. Anthony Rizzo (23) and Nate Schierholtz (21) were the only Cubs to hit 20 homers, though Alfonso Soriano had 17 homers before being traded to the New York Yankees at the trade deadline. Rizzo (80) and Schierhlz (68) also led the Cubs in RBI as the team.238 average was among the worst in all of baseball. Among the disappointments was Starlin Castro, who hit just.245, with ten home runs and 44 RBI. Following the season, the Cubs would dismiss Manager Dale Sveum after just two seasons.
2014: After two terrible seasons under Dale Sveum, the Chicago Cubs continued to build for the future under new manager Rick Renteria. Early on, it looked like it was going to be another dreadful season for the Cubs, who posted a record of 9-19 in April as Wrigley Field celebrated its 100th birthday. It would be a season in transition, as the Cubs picked up more prospects by dealing with players with expiring contracts. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Athletics with Jason Hammel for minor leaguers Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, and major league pitcher Dan Straily. Russell was considered a top-five prospect. At home, the Cubs were solid all season, posting a winning record at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2009 at 41-40. However, they continued to take their lumps on the road. Anthony Rizzo continued to develop into an excellent cleanup hitter, leading the Cubs with 32 home runs and 78 RBI making his first All-Star Game. Meanwhile, Starlin Castro had another superb season and finished the year with an average of .292 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI. The Cubs’ most reliable pitcher was Jake Arrieta, who posted a record of 10-5, with a 2.53 ERA. As the season came to an end, some of the Cubs’ future began to appear at Wrigley Field, as Jorge Soler made his debut on August 27th and hit .292 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 24 games. The Cubs would still finish the season in last place, but at 73-89 appeared to be turning the corner. Despite the positives during the season, the Cubs would change managers again. Rick Renteria did an excellent job, but with Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon opting out of his contract the Cubs, would make the move and sign Maddon, who is recognized as one of the best managers in baseball.
2015: Things began to turn in favor of the Chicago Cubs, who hired former Manager of the Year Joe Maddon in the off-season. However, when the season started, fans were none too pleased as a renovation of the famous Wrigley Field bleachers was not finished for the start of the season, leaving a construction zone with no seats in April. Fans were also upset that Rookie 3B Kris Bryant was not with the team at the start of the season following a monster Spring Training. As the bleachers were under construction, a sign with Bryant nearby advertised was coming to fans on the North Side, but after more than a century of waiting, fans had grown restless. Fans would not have to wait long for Kris Bryant’s debut as he was recalled from Iowa on April 17th. The power numbers were slow at first for Bryant as he did not go deep in his first 20 games, but before May began, he found his stroke hitting seven long balls on the way to being named Rookie of the Month. Kris Bryant only got better as the season went on, finishing with a .275 average, with 26 home runs and 99 RBI to earn the National League Rookie of the Year. As the new bleachers took shape with Wrigley Field getting a video replay board and an electric scoreboard to go with the classic manually operated board, so did the Cubs. The Cubs played solid ball for the first half posting winning records in April, May, and June to go into the All-Star Break with a record of 47-40. While the Cubs young offense led by Bryant got the attention in the first half with players like 1B Anthony Rizzo leading the team with 31 homers and 101 RBI, it was Jake Arrieta that began making people take notice after the All-Star Break. Arrieta, who had a decent first half posting a record of 10-5, his second half was something from a dream. To put it simply, Jake Arrieta had the best second half in the history of baseball as he won 12 of 13 decisions, and posted an ERA of 0.75. On August 30th, Jake Arrieta pitched the 14th No-Hitter in Cubs history, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 while striking out 12, including the last three in a Sunday Night game at Dodger Stadium. Arrieta won pitcher of the Month honors in August with a 6-0 record and a 0.43 ERA. He was just as good in September, winning Pitcher of the Month again, going 4-0 with a 0.45 ERA. Jake Arrieta would finish the season with a record of 22-6, with a 1.77 ERA and 236 strikeouts to earn the NL Cy Young Award. As Arrieta was shutting down opposing teams in the second half, the Cubs got a boost from two more rookie stars came up to Wrigley and made an impact; Ii 101 games Jorge Soler had ten homers and 47 RBI, while Kyle Schwaber hit 16 homers, 43 RBI and 52 runs scored in 69 games. The Cubs were the best team in baseball following the All-Star Break with the power bats and pitching of Jake Arrieta. However, they could not escape third place as the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates posted the two best records in all of baseball. The Cubs as it would happen posted the third-best record overall and grabbed the second Wild Card in the National League with a record of 97-65 as Joe Maddon won the manager of the year in the National League.
