The 2016 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2016 season. The 112th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Chicago Cubs and the American League (AL) champion Cleveland Indians, the first meeting of those franchises in postseason history. The series was played between October 25 and November 2 (although Game 7 ended slightly after 12:00 am local time on November 3). The Indians had home-field advantage because the AL had won the 2016 All-Star Game. This was the final World Series to have home-field advantage determined by the All-Star Game results; since 2017, home-field advantage has been awarded to the team with the better record.
The Cubs defeated the Indians 4 games to 3 to win their first World Series since 1908. Game 7, an 8–7 victory in 10 innings, marked the fifth time that a Game 7 had gone into extra innings and the first since 1997 (which the Indians also lost). It was also the first Game 7 to have a rain delay, which occurred as the tenth inning was about to start. The Cubs became the sixth team to come back from a 3–1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Series, following the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1958 New York Yankees, the 1968 Detroit Tigers, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 1985 Kansas City Royals.
The Cubs, playing in their 11th World Series and their first since 1945, won their third championship and first since 1908, ending the longest world championship drought in North American professional sports history. It was the Indians' sixth appearance in the World Series and their first since 1997, with their last Series win having come in 1948. Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who had previously won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, fell short in his bid to become the third manager to win his first three trips to the Fall Classic, after Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.
The 2016 World Series was highly anticipated due to the historical ramifications; the two teams entered their matchup as the two franchises with the longest World Series title droughts, a combined 176 years without a championship. At the series' conclusion, numerous outlets listed Game 7 as an instant classic, and the entire series as one of the greatest of all time.
The Cubs made their 11th appearance in the World Series; their only previous two championships were in 1907 and 1908. They lost their eight other appearances, in 1906, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945.
The Cubs qualified for the postseason by winning the National League Central, ending the regular season with the best record in all of MLB (103–58) for the first time since 1945; they also posted their highest winning percentage since 1935, and won their most games since 1910. The division title was their sixth since division play began in 1969, and their first since 2008. The Cubs entered the postseason as the #1 seed in the National League, and they defeated the 5th-seeded San Francisco Giants 3–1 of the NL Division Series before clinching their first NL pennant since 1945 with a 4–2 series win over the 3rd-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.
For Cubs manager Joe Maddon, it was his second appearance in the World Series as manager – in 2008, he managed the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost 4–1 to the Philadelphia Phillies. It was also Maddon's third World Series appearance overall – in 2002, he was bench coach for the Anaheim Angels.
The Indians made their sixth appearance in the World Series. They won two championships in 1920 and 1948. They lost their three most recent appearances in the Fall Classic in 1954, 1995, and 1997.
The Indians qualified for the postseason by winning the American League Central, their eighth division title and their first since 2007. The Indians were the #2 seed in the American League, and they defeated the 3rd-seeded Boston Red Sox 3–0 in the AL Division Series before clinching the pennant with a 4–1 victory over the 4th-seeded Toronto Blue Jays in the AL Championship Series.
For Indians manager Terry Francona, it was his third appearance in the World Series. He won his previous two appearances – 2004 and 2007 – as manager of the Boston Red Sox, in sweeps of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Colorado Rockies.
This was the third postseason meeting between Francona and Maddon. Maddon's Rays defeated Francona's Red Sox in the 2008 American League Championship Series, while Maddon's Rays defeated Francona's Indians in the 2013 American League Wild Card Game.
Chicago (NL) won the series, 4–3.
|1||October 25||Chicago Cubs – 0, Cleveland Indians – 6||Progressive Field||3:37||38,091|
|2||October 26||Chicago Cubs – 5, Cleveland Indians – 1||Progressive Field||4:04||38,172|
|3||October 28||Cleveland Indians – 1, Chicago Cubs – 0||Wrigley Field||3:33||41,703|
|4||October 29||Cleveland Indians – 7, Chicago Cubs – 2||Wrigley Field||3:16||41,706|
|5||October 30||Cleveland Indians – 2, Chicago Cubs – 3||Wrigley Field||3:27||41,711|
|6||November 1||Chicago Cubs – 9, Cleveland Indians – 3||Progressive Field||3:29||38,116|
|7||November 2||Chicago Cubs – 8, Cleveland Indians – 7 (10)||Progressive Field||4:28 (0:17 delay)||38,104|
|WP: Corey Kluber (1–0) LP: Jon Lester (0–1)|
CLE: Roberto Pérez 2 (2)
Former Indians and Cubs player Kenny Lofton threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1. Corey Kluber started for the Indians, and Jon Lester started for the Cubs. Kyle Schwarber, who had missed nearly all of the 2016 season after tearing ligaments in his left leg in the season's fourth game, was added to the Cubs' World Series roster and started as their designated hitter. Schwarber struck out twice, but also doubled and drew a walk. The double made Schwarber the first non-pitcher to get his first hit of the season in the World Series.
