How long has it been for Tribe, Cubs? Papers tell story

October 23rd, 2016

The Cubs are playing the Indians in the World Series. Say it a few times if you still don't believe it.

Savor this Fall Classic, which actually, really, truly, sincerely does begin on Tuesday night at Progressive Field and which a decently sized portion of the baseball world has been anticipating for a looooong time. No matter who wins, history will be made and a long-suffering fan base on the north side of Chicago or the shores of Lake Erie will witness a far-too-rare title.

World Series gear:Cubs | Indians

To truly comprehend just how rare, let's hop in the hardball time machine and revisit the world the day after each team last won a Fall Classic on the front pages of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Chicago Daily Tribune.

• World Series Game 1: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET air time | 8 ET game time on FOX

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 1948: Indians Win World Title

Harry S. Truman was soon to be elected president, weeks before a newspaper would erroneously report that he had lost the 1948 election to New York governor Thomas Dewey. But on this day, there was no error in the morning daily. The Indians really did beat the Braves, 4-3, to wrap up the Series in six games. Bob Lemon got the win in the deciding game, but no player was celebrated more in Game 6 than reliever Gene Bearden, who got a key eighth-inning double-play ball to halt a Boston rally and walked away with a 1 2/3-innings save and a ring.

Several Indians-related articles adorned the front page of the paper, including the greeting for the returning heroes at Cleveland Airport and the plans for the day's parade, set for 8:30 a.m. from Union Terminal east on Euclid Avenue to University Circle "following arrival of train with Indians aboard," and expected to be "simple and swift, according to Mayor Thomas A. Burke."

Other stories on the front page depicted the percolating and ultimately unforgettable presidential election upset. In a split column of stories paralleling the campaigns, Truman, the Democratic candidate from Missouri, who had risen to the presidency following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, was fittingly placed on the left side in a story that detailed his support of FDR's New Deal. And on the right, Republican Dewey's backing of the Taft-Hartley labor management relations act was chronicled.

In a year that included the first Olympics since 1936 because of World War II, the passing of Babe Ruth, the first color newsreel, Polaroid land camera, LP record and a monkey launched into space, there was more to report that day in Cleveland's paper of record.

The Chinese government, for example, announced the previous day that it had recaptured "the important Manchurian seaport of Yingkow, its greatest victory in many weeks, but the Communists pressed fierce new offensives on two other fronts. In a related story picked up on a wire service, the White House "disclosed that $88,275,170.02 has been handed over as military aid to the Chinese central government in its fight against Communist forces in the last six months."

And there was intrigue at the Cleveland Museum of Art where, "contrary to all established custom," galleries were to remain open to the public on select weeknights "for the accommodation of art enthusiasts might not otherwise see the exhibition of masterpieces from the Berlin Museums," works that were found by "soldiers of General George S. Patton's army in a salt mine at Merkers in 1945."

Thursday, Oct. 15, 1908: Cubs Supreme in Baseball World

Forty years earlier, the world was a very different place. William Howard Taft was a few weeks away from defeating William Jennings Bryan to become the 27th U.S. president, the sports world was still abuzz about Italian long-distance runner Dorando Pietri's disqualification from the men's marathon at the Summer Olympics, the Wright brothers making their first public flights and Henry Ford's production of the first Model T automobile.

There were rampant rumors that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had been killed in Bolivia and subsequent rumors that they had survived a shootout.

But the Cubs winning the World Series? That was not rumor on that Thursday. That was fact.

The club, loaded with the legendary Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance infield and pitcher Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, won the Fall Classic in five games over the Tigers, taking the title after a 2-0 victory in Game 5 at Detroit's Bennett Park on the strength of a clinching shutout by pitcher Orval Overall.

The newspaper was effusive in its praise of the hometown nine, boasting that the "final victory over Detroit gives Chicago [the] greatest record in the history of the game," and proclaiming that "not in a thousand years has a team been compelled to fight as hard for its titles as the Chicago team."

Also of note: The Baseball Writers' Association of America was formed on the day of the Cubs' World Series triumph. Forty-three founding members started the group to improve working conditions for sportswriters. 

Other articles on the front page included a story in the top left column with the headline "Socialist Gains a Blow to Bryan" that detailed the growth of socialism and its impact on the Democratic party, and, eight years after the turn of the century, an article lower on the page heralding the spirit of innovation: "Paper Made of Corn Stalks," reads the headline. "Government Chemists Find a Substitute for Wood Pulp."