This past week on November 2nd the Cubs made history after winning the world series. Not a huge feat really, I mean someone does it every year. But this is the first time the Cubs have in 108 years. Many people have been joking in the last week about things that have happened since the last time the Cubs have won the world series, and there has been a lot but today I’ve decided to put together what I think are probably the top ten:
1. Pluto and everything to do with it.
First and foremost we have the planet/dwarf planet/celestial object/honestly I’ve stopped keeping track, Pluto.
The Cubs last won a world series in 1908. Pluto which used to be the ninth planet in our solar system and is still just about everyone’s favorite, was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell observatory in Flagstaff Arizona. Though astronomers had theorized about the existence of a ninth planet for decades before its discovery, and even unknowing photographed it a few times, it took Tombaugh, an amateur astronomer who came down from Kansas more or less for the heck of it, to actually recognize the tiny moving dot in his photographs as a planet.
From there Pluto got a name and a place in our solar system, winning everyone’s hearts as our smallest, coldest, and farthest planet.
In 1978 Pluto’s moon, Chiron was discovered and the two were dubbed the largest planet-moon system in our solar system due to the fact that Chiron is nearly the same size as the planet it’s orbiting. For a long time Chiron remained the only known moon of Pluto until 2005 when researching the atmosphere around Pluto in preparation for the launch of the New Horizons satellite two moons, dubbed Nix and Hydra were discovered. Later in 2011 and 2012 two more moons of Pluto were discovered using the Hubble telescope. These two were named Kerberos and Styx
But not all of Pluto’s history is so happy. In 1992 astronomers David Jewitt and Jane Luu discovered a second icy body in Pluto's neighborhood, Which lead to the discovery of another, and another and another until it was decided that these were proof of the previously theoretical Kuiper belt. This was the beginning of the downfall of Pluto. In 2005 astronomers discovered a Pluto sized object that was later named Eris floating in the Kuiper belt that caused them to question their idea of what a planet actually was. This lead to a ruling by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 to change the definition of a planet. A definition that did not include Pluto. As of then (though it should be pointed out that less than five percent of astronomers voted on what eventually became the ruling) Pluto is now a dwarf-planet, that just happens to also revolve around the sun and have five moons that we know of. But I digress.
That same year the New Horizons satellite was launched on it’s way to photograph the surface of Pluto for purposes of research, and in 2015 it took it’s first picture of the planet, shocking everyone by showing a massive heart shape on the surface. The satellite however has since moved own to explore the Kuiper belt so it can rightfully be said that the only thing to do with Pluto that hasn’t happened since the Cubs last world series is Pluto hasn’t yet made a full revolution around the sun.
2. There were two World Wars.
We all know that the world wars happened in fairly close succession to one another. But what’s less easy to think about is that both of them happened after the Cubs last world series win. That right, the world has gone to hell not once but twice since the last time the Cubs won the world series. Not to mention all the times World War III has almost happened. Interesting idea considering this suggests that the Cubs didn’t even have a chance in hell to win the world series until last week.
3. Nuclear weapons happened.
Well here’s a scary topic. Between the time of the Cubs most recent world series win and the one previous to that, humans have discovered what is probably the most destructive power in the Universe. Nuclear weaponry. It’s important to point out that the nucleus of the atom which plays a large part in today's nuclear weaponry wasn’t even discovered yet in 1908. But when it was in 1911 the theory of nuclear power immediately took off.
The power that could be derived by splitting an atom was discovered in 1939 by Lisa Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch. This lead to a stream of new developments as, like with Pluto, atomic energy became the new fad in the scientific world. Despite this, most of the research on atomic energy was theoretical, until the outbreak of World War II when both axis and allied powers turned to atomic energy for the use of destruction.
In 1942 scientists working for the U.S. government as part of what was called the Manhattan Project managed to successfully produce and control a chain reaction of nuclear fission in a laboratory at Chicago University in Illinois. The Next year, project leader Robert Oppenheimer established Los Alamos, New Mexico, the government's secret city where they could build an atomic bomb undisturbed by the outside world.
