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The Chicago Cubs are an Americanmarker professional baseball team based in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker.

They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago (the other being the Chicago White Sox), the Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National League (the other being the Atlanta Braves). The franchise has not won a championship in 101 years, which is longer than that of any other major North American professional sports team.

The Cubs are often referred as "The North Siders" because Wrigley Fieldmarker, where they have played their home games since 1916, is located in Chicago's north side Lakeviewmarker community. They are also often called "The Boys in Blue" noting the team's primary uniform color, (which itself is often referred to as "Cubbie Blue") or simply as "The Cubbies."

Chicago's manager is Lou Piniella, and their general manager is Jim Hendry. The Cubs have rivalries with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the cross-town Chicago White Sox.

The Cubs are currently owned by a family trust of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, with his son Tom Ricketts operating the team on a daily basis. The Ricketts family purchased the team from the Tribune Company in 2009, with the sale closing shortly after the end of the regular season.

Early franchise history

1870-1875: Chicago White Stockings

The success and fame of the Cincinnati Red Stockings (c. 1869), baseball's first openly all-professional team, led to a minor explosion of other openly professional teams, each with the singular goal of defeating the Red Stockings. On April 29, 1870, the Chicago Base Ball Club played their first game, an exhibition, against the St. Louis Unions, defeating them 47-1. The White Stockings, who played home games on Chicago's west side at the Union Base-Ball Grounds, joined the nation's principal amateur league National Association of Base Ball Players, when the league began to allow professional teams. The NABBP was previously dominated by the Brooklyn Atlantics, who had won three straight titles and were the sport's first "dynasty", but Chicago won the N.A. championship in the league's final year of operation.

The now all professional Chicago White Stockings, financed by businessman William Hulbert, became a charter member of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, the nation's first all professional league, in 1871. The White Stockings were close contenders all season, despite the fact that the Great Chicago Fire had destroyed the team's home field and most of their equipment. The White Stockings finished the season in second place, but ultimately were forced to drop out of the league during the city's recovery period, finally returning to National Association play in 1874. Over the next couple seasons, The Boston Red Stockings dominated the league and hoarded many of the game's best players, even those who were under contract with other teams. After Davy Force signed with Chicago, and then breached his contract to play in Boston, Hulbert became discouraged by the "contract jumping" as well as the overall disorganization of the N.A., and thus spearheaded the movement to form a stronger organization. The end result of his efforts was the formation of a much more "ethical" league, which became known as the National Base Ball League, and thus the Chicago National League Ball Club was born.

1876–1902: A National League Dynasty

The 1876 White Stockings won the N.L.
, retaining his position as Chicago's club president, signed multiple star players, such as pitcher Albert Spalding, and infielders Ross Barnes, Deacon White and Adrian Anson to join the team prior to the N.L.'s inaugural season of 1876. The Chicago franchise, playing its home games at West Side Groundsmarker, quickly established themselves as one of the new league's top teams. Spalding won 47 games and Barnes led the league in hitting at .429 as Chicago won the first ever National League pennant, which at the time was the game's top prize.

After back to back pennants in 1880 and '81, Hulbert died, and Al Spalding, who had retired to start Spalding sporting goods, assumed ownership of the club. The White Stockings, with Anson acting as player/manager, captured their third consecutive pennant in 1882, and "Cap" Anson established himself as the game's first true superstar. In 1885 and '86, after winning N.L. pennants, The White Stockings met the short-lived American Association champion in that era's version of a World Series. Both seasons resulted in matchups with the St. Louis Brown Stockings, with the clubs tying in '85 and with St. Louis winning in '86. This was the genesis of what would eventually become one of the greatest rivalries in sports. In all, the Anson-led Chicago Base Ball Club won six National League pennants between 1876 and 1886. As a result, Chicago's club nickname transitioned, and by 1890 they had become known as the Chicago Colts, or sometimes "Anson's Colts," referring to Cap's influence within the club. Anson was the first player in history to collect 3,000 hits, and when he left the team in 1898, the loss of his leadership resulted in the team becoming known as the Chicago Orphans (or Remnants) and a few forgettable seasons. After the 1900 season, the American Base-Ball League formed as a rival professional league, and incidentally the club's old White Stockings nickname would be adopted by a new American League neighbor to the south.

1902–1920: A Cub dynasty

The 1906 Cubs won a record 116 of 154 games.
They then won back to back World Series titles in 1907-08
In 1902, Spalding, who by this time had revamped the roster to boast what would soon be one of the best teams of the early century, sold the club to Jim Hart, and the franchise ultimately became known as the Chicago Cubs. During this period, which has become known as baseball's dead-ball era, three Cub infielders; Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance were made famous as a double-play combination by Franklin P. Adams' poem Baseball's Sad Lexicon. The poem first appeared in the July 18, 1910 edition of the New York Evening Mail. Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, Jack Taylor, Ed Reulbach, Jack Pfiester and Orval Overall were several key pitchers for the Cubs during this time period. With Chance acting as player-manager from 1903 to 1912 the Cubs won four pennants and two World Series titles over a five-year span. Although they fell to the White Sox in the 1906 World Series, The Cubs recorded a record 116 victories and the best winning percentage (.763) of the modern era. With mostly the same roster, Chicago won back to back World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. Their appearance in 3 consecutive World Series made the Cubs the first Major League Club to play 3 times in the Fall Classic. Likewise, their back-to-back World Series victories in 1907 and 1908 made them the first modern club to win 2 World Series.

1913 Cubs
The next season, veteran catcher Johnny Kling left the team to become a professional pocket billiards player. Some historians think Kling's absence was significant enough to prevent the Cubs from also winning a third straight title in 1909, as they finished 6 games out of first place. When Kling returned the next year, the Cubs won the pennant again, but lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1910 World Series.

