Blast from the Cubs' past: May 1908
Pitching leads way to a 15-10 record and 3 1/2-game lead
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 continues today with a look at how the 1908 Cubs did in May.
The Cubs expanded their lead to 3 1/2 games with a 15-10 record in the month, while the Giants were 11-10 and the Pirates 11-12.
May 2: Orval Overall tosses a two-hitter to defeat the Cardinals, 3-2, at Chicago's West Side Grounds. Overall's performance is the first of 19 games in which Cubs pitchers toss a complete game yet are charged with three or fewer hits.
May 17: Mordecai Brown tosses a one-hit gem to beat the Dodgers, 5-0, at West Side Grounds. Brooklyn's only hit is a third inning single by Bill Bergen, who would finish the year batting .175. Brown faced only 28 batters in the win.
May 21: The Cubs raise the 1907 World Series championship banner prior to the game versus the Braves.
May 25 The Cubs finally hit their first home run of the year -- in their 28th game of the season -- as Frank "Wildfire" Schulte connects off the Giants' Christy Mathewson. The Cubs beat the Giants, 8-7, in 10 innings. The Cubs, however, drop three out of four in their first series of the year against the Giants.
National League Standings -- May 31, 1908
|NOTE: Standings are based on winning percentage and not games back, so even though Brooklyn was fewer games behind the Cardinals, they were in last based on winning percentage.|
Johnny Kling (23-for-72, .319) and Del Howard (11-for-35, .314) led the Cubs in hitting for the month. Mordecai Brown went 6-1 in May, limiting opponents to a .160 batting average for the month.
May events: Did you know Mother's Day was observed for the first time on May 10, 1908, in Philadelphia? Jimmy Stewart was born May 20, 1908, in Indiana, Pa., and the horror movie "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" premiered the next day in Chicago.
On May 28, 1908, Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series, was born in London, England, and two days later, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was born in San Francisco.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.