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Cubs rode wild October to '08 Series

Cubs rode wild October to '08 Series

One hundred years ago, Wrigley Field didn't exist. Fans weren't singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the seventh inning yet; it was a new hit song that debuted in 1908, written by Jack Norworth.

One hundred years ago, the Cubs were riding high as the defending World Champions, having beaten the Detroit Tigers, 4-0, in the 1907 World Series. That series included one tie game, which went 12 innings and had to be called because of darkness. One hundred years ago, they didn't have night baseball.

The Cubs have been on a roller coaster ride since that '08 season, and to mark the anniversary of the last World Championship, we'll look at some of the highlights in Cubs history. It's been 100 years since the Cubs last won a World Series, but it's 100 years of hope. Baseball historian Ed Hartig did the research, and the series wraps up today with a look at how the 1908 Cubs did in October.

October 1908

The Cubs, Pirates and Giants took turns at the top of the National League standings during the final month of the season and the greatest pennant race in NL history wasn't decided until the final day.

The Cubs went 5-0 for the month and won nine of their last 10 games. The Pirates went 3-1 in October and won eight of their last nine games, but the one loss was enough to eliminate them from the pennant race. New York went 5-3 for the month, but swept a three-game series against Boston to force a replay of the game that had been called a tie after Fred Merkle neglected to retouch second base and is henceforth known as the "Merkle Game", which the Cubs won, 4-2, to capture the flag.

The American League race was just as close with Detroit finishing a half game ahead of Cleveland and 1 1/2 games in front of the White Sox.

The NL Race

Oct. 1, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Giants94-54.635 --
Cubs95-55 .6330
Pirates95-55.633 0
Oct. 1: In Cincinnati, the Cubs topped the Reds, 6-0, behind Ed Reulbach's two-hitter. It was Reulbach's fourth consecutive shutout. With the Giants splitting a doubleheader in Philadelphia, New York was in first with the Cubs and Pirates .002 behind.

Oct. 2: The Pirates swept a doubleheader from the lowly Cardinals to move into first place by .0006 ahead of New York. The Giants and Cubs, who beat the Reds, 5-0, in Cincinnati, also picked up victories.

Oct. 2, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Pirates97-55.6382 --
Giants95-54.63760.5
Cubs96-55.6360.5
Oct. 3: The Cubs pounded out 18 hits to beat the Reds, 16-2. The Cubs jumped on the Reds' pitching early, scoring six times in the first inning and added four more in both the second and third innings. Pittsburgh kept pace with a victory over St. Louis while New York's loss to the Phillies dropped them to third place.

Oct. 4: Before a crowd of 30,247, the largest crowd to see a game in Chicago to date, the Cubs beat the Pirates, 5-2. Actually, the crowd grew by one mid-game as an unidentified woman gave birth in the grandstands during the game.

Oct. 3, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Pirates98-55.641 --
Cubs97-55.6380.5
Giants95-55.6331.5
Pitcher Mordecai Brown picked up his 29th win of the season and knocked in the winning run with a single to break a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning.

The Pirates, who would have clinched the pennant with a win, were eliminated from the race with the loss. The Giants, with three games remaining, needed to sweep their upcoming series with the Boston Braves to force a replay of the "Merkle Game" with the Cubs.

Oct. 4, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Cubs98-55.641 --
Pirates98-56.6360.5
Giants95-55.6331.5
Oct. 5: The Giants beat the Braves, 8-1.

Oct. 6: New York topped Boston, 4-1.

Oct. 7: The Giants completed a sweep of the Braves to move into a first-place tie with the idle Cubs, forcing the clubs to replay the "Merkle Game" of Sept. 23.

Oct. 5, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Cubs98-55.641 --
Pirates98-56.6360.5
Giants96-55.6361.0
Oct. 8: In New York, the Cubs captured the NL pennant with a 4-2 win over the Giants before 35,000 frenzied fans at the Polo Grounds. Another 60,000 fans reportedly watched the game from Coogan's Bluff, which overlooked the park.

Cubs pitcher Jack Pfiester lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two walks, a hit batter and a double. Player/manager Frank Chance summoned Brown in relief and the right-hander limited the Giants to one run on four hits over the final 8 2/3 innings.

Oct. 6, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Cubs98-55.641 --
Giants97-55.6380.5
Pirates98-56.6360.5
The Cubs scored all their runs in the third off future Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson, sparked by a triple by Joe Tinker and a double by Frank "Wildfire" Schulte.

Regular season notes: The Cubs combined to hit .327 and averaged 7.2 runs per game over the final week of regular season play. Five regulars hit .333 or higher led by Chance (.474), Solly Hofman (.467) and Johnny Evers (.400).

Oct. 7, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Cubs98-55.641 --
Giants98-55.638--
Pirates98-56.6360.5
Four Cubs pitchers limited the opposition to only six runs and a .166 batting average in five games. Brown tossed two complete game victories and collected another win in relief.

World Series

The Cubs became the first club to win back-to-back World Series titles, knocking off Detroit in five games. Brown and Orval Overall were 2-0 as Cubs pitching limited the Tigers to a .203 average, shutting out Detroit over the final 19 innings of the series. The Cubs hit .293, paced by Chance's .421 clip. Tinker hit the only home run of the series.

Final NL standings at close of play, Oct. 8, 1908
TEAM
W- L
PCT
GB
Chicago 9955.643--
Pittsburgh9856.6361.0
New York9856.6361.0
Philadelphia8371.53916.0
Cincinnati7381.47426.0
Boston63 91.409 36.0
Brooklyn53101.344 46.0
St. Louis49105.31850.0
Game 1, Oct. 10: The Cubs defeated the Tigers, 10-6, in the opening game of the 1908 World Series, a game played in a constant rainstorm. Chicago built a 5-1 lead through seven, but Detroit stormed back to take a 6-5 lead in the eighth. Chicago responded with five runs in the top of the ninth on six hits, all singles, for the win. Hofman knocked in the go-ahead runs for the Cubs.

Game 5, Oct. 14: Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the first on singles by Evers, Schulte and Chance. It would be all the offense that Overall would need, as he struck out 10 and gave up three hits.

The Cubs so dominated the series that only 6,210 fans -- the smallest crowd in World Series history -- attended the game in Detroit.

Notes: On Oct. 1, Henry Ford introduced the Model T. ... The next day, Cleveland's Addie Joss threw a perfect game to beat Ed Walsh and the White Sox, 1-0. ... American actress and film star Carole Lombard was born Oct. 6 in Ft. Wayne, Ind. ... On Oct. 14, the Baseball Writers Association of America was formed. ... On Oct. 17, Edward Meeker's recording of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" reached the top 10 on the music charts for the first time, peaking at No. 5 before dropping off the charts in later weeks. On Oct. 24, the Haydn Quarter with Billy Murray released their own version of the song. The Murray version eventually reached No. 1 and held the top spot for seven weeks. The producers later admitted it wasn't Murray singing on the recording.

1908 World Series
DATE
GAME
SCORE
WP/LP
ATT.
Oct 10at Detroit10-6 W Mordecai Brown / Ed Summers10,812
Oct 11vs Detroit6-1 WOrval Overall (CG) / Bill Donovan (CG) 17,760
Oct 12 vs Detroit3-8 L George Mullin (CG)/ Jack Pfiester 14,543
Oct 13 at Detroit 3-0 W Mordecai Brown (CG) / Ed Summers 12,907
Oct 14 at Detroit 2-0 W Orval Overall (CG) / Bill Donovan (CG)6,210

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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