Wendel: The mysterious Cubs collapse of 1969

From SABR member Tim Wendel at The National Pastime Museum on September 4, 2017:

In June 1969, the Chicago Cubs were the best team in baseball. Not that they appeared to have much competition in the National League. The St. Louis Cardinals, the two-time pennant winners, had fallen on hard times and were in the process of being dismantled. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds were on the upswing but not quite there, leaving also-rans like the New York Mets, which nobody dared to mention in the same sentence with such words as championship and World Series.

Yes, the door to the postseason appeared to be wide open for the Cubs. So much so that running off the field after another comeback victory, third baseman Ron Santo jumped into the air and clicked his heels together.

Manager Leo Durocher liked the stunt as much as the cheering Wrigley Field faithful, telling Santo to “make that our victory kick.”

If only the Cubs knew what lay ahead.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/mysterious-cubs-collapse-1969

Originally published: September 5, 2017. Last Updated: September 5, 2017.