The Chicago Cubs are just four years removed from a 97-win season, but the team has watched its trajectory fall in the past three years. The Cubs managed only 71 wins in 2011 and finished in fifth place in the NL Central division.
However, times could change with new leadership added after the 2011 season. The club hired former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who signed with the club onOctober 21, 2011. Just weeks later, the team fired manager Mike Quade and soon replaced him with Dale Sveum, who briefly served as interim manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008.
The Curse of the Billy Goat is Alive and Well in 2011
The Cubs have famously suffered from the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” Legend has it that the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago was thrown out of a World Series game at Wrigley Field in 1945 because his goat’s odor bothered some fans. The owner allegedly said that the Cubs would not win again, and some believe that this statement cast the curse on the team and that because of the curse, the team would not win another World Series.The Cubs last won a World Series title in 1908 and have not appeared in a World Series since 1945.
The Cubs have made the playoffs three times since 2003 only to lose all three series. In 2003, they lost a controversial game to the Florida Marlins during which a fan named Steve Bartman interfered with a ball that outfielder Moises Alou might have caught. After the Bartman incident, the Cubs lost the series in the seventh game.
The team won the NL Central in 2007 and 2008, but in the divisional series in both seasons, the Cubs were swept in three games (first by the Arizona Diamondacks and then by the Los Angeles Dodgers).
Team Records Since 2007
The Cubs have seen a decrease in wins each year since 2008. The team’s 71 wins in 2011 were their fewest since winning only 66 in 2006.
2007: 85-77 (1st in the NL Central)
2008: 97-64 (1st in the NL Central)
2009: 83-78 (2nd in the NL Central)
2010: 75-87 (5th in the NL Central)
2011: 71-91 (5th in the NL Central)
All-Stars Since 2007
The Cubs had a total of eight players on the 2008 All-Star team. Since that time, though, the team has had a combined total of three All-Stars in three seasons.
1B Derrek Lee (2007)
OF Alfonso Soriano (2007, 2008)
C Geovany Soto (2008)
OF Kosuke Fukudome (2008)
P Ryan Dempster (2008)
P Carlos Marmol (2008)
P Kerry Wood (2008)
P Carlos Zambrano (2008)
3B Amaris Ramirez (2008)
P Ted Lilly (2009)
OF Marlon Byrd (2010)
SS Starlin Castro (2011)
Reason to Celebrate
Epstein isn’t new to teams with curses. He took over as general manager of the Red Sox in 2002 at the age of 28. Two years later,Bostonwon its first World Series since 2004 and repeated the feat three years later.