In 1914, advertising executive Albert Lasker obtained a large block of shares and before the 1916 season had assumed majority ownership of the franchise. Lasker quickly acquired the services of astute baseball man William Veeck, Sr. to run his new team, and brought in a wealthy partner, Charles Weeghman. Weeghman was the proprietor of a popular chain of lunch counters who had previously owned the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League. As principal owners, the pair moved the club from the West Side Grounds to the much newer Weeghman Parkmarker, which had been constructed for the Whales two years earlier. The club responded by winning a pennant in the war-shortened season of 1918, where they played a part in another team's curse. The Boston Red Sox defeated Grover Cleveland Alexander's Cubs four games to two in the 1918 World Series. Afterward, Boston sold its star pitcher, Babe Ruth, to the New York Yankees, starting a tale of futility which would last 86 years, known as Curse of the Bambino.

The Wrigley years (1921–1981)

Double-Bills take over

Cub logo in the '20s & '30s
During what is often called baseball's "golden age," one of Cubs's minority owners, William Wrigley Jr., who also happened to be the owner of Wrigley Company, a Chicago-based maker of chewing gum, would begin to increase his share of ownership. In 1921 Wrigley bought Weeghman's shares and in 1925 had acquired most of Lakser's shares as well. The home park name was changed to its current name, Wrigley Field, during this time. Additionally, the area around the ballpark came to be known as "Wrigleyville." With his vast monetary resources and Veeck's front-office savvy, the "double-Bills" soon had the Cubs back in business in the National League, building a team that would put numerous future Hall of Famers in Cub uniforms. Some of the most notable of these players were Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett, and Rogers Hornsby. Chicago remained strong contenders for the next decade.

1929–1938: Every Three Years

During the end of the first decade of the double-Bills' guidance, the Cubs won the NL pennant in 1929 and then achieved the unusual feat of winning a pennant every three years, following up the 1929 flag with league titles in 1932, 1935, and 1938. Unfortunately, their success did not extend to the Fall Classic, as they fell to their AL rivals each time. The '32 series against the Yankees featured Babe Ruth's "called shot" at Wrigley Field. There were some historic moments for the Cubs as well; they claimed the '35 pennant in thrilling fashion, winning a record 21 games in a row in September. The '38 club saw Dizzy Dean lead the team's pitching staff and provided a historic moment when they won a crucial late-season game at Wrigley Field over the Pittsburgh Pirates with a walk-off home run by Gabby Hartnett, which became known in baseball lore as "The Homer in the Gloamin'". By 1939, the "double-Bills" (Wrigley and Veeck) had both died, and the front office, now under P.K. Wrigley, found itself unable to rekindle the kind of success that P.K.'s father had created, and so the team slipped into a few years of mediocrity.

1945: The Curse

The Cubs enjoyed one more pennant at the close of World War II, finishing 98–56. Due to the wartime travel restrictions, the first three games of the 1945 World Series were played in Detroitmarker, where the Cubs won two games, including a one-hitter by Claude Passeau, and the final four were played at Wrigley. In Game 4 of the Series, the Curse of the Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs when P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Sianis, who had come to Game 4 with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. They paraded around for a few innings, but Wrigley demanded the goat leave the park due to its unpleasant odor. Upon his ejection, Mr. Sianis uttered, "The Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs lost Game 4, lost the Series, and have not been back since. It has also been said by many that Sianis put a "curse" on the Cubs, apparently preventing the team from playing in the World Series. After losing the 1945 World Series, the Cubs finished with winning seasons the next two years, but those teams did not enter post-season play.

In the following two decades after Sianis' ill will, the Cubs played mostly forgettable baseball, finishing among the worst teams in the National League on an almost annual basis. Longtime infielder/manager Phil Cavarretta, who had been a key player during the '45 season, was fired during spring training in 1954 after admitting the team was unlikely to finish above fifth place. Although shortstop Ernie Banks would become one of the star players in the league during the next decade, finding help for him proved a difficult task, as quality players such as Hank Sauer were few and far between. This, combined with poor ownership decisions (such as the College of Coaches), hampered on-field performance.

1969: The fall of '69

The late-1960s brought hope of a renaissance, with third baseman Ron Santo, pitcher Ferguson Jenkins, and outfielder Billy Williams joining Banks. After losing a dismal 103 games in 1966, the Cubs brought home consecutive winning records in '67 and '68, marking the first time a Cub team had accomplished that feat in over two decades.

In 1969 the Cubs, managed by Leo Durocher, built a substantial lead in the newly created National League Eastern Division by mid-August. Ken Holtzman pitched a no-hitter on August 19, and the division lead grew to 8½ games over the St. Louis Cardinals and by 9½ games over the New York Mets. Ultimately, however, the Cubs wilted under pressure. Although they had their best season in decades at 92–70, they lost key games against the Mets and finished the season a disappointing eight games out of first place while the Mets exploded past them by winning thirty-nine of their last fifty games. Many superstitious fans attribute this collapse to an incident at Shea Stadiummarker when a fan released a black cat onto the field, further cursing the club, although the "Amazin' Mets" ended the season at a torrid pace, finishing with a remarkable 100 wins.

