1908 and beyond: Five most noteworthy examples of Chicago Cubs futility

The Chicago Cubs are often considered to be the symbol of futility in professional sports, due to their track record of persistent failure. How bad have the Cubs been since their last World Series championship in 1908? The futility runs deeper than a World Series drought. These five examples demonstrate how poor the Cubs organization has been throughout the regular season and postseason. However, fans should feel encouraged about the baby steps that the franchise took in the 2000s.

No World Series championships since 1908, appearances since 1945

The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. They haven't won a pennant since 1945. The Cubs championship woes have lingered on long before the Billy Goat curse that many believe has plagued the organization.

Why fans should be encouraged: The opening results of the 21st century were baby steps toward improvement. The 2000s were the most successful decade since the alleged Billy Goat curse of 1945. The Cubs exercised many of the demons that have plagued the franchise from 2003-2008.

39-year playoff drought (1945-1984)

The Cubs lost seven consecutive World Series from 1910-1945. After their 1945 appearance, they didn't even qualify for another postseason series until they were defeated by the San Diego Padres in the 1984 NLCS, 3-2.

Why fans should be encouraged: The Cubs only needed five years before their next playoff appearance in 1989. After another drought from 1989-1998, The Cubs had three playoff appearances during a six-season stretch from 2003-2008. Baseball pennant races are largely dependent on just qualifying for the playoffs and streaking into October. They're destined to win a championship as long as they can give themselves more than one opportunity every 39 seasons.

One 100-win season since 1910

The Cubs have had one season that exceeded 98 victories since 1910— and that was in 1935 when they lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. They were 100-54 that season. The Cubs have only eclipsed 95 regular-season wins twice since 1945.

Why fans should be encouraged: The Cubs had one of their finest seasons in 2008 when they went 97-64. Their season was tarnished after getting swept for the second consecutive season as they limped into the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This was in the midst of three consecutive winning seasons.

One back-to-back postseason appearance since 1907-1908

The Cubs must give themselves a chance to win a championship in order to win a championship (duh). The combination of a 39-year playoff drought and the failure to secure back-to-back postseason appearances more than once in 103 years doesn't assist that cause.

Why fans should be encouraged: The sole instance of back-to-back playoff appearances occurred under Lou Piniella's reign from 2007-2008. The Cubs had six winning seasons from 2001-2009 and were much more competitive within the division.

One postseason series victory since 1908

The mark of Cubs futility is mostly recognized by their World Series droughts. However, I'd say it's best exemplified by their only postseason series victory coming against the Atlanta Braves in the 2003 NLDS. The Braves were heading toward the decline of their dynasty that featured one championship and multiple playoff collapses.

Why fans should be encouraged: The Cubs have qualified for more postseason appearances since 1984. They were within five outs of a 2003 World Series appearance before the fluky Steve Bartman incident.

Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid 1990s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months.

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Joshua Huffman is a member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Updated Thursday, Jun 2, 2011