2003 Chicago Cubs Season

2003 Chicago Cubs Season

The Chicago Cubs' 2003 season was the 131st season for the Cubs. The Cubs went 88-74 during the season and won the National League Central Division for the first time since the division's formation in 1994, and the team's first division title since their 1989 NL East title. In the playoffs the Cubs defeated the Atlanta Braves 3 games to 2 in the NLDS for their first playoff series win since 1908. The Cubs lost to the Florida Marlins 4 games to 3 in the NLCS.

The Cubs were coming off of a poor year in 2002, and their playoff run which led them nearly to the World Series exceeded the expectations most observers had before the season. The team's success can be attributed first and foremost to its starting rotation, which featured Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Clement, all of whom won at least 13 games. The pitching staff as a whole led the National League in Strikeouts with 1,404, over 100 more than any other team. While not nearly as dominant in hitting, the Cubs' lineup was bolstered by acquisitions at what was a very active trade deadline which included Aramis Ramírez, Randall Simon, and Kenny Lofton.

The 2003 season brought a great deal of national attention to the Cubs franchise, both positive and negative. On one hand, their surprising regular season run to 1st place in the NL Central, and the excellent performances of their top three pitchers, all of which were age 26 or younger, seemed to suggest that the Cubs would be a contender in the NL for the foreseeable future. At the same time, however, the Cubs' squandering of the 3-1 series lead in the NLCS, and the manner in which it occurred, seemed to reaffirm the perceptions of the Cubs as "lovable losers" and a cursed franchise.

Read more about 2003 Chicago Cubs Season:  Offseason, Farm System

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    Must we really see Chicago in order to be educated?
    Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)

    An unlicked bear
    —Trans. by Johanna Prins.

    Dutch expression meaning “a boor”: from the old belief that bear cubs are licked into shape by their mothers.

    Utterly frozen is this youthful lady,
    Even as the snow that lies within the shade;
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    By the sweet season which makes warm the hills
    Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)