Cubs win Series in wildly different world from 1908
By Mark Newman
CLEVELAND -- The Cubs are World Series champions for the first time since 1908 after Wednesday's 8-7 win over the Indians in Game 7, and life has changed quite a bit since the last one. Here's how much:
The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years. It was 78.74 years in 2012, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Henry Ford and the Cubs both knew about popularity. The Model T made its debut in 1908 with a purchase price of $825. More than 10,000 were sold in its first year, a record then. There were only 144 miles of paved roads.
"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right," Ford said.
Jack Norworth (words) and Albert Von Tilzer (music) gave us "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." It would become an anthem for the national pastime, even delivered in Daffy Duck style during this 2016 World Series.
The Eiffel Tower was the world's tallest structure.
There was no radio, much less TV or live streaming. In many towns across the U.S., a telegraph operator would get the most recent update of action and post it on a big board in town square, where people gathered around. The Cubs clinched on Oct. 14, 1908, and 20 days later, Republican incumbent Teddy Roosevelt easily topped Democrat Williams Jennings Bryan in the U.S. presidential race, 51.6 percent to 43 percent.
Eight percent of homes had a telephone.
It was the year the airplane went public. The Wright Brothers, who first flew at Kitty Hawk, N.C., in 1903, conducted public flights for the first time. Fans flew on jets from cities all over the world to be at the 2016 World Series.
Want to feel better about your compensation today? The average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.
Chicago had five daily newspapers, a sign of the times. Grantland Rice was coaching the Vanderbilt baseball team that year, but he was moving into sportswriting, maybe the most fabled of them all.
Sugar cost four cents per pound.
Eggs were 14 cents per dozen.
On July 29, 1908, the Harland and Wolff design firm presented the drawings of an unsinkable ship to J. Bruce Ismay and other White Star Line executives. It became the Titanic.
Wrigley Field had not yet been constructed. The Cubs played their home games at West Side Grounds then, and Wrigley became their home in 1916.
There were 46 stars on the American flag. Still to achieve statehood were New Mexico (1912), Arizona ('12), Alaska ('59) and Hawaii ('59).
A ball signifying New Year's Day dropped in New York City's Times Square for the first time.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
"Be prepared" became a slogan that still lives on. The 1908 edition of "Scouting for Boys" by Robert Baden-Powell kicked off a movement.
Gandhi was arrested for the first time, for refusing to carry an obligatory ID card in South Africa.
Red Barber was born in 1908. The first great baseball broadcaster would die in '92.
Orval Overall fired a three-hit shutout at Detroit's Bennett Park for a 2-0 Cubs victory in front of 6,210 fans. It was the fifth World Series, and the Cubs were the first repeat champion. It was a moment that would last 108 years, until another Cubs team finally won it all.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.