Remembering 2016: The year of the “Never Say Die”s and Drought Busters, Part 1

There were many significant stories in the world of sports that dominated the headlines. Muhammad Ali bid final goodbye, Kevin Durant left OKC to form the Warriors’ Big Three, MLB ace pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boat crash, Kobe Braynt performed a monster last game, David Ortiz rode the sunset on a monster last season.

The De La Salle Lady spikers net a 9th UAAP crown, Philippines hosting the 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament where Gilas failed to register a single win, Albert Pagara suffering his first defeat, Mighty Sports bag the 2016 William Jones Cup, and Janelle Mae Frayna became the first woman grandmaster of the Philippines, among many other worthy stories worth mentioning.

We also saw teams and individuals successfully coming back from humongous deficits and long losing streaks were ended.

We, at Herald Express, would want to honor the people who refused to quit in 2016 and make them an example to local athletes to keep aspiring for their dreams and keep working for them even when the odds are too big.

We bid 2016 goodbye and welcome 2017 by reminiscing the 2016 events that had never say die personalities and teams, those who put an end to a streak of frustrations and those who had both ingredients.

(See related story:Keep the Faith: A Minor Miracle)

Chicago Cubs comes back from a 1-3 World Series Deficit to end century-long wait

The Chicago Cubs finished the 2016 MLB regular season with the best record, got through the National League Division Series (NLDS) and National League Championship Series (NLCS) but find themselves down 1-3 in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians before igniting an elite comeback to arrest 107 years of tears and heartaches longing for a title last October.

They became the sixth team in MLB history to come back from a 1-3 deficit to win a world series and their manager helped bury two of the three longest droughts in MLB history.

The Chicago Cubs have won a total of three Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series titles since being established in 1876. Aside from their win this year, their other wins occurred in a back-to-back victories during the 1907 and 1908 seasons, making their win this year come at the 108th year. That huge gap would equal to 107 years of participation in MLB seasons that ended without a world title.

The Cubs finished the season with the best record, reaching the 100 win mark for the first time since 1935. They registered the most franchise wins since 1910 with their 103 wins and 58 losses.

The Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants, 3-1, in the NLDS and returned to the NLCS for the second year in a row. They clawed the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games to advance to the World Series. The win was their first NLCS victory since the series was created in 1969.

Then they found themselves in a huge 1-3 deficit against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, winning only game two on the road. They then rallied in the next two game to force Game 7 in Cleveland. They positioned themselves good to grab the title early, racing to a 6-3 lead at the bottom of the eight but blew the lead and allow the Indians to tie the game. They, however, stayed on course to exterminate the “Billy Goat Curse” with an 8-7 victory in ten innings.

The Cubs were first team to reverse a 1-3 World Series deficit to win since the Kansas City Royals did it in 1985.

The others who did the trick were the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates over Washington Senators, the 1958 New York Yankees over Milwaukee Braves, the 1968 Detroit Tigers over St. Louis Cardinals, 1979: Pittsburgh Pirates over Baltimore Orioles, and the 1985 Royals over St. Louis Cardinals.

In addition to this momentous feat of the team, its front office head, Theo Epstein, helped end two of baseball’s biggest droughts, having also engineered the 2004 Boston Red Sox to the title to end an 85 year old “Curse of the Bambino” losing streak, the third longest at that time, behind both Chicago teams, the Cubs and the White Sox.

Their win also meant they now pass the active longest World Series title drought to their victims, who now are 68 years without a title.

By: ARMANDO. M. BOLISLIS

See next parts:
Remembering 2016, Part 2: Hidilyn Diaz ends four PH Olympic droughts
Remembering 2016, Part 3: BEERacle, SMB engineers Mother of all Hoops Comebacks
Remembering 2016, Part 4: Cavs overhauls a 1-3 hole to the 73-9 Warriors, ends 45 year drought
Remembering 2016, Part 5: Wala Nang Kangkongan, Ginebra Ends 8-year championship drought
Remembering 2016, Part 6: Green Archers shoots down Blue Eagles to break a tie with their bitter rival

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