2015 Wild Card and NLDS: In the Wild Card Game, the Cubs would travel to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. On the mound was Jake Arrieta looking to continue his second-half dominance. Jake Arrieta would not disappoint, pitching a complete game five-hitter as the Cubs won 5-0 with Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwaber, each hitting home runs to supply the offense. Schwaber’s homer was particularly impressive as he splashed down in the Alleghany River beyond the Right Field stands. After beating the Pirates, the Cubs were not done with the National League Central as they faced the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. Game 1 at Busch Stadium would not go well for the Cubs, as they were handcuffed by John Lackey, who did not allow a hit until Addison Russell reached base in the seventh inning. The Cardinals would go on to win the game 4-0 as a solid effort by Jon Lester was wasted. The Cubs would bounce back in Game 2, as they scored five runs in the second inning highlighted by Jorge Soler’s two-run bomb to even the series with a 6-3 win. As the series shifted to Wrigley Field, the Cubs had to feel good about themselves with Jake Arrieta taking the mound in Game 3. Arrieta did not have his best stuff, allowing four runs in five and third innings. Still, it would not matter as the Cubs’ bats bailed him out with six home runs as Kyle Schwarber, Starlin Castro, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Dexter Fowler all went deep to give Chicago an 8-6 win. Looking to dispatch the Cardinals, the Cubs fell behind early as Stephen Piscotty homered in the first inning to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead. However, the Cubs again struck back with the long ball as Javier Baez three-run home highlighted a four-run uprising in the second inning. After the Cardinals tied the game in the sixth inning, Anthony Rizzo answered with a homer in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Schwarber’s seventh-inning blast, which landed on the new digital scoreboard all but clinched victory as the Cubs won the series in four games, taking the finale by a score of 6-4.
2015 NLCS: In 1989, in the movie Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly traveled 30 years in the future from 1985 and was shocked when a digital news flash told him the Chicago Cubs had won the World Series with a sweep. As the actual date of Marty McFly’s visit to the future neared Cubs fans began to wonder, could this be the year? In the National League Championship Series, the Cubs looking to end a 70-year World Series drought faced the New York Mets, who they manhandled in the regular season by winning all seven games. Game 1 at New York’s Citi Field would show right away that the postseason would be different, as Daniel Murphy gave the Mets an early lead with a home run in the first inning. The Mets would add a home run by Travis d’Arnaud as Matt Harvey handcuffed the Cubs to lead the Mets to a 4-2 win in the opener. Game 2 would see more Murphy’s Law, as a two-run first-inning home run off Jake Arrieta helped pave the way for Noah Syndergaard as the Mets pitching continued to frustrate the Cubs, winning 4-1. Daniel Murphy continued to torment the Cubs, hitting another tie-breaking home, as Jacob deGrom became the latest Mets pitcher to frustrate the Cubs, allowing just two runs, as home runs by Kyle Schwaber and Jorge Soler were not enough as the Mets took a 3-0 series leading, winning 5-2 at Wrigley Field. Game 4 was more of the same as the Mets jumped in front with four runs in the first inning and two runs in the second to complete the sweep with an 8-3 win. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Murphy homered again in the eighth inning on the way to winning the NLCS MVP, and continue the Cubs seven-decade World Series drought. For the record, the name of the goat that was behind the famous curse, Murphy.
