A lot has changed since 1908, a time when the terms traffic light, world war, vitamins and Wrigley Field had no meaning. Of course, one phrase that made perfect sense then jars the ears now: World Champion Chicago Cubs.
Get used to that one. The Cubs enter the MLB postseason as the deepest and most talented team in the field. The question isn’t so much whether they’ll win the World Series—it’s how could they not? And this week’s SI cover boldly proclaims the prediction that our MLB Playoff Preview, written by senior writer Tom Verducci, backs up: the Cubs will win it all.
Making the prediction was the easy part. More difficult was figuring out how to depict the idea of a Cubs championship, something fewer than two dozen living Americans could possibly remember. For inspiration we looked at how that the media covered that Chicago’s 1908 World Series win over the Tigers. We stumbled upon this: the Oct. 24, 1908 issue of Sporting Life, a national weekly devoted, as the page 1 banner declared, to “Base Ball, Trap Shooting and General Sports.” The image is fabulous, a perfect snapshot of the turn-of-the-20th-century media world—if not of the faces of those Cubs heroes.
So we decided to update the cover with current Cubs stars. Sporting Life ceased publishing in 1924, but its spirit endures, on this week’s SI cover—and in Chicago, where Cubs fans are getting ready to party like it’s 1908.
In the meantime, read about the other teams chasing history in this year's postseason.