1977–1979: The June Swoon

Following the '69 season, the club posted winning records for the next few seasons, but no playoff action. After the core players of those teams started to move on, the 70's got worse for the team, and they became known as "The Loveable Losers." In 1977, the team found some life, but ultimately experienced one of its biggest collapses. The Cubs hit a high-water mark on June 28 at 47–22, boasting an 8 1/2 game NL East lead, as they were led by Bobby Murcer (27 Hr/89 RBI), and Rick Reuschel (20–10). However, the Philadelphia Phillies cut the lead to two by the All-star break, as the Cubs sat 19 games over .500, but they swooned late in the season, going 20–40 after July 31. The Northsiders finished in 4th place at 81–81, while Philadelphia surged, finishing with 103 wins. Ironically, the following two seasons also saw the Cubs get off to a fast start, as the team rallied to over 10 games above .500 well into both seasons, only to again wear down and play poorly later on, and ultimately settling back to mediocrity. This trait became known as the "June Swoon." Again, the Northsiders' unusually high number of day games is often pointed to as one reason for the team's inconsistent late season play.

1981–2009: The Tribune Era

1984: Heartbreak

After over a dozen more subpar seasons, GM Dallas Green made a midseason deal to acquire ace pitcher Rick Sutcliffe from Cleveland, who joined Scott Sanderson, Dennis Eckersley, Ron Cey and NL MVP Ryne Sandberg on a squad that ultimately tallied an NL-best 96 victories, winning the NL East. In the NLCS, skipper Jim Frey's Cubs won the first two games at Wrigley Field against the San Diego Padres. The Cubs needed to win only one game of the next three in San Diego to make it back to the World Series. After being beaten in Game 3, the Cubs lost Game 4 when dependable closer Lee Smith allowed a game-winning home run to Steve Garvey in the bottom of the ninth inning. In Game 5 the Cubs took a 3–0 lead to the 6th inning, and a 3–2 lead into the seventh with Sutcliffe (who won the Cy Young Award that year) still on the mound. Then, Leon Durham watched a routine grounder go through his legs. This critical error helped the Padres win the game and keep Chicago out of the 1984 World Series.

The following season hopes were high after the signing of Dennis Eckersley. The club started out well, going 35–19 through mid-June, but injuries to the pitching staff and a 13 game losing streak pushed the Cubs out of contention.

1989: NL East champions

In 1989, the first full season with night baseball at Wrigley Field, Don Zimmer's Cubs were led by a core group of veterans in Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe and Andre Dawson, who were boosted by a crop of youngsters such as Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston, Greg Maddux, Rookie of the Year Jerome Walton, and Rookie of the Year Runner-Up Dwight Smith. The Cubs won the NL East once again that season winning 93 games. This time the Northsiders met the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS. After splitting the first two games at home, the Cubs headed to the Bay Area, where despite holding a lead at some point in each of the next three games, bullpen meltdowns and managerial blunders ultimately led to three straight losses. The Giants lost to "The Bash Brothers" and the Oakland A's in the famous "Earthquake Series."

1998: Wild card race & home run chase

The '98 season would begin on a somber note with the death of broadcaster Harry Caray, and after the retirement of Sandberg and the trading of Dunston, the Cubs needed to look elsewhere for help, signing Henry Rodriguez to bat cleanup and provide protection for Sammy Sosa in the lineup. Mark Grace turned in one of his best seasons. The club got a Rookie of the Year effort from pitcher Kerry Wood, which included a one-hit, 20 strikeout performance versus the Houston Astros. "H-Rod" paid immediate dividends by slugging 31 round-trippers, and Sosa earned the N.L.'s MVP award with a 66 home run season. The club won a down-to-the-wire Wild Card chase with the San Francisco Giants, culminating with the Cubs beating the Giants in a one game playoff at Wrigley in which Gary Gaetti hit the game winning homer and propelled the Cubs into the postseason once again, with a 90–73 tally. Unfortunately, the bats went cold in October, as manager Jim Riggleman's club batted .183 and scored only four runs en route to being swept by Atlanta. On a positive note, the home run chase between Sosa, Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. generated a great deal of media coverage, and helped to bring in a new crop of fans as well as bringing back some fans who had been disillusioned by the 1994 strike. The Cubs retained many players who experienced career years in '98, and after a fast start in 1999, they collapsed again (starting with being swept at the hands of the cross-town White Sox in mid-June) and finished in the bottom of the division for the next two seasons.

2001: Playoff push

Despite losing fan favorite Grace to free agency, and the lack of production from newcomer Todd Hundley, skipper Don Baylor's Cubs put together good season in 2001. The season started with Mack Newton being brought in to preach "positive thinking." One of the biggest stories of the season transpired as the club made a midseason deal for Fred McGriff, which was drawn out for nearly a month as McGriff debated waiving his no-trade clause, as the Northsiders led the wild card race by 2.5 games in early September. That run died when Preston Wilson hit a three run walk off homer off of closer Tom "Flash" Gordon, which halted the team's momentum. The team was unable to make another serious charge, and finished at 88–74, only five games behind both Houston and St. Louis, who tied for first. Sosa had perhaps his finest season and Jon Lieber led the staff with a 20 win season.

2003: 5 more outs

The Cubs had high expectations in 2002, but the squad played poorly, and the club responded by hiring Dusty Baker and by making some major moves in '03. Most notably, they traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez (with the latter finally filling a gaping hole at third base), and rode dominant pitching as the Northsiders led the division down the stretch. Chicago halted St. Louis' run by taking 4 of 5 games from the Redbirds in early September and ultimately won their first division title in 14 years. In what was a dramatic five game series, their NLDS victory over the Atlanta Braves was the franchise's first postseason series win since they won the World Series in 1908. After dropping an extra-inning affair in Game 1, the Northsiders rallied and took a 3 games to 1 lead over the Wild Card Florida Marlins in the NLCS. Florida shut the Cubs out in Game 5, but young pitcher Mark Prior led the Cubs in Game 6 as they took a 3–0 lead into the 8th inning and it was at this point when a now-infamous incident took place. Several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, touched the ball once it crossed into the stands, disrupting a potential catch for the second out by Moisés Alou. Alou claimed he could have caught the ball and reacted angrily toward the stands. Alou at one point recanted, saying he would not have been able to catch the ball, but later said this was just an attempt to make Bartman feel better believing the whole incident should be forgotten. Interference was not called on the play, as the ball was ruled to be on the spectator side of the wall. Neither Alou nor Bartman were able to make the catch. Castillo was eventually walked by Prior. Two batters later, and to the horror of the packed stadium, Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez misplayed a potential inning ending double play, loading the bases and leading to eight Florida runs and a Marlin victory. Despite sending Kerry Wood to the mound and holding a lead twice, the Cubs ultimately dropped Game 7, and failed to reach the World Series.


