This Day in Cubs History: Chicago Clinches Postseason Berth for First Time Since World War II

“The Lovable Losers” really were losers for the bulk of the 20th century. Coming into the 1984 season, the Chicago Cubs had not appeared in the postseason since 1945, the year World War II ended.

But after decades of futility, the Cubs finally put together a winning team. Powered by their two stars, Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe, the Cubs cruised to 96 wins and a National League East Division title.

On Sept. 24, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, in front of barely 5,000 fans, Sutcliffe took to the mound looking for a pennant flag and the Cubs 94th win of the season.

Pitching to a 2.80 ERA since a mid-season trade with the Cleveland Indians, Sutcliffe silenced a weak Pirates lineup, striking out nine and allowing just two hits in a complete game effort.

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That evening, after the final out, champagne bottles were popped by the Chicago Cubs for the first time in 39 years.

Though the Cubs would go on to be eliminated by the San Diego Padres in six NLCS games, it proved to be the first successful season in two generations.

More forgotten from the 1984 postseason though were the lack of light towers at Wrigley Field, not installed until the 1988 season. Because there could be no night games in Chicago, one of several contingency plans included playing Cubs home games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, an alternate history we all shudder to think about.

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