The World Series Champions of major league baseball in the year 2016 are the Chicago Cubs without a doubt. Many loyal fans have been waiting since 1908 to see their Cubbies return to the world stage in baseball. Whether you believe in the curse or not, you have to agree that going over 100 years between championships is indeed a little strange. The team had an incredible year and went wire to wire in the NL Central division. They were the most dominant team of all the teams in the NL division.
The year before they lost the NLCS to the New York Mets but this year was their year. At the beginning of the year, they added John Lackey to the pitching rotation. They also added Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward for more offense. Their top prospect Gleyber Torres was part of a package deal that they used at the trade deadline to acquire Aroldis Chapman. Aroldis was a key reliever who became a dominant factor at the end of many important playoff games.
Theo Epstein knew that he would have success with an assortment of excellent young players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell. The starting pitcher rotation was one of the best in the entire league and was a key reason why the Chicago Cubs won this year’s World Series. They have accumulated four of the best starting pitchers in all of the baseball. Both Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester may be considered for this year’s Cy Young award winner. These two awesome pitchers finished number one and number two in ERA.
Another key reason why the Chicago Cubs are world champions is that of their bullpen. At the trade deadline, as mentioned previously, they added Aroldis Chapman, but they also added Mike Montgomery and Joe Smith. Mike Montgomery could qualify next year as a starter, but the Cubs used him wisely as a relief pitcher from the bullpen. Chapman was phenomenal as a closer and posted a remarkable 1.01 ERA.
2015 saw the Cubs offense shine but the shine did not diminish during the 2016 season. They were third in runs, 12th in homers, first in walk percentage, 10th in slugging, and second in on-base. The catalyst for the team was Dexter Fowler who made the All-Star team for his very first time. Kyle Schwarber missed most of the season with torn knee ligaments but returned for the World Series. Other key offensive players that contributed to the cause were Javier Baez and Wilson Contreras.
The last major league baseball team to rally from a 3 – 1 series deficit was the Kansas City Royals. The Kansas City Royals went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and win the World Series in 1985 after overcoming this deficit. There have been six others who have done this remarkable feat during a league championship series. However, the only other team to overcome this large of a deficit in the World Series was the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It is interesting to note that the last two teams to blow a 3 – 1 series lead were the Cleveland Indians in 2007 and the Chicago Cubs in 2003. It is also interesting to note that the Kansas City Royals are the only team in Major League baseball history to have come back twice during the same season after being down 3 – 1. In fact, including the four big sports of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey there are only two teams including the Kansas City Royals to do such a feat. The other team was the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League.
The future looks tremendous for the Chicago Cubs, and the city of Chicago can expect their Cubbies to be in next year’s playoff push as well.