Chicago's sports scene hasn't always been this bleak. This week, as a reminder, we take a look back at happier days for the home teams.


There was a time when the Cubs actually had a dynasty. You have to go back to a time when cars were considered a novelty, but it did happen.

During the first decade of the 20th Century, the Cubs were a powerhouse in baseball. They won the National League pennant in 1906 and the World Series in 1907.

Then on Oct. 14, 1908, the Cubs, led by manager and first baseman Frank Chance, became the first team to win back-to-back titles, beating Detroit 2-0 in Game 5.

Who could have known it would be their last championship for the next 96 years?

Hostile pairing

The double-play combination of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance inspired the famous poem by Franklin Pierce Adams: "These are the saddest of possible words...Tinker to Evers to Chance..."

However, while they worked well together on the field, shortstop Joe Tinker and second baseman Johnny Evers hated each other. According to historian Gabriel Schechter, a researcher at the Baseball Hall of Fame, the pair had a falling out early in their career and didn't talk until they were reunited in the 1930s.

"Their overriding desire to win overcame any personal problems," Schechter said.

The infamous goof

Bill Buckner may be the symbolic goat for the current generation of baseball fans, but Fred Merkle has held the distinction for an eternity. On Sept. 23, 1908, the Cubs and New York Giants were tied 1-1 in the ninth inning. With two outs, the Giants' Al Bridwell hit a single for the apparent winning run. With fans running out onto the field, Merkle, who was on first base, never ran to second.

Evers noticed and asked for the ball so he could get a force of Merkle at second. After much confusion, the umpires eventually ruled Merkle out. Since the game couldn't continue because of the chaos, the game was ruled a tie.

"Merkle's bonehead play," as it became known, took on a life of its own when the Cubs edged the Giants and Pittsburgh by a game to win the pennant.

The Series

The Cubs faced the Tigers and Ty Cobb for the second straight year. Once again, their pitching proved to be the difference.

Holding a 2-1 lead in the series, the Cubs shut out Detroit during the final two games of the series. In Game 4, "Three-Finger" Mordecai Brown prevailed in a 3-0 victory.

Detroit fans gave up hope in Game 5. A crowd of only 6,210 fans showed up despite ideal conditions. They saw Orval Overall dominate in a 2-0 triumph.

Afterward, the Cubs celebrated with their World Series shares of $1,317.57 per player. Chance called his Cubs the greatest team he had ever seen.

What they said then