This bomb was tested on July 16 1945 at a remote location outside Alamogordo, New Mexico. The explosion was so intense that it melted the sand in range into glass. This glass was named Trinitie after the site, which was called Trinity, were it was created, and can still be seen during the two days a year it’s safe to allow visitors in (this does not have to do with radioactive fallout in the area, trinity site now sits in an active missile test range). The test was seen as successful and not a month later on August 6th the bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan killing thousands instantly and even more over time. Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki Japan bringing about the same results and ultimately ending the war.
Despite the horrific effects of the atomic bomb, many other countries went about making their own after the end of WWII. Most notably Russia developed theirs in 1949, which as the United State’s relationship with the country was already strained caused President Truman to prelaunch the nuclear program and in 1952, the U.S detonated a Hydrogen bomb on the Eniwetok atoll in the pacific. This was the world's first thermonuclear bomb, which is by the way 1000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb. Quickly after this Russia followed suit and developed their own Hydrogen bomb and by the mid 70’s seven other nations had them as well.
In short, the world has become a lot scarier place since the last time the Cubs won the world series. Luckily however no country seems to want to be the one to drop the first bomb.
4. Four states entered the union.
The last time the Cubs won the world series our great nation wasn’t complete yet. Let's look at the time line.
- The Cubs last world series win was in 1908
- New Mexico became the 47th state in the Union on January 6th 1912
- Arizona became the 48th state on February 14th that same year
- August 24th 1912 Alaska, previously a district, becomes a territory
- Alaska enters the union as the 49th state on January 3rd 1959
- Hawaii becomes the 50th state on August 21 1959
- 2012, New Mexico and Arizona celebrate their centennials
- November 2nd 2016, the Cubs finally win the world series again
So in short not only have we established four more states since the last Cubs world series, one of those states wasn’t even a territory yet and two of them have since celebrated their centennials as well as their statehood.
5. Women got the right to vote.
June 4th 1919 congress passed the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. The amendment was ratified in August the next year. Not only were women not able to vote during the Cubs last world series, women haven’t even been able to vote for the a hundred years yet! Maybe next time the Cubs win women will have equal pay. Or is that just wishful thinking.
6. Segregation was outlawed.
During the November second game a large percent of the men on the field were of different colors. But the last time the cubs one the field was a sea of white.
Segregation was a common thing in 1908. Actually not only common but upheld by the law through the supreme court's ruling in Plessy v Ferguson in 1896 that declared that as long as separate facilities were equal they were legal. Of course this was just an excuse to not deal with the problem. People of color were probably not even let into the stadium in 1908.
Things seemed to be going in the right direction when in 1947 Jackie Robinson signed on with the dodgers and became the first man of color to play in Major League baseball. But not much more progress happened until Brown Vs. Board of Education overturned the separate but equal ruling. In theory anyway. It took a civil rights movement to really bring down separate but equal, and even then the argument can still be made that segregation exists today. As before, maybe things will be more improved by the Cubs next win.
7. Prohibition came and went.
Imagine a baseball game without beer. That’s not what happened during the 1908 world series but it was during all the world series between 1920-1933.
The eighteenth amendment passed through congress in January of 1919 and went into effect That same time the next year. Well the law did anyway, no one actually listened to it as far as history is concerned. Actually alcohol consumption increased during the time, resulting in the nation not become a dry one, just a very creative, slightly buzzed one. Most of our drinkers were probably Cubs fans trying to drown out their sorrows over their losing team.
This “National experiment” ended in 1933 with the passing and ratification of the 21 amendment which overturned the 19th and made alcohol consumption legal again. Thank God, those Cub fans really needed a beer to get through the next eight decades.
8. The British empire peaked, then all but disappeared.
The sun never set on the British Empire so the saying goes. Even today with the British Empire back to about the size it was before the start of its conquests it has enough territory in other hemispheres to make this statement close enough to true.
The British Empire started gaining land in the 1600’s with the formation of the East India Trading Company which started out trading with India (and remember to take that with a grain of salt considering they thought the Caribbean was part of India) and quickly began to gain ground from there, literally. By the time the Cubs became a team in 1870 Britain controlled land on every continent accept Antarctica. In the same year the Cubs last won the world series, 1908, Great Britain made claim to several islands that are considered to be part of the Antarctic continent.
