Go Cubs! Take the World Series Too!

Photo Contribution By Bill Hickman Fan of the 2016 NL Champs The Chicago Cubs

Photo Contribution
By Bill Hickman
Fan of the 2016 NL Champs
The Chicago Cubs

Late this afternoon, the following e-mail message and the above shown 1946 Chicago Cubs Game Program and 1946 game tickets photo arrived here from Bill Hickman, a SABR colleague, digital world friend, Cubs fan, and formidable collector of baseball photos for the sake of their contributions to history.

Here’s what Bill Hickman had to say on Sunday:

Hi, (Bill McCurdy) –
 
I enjoyed your selection of Spencer Tracy to play Joe Maddon.  It was spot on. (Bill Hickman was referring to what he saw and read in our previous column, Sunday Sports Soup: 10/23/2016.)
 
Thought you might like to see what the Wrigley Field souvenir program looked like the last time the Cubs were the reigning NL Champs.  The attached is from the first major league game I attended.  My father took me to see the Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds in 1946.   I can’t tell you who won, because I don’t know the exact date of the game.
 
It’s nice to be able to say that the Cubs are the reigning NL Champs again.  It has been a long wait.
 

              Regards,

Bill Hickman
____________________

Here’s my column answer to Bill Hickman:

Thank you, Bill Hickman, and special congratulations to you on the success of the 2016 NL Champion Chicago Cubs. Did you feel that spiritual body hug and hand clasp that you no doubt received from your dad when it happened last night – or are these words helping you realize what suddenly caused that involuntary body staggering and that almost simultaneously bone-crunching sensation in your right hand as the Cubs ended the Dodgers in the 9th with a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance play that sealed their 5-0 game win and 4-2 NLCS triumph?

Put The Pecan Park Eagle and its editor in the corner of all the “other team other fans” who are hoping the Cubs now go all the way. Like you, I didn’t grow up thinking about the Cubs and Billy Goat curses – or the 1908 funny business that Johnny Evers pulled off against the Giants in the famous “Merkle Boner Game” that later became the dubious first seed of curses talk because of how that chicanery “may have mysteriously” contributed to the Cubs’ last World Series victory.

That being said, why has it taken 71 years for the Cubs to win another NL pennant? And why has it been 108 years since the Cubs won their last World Series? I think you’ve explained that one to me very well in a previous e-mail response to a recent column we wrote on the Chicago Cubs Curse business. For anyone who’s interested, here’s the link to that Cubs Curse column:

Time for the Legend to Live or Die

Any MLB club can have a bad century when ownership operates for almost the entire period on the cheap, while also trading talent like future Hall of Famer Lou Brock for pitchers like Ernie Broglio.

Here’s how Bill Hickman expressed the picture of what it was like growing up a Cubs fan on the North Side, starting as a little kid in the Post World War II Era in 1946, when his dad took him to his first game at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs entertain the Cincinnati Reds:

Here’s the view of this old Cub fan:

1. I didn’t see the 1945 World Series. No TV in our house (or most homes at the time). But I heard it on my parents’ car radio. Those were my first impressions of major league games.

2. Growing up around Chicago, I never heard about a curse. We kids simply rooted for the Cubs because we were on the north side. Not much different from all you Houston fans cheering for the Astros, despite some frustrating seasons.

3. I still don’t believe in a curse. A close examination of Cubs’ history will show ownership and management deficiencies for most of the past 70 years. Certainly during the Wrigley and Chicago Tribune ownership periods, there was a governing philosophy which wasn’t conducive to putting together the best team. Day baseball, while rival teams were playing night ball at home, may have contributed to the problem.

4. At my age, I’d be happy to see the Cubs in the World Series again, much less than aspire to win the whole shebang. Of course, it would be terrific to break the streak of not winning the Series since 1908, but even the National League Championship would be a treat.

5. “Lovable Losers” is in the eye of the beholder. To someone who has pulled for the Cubs for more than 70 years, they are simply “the Cubs.”

Bill Hickman

____________________

Any club can have a bad century when they are run on the cheap over most of the same period by people who are only capable of acquiring great talent by blind luck and leveraged low play. Once the players develop under that kind of situation, they have to be traded or lost to free agency to avoid a rising payroll. And the team never gets much better than average, if that good.

That “On The Cheap” era seems to have ended when the Thomas J. Ricketts family bought 95% full ownership pf the Chicago Cubs on 10/27/09. The Ricketts ownership then hired Red Sox wunderkind talent assessor Theo Epstein as their President of Baseball Operations on 10/12/11 and Jed Hoyer as their General Manager on 10/19/11. Once they then hired Joe Maddon as their Field Manager prior to the 2015 season the new Chicago Cubs were now “good-to-go” – and go they have done. On 10/21/15, the Cubs lost the NLCS to the New York Mets in a 4-game sweep, but they came back like a grown up bear in 2016. Their 103 2016-season wins were the highest total in MLB. – And last night, 10/22/16, the Chicago Cubs did something they haven’t they haven’t done since 1945. – They closed the day in Wrigleyville as 2016 Champions of the National League.

Congratulations again, Bill Hickman and patient Cubs fans everywhere! Here’s hoping you touch one more base in this still very much alive 2016 baseball season opportunity before all is said and mainly done.

We will cap this piece with another photo that arrived today from another friend. We had never seen it previously. It supposedly was taken in Chicago in 2016. Any ideas why the two gentlemen in the picture seem to be forcing the reluctant bear cub to take third base? It’s nice to know he finally cot there, but it did take him another 100 years to reach that big home plate he crossed last night, 10/22/2016.

Wrigley Field, 2016 Photo Contribution By Miriam Edelman

Wrigley Field, 1916
Photo Contribution
By Miriam Edelman

Forget how much time it took to reach home. He got there last night. And now there’s one more bigger home plate to be touched by Cubs feet – and often – at both Wrigley and the Cleveland park.

____________________

eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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3 Responses to “Go Cubs! Take the World Series Too!”

  1. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    BILL: –>
    here’s an interesting stat for the current World Series teams:
    the Indians fell to unassisted triple plays three times (albeit one was when the team was the Cleveland “Naps”)- AND THE “TRIBE” ALSO MADE THREE UNASSISTED TRIPLE PLAYS VS. OPPOSING TEAMS. The “Cubbies” made one unassisted triple play vs. opposing team. – it looks like the Indians might hold a record in this category?

    Callahan – ’56

  2. Anthnony Cavender Says:

    There’s a great interview with Eddie Robinson in today’s Chronicle–he played for the Indians in 1948.

  3. gregclucas Says:

    I am currently in the heart of downstate (Indiana) Cubs country. In normal times this part of the state is pretty much divided between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds with the White Sox (and the AL) only an afterthought. I am part of an affair on Saturday that will be rough. Game four of the Series is running agains it. Hope they have TVs in the Hall or we may have some no-shows from the sold out dinner! Cubs fans are coming out of the wood work!

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