Get to know the Cubs for HRDX

May 24th, 2022

It’s hard to talk about Major League Baseball without talking about the Chicago Cubs. One of the founding members of the National League, the Cubs have been National League royalty for more than 100 years, and have a fervent and dedicated fan base.

The Cubs are one of the four teams competing in this summer’s FTX MLB Run Derby X, a home run derby with some brand new rules and twists. As we prepare for the Cubs to compete in HRDX starting on July 9, here is what you need to know about the franchise.

Franchise history

The Cubs started in 1876 as the Chicago White Stockings and were also named the Colts (1890-1897) and Orphans (1898-1902) before becoming the Cubs in 1903. They also had an alleged curse hanging over their heads for more than 70 years. The start of the curse came during the 1945 World Series when, during Game 4, Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis put a curse on the Cubs after he and his pet goat were forced to leave Wrigley Field. The Cubs lost the 1945 World Series and didn’t play in another World Series until they won it all in 2016.

In total, the Cubs have won 17 National League pennants. They competed in the National League’s East Division from 1969 to 1993 before joining the Central Division in 1994, where they’ve stayed since.

World Series titles: 3
Years: 1907, 1908, 2016

After winning a still record 116 games (matched by the 2001 Mariners) in 1906 (but losing in the World Series), the Cubs broke through in 1907, sweeping the Detroit Tigers to earn their first championship before beating the Tigers again in five games in 1908.

And then came 108 years without a championship win, the longest such streak in North American professional sports. Prior to their 2016 World Series win, the closest the Cubs came to winning it all was in 2003, when, with the Cubs leading Game 6 of the NLCS, 3-0, over the Marlins and just five outs away from clinching the pennant, fan Steve Bartman reached over the railing to steal a foul ball away from Moisés Alou. The Marlins ultimately rallied to take Game 6, and the Cubs never recovered, dropping the series against the Marlins in seven games.

That streak mercifully came to an end in 2016 when the Cubs came back from a 3-1 series deficit to topple Cleveland in the Fall Classic.

Five iconic players

Ernie Banks, SS, 1953-1971: There’s a reason Banks’ nickname was Mr. Cub. The two-time MVP joined the Cubs in 1953 (becoming the first Black player in club history) and never looked back. In his time in the North Side, Banks tallied 14 All-Star nods, two MVPs and a Gold Glove.

Ryne Sandberg, 2B, 1981-1997: Sandberg broke onto the scene in a nationally televised game on June 23, 1984, when he slugged home runs in the ninth and tenth innings vs. the rival Cardinals off Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter in what became known as the “Sandberg Game.” The second baseman won the MVP that year, catapulting a career that included 10 All-Star Games and eventually, enshrinement in Cooperstown.

Fergie Jenkins, RHP, 1966-1973; 1982-1983: The first Canadian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Jenkins is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history. Jenkins won the Cy Young in 1971 by going 24-13 with a 2.77 ERA in an MLB-leading 325 innings with 30 complete games.

Cap Anson, 1B, 1871-1897: The franchise leader in WAR is also one of its first players. Anson joined what were then the White Stockings for their inaugural season and quickly became baseball’s first superstar while also serving as Chicago’s manager. Anson's story has a dark side, as well, for he was instrumental in establishing and enforcing racial segregation in baseball.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, 2012-2021: While the Cubs traded Rizzo to the Yankees last season, Rizzo’s name will forever be etched in Cubs lore. A three-time All Star, Rizzo’s best year came in 2016 when he mashed 32 home runs and drove in 109 runs before batting .360 in the 2016 World Series.

Biggest current star: Kyle Hendricks

One of the two players left from the Cubs’ 2016 team, Hendricks has been one of the steadiest pitchers in baseball over the past decade. His best year came in 2016 when went 16-8 and led all of baseball with a 2.13 ERA. This year, he’s 2-3 with a 4.01 ERA in 43 innings.


A 13-year MLB veteran, Geo Soto burst onto the baseball scene in 2008 when he earned Rookie of the Year after slugging 23 home runs and driving in 86 while slashing .285/.364/.504. That year, Soto also caught Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter, an impressive feat for a rookie backstop. 

Soto spent eight years with the Cubs before spending time with Rangers, White Sox, Angels and A’s.

Biggest rival: Cardinals

There are few rivalries in sports that burn hotter than the Route 66 rivalry. Since their first meeting in 1892, these two clubs have been bitter rivals, and have stayed in the same division since the National League split into divisions in 1969. 

While the Cardinals hold a better head-to-head record and have more World Series wins, the Cubs have enjoyed more recent success, as they beat the Cardinals 3-1 in the 2015 National League Division Series (their only postseason matchup) and have the most recent World Series title between the two.

Ballpark: Wrigley Field

It’s only right that one of baseball’s most storied franchises plays in a stadium that’s just as revered. Wrigley Field first opened as Weeghman Park in 1914 before eventually being named Wrigley Field in 1927.

The 41,649 seat stadium is filled with iconic baseball landmarks ranging from the ivy-covered brick outfield wall to the hand-turned scoreboard and red marque over the main entrance. Fun fact: it was also the last Major League park to have lights installed, which didn’t happen until 1988.


Not much has changed on the Cubs uniforms over the past 70 years, and for good reasons. The Cubs red “C” logo is one of the most iconic in sports, and somehow looks even better when paired with their home pinstripe uniforms. The team wears gray uniforms on the road (along with having dark blue alternate jerseys) and last year introduced their Nike City Connect jerseys, which feature the word “Wrigleyville” on the front; an ode to the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field.