Baseball

Chicago Cubs’ final two runs in historic World Series come from South Florida

Anthony Rizzo and his Chicago Cubs celebrate their World Series championship after the final out was recorded early Thursday morning in Cleveland.
Anthony Rizzo and his Chicago Cubs celebrate their World Series championship after the final out was recorded early Thursday morning in Cleveland. AP

The long wait for the Chicago Cubs is over and their long-suffering fans can thank a few kids from South Florida.

Early Thursday morning, the Cubs scored twice in the top of the 10th to take an 8-6 lead on the Cleveland Indians in an eventual 8-7 victory.

Not only did South Florida products Albert Almora Jr. and Anthony Rizzo cross the plate with those runs, but when Cleveland pinch-hitter Michael Martinez grounded to Chicago third baseman Kris Bryant with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Rizzo caught the final out and began the celebration Cubs fans have been waiting 108 years for.

"We're world champions," Rizzo said before heading into the wild celebration in the visitors' locker room, "for the rest of our lives."

Almora, who grew up in Hialeah and attended Mater Academy, came on in the 10th inning as a pinch-runner after Kyle Schwarber singled to lead things off and deftly took second on Bryant's deep fly to center.

Rizzo, from Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, is one of the cornerstone pieces of the Cubs' impressive rise and scored what turned out to be the winning run soon after.

READ MORE: Anthony Rizzo got good luck charm from Bill Murray

The Indians, trying to end their own lengthy wait (68 years) for a championship, trailed for most of the night before tying the game at 6 in the bottom of the eighth.

Chicago scored twice in the 10th, with Rizzo racing home with the second run on a Miguel Montero single after Rizzo was given a free pass to first with Almora sitting on second with one out.

Cleveland scored a run with two outs in the 10th before Martinez ended it by grounding out to Bryant.

On the other side of it were two other South Florida products: Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli from Flanagan High in Pembroke Pines and relief pitcher Dan Otero from Ransom Everglades in Miami.

"It could not have been a more entertaining, difficult series to win," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "I think beyond all that, I want to believe and I do believe this is good for our game moving forward, that we're attempting to seize young fans and not just to play the game, but to be fans of the game.

"You cannot be more entertained than you were over these last seven games. It's incredible. Of course, I'm not saying that just because we won, but because it's true."

With Chicago winning, the longest drought in North American pro sports history went with it.

The Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908 — a run of 108 seasons.

With Chicago's victory, the Indians take over baseball's top spot as their 68 seasons without a championship is longest in baseball history.

Cleveland's 68 seasons is not the longest drought in pro sports, however.

The Arizona Cardinals (who have been around since their days as the Chicago Cardinals) haven't won a title since beating the Philadelphia Eagles in 1947 — one year before the Indians' previous World Series victory.

READ MORE: Albert Almora Jr. cherishes a Miami homecoming

At least the Indians have won a few titles before albeit a long time ago.

Following the Indians on the drought list are teams which have never won in their history including the Rangers (56 seasons), Astros (55), Brewers (48), Padres (48), Nationals/Expos (48) and Mariners (40).

The Miami Marlins have gone 13 seasons since winning their second World Series championship in 2003.

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