In 2004, despite the return of Greg Maddux and a midseason deal for Nomar Garciaparra, misfortune struck the Cubs again. They led the Wild Card by 1.5 games over San Francisco and Houston on September 25, and both of those teams lost that day, giving the Northsiders a chance at increasing the lead to a commanding 2.5 games with only eight games remaining in the season, but reliever LaTroy Hawkins blew a save to the Mets, and the Cubs lost the game in extra innings, a defeat that seemingly deflated the team, as they proceeded to drop 6 of their last 8 games as the Astros won the Wild Card. Despite the fact that the Cubs had won 89 games, this fallout was decidedly unlovable, as the Cubs traded superstar Sammy Sosa after he had left the season's final game early and then lied about it publicly. Already a controversial figure in the clubhouse after his corked-bat incident, Sammy alienated much of his fan base, the few teammates still on good terms with him, and possibly tarnished his place in Cubs' lore for years to come. The disappointing season also saw fans start to become frustrated with the constant injuries to ace pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Additionally, the '04 season led to the departure of popular commentator Steve Stone, who had become increasingly critical of management during broadcasts and was verbally attacked by reliever Kent Mercker. Things were no better in 2005, despite a career year from Derrek Lee and the emergence of closer Ryan Dempster. The club struggled and suffered more key injuries, only managing to win 79 games after being picked by many to be a serious contender for the N.L. pennant.

2007-2008: Back to Back

Alfonso Soriano signed with the club in 2007

After finishing last in the N.L. Central with 66 wins in 2006, the Northsiders re-tooled and went from "worst to first" in 2007. In the offseason they inked Alfonso Soriano to the richest contract in Cubs history, and replaced unpopular skipper Dusty Baker with fiery veteran manager Lou Piniella. After a rough start, which included a brawl between Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs overcame the Milwaukee Brewers, who had led the division for most of the season, with winning streaks in June and July, coupled with a pair of dramatic, late-inning wins against the Reds, and ultimately clinched the NL Central with a record of 85–77. They met Arizona in the NLDS, but controversy followed as Piniella, in a move that has since come under scrutiny, pulled Carlos Zambrano after the sixth inning of a pitchers duel with D-Backs ace Brandon Webb, to " Zambrano for (a potential) Game 4." The Cubs, however, were unable to come through, losing the first game and eventually stranding over 30 baserunners in a 3-game Arizona sweep.

The Cubs successfully defended their National League Central title in 2008, going to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1906–08. The offseason was dominated by three months of unsuccessful trade talks with the Orioles involving 2B Brian Roberts, as well as the signing of Chunichi Dragons star Kosuke Fukudome. The team recorded their 10,000th win in April, while establishing an early division lead. Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds were added early on and Rich Harden was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in early July. The Cubs headed into the All-Star break with the N.L.'s best record, and tied the league record with eight representatives to the All-Star game, including catcher Geovany Soto, who was named Rookie of the Year."The Boys in Blue" took control of the division by sweeping a four game series in Milwaukee. On September 14, in a game moved to Miller Parkmarker due to Hurricane Ike, Zambrano pitched a no-hitter against the Astros, and six days later the team clinched by beating St. Louis at Wrigley. The club ended the season with a 98-64 record and met Los Angeles in the NLDS. The heavily favored Cubs took an early lead in Game 1, but James Loney's grand slam off Ryan Dempster changed the series' momentum. Chicago committed numerous critical errors and were outscored 20–6 in a Dodger sweep, which provided yet another sudden and stunning ending to what had once been looked at as a season of destiny.

2009-Present: Tom Ricketts takes over

2009: A step back and a look forward

Apparently handcuffed by Tribune's bankruptcy and the sale of the club to the Ricketts' family, the Cubs' quest for a NL Central 3-peat started with notice that there would be less invested into contracts than in previous years. Once again, however, trade speculation dominated the headlines at the winter meetings, this time surrounding Padres' ace Jake Peavy, which, much like the Brian Roberts talks a year earlier, resulted in nothing. Piniella blamed the '08 post season failure on the lack of left handed hitters, and a bevy of high caliber outfielders fit the bill. Ultimately, the club settled on inking oft-troubled switch hitter Milton Bradley over Adam Dunn, Raúl Ibáñez, and Bobby Abreu. The bench and bullpen were also overhauled in a bevy of money saving moves, and fan favorites Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa both left for the Cleveland Indians. Kevin Gregg was acquired from the Marlins to replace Wood, and Aaron Miles was signed to replace DeRosa.

Led by the strong play of Derrek Lee, Ted Lilly and rookie pitcher Randy Wells, the club started well, but fell on hard times as injuries took their toll. Nearly every key player suffered injury and the Northsiders struggled into the All Star break with a disappointing .500 record. Carlos Mármol eventually replaced Gregg as closer and the team stayed in the race, but they were distracted by Bradley, whose poor hitting and even poorer attitude became a major issue as the season progressed. Bradley complained about being heckled, booed and "hated" by bleacher fans and expressed his overall unhappiness in Chicago, eventually leading to a season ending suspension. Despite this, Chicago engaged St. Louis in a see-saw battle for first place into August, but the Cardinals played to a torrid 20-6 pace that month, designating their rivals to battle in the Wild Card race, from which they were eliminated in the season's final week. On the bright side, the Boys in Blue posted a winning record (83-78) for the third consecutive season, the first time the club had done so since 1972, and a new era of ownership under the Ricketts' family was approved by MLB owners in early October.

