The world of sports is filled with nicknames. From individuals to teams, to facilities the mere mention of a moniker summons a unique connection. Founding members of the National League in 1876, the Chicago White Stockings officially became the Cubs in 1902. They were nicknamed the North Siders in 1906 when they lost to cross-town rivals, the “Hitless Wonders”-AKA the Chicago White Sox. The Cubs would avenge that loss by winning back-to-back World Series titles in 1907 and ‘08.
For 108 seasons there after, the Chicago Cubs organization and their fans have been known by perhaps the greatest oxymoron of a nickname in sports – “The Loveable Losers.” Ask Cubs fans to describe the emotions felt during the woeful losing streak. The word love will not enter the conversation.
That all changed on November 2, 2016.
Chicago Cubs Win the 2016 World Series
After giving up a 3-1 series lead, the Cleveland Indians were in a winner take all game and positioned to end a 68-season long losing streak of their own. An anguish that could only be shared by Wrigleyville on the same night. Fitting for two teams who were both chasing the ghosts, or goats in Chicago’s case of World Series’ past.
The Cubs had led 5-1 for most of Game 7 but it’s not over until it’s over.
In the top of the sixth inning, David the “Blue Wolf” Ross added a bit of cushion with a solo home run off of Indians’ relief pitcher Andrew Miller. The catcher put the Cubs up 6-3 and made history with the dinger too. The 39-year-old became the oldest player to homer in any World Series game in over 20 years.
“It’s the Holy Grail of sports championships, right?’’ Ross reflected. “I’m a part of something special here.”
Cleveland rallied and tied it up on a two-out, two-strike, two-run shocker of a home run by Rajai Davis off flame throwing closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth. Chapman lost the lead. Chicago fans clutched obituaries and other photos of deceased loved ones they had carried to the game in hopes of sending good news to the Heavens. Then the skies opened up, and it rained. For 17 minutes both teams left the field. This team had been mettle tested throughout the playoffs going through the likes of Dodger Clayton Kershaw and Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner. Led by right fielder Jason Heyward the Cubs the team was asked to go to the well one last time in a player’s only meeting.
When the game resumed, Chicago got to work in extra innings. They pushed two runs across the plate in the 10th inning on a double by Ben Zobrist, the Series’ most valuable player, and a single by Miguel Montero. In one of the most prophetic interruptions of any game, a rainstorm ended the longest championship drought in North American history.
Game 7 – Final Out
In his post-game comments manager Joe Madden summed up his team’s season by saying it had been an “absolutely wonderful year.’’
At long last, the Chicago Cubs can be called World Series champions. Champions. No longer known as The Loveable Losers.
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