Cubs win first World Series in 108 years
“Sure as God made green apples, someday, the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.”
These were the words of the late great Haray Caray’s final sign-off of the Cubs’ 1991 season broadcast.
The 2016 Chicago Cubs helped to fulfill this promise.
It had been 71 years since their last World Series appearance and 108 years since their last World Series win, but now that clock can finally be reset.
It was a series for the ages between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.
Coming back from a 3-1 series deficit by winning a tight Game 5 at Wrigley Field in Chicago and a comfortable Game 6 victory at Progressive Field in Cleveland, the Cubs were able to force the Game 7 in Cleveland.
It was a Game 7 filled with excitement, tension and emotion, as momentum shifted back and forth all night long into the midnight hour.
Things started out with a literal bang, as center fielder Dexter Fowler lead off the game with first leadoff home run in Game 7 history. From there the Cubs jumped on the Indians into the fifth inning, opening up a 5-1 lead and what seemed to be an inevitable World Series title with pitcher Jon Lester coming in for relief with the most explosive closer in the MLB Aroldis Chapman soon to follow to close things out.
But, Lester had a tough start in his appearance coming off a Game 5 start a few days prior, and the Indians were able to close the gap to 5-3.
The inning following, in the final game of his career, 39-year-old catcher David Ross extended the Cubs lead back to 6-3 with a solo shot to center. Lester returned to the mound and got into a groove for the remainder of the sixth and seventh innings.
Chapman would relieve Lester in the bottom of the eighth, and with a three-run lead and man on the mound who consistently tops out over 100 MPH with his fastball and throws a wicked slider, many were probably thinking it was time to take the Commissioner’s Trophy to the away team’s clubhouse.
The Indians, in particularly center fielder Rajai Davis, had other plans.
Following a double from left fielder Brandon Guyer that cut the lead to 6-4, Davis stepped up to the plate to face Chapman.
With a 2-2 count and facing a closing pitcher who appeared to be fatigued from his previous outings on a much quicker turn-around than usual, Davis turned into a 98 MPH fastball.
Davis pulled Chapman’s pitch just inside the left field foul post, sending Progressive Field and Game 7 into mayhem.
Things were all tied up 6-6, and Chapman had just gave up his first home run as a Cub since being traded to the team back at the end of July.
The ninth inning went by scoreless, but not uneventful, as a rain delay halted play for seventeen minutes.
In the top of the tenth the Cubs were able to get two runs across, getting the eventual game winning RBI from MVP second baseman Ben Zobrist.
The Indians did not make it easy, as their hero-of-the-night Davis notched another RBI single, his third RBI of the night.
Indians second baseman Michael Martinez came up to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but he hit a dribbler to third baseman Kris Bryant.
With an actual smile on his face, Bryant fielded the ball and threw it over to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
They did it.
After 108 years, after the supposed curses of the billy goat, the 1969 black cat, and even the unfortunate Steve Bartman, they were once again World Champs.
The MVP offered his own input post game.
“It was like a heavyweight fight, man,” said Zobrist. “Just blow for blow, everybody playing their heart out. The Indians never gave up either, and I can’t believe we’re finally standing, after 108 years, finally able to hoist the trophy.”
Fans, players and coaches almost all were in agreement on one thing.
“That … was the best game I’ve ever been a part of … and the best game I’ve ever even seen,” said Rizzo.
There were many Cubs fans that never lived to see this day come, as well as Cubs greats that were members of the organization such as Caray, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Jack Brickhouse and many others.
This one was for all of those people as well as the fans that were here to witness it.
Enjoy it Chicago.