Kluber made World Series history by striking out eight hitters in the first three innings. Roberto Pérez became the first ever ninth-place hitter with two homers in a World Series game, the first Indians player to hit two homers in a Series game, and the first Puerto Rican-born player to hit two homers in a World Series game. In the first, the Indians loaded the bases off Lester on a single and two walks before José Ramirez's single drove in a run, then Lester hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch to force in another. Perez's home run in the fourth made it 3–0 Indians. In the eighth, Justin Grimm walked Guyer with two outs and allowed a single to Lonnie Chisenhall, then Hector Rondon allowed Perez's second home run of the night. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen finished the victory for the Indians despite Miller having to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, and the Indians took Game 1 of the series 6–0. Francona's World Series winning streak reached nine with this victory.
|WP: Jake Arrieta (1–0) LP: Trevor Bauer (0–1)|
Former Indians player Carlos Baerga threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2. The start time for the game was moved up an hour, because of the possibility of heavy rain in the forecast. Looking to tie the series at one game apiece, the Cubs sent Jake Arrieta to the mound against the Indians' Trevor Bauer who was still healing a lacerated pinkie resulting from an accident with a drone. The Cubs also featured six players under age 25 in the starting lineup, a postseason record. The Cubs started things off early as Kris Bryant singled in the first inning and Anthony Rizzo doubled to score Bryant and give the Cubs an early 1–0 lead. Arrieta started well too, retiring the first two batters before walking back-to-back batters in the bottom of the first. However, Arrieta got a flyout to end the inning. The Cubs struck again in the third following a two-out walk by Rizzo and a single by Ben Zobrist. A single by Kyle Schwarber scored Rizzo from second and pushed the Cubs' lead to 2–0. Bauer was forced from the game in the fourth, and the Cubs struck again in the fifth. Rizzo walked again off Zach McAllister, and Zobrist tripled to plate Rizzo. Another run-scoring single by Schwarber off Bryan Shaw and a bases-loaded walk by Addison Russell pushed the lead to 5–0.
Arrieta continued to pitch well, walking three batters but holding the Indians without a hit into the sixth inning. In the sixth, a double by Jason Kipnis ended the no-hitter, moved to third on a groundout and scored the lone Indians run of the game on a wild pitch by Arrieta. Arrieta allowed another single and was lifted for reliever Mike Montgomery. Both teams threatened in the seventh but could not score and, following a single by Mike Napoli in the bottom of the eighth, Aroldis Chapman entered to finish the game for the Cubs. The win marked the Cubs' first World Series game victory since 1945 and tied up the series at one game all. The game marked Indians manager Terry Francona's first loss in ten World Series games.
|WP: Andrew Miller (1–0) LP: Carl Edwards Jr. (0–1) Sv: Cody Allen (1)|
For Game 3, former Cubs player Billy Williams threw the ceremonial first pitch before the start of the game, and Bill Murray sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch, to mark the Cubs' first World Series night game at home. Chicago pitcher Kyle Hendricks started against Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin.
The game's only run came off a Coco Crisp single that scored Michael Martínez from third in the seventh inning. Josh Tomlin, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen combined to shut out the Cubs. Allen earned his sixth postseason save as Javier Báez struck out swinging to end the game, leaving the tying and winning runs in scoring position. It was the fourth time in which the Cubs had lost in a shutout during the 2016 postseason.
|WP: Corey Kluber (2–0) LP: John Lackey (0–1)|
CLE: Carlos Santana (1), Jason Kipnis (1)
CHC: Dexter Fowler (1)
For Game 4, former Cubs pitchers Greg Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins threw the ceremonial first pitches before the start of the game, and actor Vince Vaughn sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.
