Cubs in the World Series: Then and Now

Sarah Schulte Image
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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In 1945, a World Series ticket in the upper grandstand cost $6 and an extra $1.20 for a box seat.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Most people don't remember the last time the Cubs won a World Series; most don't even remember the last time they made it to a World Series. Times have changed.

When the 1908 Chicago Cubs were World Series champs Teddy Roosevelt was president, the average life expectancy was 47 years, only 8 percent of American homes had a television and if you wanted to see the Cubs' Tinkers, Evers and Chance play in the championship game it was going to set you back $1.20 per ticket.

"If you translate that to 2016 dollars, it's about $40. By our standards, a really good deal. I would go to a World Series game for $40," said Peter Alter, Chicago History Museum.

By 1945 prices had gone up. A World Series ticket in the upper grandstand cost $6, an extra $1.20 for a box seat and free for people in the service. World War II had just ended, Harry Truman was president, it was a decade away before Chicago would see a Daley as mayor and two years before Jackie Robinson made his major league debut. That means Dexter Fowler will be the first African American Cubs player to start in a World Series.

Unlike this year or 1945, in 1908 the Cubs also didn't play on the North Side. They actually played on the South Side at a park called West Side Grounds, which is now the home of UIC Hospital.

It took 12 innings for the Cubs to win in 1908, at the time making it the longest World Series game on record at 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is considered a very fast game today. And because the sport didn't pay much, baseball was a second job for players in '08 and '45.

"They were carpenters, electricians," Alter said.

Fans were also much different back then. Mostly men filled the stands and no one was decked out in Cubby Blue.

"There were souvenirs that had the team logon on them, but it wasn't something you'd wear, you didn't wear a ball cap, Alter said.

Other things have changed since the last time the Cubs appeared in a World Series. In 1908 baseball was still segregated, women didn't have the right to vote and the modern zipper hadn't been invented. In 1945 things that didn't exist include the NBA, color television, microwaves, credit cards, diet soda, international air travel and Velcro.