To say that the Chicago Cubs had a “pretty good” 2016 would be the understatement of the year. They won their first World Series since 1908 and did so by becoming the sixth team in MLB history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the World Series. As if falling behind 3-1 in the series wasn’t enough, Game 7 went to extra innings after the Cubs blew a 5-1 lead because, of course, the Cubs couldn’t make it easy on us.
The World Series victory and the celebration that followed is undoubtedly the number one story of the 2016 Cubs season but if you take that out of the equation, the season that led up to the 2016 World Series championship was full of great story lines that culminated in the aforementioned Game 7 victory.
Here are my top 5.
And yes I understand the championship and the parade should always be number one.
5. The Legend Of David Ross Is Born
When the Cubs signed David Ross before the 2015 season, nobody had any idea that he’d go down as a Chicago legend. A career .229 hitter, Ross was signed primarily to catch for his buddy and former teammate Jon Lester, who the Cubs also signed before the 2015 season. The Cubs weren’t expecting much from Ross’ bat during his time with the Cubs but the front office knew he was a great clubhouse guy and could provide the young Cubs with very valuable leadership on and off the field.
The young Cubs rallied around Ross during the 2016 season as he announced that it would be his last. Two of the Cubs young stars, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, created a “Grandpa Rossy” Instagram account for the 39-year-old catcher to document his final season in the league and if you haven’t seen it, you are missing out.
The legend of Ross was born during the most important game in Chicago Cubs history — Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. After giving up two huge runs on a passed ball in the bottom of the fifth, Ross stepped to the plate against the best reliever in baseball, Andrew Miller. During his last at-bat of his career, Ross took Miller deep to become the oldest catcher in history to hit a home run in the World Series.
Imagine this being your last at-bat of your career.
As we know, the Cubs went on to win the World Series and Ross was carried off the field by his teammates. During the Cubs championship parade, Ross was introduced by his friend and protege Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo fought back tears as he explained to everyone exactly what David Ross meant to the 2016 team. Ross reciprocated the tears during his quick, but heartfelt, thank you speech.
Now that Ross is retired, he is trying to figure out what to do “post baseball.” He announced he was writing a book during his retirement, recently appeared on the cover of ESPN the Magazine, and is currently in talks with the Cubs to work in the front office in some capacity.
Not too bad for a 39-year-old “back-up” catcher.