It took an agonizing 71 years, but in 2016, the Chicago Cubs finally returned to the World Series. But as their fans know all too well, the club didn’t win in 1945, meaning their last World Series victory was an astonishing 108 years ago. That means there are a ton of things that weren't around when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series back in 1908.
Things invented since 1908 include entire musical genres, popular games, toys, and world-changing innovations that really paint a picture of just how insanely long ago it really was when the Cubs won it all. Sure, 1908 sounds like a long time ago, but taking a good, long look at what things were really like compared to the present day makes you realize they were playing ball in a whole different world. Read on for a list of surprising innovations and inventions since the Cubs won the World Series.
A World Series win would be the greatest thing since sliced bread for Cubs fans, but did you know the last time the Cubs won the Series was 20 years before sliced bread was even a thing? A bakery in Chillicothe, MO, first sold pre-sliced bread on July 7, 1928, using an automatic bread-slicing gizmo invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. Weirdly, the bakery advertised using the slogan “The Greatest Forward Step in the Baking Industry Since Bread Was Wrapped,” meaning there were probably at least some people in the ‘20s saying “X is the greatest thing since wrapped bread!”
During WWII, steel rationing meant a brief return to unsliced bread in the US, leading to panic across this great land, per Time magazine:
U.S. housewives… vainly searched for grandmother’s serrated bread knife, routed sleepy husbands out of bed, held dawn conferences over bakery handouts which read like a golf lesson: “Keep your head down. Keep your eye on the loaf. And don’t bear down.” Then came grief, cussing, lopsided slices which even the toaster refused, often a mad dash to the corner bakery for rolls.
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Crossword puzzles as we know them today weren’t even invented until five years after the Cubs last won the Series. Arthur Wynne’s invention first appeared in the “Fun” section of the New York World on December 21, 1913, as a “mental exercise,” because nothing says “Fun” like “mental exercise,” right?
There were a few aesthetic differences: Wynne’s puzzle was shaped like a hollowed-out diamond, the numbers filled the empty boxes, and the puzzle was called a “word-cross.” Otherwise, the guts of the thing were largely the same as today, except a whole lot harder, with answers such as NARD and DOH. Wynne even slipped in a little meta-clue: “18-19. What this puzzle is.” (Answer: HARD.)
Deep Dish Pizza
The exact date of the invention of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is unknown, but it’s was definitely at least three decades after the Chicago Cubs first won the World Series. Historian Tim Samuelson traces deep-dish pizza to a pizzeria called The Pizzeria (later Pizzeria Uno) in 1943 on East Ohio at Wabash in Chicago. Co-founder Ric Riccardo reportedly proposed serving the foreign novelty “pizza” after a failed attempt at starting a Mexican restaurant made him violently ill. Co-founder Ike Sewell suggested “super-sizing” the dish, which was initially just appetizer-sized.
The origins of jazz certainly pre-date the Cubs’ first World Series win in 1908, but the genre itself wasn’t released commercially or considered an established musical idiom until about 10 years later, when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band released “Livery Stable Blues” on March 7, 1917. The New York Times called the sound "the first sensational, musical novelty of 1917. The jazz band is the latest craze that's sweeping the nation like a musical thunderstorm, and it's given modern dancing new life and a new thrill."
Oddly enough, the first known appearance of the word "jazz" in print is from April 2, 1912, when a pitcher for the Pacific Coast League’s Portland Beavers told the Los Angeles Times he had invented a new pitch: “I call it the Jazz ball because it wobbles and you simply can’t do anything with it.”