The club filed for bankruptcy on October 12 in an effort to ensure that the team couldn’t be hit with claims by Tribune creditors.


See also: Major League Baseball#MLB uniforms (including image of baseball-cap logos of the 30 MLB franchises)

Retired numbers

The Chicago Cubs retired numbers are commemorated on pinstriped flags flying from the foul poles at Wrigley Field, with the exception of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers player whose number was retired for all clubs. The first retired number flag, Ernie Banks' number 14, was raised on the left field pole, and they have alternated since then. 14, 10 and 31 (Jenkins) fly on the left field pole; and 26, 23 and 31 (Maddux) fly on the right field pole.


3B: 1960-1973

Retired September 28, 2003


SS: 1953-1971

Retired August 22, 1982


2B: 1982-1994,1996-1997

Retired August 28, 2005


OF: 1959-1974

Retired August 13, 1987


P: 1966-1973,1982-1983

Retired May 3, 2009


P: 1986-1992,2004-2006

Retired May 3, 2009


Retired by MLB

Retired April 15, 1997

  • There is also a movement to retire numbers for other players, most notably the uniform shirt of Gabby Hartnett. The Cubs first wore numbers on their shirts in 1932, and Hartnett wore three different numbers. Number 7 was initially assigned to Hartnett, but he was switched to number 9 the next year. In 1937 he was switched to number 2, which he retained through his last season with the Cubs, 1940. Petitions have been sent in to the team for Cap Anson (shirt), Hack Wilson (shirt), Phil Cavarretta (3), Andre Dawson (8), and Mark Grace (17), while movements are expected for more recent departures Sammy Sosa (21) and Kerry Wood (34).


In December 2007, Sam Zell completed his purchase of the club's parent organization, Tribune Company, and announced his intention to sell the team. Tribune, which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, WGN Television, WGN Radio and many other media outlets, had owned the club since 1981, when they purchased it from the Wrigley Family for $20,500,000. The Wrigley family, who also owns Wrigley's Chewing Gum had owned the team and the ballpark since buying it from Albert Lasker and Charles Weeghman almost 6 decades earlier. Al Spalding, who also owned Spalding sporting goods, played for the team for two seasons under club founder William Hulbert, and then owned the club for twenty one years.

In 2008, while the team excelled on the field, Sam Zell searched for buyer. In late July, they narrowed down their original list of ten prospective investors to three, all of whom offered over $1 billion for both the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The presumptive fan favorite of the three was outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. That list grew to five by August as other leading bidders, including private equity investor and Brewers minority owner John Canning, Jr.. When owner Sam Zell originally trimmed the candidates down, Canning Jr. was eliminated from consideration because his bid was too low, but commissioner Bud Selig had apparently picked Canning Jr. as a favorite of the fraternity of MLB owners. Others among the five remaining bidders for the Cubs included the son of Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. During a Chicago Bulls-Dallas Mavericks telecast on October 9, 2008, Cuban, in a courtside interview with Comcast Sports Net, claimed he had made the highest bid and although he did not know where he stood, noted that the state of the economy as well as the poor playoff performance by the team would likely affect the time frame of the eventual sale. On January 8, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that three finalist groups, Tom Ricketts, Hersch Klaff, and a partnership of private equity investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery Jr., were expected to submit finalized, polished offers "within days" after which the winning bid would be accepted, and pending the winning bidders approval by 2/3 of the current MLB owners, would be final, with Zell holding on to a minor share of the team. The Ricketts family won that bidding process, and although there were numerous potential pitfalls, the sale entered its final stages as the 2009 season came to a close. The sale was unanimously approved by the other MLB owners on October 6. The transaction also had to be approved on two separate occasions by a U.S. bankruptcy judge. The Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the 2009 season, but kept the Cubs out of the filing. On October 12, the Cubs separately filed for Chapter 11, in a move intended to shield the team from claims by creditors of the Tribune Company. Final approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court came the day after the Cubs' Chapter 11 filing, and the Ricketts family officially took control of the team on October 27.



The Cubs' flagship radio station is WGN-AMmarker, 720 AM. With the recent end of the Pittsburgh Pirates' run on KDKAmarker, this may now be the longest team-to-station relationship in MLB. Pat Hughes does the play-by-play along with color commentator Ron Santo and pre- and post-game host Judd Sirott. Hughes did play by play for the Milwaukee Brewers prior to coming to Chicago, and Santo, a former Cubs star and a devout fan of the team (Hughes introduces Santo as "Cub legend Ron Santo" on a daily basis), is known for his emotional highs and lows during games. One example of a "low" was his "Noooo! Noooo!" when Brant Brown dropped a fly ball in a key game in 1998. A "high" for Santo was upon the retirement of his number on the last day of the 2003 season, in which he declared his #10 flag to be "my Hall of Fame." Because Santo is a type 1 diabetic who has lost both his legs to the disease, most sponsors of the radio program center their promotions around the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and other diabetes-based charities. The Chicago Cubs Radio Network consists of 45 stations and covers at least eleven states. WGN Radio is owned and operated by Tribune Company.


