It has often been said that sports capture hearts and minds not because of wins and losses, feats of athleticism or devoted statisticians, but because of characters and the stories they enable us to tell.
If you abide this, then no team in the history of sports has captured more hearts and minds than the Chicago Cubs. The Cubbies, the lovable losers, are the antithesis of the stoic and storied Yankees – playing second fiddle for more than a century. But lo and behold, they continue to be fan favorites worldwide, with a devout following on the North Side of Chicago.
They have an iconic ballpark: Wrigley Field and its famed ivy.
Throwback traditions run deep for the Cubs. During every seventh inning stretch, a local celebrity leads the crowd in a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a tradition started by the late, great Harry Caray in 1981. In addition, to indicate the outcome of the game to those not in attendance, every game at Wrigley ends with the raising of a flag bearing a W or an L.
Yet, unlike other charter member of the National League, the Cubs have experienced quite a few transitions. There have been numerous team names: originally the Chicago White Stockings, then the Colts, and next the Orphans. On March 27, 1902, a reporter from the Chicago Daily News poked fun at the roster’s youth movement, dubbing them the name that stuck – the “Cubs.” In addition, there were five stadiums before Wrigley, and the team is now on its sixth logo.
Chicago Cubs Primary Logo Patch
Notable Uniform Changes
Most of all, the Cubs have changed their uniforms. In chronological order, we created a visual timeline above.. Of special note is the record-breaking year of 2014, when players took to the diamond with 13 different uniforms – most of them throwbacks – to commemorate the 100th season at Wrigley Field. Below are more notable years for both home games and away games.
Ben Zobrist Chicago Cubs Majestic 100 Years at Wrigley Field Flex Base Jersey – White
- 1940 – The team adopts the C logo used today, and briefly uses powder-blue away uniforms.
- 1957 – Both the city and team name appear on the front of the uniform.
- 1972 – Due to a manufacturing error, the number is centered on the front of the jersey. They are the only team in MLB history to have a centered front number.
- 1978 – The infamous “pajamas,” a reverse-pinstripe format that some love and others hate, debut.
- 1982 – The Cubs patch moves to the right side of the jersey.
- 1990 – “Chicago” appears in block lettering.
Jorge Soler Chicago Cubs Majestic Authentic Turn Back the Clock Player Jersey – Gray
- 1994 – The block lettering of “Chicago” changes to “Cubs” in a script font.
- 1997 – Once again, the jersey features “Chicago” in block lettering.
- 1900 – The Cubs are adorned in all-white uniforms with red socks.
- 1901 – The player’s socks transition to blue.
- 1903 – One version of the home uniform features a blue, Gothic-looking C on the right side of the jersey.
- 1904 – The Gothic-looking C didn’t take and is eliminated.
- 1906 – A black C in a different font debuts.
- 1907 – Yet another font for the C emerges.
- 1908 – A logo of a bear within the C appears, and a C is added to the cap.
Chicago Cubs New Era Structured 9FORTY Adjustable Hat – White/Graphite
- 1909 – The introduction of the cadet-style collar makes it the ninth-best baseball uniform of all time.
- 1911-1912 – Faint pinstripes debut on the uniform.
- 1940 – The Cubs are the first team to adopt a vest uniform with a stylized undershirt – rated the 16th-most influential uniform of all time.
- 1957 – The uniform features the full-circle logo patch and pinstripes.
- 1979 – There is now a more pronounced blue circle around the logo patch.
The Chicago Cubs have a famously cursed history. It began on October 6, 1945, when a local pub owner placed a hex on the club for disrespecting his odorous pet goat at Wrigley Field. A fixture at “Billy Goat Tavern,” the goat even had a ticket to the World Series game, but – depending on the source of the legend – it was either denied entry or booted after a rain delay. The Cubs lost the game and the series, and the pub owner sent Cubs management a simple telegram: “Who stinks now?”
Since then, a black cat has casually strolled in front of the Cubs bench, and an excited Cubs fan named Steve Bartman helped knock the team from the 2003 NLCS, sparring with Moises Alou for a catchable foul ball.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Only five numbers are retired by the Cubs – 10 (Ron Santo), 14 (Ernie Banks), 23 (Ryne Sandberg), 26 (Billy Williams), and 31 twice (Greg Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins) – but the Cubs of the present are promising enough to change that, especially if it helps to change their nickname.
Ryne Sandberg Chicago Cubs Majestic Cool Base Cooperstown Collection Player Jersey – White
For more information on the Cubs, or to purchase some throwback gear, head to Fanatics.com