By 1919 Great Britain ruled over all of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Indian Subcontinent, Egypt, South Africa and the West Indies. They had claims to land in Central and South America, Antarctica, Indonesia, China, the Middle East, and greater parts of Africa. At the empire’s peak in 1921 they had claim to a quarter of the land on earth, but the victory was short lived. With the world wide depression that struck after WWI, and many of their territories taking a leaf out of the United States’ book and revolting to gain their independence the British empire was getting to hard to handle.
By 1936 Australia, New Zealand, and Canada had become commonwealths and were governing themselves while Gandhi and his followers were pushing for independence in India, which they were granted in 1947. After WWII the British Empire began to decline steadily and by 1997 when Hong Kong was relinquished Prince Charles declared it the “end of the empire”.
The real end however would have come in 2014 when Scotland had a vote whether to leave the United Kingdom or not, But ultimately they decided to stay, saving face for Britain through their decline.
Despite this Britain still has control of 14 overseas territories (most of them underpopulated) and Queen Elizabeth is monarch to 15 commonwealth nations. So like the hopes of the Cub’s fans, The British empire isn’t actually dead, yet.
9. The moon landing and other space travel happened.
The airplane had barely been invented by the time cubs played the 1908 world series, and though aerospace technology was really taking off (pun not intended) a plane had not even crossed the Atlantic ocean yet, so it’s fairly reasonable to assume that space travel wasn’t even a blip on the radar (also a relatively new technology). However, as of their Cubs most recent World Series last week, 12 men have landed on the moon over the course of six missions, 2,271 satellites are orbiting earth while one is gunning towards the Kuiper belt having already finished its mission with Pluto. Four rovers are on Mars while the U.S. is working on a plan to put feet down on the planet. And there's a telescope floating out there taking pictures of stars light years away.
Sputnik became the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth when it was launched by Russia on October 4th 1957, and even though it was the size of a beach ball and all it could do was beep, launched with it the space race between Russia and the U.S. Within a year the United States had launched their own satellite while Russia had launched a second one, Sputnik 2, this time with a living dog inside. By 1961 Man had successfully gone into earth's orbit and back again, and since this man, Yuri Gagarin, was Russian, the United States retaliated by not only saying they'd put their own man into space, they’d put him on the moon.
On July 16 1969 that promise was delivered when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked the surface of the moon, more or less putting an end to the space race. To this day the only people to have touched the moon's surface are American men (though China is working changing that) but though the Apollo program ended in 1972 many other advancements have been made in the way of space travel.
In 1998 construction started on the International Space station which since finished, ten years and over 30 missions later, has allowed astronauts from ten different countries to study space through it. Most recently Scott Kelly, an American astronaut landed back on earth after spending over a year in the space station in order to study the effects on the human body after so long in space. In doing this Kelly has broken the record for longest consecutive time spent in space and has advanced the program to eventually send a man to mars which is predicted to happen in mid 2030’s. Hopefully not before the next Cubs win.
10. Wrigley Field was built.
Yeah that’s right, the Cubs last world series win predates their own stadium. This would not be all that fascinating was Wrigley Field not the second oldest stadium in the nation behind Fenway Park in Boston. It is not , by the way, the second oldest baseball stadium in the nation that’s still in use, it’s the second oldest stadium period. Actually the former home of the Chicago Cubs before moving into Wrigley Field in 1916, eight years after their last world series win, West Side Grounds (also known as West side Park) now sits under the University of Illinois Medical Center.
Despite its notoriously losing team, Wrigley field has host six World Series including the most recent one in which their team finally won and has been the setting for many history making games, including the 1932 world series where Babe Ruth famously predicted where he would hit the games winning home run to.
Wrigley field celebrated 100 years in existence in 2014 and the Cubs celebrated 100 of calling the stadium home this past April, making the field, if not the team, all to deserving of the Cubs celebrated first win in 108 years one November 2nd.