2000’s Week: Cubs back-to-back division champs
In 2008, the Cubs clinched the division in back-to-back years for the first time in 100 years. Tune-in as 2000’s Week continues right now on Marquee Sports Network.
Sept. 20, 2008: Cubs clinch back-to-back division titles for first time in 100 years
We will not let a century in the making story get ruined by the fact that the Cubs did very little with a well-earned division championship in 2008. On Sept. 20th, the Cubs clinched their first back-to-back first place finishes in 100 years.
By defeating the St Louis Cardinals 5-4, Lou Pinella’s team had made good on a run at a postseason for the second straight year after getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS. This time was different.
Or so they thought.
Not since the World Series-winning clubs of 1907-08 had the franchise looked so convincing going into the playoffs. They faced Joe Torre’s Los Angeles Dodgers, who were underdogs coming into the NLDS. The Cubs had the best record in the National League, winning 97 games.
The North Siders sent 8 players to the All-Star game at old Yankee Stadium. They never trailed in the NL Central after May 26th and won the division by 7.5 games.
Pinella was named NL manager of the year and catcher Geovany Soto took home the NL Rookie of the Year. But again, a playoff meltdown found the Cubs getting swept for the second straight postseason.
But we digress, as the 41,597 in attendance for the division clincher enjoyed watching Ted Lilly win his 16th game and Kerry Wood notch his 32nd save on a Saturday afternoon start.
Chicago beat up Cards starter Joel Pineiro with a 3-run 2nd inning and 2 more in the fourth. Lilly went 7, allowing a 4-run 6th inning (the damage was mostly done via a Troy Glaus 3-run homer) as Carlos Marmol and Wood cleaned it up from there. It was on to the NLDS for yet another huge disappointment but on this day, it was all balloons and seashells for the Cubs and their fans.
Did you know?
- In 2008, the Cubs set an all-time attendance mark of 3,300,200 people going through the turnstiles. That is still the highest single-season attendance in franchise history (99 percent capacity).
- A movie ticket was $7.
- The U.S. economy faced the worst financial crisis since the depression of 1929 (sound familiar?).
- Barack Obama became the first African-American president.
- The most popular TV shows were “American Idol,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Click here to see the full schedule of 2000’s Week, presented by Prevagen on Marquee Sports Network.
Bruce Levine is a contributor to Marquee Sports Network and a baseball analyst for 670 The Score.