Cubs telecasts are split three ways: WGN (both the local stationmarker and the superstation), WCIUmarker (a local independent station), and CSN Chicago (with some games, often Wednesday night contests, aired on the supplemental channel CSN+). Len Kasper is the play-by-play announcer, and Bob Brenly, a former major league catcher and Arizona Diamondbacks manager, is the color commentator for the games. WGN also produces the games shown on WCIU; for those games, the score bug changes the "WGN" logo to "CubsNet." WCIU games additionally air over MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYS-LP (Channel 69) in the South Bend, Indianamarker market. WGN and CSN Chicago generally show an even number of Cubs games, while WCIU averages about 8 games per season.


In addition to The Chicago Tribune itself, the club also produces its own print media; the Cubs' official magazine Vineline, which has twelve annual issues, is in its third decade, and spotlights players and events involving the club.

Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray

Two broadcasters in particular have made their mark on the team. Jack Brickhouse manned the Cubs radio and especially the TV booth for parts of five decades, the 34-season span from 1948 to 1981. He covered the games with a level of enthusiasm that often seemed unjustified by the team's poor performance on the field for many of those years. His trademark call "Hey Hey!" always followed a home run. That expression is spelled out in large letters vertically on both foul pole screens at Wrigley Field. "Whoo-boy!" and "Wheeee!" and "Oh, brother!" were among his other pet expressions. When he approached retirement age, he personally recommended his successor.

Harry Caray's stamp on the team is perhaps even deeper than that of Brickhouse, although his 17-year tenure, from 1982 to 1997, was half as long. First, Caray had already become a well-known Chicago figure by broadcasting White Sox games for a decade, after having been a Cardinals icon for 25 years. Caray also had the benefit of being in the booth during the NL East title run in 1984, which was widely seen due to WGN's status as a cable-TV superstation. His trademark call of "Holy Cow!" and his enthusiastic singing of "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch (as he had done with the White Sox) made Caray a fan favorite both locally and nationally. Harry occasionally had problems pronouncing names, to comic effect, such as his attempt at saying "Hector Villanueva" which was captured on WGN's memorial CD to Harry. He also continued his long-standing bit (dating back to the Cardinals years) of pronouncing names backwards. Caray had lively discussions with commentator Steve Stone, who was hand-picked by Harry himself, and producer Arne Harris. Caray often playfully quarreled with Stone over Stone's cigar and why Stone was single, while Stone would counter with poking fun at Harry being "under the influence." Stone disclosed in his book "Where's Harry" that most of this "arguing" was staged, and usually a ploy developed by Harry himself to add flavor to the broadcast. Additionally, Harry once did a commercial for Budweiser, dressed as a "Blues Brother" and parodying "Soul Man", singing "I'm a Cub fan, I'm a Bud man," while dancing with models dressed as Cubs ball girls.

The Cubs still have a "guest conductor," usually a celebrity, lead the crowd in singing "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch to honor Caray's memory. The quality of their renditions and ability to sing in tune vary widely. Chicago icons often return annually, such as former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who tends to sing the song very fast and worse than awful. Caray is also honored with a statue located at the corner of Sheffield and Addison streets, and during the 1998 season, a patch with Caray's caricature and Brickhouse's trademark "Hey Hey" were worn on the players sleeves to honor the passing of both commentators within a span of a few months. Harry's popularity also led to his grandson Chip Caray joining the broadcast team in winter of 1997, shortly before Harry's death. Chip Caray worked the Cubs games alongside Stone until events that unfolded in 2004, when Stone became increasingly critical of management and players toward season's end. At one point, reliever Kent Mercker phoned the booth during a game and told Stone to "keep out of team business." Stone left the team, taking a position with Chicago-based WSCRmarker, and is now an announcer for the south side team, the Chicago White Sox. Chip Caray also left, joining his father Skip Caray (who would die in 2008) on TBS, providing play-by-play for the Atlanta Braves.

Memorable events and records

Merkle's "Boner"

September 23, 1908, the Cubs and New York Giants were involved in a tight pennant race. The two clubs were tied in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Polo Groundsmarker, and N.Y. had runners on first and third and two outs when Al Bridwell singled, scoring Moose McCormick from third with the Giants' apparent winning run, but the runner on first base, rookie Fred Merkle, went half way to second and then sprinted to the clubhouse after McCormick touched home plate. As fans swarmed the field, Cub infielder Johnny Evers retrieved the ball and touched second. Since there were 2 outs, a forceout was called at second base, ending the inning and the game. Because of the tie the Giants and Cubs ended up tied for first place. The Giants lost the ensuing one-game playoff and the Cubs went on to the World Series.

The Homer in the Gloamin'

On September 28, 1938, with the Cubs and Pirates tied at 5, Gabby Hartnett stepped to the plate in a lightless Wrigley Field that was gradually being overcome by darkness and visibility was becoming difficult. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the umpires ready to end the game, Hartnett launched Pirate hurler Mace Brown's offering into the gloom and haze. This would be remembered as his "Homer in the Gloamin."

Rick Monday and the U.S. Flag

April 25, 1976, at Dodger Stadium, two protestors ran into the outfield and tried to set fire to a U.S. Flag. When Cubs outfielder Rick Monday noticed the flag on the ground and the men fumbling with matches and lighter fluid, he dashed over and snatched the flag to thunderous applause. When he came up to bat in the next half-inning, he got a standing ovation from the crowd and the stadium titantron flashed the message, "RICK MONDAY... YOU MADE A GREAT PLAY..." Monday later said, "If you're going to burn the flag, don't do it around me. I've been to too many veterans' hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it."