2016: Despite being swept by the New York Mets in the NLCS, there was unprecedented optimism in Wrigleyville as the Chicago Cubs began the season as the favorites to win the World Series. The Cubs paid off on those expectations early, as they won eight of their first nine games and quickly took control of the Central Division in the National League. Not all news was good for the Cubs, as Kyle Schwarber suffered a torn ACL after colliding with Dexter Fowler on April 7th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite the loss of Schwarber, the Cubs remained one of the top offensive teams in the National League. They also had one of the top pitching staffs, as Jake Arrieta continued his second-half surge, throwing a No-Hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on April 21st. Kris Bryant also had a strong game, driving in six runs as the Cubs won 16-0. At the end of April, the Cubs were well on the way to a dream season, holding a three and half-game lead with a record of 17-5. The Cubs’ great start would ensure they would not spend a day out of first place in the regular season. The Cubs continued to dominate in May and June, as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo were among the NL’s best hitters, while Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta were among the league’s top pitchers. After ending June with a record of 51-27, the Cubs hit their first slump of the season, suffering a four-game sweep at the hand of the New York Mets at the start of July in Citi Field as they lost 9-of-11 games heading into the All-Star Break. The All-Star Game would see four Cubs on the infield, as fans stuffed the ballot box. The break seemingly recharged the Cubs as they began to get back on track. Despite leading the Central Division all season, there was a feeling the Cubs needed another piece to reach the promised land, as they did not have a proven closer. As the trade deadline approached, the Cubs filled that need by acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the New York Yankees. In two months in Chicago, Chapman had 16 saves in 28 games, while posting an ERA of 1.01 with 46 strikeouts in 28 games. Chapman’s addition was just the spark the Cubs needed as they posted the best month in franchise history in August at 22-6. When the month was over, the Cubs were by far the best team in baseball at 85-47 as they held a 15-game lead. Their home record of 48-19 was also the best in baseball. The pitching staff led the league with the lowest earned run average of 3.13, fewest hits allowed at 926, fewest runs allowed at 450, fewest earned runs allowed at 415, the lowest batting average by opponents at .213, and were among the leaders in fewest home runs allowed and in striking out opponent batters. The Cubs offense was also among the leaders in on-base percentage, base runners who eventually score runs batted in, and drawing walks. Despite a 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on September 15th, the Chicago Cubs clinched the Central Division Championship. A week and a half later, the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-2 on September 26th, to secure their first 100-win season since 1935. The Cubs would go on to finish the season with a record of 103-58. The Cubs also set a franchise record for home wins with 57. Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester finished 1-2 in ERA in the National League. Hendricks led the league with an ERA of 2.13, posting a record of 16-8, while Lester finished at 2.44 while posting a record of 19-5. Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta finished tenth in the NL with an ERA of 3.10, posting a record of 18-8, while John Lackey was not far behind an ERA of 3.35, with an 11-8 record. The Cubs offense was led by Kris Bryant, who finished the season with a .292 average, 39 home runs, 102 RBI, and league-leading 121 runs scored to win the National League MVP. Anthony Rizzo also had a big season with a .292 average, 32 home runs, and 109 RBI.
2016 NLDS: The Chicago Cubs’ great regular season was meaningless unless they could finish the dream in the postseason. In the Division Series, the Cubs faced a test right away in the San Francisco Giants, who had an odd streak of winning the World Series in the least three even-numbered years. In Game 1, at Wrigley Field, the Cubs found themselves in a classic pitchers’ duel as neither Jon Lester or Johnny Cueto allowed a run in the first seven innings. Finally, in the eighth inning, Javier Baez hit a solo home run into the left-field basket to put the Cubs up 1-0. Aroldis Chapman would close the game by pitching the ninth. In Game 2, the Cubs did not wait as long to get on the board as they took a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Despite Kyle Hendricks struggling to get out of the fourth, the Cubs got a stellar effort from the bullpen to win the game 5-2. Looking for the sweep at AT&T Park, the Cubs got off to a fast start again as Jake Arrieta stunned Madison Bumgarner with a three-run home run in the second inning. The Giants would rally to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs would answer in the ninth, as Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer to tie the game. However, the Giants would win the game in 13 innings 6-5. The Giants looked to continue the momentum in Game 4, holding a 5-2 lead entering the ninth inning as they looked to send the series to a decisive fifth game. The Cubs bats, which had been silent all game, came to life in the ninth as Javier Baez capped off a four-run rally with an RBI single, allowing the Cubs to eliminate the Giants with a 6-5 win as Aroldis Chapman struck out the side for his third save of the series.
2016 NLCS: The Cubs would next face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Cubs looked good early in Game 1, holding a 3-0 after Javier Baez doubled and later stole home in the second inning. However, the Dodgers rallied to tie the game in the eighth inning. The Cubs continued their late-inning magic as Miguel Montero hit a pinch-hit Grand Slam, which was followed by a solo home run from Dexter Fowler on back to back pitchers to win the game 8-4. The Dodgers though, responded in Game 2 as Clayton Kershaw, and Kenley Jansen limited the Cubs to two hits to outduel Kyle Hendricks 1-0. The Cubs bats remained in hibernation as the series shifted to Dodger Stadium, as Rich Hill and three relievers allowed just four hits as the Dodgers won the 6-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. In Game 4, the Cubs bats continued to remain silent against Julio Urias the youngest pitcher to start a postseason game who held them off the scoreboard for three innings. At the same time, Jason Heyward prevented the Dodgers from getting an early lead by throwing out Adrian Gonzalez at home plate. Finally, in the fourth inning, the Cubs bats awoke with a four-run rally capped by a two-run blast off the bat off Addison Russell. The Cubs would go on to score ten runs over the next three innings to win the game 10-2 to even the series. In Game 5, the Cubs got a strong start from Jon Lester, who allowed one run on five hits in seven innings as they broke the game open with five runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by Baez bases-clearing double to win the game 8-4. Looking to secure their first trip to the World Series in 71 years, the Cubs got an outstanding start from Kyle Hendricks, who allowed just two hits over seven and third innings, while striking out six. Meanwhile, the Cubs managed to push across five runs against Kershaw. Aroldis Chapman retired the final five hitters, including getting Yasiel Puig to hit into a game-ending double play to propel the Chicago Cubs to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945.
