Relative to how things transpired in the latter half of the previous century, the Chicago Cubs have experienced moderate success in the 21st century. In fact, the Cubs have made the playoffs multiple times and even broke a 95-year old curse. Take a look back at the top five Chicago Cubs teams of the 21st century so far.
5. 2001 Chicago Cubs (88-74)
It didn't take long for the Cubs to set a stronger tone to the 21st century. Although they didn't make the playoffs, the Cubs gave a fine accounting of themselves in 2001. Sammy Sosa hit a whopping 64 home runs and John Lieber went 20-6. Unfortunately, the NL Central was loaded at this time and Chicago finished in third place.
4. 2004 Chicago Cubs (89-73)
After their historic 2003 season, Chicago actually improved its record the following year. Sosa again led the way offensively with 40 home runs. The Cubs had three dominant starting pitchers, but Mark Prior led the way with an 18-6 record and a 2.43 ERA. However, Chicago finished in third place again, missing out on the NL Playoffs.
3. 2007 Chicago Cubs (85-77)
Lou Piniella quickly brought his fiery brand of leadership to Chicago and the results paid off. Alfonso Soriano hit 33 home runs and Carlos Zambrano went 18-13. But in the playoffs, Piniella came under fire for removing Zambrano too early in the opener as the Cubs were swept in three straight games by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2. 2008 Chicago Cubs (97-64)
In 2008, Chicago won more regular season games than any Cubs team in 63 years. The offensive firepower was spread throughout the lineup as six different batters hit at least 19 home runs. Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly each had 17 wins. But for the second year in a row, Chicago was swept in the playoffs, this time by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
1. 2003 Chicago Cubs (88-74)
Although the 1984 Cubs are my favorite team in history, the 2003 team did something that hadn't been accomplished in 95 years. The Cubs won a postseason series by defeating the Atlanta Braves. Then Chicago faced the Florida Marlins and were only five outs away from the World Series. 2003 has clearly been the best Cubs season in the 21st century.
Patrick Michael is a resident of New Orleans, but grew up watching the Chicago Cubs on WGN with Harry Caray and Steve Stone as the announcers. A diehard Cubs fan, Patrick's favorite season was 1984 when the Cubs were one win away from reaching the World Series. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
"Chicago Cubs Team History and Encyclopedia," baseball-reference.com
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