The Sandberg game

On June 23, 1984, Chicago trailed St. Louis 9–8 in the bottom of the ninth on NBC's Game of the Week when Ryne Sandberg, known mostly for his glove, slugged a game-tying home run off ace closer Bruce Sutter. Despite this, the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the tenth. Sandberg came up again facing Sutter with one man on base, and hit yet another game tying home run, and Ryno became a household name. The Cubs won what has become known as "The Sandberg Game" in the 11th inning.

10,000th win

The organization commemorating 10,000 wins
April 23, 2008, against the Colorado Rockies, the Cubs recorded the 10,000th regular-season win in their franchise's history dating back to the beginning of the National League in 1876. The Cubs reached the milestone with an overall National League record of 10,000 wins and 9,465 losses. Chicago is only the second club in Major League Baseball history to attain this milestone, the first having been the San Francisco Giants in mid-season 2005. The Cubs, however, hold the mark for victories for a team in a single city. The Chicago club's 77–77 record in the National Association (1871, 1874–1875) is not included in MLB record keeping. Post-season series are also not included in the totals. To honor the milestone, the Cubs flew an extra white flag displaying "10,000" in blue, along with the customary "W" flag.

Tape-measure home runs

On May 11, 2000, Glenallen Hill, facing Brewers starter Steve Woodard, became the first, and thus far only player, to hit a pitched ball onto the roof of a five-story residential building across Waveland Ave, beyond Wrigley Field's left field wall. The shot was estimated at well over , but the Cubs fell to Milwaukee 12–8.

No batted ball has ever hit the center field scoreboard in Wrigley Field, although the original "Slammin' Sammy", golfer Sam Snead, hit it with a golf ball in an exhibition in the 1950s. In 1948, Bill Nicholson barely missed the scoreboard when he launched a home run ball onto Sheffield Avenue and in 1959, Roberto Clemente came even closer with a home run ball hit onto Waveland Avenue. In 2001, a Sammy Sosa homer landed across Waveland and bounced a block down Kenmore Avenue. Dave Kingman hit a shot in 1978 that hit the third porch roof on the east side of Kenmore, which was estimated at , and is regarded as the longest home run in Wrigley Field history.


Cubbie-Bear mascot

The official Cub mascot is a young bear cub, which has gone through various transformations through the years. The Cubs have no official physical mascot, though a man in a 'polar bear' looking outfit, called "The Beeman" (or Bearman, B-man), which was not very popular with the fans, was employed by the club briefly in the early 1990s.

"White flag time at Wrigley!"

The term "White flag time at Wrigley!", coined by former play-by-play broadcaster Chip Caray, means the Cubs have won.

Beginning in the days of P.K. Wrigley and the 1937 bleacher/scoreboard reconstruction, and prior to modern media saturation, a flag with either a "W" or an "L" has flown from atop the scoreboard masthead, indicating the day's result(s) when baseball was played at Wrigley. In case of a doubleheader that results in a split, both the "win" and "loss" flags are flown.

Past Cubs media guides show that originally the flags were blue with a white "W" and white with a blue "L". In 1978, consistent with the dominant colors of the flags, blue and white lights were mounted atop the scoreboard, denoting "win" and "loss" respectively for the benefit of nighttime passers-by.

The flags were replaced by 1990, the first year in which the Cubs media guide reports the switch to the now familiar colors of the flags: White with blue "W" and blue with white "L". In addition to needing to replace the worn-out flags, by then the retired numbers of Banks and Williams were flying on the foul poles, as white with blue numbers; so the "good" flag was switched to match that scheme.

This long-established tradition has evolved to fans carrying the white-with-blue-W flags to both home and away games, and displaying them after a Cub win. The flags have become more and more popular each season since 1998, and are now even sold as T-shirts with the same layout. In 2009, the tradition spilled over to the NHL as Chicago Blackhawks fans adopted a red and black "W" flag of their own.

Wrigley Field and Wrigleyville

The Cubs have played their home games at Wrigley Field, also known as "The Friendly Confines" since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Whales, a Federal League baseball team. The Cubs also shared the park with the Chicago Bears of the NFL for 50 years. The ballpark includes a manual scoreboard, ivy-covered brick walls, and relatively small dimensions.
Some fans celebrate the 2003 NLDS win over Atlanta in Wrigleyville.

Located in Chicago's Lakeviewmarker neighborhood, Wrigley Field sits on an irregular block bounded by Clark and Addison Streets and Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. The area surrounding the ballpark is typically referred to as Wrigleyville. There is a dense collection of sportsbars and restaurants in the area, most with baseball inspired themes, including Harry Caray's, Murphy's Bleachers, and Sluggers. On game days, many residents rent out their yards and driveways during games to people looking for a parking spot. Though many Wrigleyville homeowners have seen their property values skyrocket, most, along with Mayor Richard M. Daley, still oppose the team's quest to play more night games and stadium expansion. Average attendance at games has also skyrocketed, as annual ticket sales have more than doubled, with attendance rising from 1.4 million in 1983 to nearly 3.2 million in 2004.

Bleacher Bums

The "Bleacher Bums" is a name given to fans, many of whom spend much of the day heckling, who sit in the bleacher section at Wrigley Field. Initially, the group was called "bums" because it referred to a group of fans who were at most games, and since those games were all day games, it was assumed they did not work. Many of those fans were, and are still, students at Chicago colleges, such as DePaul Universitymarker, Loyolamarker, and Illinois-Chicagomarker. A Broadway play, starring Joe Mantegna, Dennis Farina, Dennis Franz, and Jim Belushi ran for years and was based on a group of Cub fans who frequented the club's games. The group was started in 1967 by dedicated fan Ron Grousl and "mad bugler" Mike Murphy, who is currently a sports radio host mid days on Chicago-based WSCRmarker AM 670 "The Score". Murphy alleges that Grousl started the Wrigley tradition of throwing back opposing teams' home run balls. The current group is headed by Derek Schaul. More recently, the bleachers have had the stereotype of being populated by attractive and lightly dressed women. Prior to the 2006 season, they were updated, with new shops and private bar (The Batter's Eye) being added, and Bud Light bought naming rights to the bleacher section, dubbing them the Bud Light Bleachers. Bleachers at Wrigley are general admission.


