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We are lucky enough to witness the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs (World Series champions in Rookie of the Year) and the Cleveland Indians (playoff qualifiers in Major League).
Both of these teams have rich histories, ones that have not always been kind to them. But everyone is talking about that. We’re here to talk to you about things that have happened during this World Series that have never happened, ever.
Here’s one right off the bat: the 2016 World Series is the first to feature either the Indians and the Cubs in the 21st century. Here is an almost-comprehensive list of “firsts” that have occurred so far.
The First World Series Between Cleveland and Chicago
The Chicago Cubs have played in 10 World Series, which does not sound at all correct until you realize they all occurred between the years 1906 and 1945. In 1906, they lost to the White Sox. 1907 and 1908 saw their lone titles, both against the Tigers. In the ensuing years, they played and lost to the Philadelphia Athletics (1910, 1929), the Boston Red Sox (1918), the New York Yankees (1932, 1938) and lost two more to the Detroit Tigers (1935, 1945).
The Indians, meanwhile, have played in five previous World Series, winning two (1920 against the Brooklyn Robins and 1948 against the Boston Braves) and losing three (1954 against the New York Giants, 1995 against the Atlanta Braves, and 1997 against the Florida Marlins).
The First World Series Played by Two Teams With a 50+ Season Championship Drought
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but here you go.
The First Game 1 of a World Series Played in Cleveland
None of the previous five World Series appearances by the Indians has started in Cleveland. Sixth time proved to be the charm, as Tuesday’s Game 1 was the first home World Series Game 1 in Cleveland history.
First Team to Field Four Catchers
The Cubs were already making history bringing three catchers in David Ross, Miguel Montero, and Willson Contreras, but the surprise addition of Kyle Schwarber made sure that they were fielding a team unlike any other in the history of the game. While Schwarber won’t be catching in the series, what with his knees being held together by super glue and Popsicle sticks, he still registers as a catcher on the depth chart.
The First African American Cubs Players to Appear in a World Series
The Cubs haven’t played a World Series game since 1945, which was before the color barrier was broken. So when Dexter Fowler stepped up to the plate to lead off Game 1, he became the first African American Cubs player to do so.
The First Designated Hitter to Play a World Series Game as a Cub
The DH rule was first adopted by the American League in 1973, meaning that no Cubs team has played a World Series game in which the Designated Hitter was a thing for people to argue about. So Schwarber helped make history again by being the first World Series DH in franchise history.
First Player to Pitch a Game With an Injury Sustained by a Drone
I did not double check this, but I’m pretty sure that Trevor Bauer is the first World Series starter to have sustained a self-inflicted drone injury.
First Team With 6 Starters Aged 24 or Under
The Cubs fielded a youth baseball team for Game 2, with starters Schwarber, Baez, Contreras, Soler, Bryant and Russell all under the age of 24. We all knew the Cubs were young, but now we know they’re historically so.
First Game Where Both Starting Shortstops Are Under 23
Both Addison Russell and Francisco Lindor are among the youngest players to play in the World Series, period. But with two shortstops born in the early-mid-90’s, this series marks the first time two 22-year-olds have been manning the shortstop position for both teams.
First Puerto Rican With Multiple Home Runs in a Game
Soft hitting Roberto Perez smacked two home runs in Game 1, a feat that has only been done by 5 catchers, and now, by exactly one Puerto Rican.
First Pitcher to Toss 8 Strikeouts in First 3 Innings of a Game
Corey Kluber absolutely confounded Cubs hitters in Game 1. His 8 punchouts in the first 9 outs of the game mark a World Series record.
Lowest Regular Season Batting Average for a Player Who Hits 2 Home Runs in a Game
Perez again made history by hitting two dingers in the same game while sporting a robust .183 batting average during the regular season.
The First Player to Get His First Hit of the Season During the World Series
Schwarber again makes this list. For those of you not aware of the story that will be talked about ad nauseam the entire series, Schwarber’s knee did its best impression of the dude from Scanners with the exploding head after playing just two games this season. Somehow he managed to rehab a month ahead of schedule to make the Cubs roster as a DH. Then, he managed to get a hit (and then a hit, and a hit, and so on) making him the very first player in the history of the sport to get his first base hit of the season during the last series of the year.
While I can’t verify this as 100% true, we’re almost certain it’s the case. Aroldis Chapman hit 103 to close out Game 3, almost assuredly setting a World Series pitch speed record.
First World Series Loss for Terry Francona
The fact that Terry Francona has two World Series titles under his belt without a single loss is actually pretty mind boggling. Still, the Cubs dropped him down from 9-0 to 9-1 after Game 2’s win.
Game 3 is at Wrigley Field on Friday night. We will continue to update with additional “firsts” as they occur.