Breaking the World Series Curses on the Red Sox and Cubs

In 1901, the Boston Americans was established as an original franchise of the newly formed American League. The Boston Americans became the Boston Red Sox in 1908. In 1900, the Chicago Orphans became a new franchise in the National League. In 1907, the Orphans became the Chicago Cubs. Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox, was opened in 1912 and Wrigley Field, the home of the Cubs, was opened in 1914. Yes, they are the two oldest ballparks by far in baseball. The third oldest park is Dodger Stadium which opened in 1962.

The 1908 World Series (WS) matched the Chicago Cubs against the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs won in five games for their second consecutive WS title. However, as I explained in a previous blog the only reason the Cubs were in the WS was because of the Giants’ Fred Merkle’s infamous bonehead play when he failed to touch second base as the Giants’ winning run crossed home-plate forcing the Cubs and Giants into a one-game end-of-season playoff game won by the Cubs. 1918 also marked the last time the Cubs won a WS. The Cubs were WS losers in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, and 1945. It was said that the mistreatment of Merkle by Cub fans and writers led to the “Curse of Merkle” being placed on the Cubs. Through the 2014 season, the Chicago Cubs are still waiting to win their next World Series since 1908.

The 1918 WS featured the Boston Red Sox who defeated the Chicago Cubs 4 games to 2. The Series victory for the Red Sox was their fifth in five tries, going back to their first WS win in 1903. The 1918 WS was indeed a unique one. It was the last WS in which there was no home runs hit. It also marked the first time that “The Star Spangled Banner” was performed at a major league game. It took 86 years for the Red Sox, who had won the American League but lost the WS in 1946, 1947, 1967, 1975, and 1986, to finally win the World Series in 2004 and then win again in 2007 and 2013. The 86-year-old drought was often attributed to the “Curse of the Bambino”, allegeable brought about by the Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.

There is a baseball executive connected with both franchises that one can say was principally responsible for ending the Red Sox Curse in 2004 and possibly ending the Chicago Cub Curse in 2015. He is the 41-year old Theo Epstein, currently the head of Baseball Operations for the Cubs.

Epstein became the youngest GM (at the age of 28) when he was hired as the new GM of the Red Sox at the end of the 2002 season. He is credited with making several key acquisitions, including David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, and Curt Schilling, during his first tenure as Red Sox GM. These players were regarded as instrumental in breaking the “Curse of the Bambino”” when the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in the 2004 WS.

On October 12, 2011, Epstein agreed to a five-year contract to be the new President of the Cubs. During the first three years of Epstein’s presidency, the Cubs finished each season in last place in the National League Central. At the end of Epstein’s fourth year in 2015 the Cubs finished the regular season in third place in the National League Central while clinching a Wild Card berth into the postseason. It was the first time since 2008 that the Cubs have made it to the postseason. On October 13, 2015 the Cubs won the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals and advanced to the National League Championship Series, marking the first time the Cubs won a postseason series at Wrigley Field.

Epstein has used trades such as acquiring Jake Arrieta, drafting such players as Kris Bryant, and signing such free-agents as Jon Lester to build the 2015 Cubs into what I believe is the best team in the 2015 playoffs.

Yes, the Cubs are my choice to win the 2015 WS and break their 108 year-old curse.

Original Comments:

stanley rothamn said…

Just saw your comment It is now 2 to 1 but I still think the better team will win So it will be KC. I saw your WS picture you will have to tell me all about your experience.

October 31, 2015 03:58:14


Matt R said…

Dr Stan: Your prediction did not prove true, but I would not be surprised to see the Cubs finally break the curse within the next couple of years. They certainly have built a great foundation. And with the Mets now down 2-0 in the WS, curious to hear if you think they have a chance to comeback against the Royals? — MKR

October 29, 2015 08:33:02

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