WASHINGTON, May 20th – It’s been 93 years since the Chicago Cubs set foot in Fenway Park. 93 years since they entered that hallowed ground for a historic World Series Game 6 against the Red Sox, trailing Boston three games to one. 93 years since Chicago center fielder Max Flack’s final suspicious play of the series, a two-run throwing error that handed the Red Sox a 2-1 win and the World Championship.
Ninety three years in which the Cubs have remained without a championship, haunted by the ghosts of Flack, Howard Ehmke, and Hank Greenberg.
The Red Sox won that World Series by scoring just nine runs over six games, the lowest total in history for a winning team. They won by riding the stellar performance of their young ace, Babe Ruth, and by aid from Flack’s untimely miscues, including getting picked off twice in one game.
Tonight, Boston will look to pick up where they left off back in 1918, facing the Cubs in their first interleague series of the season. Jon Lester will take the mound in the first game, looking to dominate with his left arm, just as Ruth did on his way to two shutdown wins in the 1918 Series.
But the Cubs will bring just as compelling a story with them onto the field tonight, when Doug Davis walks out to the center of the ballpark for the bottom of the first, to make his second start of the year. It will be just his third major league appearance since missing the majority of the 2010 season with a heart condition.
While the Cubs and Red Sox haven’t met for a game at Fenway in so long, they have dueled before in interleague play, in June of 2005. In that series, the Cubs took two out of three from Boston, winning the first game on a pair of homeruns by Jeremy Burnitz, the second by one run despite a shaky closing job from Ryan Dempster, and getting stifled in the third game by Tim Wakefield. Besides that set, the two storied franchises haven’t met since that fateful World Series.
Max Flack’s name surely won’t be mentioned this weekend by Cubs fans, long haunted by various supposed curses. True revenge will never be found for that wartime loss, but every little bit will help. Just twenty-seven innings stand in the way of partial and historic redemption.
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