History Stories


Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians: A History Time Capsule

In honor of this historic matchup, we take a look back at what was going on in the country—and the world—the last time each of these two teams took home the title.

When the Cubs last won In 1908…

The 1908 Chicago Cubs

The 1908 Chicago Cubs (Credit: Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

A British company struck oil at Masjed Soleyman in southwestern Persia (now Iran), marking the beginning of petroleum production in the Middle East.

Controversy erupted at the Olympic Games, held in the new 68,000-seat stadium in the Shepherds Bush section of London. After the U.S. delegation noticed there was no American flag among the national flags in the stadium for the opening ceremonies, U.S. flag bearer and shot putter Ralph Rose refused to dip the American flag in respect when passing King Edward VII’s box during the athletes’ parade.

Lieutenant Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, then a cavalry officer in Great Britain, founded the first camps that would grow into the Boy Scout movement. Based on Powell’s book “Scouting for Boys,” the movement quickly spread to other countries, and by the late 20th century there were Boy Scout organizations in more than 215 nations and territories.

President Theodore Roosevelt held the White House Conservation Conference, which led to the establishment of the National Conservation Commission.

Henry Ford developed the first Model T and began selling it for $850. Though it was around one-third the price of any other car on the market, the Model T remained unaffordable to the majority of Americans. But over the next several years, Ford improved his assembly-line production and trimmed the cost to under $400 by 1916, finally making the automobile available to the masses.

The U.S. population was 88,710,000.

A bar of Hershey’s chocolate cost $0.02.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in Game 5 (at the time the championship was best of five games) to win their second consecutive World Series championship. With the win, the Cubs became the first team in major league baseball history to win back-to-back titles.

When the Indians Last Won In 1948…

The 1948 Cleveland Indians

The 1948 Cleveland Indians

In India, a Hindu extremist murdered Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi outside the Birla House in New Delhi, where the 78-year-old champion of Indian nationalism and nonviolent protest was to attend a prayer meeting.

While digging on Kenya’s Rusinga Island, the archaeologist Mary Leakey made her first important fossil discovery. The jaw and skull of a possible human ancestor, Proconsul Africanus, was determined to be between 18 and 25 million years old, and was more closely related to modern apes and monkeys than to modern humans.

When the Hollywood Ten—a group of directors, screenwriters and producers–were called in front of the House Committee’s Investigation of Un-American Activities, they refused to disclose if they were or were not Communists, and were subsequently jailed for contempt of Congress.

After the Soviet Union blockaded West Berlin in June, the United States responded with a massive airlift of food, water and medicine that would last 11 months.

The Summer Olympics took place for the first time in 12 years, again in London; the two previous Games (1940 and 1944) had been canceled due to World War II. Though German air strikes had reduced much of the city to rubble, the Games went off successfully. Germany and Japan were not invited, and the Soviet Union chose not to participate.

The U.S. population was 146,631,302.

The first Polaroid camera went on sale for $89.75.

A new car cost an average of $1,250, and a gallon of gas cost $0.16.

A movie ticket cost $0.60.

The Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Braves 7-2 in Game 6 of the World Series. The Indians had beaten the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff to capture the American League championship and spoil hopes for an all-Boston World Series.

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