2016 World Series: While the Chicago Cubs prolonged title droughts have been well documented, their opponents had their own drought as the Cleveland Indians came into the Fall Classic looking for their first championship since 1948. Things did not start well for the Cubs, as they lost the series opener 6-0 at Progressive Field. With Jake Arrieta leading the way, the Cubs bounced back to win Game 2 by a score of 5-1. Arrietta pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on two hits, while Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman were nearly flawless out of the pen. As the World Series shifted to Wrigley Field, it was clear the Cubs were overwhelmed by their surrounding as they were tight and over swinging as the Indians won a pitchers’ duel 1-0. The Cubs continued to scuffle in Game 4, as the Tribe won 7-2 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. After falling behind early in Game 5, the Cubs as Kris Bryant’s solo home run sparked a three-run rally in the fourth inning. Holding a 3-2 lead, the Cubs turned to Aroldis Chapman early, as he recorded the final eight outs, striking out four Indians to give the Cubs a 3-2 win that kept their championship hopes alive. Winning Game 5 allowed the Cubs to exhale, and when Game 6 began in Cleveland, the Cubs offense finally came alive as Kris Bryant’s home run and Addison Russell’s two-run double gave them a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Russell added Grand Slam in the third innings as the Cubs cruised to a 9-3 lead. Despite the big lead, Manager Joe Maddon had Aroldis Chapman on the mound in middle relief record four outs, a move many questioned at the time due to how often he pitched in the postseason, including his long outing in Game 5. The World Series would come down to a seventh game. Scoring two runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the Cubs took control of Game 7, building a 5-1 lead. After the Indians clawed back in the game with two runs in the fifth inning, the Cubs elder statesman David Ross hit a home run in what was to be the final game of his career. After Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester pitched into the eighth inning, the Cubs turned to Aroldis Chapman to get the final four outs. However, it was clear he had nothing as the Indians rallied to tie the game on a home run by Rajai Davis. Shell shocked the Cubs went down quietly in the ninth inning, as Chapman gritted his way through to send the game to a tenth inning with the game tied 6-6. The Cubs must have felt like they were in quicksand as the Indians had all the momentum. However, before the tenth inning began, there was a quick-moving shower that caused a brief rain delay. While the tarp was on the field for 17 minutes, the Cubs held an impromptu team meeting with Jason Heyward proclaiming “We’re the best team in baseball. . . for a reason. . . Stick together, and we’re going to win this game.” When play resumed, Kyle Schwarber worked hard to rehab his knee injury in time to return for the World Series led off with a single. Shwarber would be replaced at first by pinch-runner Albert Almora, who tagged up and took second base on a long fly ball from Kris Bryant. After Anthony Rizzo was intentionally walked, Ben Zobrist stepped up and drove home the go-ahead run with a double. The Cubs would add an insurance run on a single by Miguel Montero. Leading 8-6, the Cubs turned to Carl Edwards Jr. to close out the World Series, but the Indians would not go down quietly, scratching out a run on a single by Rajai Davis after retiring the first two hitters. Leading 8-7 Mike Montgomery took over looking for the final out and his first career save. Montgomery would get Michael Martinez to bounce out to Kris Bryant, who threw the ball to Anthony Rizzo, touching off the celebration of the century. With 8-7, the Cubs had erased 108 years of frustration, winning their first World Series since 1908. Zobrist, who hit .357 and drove in the series-winning run, would be named World Series MVP, as the loveable losers were losers no more.
