Detroit and Tigers have long-storied connection to Chicago's World Series drought

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 20:24:52-04

In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, a gallon of gas cost roughly 11-cents, and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the last time.

The team would celebrate in Detroit that year having beaten the Tigers, at the time it would have been hard to imagine the team would quickly lose it’s championship form and go on to become known as the “lovable losers.”

“They haven’t rekindled that championship drought since,” said Ray Formosa. “So for them, this World Series is more than 100 years in the making.

Formosa, the owner of Brooks Lumber, knows the history well. He was born after the 1908 championship, but he’s rooted in the history of baseball.  From atop his business he has a direct view into the construction site where old Tiger Stadium once stood.

“We’re forever connected,” said Formosa.

While Detroit plays an integral role, so does their team. The Tigers were also the last team to play the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Legend has it that the Cubs have suffered from a curse dating back to 1945 when the team fell to the Detroit Tigers. Historians debate the accuracy of the story, but Cubs fans tell a story of a bar owner who was turned away at the gates when he tried to bring his pet “billy goat” into Wrigley Field in Chicago.

At the time the Cubs had a 2-1 lead in the series, but after the man was turned away legend has it he put a hex on the team. The Cubs went on to lose the World Series.  They didn’t return until this season.

Over the past seven decades the Cubs have struggled, but their fan base has grown. This week a debate began in Washington, D.C. over who was the biggest “Cubs fan” in the White House.

It turns out, the biggest Cubs fan may also be a Michigan resident.

“My grandfather Fred Upton was buried with a Cubs hat,” said 6th District Congressman Fred Upton. “I put it on him.”

Upton, who is in a battle for re-election, made it a point to attend a game in Chicago game. He told The Now Detroit that he cheered so loud that he was horse the next morning, and while he won’t have a chance to make it to the winner-take-all Game 7 on Tuesday night, he expects the neighbors will hear him regardless of the outcome.

Whether it’s history, or just a debate over who the biggest fan is, baseball always tends to rile people up. Formosa said it’s because the game is bigger than the memories themselves.

“It’s a past time, but it’s also a passion,” said Formosa.