1908 Chicago Cubs

With the world in the palm of our hands, driverless cars and cross-country airline flights taking off hourly, it can be hard to imagine the world in which the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series back in 1908.

Model T

The Cubs' last World Series win is the stuff we study in history books. The turn of the century was a time when the main mode of communication was letter writing and talking to each other and most people still got from place to place on foot or horseback. Air flight was new-fangled technology that the Wright Brothers were still tinkering with.

But 108 years ago, life was definitively simpler – and shorter (average male life span in the U.S. was 49 1/2).

Cars didn't clog roads across America. Heck, there weren't even roads that crossed all corners of our great nation, and 1908 was the year Henry Ford began mass production of the Model T (price: $850).

There were only 46 states (New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii had yet to join) and the fewest people ever – 6,210 – watched the Cubs win their last World Series, a five-game victory against Detroit.

1908 World Series Souvenir

Without the year 1908, baseball would be a completely different game. It was the year the sacrifice fly became an official stat for the first time, the year that "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was written on a scrap of paper on a train ride, and the year Abner Doubleday officially got credit for inventing baseball.

As the Cubs focus on breaking the "Curse of the Billy Goat," we thought it would be fun to harken back to the days when the average hourly wage in the U.S. was just 22 cents, and women were still bound by corsets. Below is a look back at the highlights from 1908:


Hoover Hoover Vacuum Cleaner

-- James M. Spangler invented the upright portable vacuum and the Hoover Company acquired the rights to manufacture it.
-- The first New Year's Ball dropped in New York's Times Square.
-- On May 2, Mother's Day was celebrated for the first time.
-- The now ubiquitous roll of stamps was, um, rolled out.
-- A long-distance radio message was sent from the Eiffel Tower.
--The first passenger flight was flown by Frenchman Leon Delagrange on March 21 with one passenger on board – and later in the year, Thomas Selfridge became the first person ever to die in a plane crash in Fort Meyer, Virginia, with Orville Wright as his pilot.
-- The Christian Science Monitor was published.
-- The marathon made its Olympic debut at IV Games held in London.
-- The Boy Scouts were born with the publication of "Scouting for Boys" in England.


Wikipedia Estee Lauder

-- February 17: Sportscaster Red Barber
-- March 23: Actress Joan Crawford
-- April 5: Actress Bette Davis
-- April 25: Journalist Edward R. Murrow
-- May 20: Actor James Stewart
-- May 28: Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond character)
-- May 30: Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny)
-- July 1: Cosmetic magnate Estee Lauder
-- July 2: Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
-- July 8: Businessman/Politician Nelson Rockefeller
-- Aug. 27: President Lyndon B. Johnson
-- September 7: Football coach Paul Brown
-- November 12: Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun


Wikimedia Grover Cleveland

-- February 29: Pat Garrett, the sheriff known for killing Billy The Kid
-- June 24: Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th U.S. president
-- November 7: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Sports Champions

eBay 1908 Chicago Cubs

-- World Series: Cubs defeated Tigers in five games
-- Stanley Cup: Montreal Wanderers
-- Wimbledon: In an all-British men's final Arthur Gore defeated Herbert Roper-Barrett (6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4). In the women's final, Britain's Charlotte Sterry beat America's May Sutton (6-4, 6-4)
-- Kentucky Derby: Stone Street

World Events

Wikimedia The Last Emperor

-- In February, Japanese immigration to the U.S. was halted as per the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907.
-- In April, American Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole, but the claim was subsequently deemed false and later in the year American explorer Robert Peary set sail for the North Pole.
-- In October, Austria-Hungary took over Bosnia and Herzegovina with the help of Russia. Also in October, Ferdinand I of Austria declared Bulgaria an independent kingdom and appointed himself tzar.
-- China's last emperor, 2-year-old Prince Pu-Yi, ascended the throne under somewhat questionable circumstances. Seventy-nine years later, his life and reign were brought to the silver screen in "The Last Emperor," which won the Oscar for Best Picture.
-- Sitting president Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for a third term, and Republican William Howard Taft was elected the 27th president on November 3.
-- More than 70,000 people were killed in by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed Messina, Italy.