2017: After their first World Series Championship, the Chicago Cubs were the toast of the world, making appearances everywhere and anywhere. With such a whirlwind, the offseason came and went with the Cubs arriving in Spring Training to go for an encore. Starting the season on the road, the Cubs won four of six against the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers before hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in the home opener on a rainy night in Wrigley. The rain could not spoil the party as the Cubs raised their championship banner and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on a walk-off hit by Anthony Rizzo. When the season began, Wrigley Field had a different look at the bullpens, was moved under the bleachers to allow extra seating, down the foul lines. However, wins would not come easy for the Cubs in the first part of the season as they blamed in the haze, as part of an extended World Series hangover. Nearly every player seemed to be struggling to live up to expectations. Despite holding a 25-27 record at the end of May, the Cubs were just two and a half games out of first as the entire Central Division was struggling. The Cubs mediocre play would continue until the All-Star Break as they hit the break in second place with a record of 43-45, five and a half games back of the Brewers. With the trade deadline approaching, the Cubs began to make critical additions, picking up Jose Quintana in a rare deal with the cross-town Chicago White Sox. The Cubs started the second half strong, winning all six games on a post-All-Star road trip against the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. This included a win by Quintana in his Cubs debut. Quintana went 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 13 starts for the Cubs. The Cubs finished July strong and regained first place at 56-48, thanks to a series win in Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs got off to a sluggish start in August but maintained first place as they went into September, holding three and a half-game lead at 73-60. The Cubs would go on to win the Central with a record of 92-70. While the Cubs again won their division across the board, numbers were down as Anthony Rizzo led the team with 32 home runs and 109 RBI, while Kevin Bryant followed up his MVP season by hitting .295 with 29 homers and 93 RBI. After missing most of 2016, Kyle Schwarber had an uneven season, hitting .211 with 30 home runs but just 59 RBI. On the mound, Jon Lester led the way with a record of 13-8 with an ERA of 4.33. Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA.
2017 NLDS: The Chicago Cubs would take on the Washington Nationals in the Division Series. In Game 1, in Washington, the Cubs got a big start from Kyle Hendricks, who allowed two hits over seven innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs scratched out two runs in the sixth and one in the eighth inning to win the game 3-0. With home runs from Wilson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo, the Cubs looked to take both games on the road with a 3-1 lead in the eight. Still, the bullpen faltered, allowing five runs, including a big home run from Bryce Harper against Carl Edwards to enable Washington to even the series with a 6-3 win. The Cubs got a strong start from Jose Quintana, who dueled Max Scherzer in Game 3 as the series shifted to Wrigley Field, as he allowed just one run pitching around four errors. Meanwhile, the Cubs rallied off the Nationals bullpen after not getting a hit until the seventh inning against Scherzer to win the game 2-1. After a rainout, the Cubs offense could do little to muster anything against Max Scherzer as Washington won the game 5-0 to send the series back to DC for a decisive fifth game. Things looked bleak as the Nationals jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second inning with home runs from Daniel Murphy and Michael Taylor. The Cubs answered with two runs in the third and took the lead with three runs in the fifth the Nationals would fight back, but the Cubs maintained the lead the rest of the way, winning 9-8 to reach the NLCS for the third straight season.
2017 NLCS: Facing the Los Angeles Dodgers for a second straight year in the NLCS, the Cubs got off to a bad start as they lost the opener in Los Angeles 5-2 as they wasted an early two-run home run from Albert Almora Jr. Game 2 featured a pitcher’s duel between Jon Lester and Rich Hill; the game was tied 1-1 after eight innings when Justin Turner delivered a death blow to Chicago with a three-run walk-off home run off John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 series lead. Back in Wrigley Field in Game 3, the Cubs got a first-inning home run from Kyle Schwarber, but nothing else as the Dodgers went up 3-0, with a 6-1 win. The Cubs showed their championship mettle, winning 3-2 in Game 4, thanks to a strong start from Jake Arrieta. However, in Game 5, the Dodgers jumped all over Jose Quintana, winning 11-1 to advance to the World Series.
