While most Chicago Cubs fans are justifiably still basking in the glow of the club’s long-awaited 2016 World Series title, their angst won’t soon be forgotten. Earmarked by the refusal of a Billy Goat’s attendance, an epic 1969 collapse, Leon Durham’s untimely miscue and, of course, Steve Bartman’s ill-advised quest for a foul ball, a drought of 108 years was well documented and downright agonizing for anyone who frequented the ivy-accented facility. For all remaining Cub fans, it was hard – impossible – to imagine that in the first decade of World Series play, there was no team as dominant as the Chicago Cubs. The first to win successive Fall Classic titles, the first to win multiple crowns, the first to win three straight pennants and the first to win four pennants were all lofty claims on Chicago’s North Side, where this 1908 World Series program pre-dates Wrigley Field and the infamous “curse.”
Issued at West Side grounds on October 12, 1908, this World Series program is the lone known example from Game 3 of a Fall Classic that marked the Cubs’ final October conquest for more than a century! While decidedly fragile, the 12-page guide is complete with covers and all pages present. We note that the covers and first/last pages are separated, while the middle (6-7) and next coupling (8-9) remain attached at the center. The scorecards feature pre-printed lineups listing Frank Chance and Ty Cobb as the cleanup hitters for the Cubs and Tigers, respectively. Elsewhere in the Cubs lineup, the oft-overlooked Jimmy Sheckard is in the leadoff spot, while teammates Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker (who actually despised one another) are listed second and seventh. The grids have been marked in graphite pencil to document Detroit’s lone series victory: an 8-3 win in which 21-year-old Cobb went 4-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases, and was thrown out trying to steal home (despite his team holding a five-run lead) in the ninth inning. On the back pages, composite photos portray the Cub players. A faint vertical compacting fold (inherent to almost all stadium-issued publications of this era), a series of edge fissures and back cover paper loss can hardly detract from the rarity and value of this Cubbie blue heirloom that hails from an accomplishment that many were certain would never happen again. This item has a reserve (estimated value: $10,000 - $20,000).