The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Fear of a Black Cat

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 9, 2008 3:29PM

2008_09_santo_blackcat.gifWhile the Cubs have raced through the 2008 season atop the NL Central, often with the best record in all of the majors, Cubs fans can't help but feel some sense of dread over the past week. Or its eerie similarities to the Cubs' infamous swoon of '69...

Superstitious or not, exactly 39 years ago today, a black cat circled Ron Santo while in the on-deck circle at Shea Stadium, then proceeded past manager Leo Durocher in the dugout and into the crowd. The loss of that game was the Cubs' sixth straight and part of an eight-game losing streak. The "Miracle" Mets jumped the Cubs in the NL East standing and never looked back.

Entering a series with division rival St. Louis, the similarities are cause for pause if not yet concern. Both in '69 and this year, the Cubs entered September with 57 losses and then dropped five of their first six. The Cubs ended with an 8-17 September and failed to make the playoffs in '69. Will this year's team suffer a similar fate?

Milwaukee, however, remains 4 1/2 games back and of the Cubs—a lot of ground to make up in 3 weeks. And of course with the wild card, the Cubs still have an excellent insurance policy against losing the division. So even with their recent troubles, the playoffs seem to be a certainly this year on the North Side.