Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cleveland v. Chicago

Cleveland and Chicago, two of industrial America's great cities, have been in sports leagues together for a very long time, but have rarely played big games against each other.  The White Sox and the Indians had a close pennant race in 1920, which ended with the Indians winning the crown and the White Sox being destroyed by the 1919 scandal.  The Bears and Browns both had great moments in the 1950's and early 1960's, but somehow kept missing each other in the NFL Championship Game.  The Browns played for the title in every season from 1950 to 1955, played for it again in 1957, 1964, and 1965 -- but never met the Bears.  The Bears played for the title in 1956 and 1963 -- and missed the Browns both times.

So the only really famous match-ups between Chicago and Cleveland took place in the NBA, where the Bulls and Cavaliers have had a number of famous showdowns.  But even those contests did not decide the title.

But this year, after so many decades of circling each other, Chicago and Cleveland have met under the most dramatic circumstances possible.  The Cleveland Indians, who have not won the World Series since 1948, won the sixth pennant in their history.  Here is their history in the Series (wins in bold):

1920, 1948, 1954, 1995, 1997

Meanwhile, the Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908.  For that matter, until this year they hadn't even played in the World Series since 1945.  Here is their history in the Fall Classic (wins in bold):

1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, 1945

Perhaps no two fan bases in American sport have suffered as much as Indian and Cub fans.  But now, one of them is going to see their years of suffering come to a wonderful end -- and the other will have to like their wounds, and start all over again.  It's tough, but that's sports.

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