By Nathan Easington, Contributing Writer
The last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series was over a century ago. No other professional sports team that won a national title has gone that long without winning another championship. While their return to the World Series is one of the most electrifying events to happen in Chicago in years, there is another matter that is historically important for the Cubs.
On October 25, Carl Edwards, Aroldis Chapman, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler took the field as the first African-American Chicago Cubs to play in the World Series in Cleveland. All of the players have key roles on the team from pitching to playing the outfield.
Although the Cubs haven’t won the Series in over 108 years, they did make it to the Series back in 1945. During that time, Blacks were not allowed to play Major League Baseball (Jackie Robinson did not start playing for the Dodgers until 1947).
Fowler was the first of the players to take the field that Tuesday, being the Cubs leadoff hitter.
“It’s awesome to be the pioneer, the very first one,” Fowler said in an interview with USA Today. “It’s great just being here in the World Series, but to add that aspect of it definitely makes it that much better.”
Last season, Fowler became a free-agent. The Cubs were prepared to replace Fowler, knowing he had options. Despite rumors that Fowler signed to the Baltimore Orioles, he returned to the Cubs, signing a one-year $13 million contract.
“At the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be,” Fowler said.
The Cubs organization created a stigma and history being their team being unsuccessful in making it to the World Series. There was the “goat” curse back in 1945 and the Steve Bartman fiasco in 2003, causing the Cubs to lose to the Marlins following three games in the National League semi-finals. However, one curse the team was able to avoid was being the only MLB team to not have had Black players present in the World Series.
The Cubs may have made history for being the only team without a title for over a century, but this year, they made making history for fielding their first players of color in the World Series.