2018: After the Chicago Cubs made three consecutive appearances in the NLCS, Cubs nation was ready for another shot at the coveted Commissioner Trophy. However, the season would prove to be one bumpy ride filled with the ultimate high and lows. The Cubs came out of the gates like a house on fire. Proving that their window of opportunity to contend was far from being closed. The Cubs led the NL Central at the All-Star Break with a record of 55-38. Notably, the North Siders were well represented at the 89th mid-summer classic by sending three of their core players. Stout backstop Wilson Contreras, electric shortstop Javier Baez, and gritty veteran Jon Lester could not contain their excitement in getting the nod to represent their team at the All-Star game. The Cubs showed to be a consistent team through and through. First-year pitching coach Jim Hickey made sure the staff was well prepared by finishing the with a team ERA of 3.65. Lester leads the way with a 3.32 ERA behind 18 wins. Kyle Hendricks took the cake with a team-high of strikeouts at 161. Showing that they were the 1-2 punch to carry the way. On the other side of the coin, Cubs’ new hitting Chili Davis came in and let his philosophy resonate early. Chili made it clear! He did not believe in launch angle. And oh boy, did that come to bite the Cubs in the behind. They finished the year with a team batting average of .267 with an OBP of .344. 2016 World Series MVP Ben Zobrist showed he could withstand the test of time and finished the year with a team-high average of .305. Baez becomes the new sheriff in town for the power department with a team-leading 34 homers and 111 RBIs. Baez proved he can live up to the five-tool prospect pedigree and finished second in MVP voting behind Christian Yelich. It was not the last time the Cubs would fall short to Yelich and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs had a chance to put the Brewers away in the final week of the year but failed to do so. Ultimately leading them to finish tied at 95-67, needing a deciding game 163 to settle the Central Division Championship and home field in the National League. The Cubs hosted game 163 in a highly anticipated day game at Wrigley Field. However, the Cubs offense no-showed, and they were left depantsed losing 3-1 and being dethroned by the Brewers.
Written by Matthew LaMantia
2018 Wild Card: After losing the one-game divisional playoffs, the Chicago Cubs had little time to sulk as they hosted the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card Game. The Rockies also lost a one-game playoff and were playing in their third city in three days. The Cubs would suffer another offensive letdown, losing 2-1in 13 innings. Manager Joe Maddon was left speechless. Theo Epstein promised to make changes to fix the broken offense and figure out what happened. Theo made Jim Hickey and Chili Davis his scapegoats and sent them to the unemployment line. Theo Epstein was at a loss for words. He promised to figure out what happens to the promising core. The fans were left out to dry. After a great season, it ended so quickly. The Cubs season ended without any offensive effort. The optimism at season’s start dry up so fast? It was a disastrous finish.
Written by Matthew LaMantia
2019: The narrative of the season was focused on manager Joe Maddon. He went from trying not to Suck -to -we did not suck and eventually saw his unorthodox management style fizzle out when the Chicago Cubs bottomed out. The front office made it clear that another letdown would be unacceptable. The skipper oversaw his destiny and needed to get his team motivated. The pressure did exceed the pleasure. As the Cubs season proved to be the definition of average baseball. The Cubs finished with a record of 84-78, finishing third in the Central and five games out of the Wild Card spot. Offensively, the Cubs had the pieces in place. Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Wilson Contreras, Jason Heyward, and Kyle Schwarber hit a combined 170 homers and drove in 474 runs. The Pitching staff was highlighted by a blazing second half from Yu Darvish, who answered the critics’ doubt by posting a 2.76 era over 81.2 innings and finished seventh in the national league with 229 strikeouts. Kyle Hendricks was sharp as usual, posting a 3.46 era. Proving to be a hidden gem that Theo Epstein found from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Ryan Dempster. Cole Hamels toyed with the fans’ hearts by dazzling in the first half with a 2.98 era and ultimately imploding late in the season. Age finally caught up with Jon Lester as the grizzled veteran struggled with a 4.46 era in 171 innings. Jose Quintana posted a career worse season and caused the fanbase agita and regret parting with Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to get the struggling southpaw. The bullpen was a black eye for Chicago. Looking for a closer in June, the Cubs sprung at the opportunity to bring in Craig Kimbrel to plug the hole in the ship. Kimbrel’s rust and missing spring training proved to be costly. The former perennial All-Star posted a 6.53 ERA over 20.2 innings tallying 13 saves. Nothing seemed to click for the Cubs during the year. Was this a result of Theo sitting out the offseason due to the payroll being maximized from previous years. Could it have been that Theo did not commit to his promise to make changes to the offense to make sure it did not run out of gas again in September like 2018? That is what made the season frustrating. Management did not play their hand right all year. At season end, they announced Joe Maddon would not be returning. His philosophy turned the organization around from the get-go when he arrived in 2015. But the only constant in life is change, and that is what the Ricketts ordered. Maddon immediately got a job with the Los Angeles Angels, and the Cubs brought in fan-favorite David Ross, who does not have one inning of coaching experience.
Written by Matthew LaMantia
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Page created on March 7, 2001. Last updated on June 3, 2020, at 1:45 am ET.