During the summer of 1969, a Chicago studio group produced a single record called "Hey Hey! Holy Mackerel! (The Cubs Song)" whose title and lyrics incorporated the catch-phrases of the respective TV and radio announcers for the Cubs, Jack Brickhouse and Vince Lloyd. Several members of the Cubs recorded an album called Cub Power which contained a cover of the song. The song received a good deal of local airplay that summer, associating it very strongly with that bittersweet season. It was played much less frequently thereafter, although it remained an unofficial Cubs theme song for some years after.

For many years, Cubs radio broadcasts started with "It's a Beautiful Day for a Ball Game" by the Harry Simeone Chorale. In 1979, Roger Bain released a 45 rpm record of his song "Thanks Mr. Banks," to honor “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks.

The song "Go, Cubs, Go!" by Steve Goodman was recorded early in the 1984 season, and was heard frequently during that season. Goodman died in September of that year, four days before the Cubs clinched the National League Eastern Division title, their first title in 39 years. Since 1984, the song started being played from time to time at Wrigley Fieldmarker; since 2007, the song has been played over the loudspeakers following each Cubs home victory.

In 2007, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder composed a song dedicated to the team called "All the Way". Vedder, a Chicago native, and lifelong Cubs fan, composed the song at the request of Ernie Banks.Pearl Jam has only played this song live one time, on August 2, 2007 at the Vic Theater in Chicago, IL.

Eddie Vedder has played this song live twice, at his solo shows at the Chicago Auditorium on August 21 and 22, 2008.

An album entitled Take Me Out to a Cubs Game was released in 2008. It is a collection of 17 songs and other recordings related to the team, including Harry Caray's final performance of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" on September 21, 1997, the Steve Goodman song mentioned above, and a newly-recorded rendition of "Talkin' Baseball" (subtitled "Baseball and the Cubs") by Terry Cashman. The album was produced in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Cubs' 1908 World Series victory and contains sounds and songs of the Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Championship drought

The Cubs were as few as 5 outs from the World Series in 2003

The Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series championship since 1908 and have not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1945, although between their postseason appearance in 1984 and their most recent in 2008, they have made the postseason a respectable six times. It is the longest title drought in all four of the major American professional sports leagues, which includes the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL, as well as, of course, Major League Baseball. In fact, the Cubs' last World Series title occurred before those other three leagues even existed, and even the Cubs' last World Series appearance predates the founding of the NBA. The Cubs' 3–2 series victory over the Atlanta Braves in the 2003 NLDS was the franchise's first postseason series win since the 1908 championship.

Current roster

Minor league affiliations

Spring training history

The Cubs spring training facility is located in Mesa, Arizonamarker, where they play in the Cactus League. The club plays its games at HoHoKam Parkmarker, Dwight Patterson Field. "HoHoKam" is literally translated from Native American as "those who vanished." The park seats just under 13,567, and the Cubs annually sell out most of their games both at home and on the road. The Northsiders have called Mesa their spring home for most seasons since 1952. In addition to Mesa, the club has held spring training in Champaign, Illinoismarker (1901–02, 1906); Los Angeles (1903–04, 1948–1949), Santa Monica, Californiamarker (1905); New Orleans (1907, 1911–1912); Vicksburg, Miss. (1908); Hot Springs, Arkansasmarker (1909–1910); Tampa (1913–1916); Pasadena, Cal. (1917–1921); Santa Catalina Island, Californiamarker (1922–1942, 1946–1947, 1950–1951); French Lick, Indianamarker (1943–1945); Mesa (1952–1965, 1979–present); Long Beach, Californiamarker (1966); and Scottsdale, Arizonamarker (1967–1978).

The curious location on Catalina Island stemmed from Cubs owner William Wrigley Jr.'s then-majority interest in the island in 1919. Wrigley constructed a ballpark on the island to house the Cubs in spring training: it was built to the same dimensions as Wrigley Field. (The ballpark is long gone, but a clubhouse built by Wrigley to house the Cubs exists as the Catalina County Club.) However by 1951 the team chose to leave Catalina Island and spring training was shifted to Mesa, Arizona.

The current location in Mesa is actually the second HoHoKam Park; the first was built in 1976 as the spring-training home of the Oakland Athletics who left the park in 1979. Apart from HoHoKam Park the Cubs also have another Mesa training facility called Fitch Park, this complex provides of team facilities, including major league clubhouse, four practice fields, one practice infield, enclosed batting tunnels, batting cages, a maintenance facility, and administrative offices for the Cubs.

The practice of teams traveling for organized spring training practice games and drills is almost as old as baseball itself. One of the earliest recorded spring training camps took place in 1870, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) held organized baseball camps in New Orleans.

Season-by-season results

See also

References and notes

  1. " 2001 Chicago Cubs Statistics and Roster", Retrieved on June 11, 2008.
  2. Muscat, Carrie, Cubs complete blockbuster with Soriano,, Retrieved on July 18, 2007
  3. " Lou Piniella Bio",, Retrieved on July 18, 2007
  4. Chicago Tribune Sec. 1 Page 1 01/08/2009
  5. Sullivan, Paul. Cubs sale to Ricketts is complete, Chicago Tribune. Published October 27, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
  7. Excerpt from Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs, Google Books
  8. WSCR's Murphy and Cubs ball-throwing
  9. Spring Training Online History

Further reading

External links

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