The Cubs struck first when Dexter Fowler doubled to lead off the first and scored on Anthony Rizzo's one-out single, but Kluber held them to that one run through six innings before Francona turned it over to the bullpen. In the second, Carlos Santana's leadoff home run off Lackey tied the game; then, with two on, Kluber's RBI single put the Indians up 2–1. Kris Bryant committed two errors in that inning. Next inning, Jason Kipnis hit a leadoff double and scored on Francisco Lindor's single. In the sixth, Lonnie Chisenhall's sacrifice fly with two on off Mike Montgomery made it 4–1 Indians. Next inning, Justin Grimm allowed a leadoff double and one-out hit-by-pitch before being relieved by Travis Wood, who gave up a three-run home run to Kipnis put to the Indians ahead 7–1. The Cubs got one run back in the eighth, on a Dexter Fowler home run off Andrew Miller, which was the first run he gave up in the post-season. With the victory, the Indians were just one win away from a World Series championship.
|WP: Jon Lester (1–1) LP: Trevor Bauer (0–2) Sv: Aroldis Chapman (1)|
CLE: José Ramírez (1)
CHC: Kris Bryant (1)
For Game 5, former Cubs star and Hall of Fame member Ryne Sandberg threw the ceremonial first pitch before the start of the game, and Eddie Vedder sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch. José Ramírez hit a home run for Cleveland in the second inning off Jon Lester, but the Cubs, facing elimination, scored three runs in the fourth inning off Trevor Bauer. Kris Bryant led off the inning with a home run. After Bryant's home run, Anthony Rizzo doubled and Ben Zobrist singled. Addison Russell's RBI single put the Cubs up 2–1. After Jason Heyward struck out, Javier Baez's bunt single moved Zobrist to third before David Ross's sacrifice fly made it 3–1 Cubs. The Indians cut their deficit to 3–2 off Lester in the sixth on Francisco Lindor's RBI single that scored Rajai Davis from second base. With the tying run on second base in the seventh inning, Maddon brought in Aroldis Chapman, who threw 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings, earning his first save of the series and fourth overall in the postseason.
|WP: Jake Arrieta (2–0) LP: Josh Tomlin (0–1)|
CHC: Kris Bryant (2), Addison Russell (1), Anthony Rizzo (1)
CLE: Jason Kipnis (2)
The last living member of Cleveland's 1948 World Series championship team, Eddie Robinson, attended Game 6 at Progressive Field. Former Indians pitcher Dennis Martínez threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
The Cubs scored three runs in the first inning, all with two outs, on a Kris Bryant home run and a two-run double by Addison Russell after two singles off Josh Tomlin. In the third inning, the Cubs loaded the bases on a walk and two singles off Tomlin, who was relieved by Dan Otero. Following the pitching change, Russell hit the 19th grand slam in World Series history to extend the Cubs lead to 7–0. Russell's grand slam was the first in a World Series game since Paul Konerko of the crosstown Chicago White Sox in 2005, as well as the first by a visiting player since Lonnie Smith in 1992. In the bottom of the fourth, Mike Napoli drove in Jason Kipnis, who doubled to lead off, with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 7–1. In the bottom of the fifth, Kipnis drove a ball over the left field wall for a home run to make it a 7–2 game. In the top of the ninth with a runner on and two outs, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run home run to right to make it 9–2. In the bottom of the inning, Aroldis Chapman allowed a leadoff walk to Brandon Guyer and was relieved by Pedro Strop, who threw a wild pitch to move Guyer to second and Roberto Perez's RBI single made it 9–3 Cubs with Perez thrown out at second for the second out. After Carlos Santana walked, Travis Wood relieved Strop and got Jason Kipnis to pop out to short to end the game and force a Game 7.
|Game 7 Full replay on the MLB's official YouTube channel|
|WP: Aroldis Chapman (1–0) LP: Bryan Shaw (0–1) Sv: Mike Montgomery (1)|
CHC: Dexter Fowler (2), Javier Báez (1), David Ross (1)
CLE: Rajai Davis (1)
Game 7 of the series would go down as a classic, with some calling it the greatest Game 7 in World Series history, comparing it to 1960, 1991 and 2001 for its drama and tension. Former Indians player Jim Thome threw the ceremonial first pitch before the game. The pitching matchup was between MLB earned run average (ERA) champion Kyle Hendricks, who had started Game 3 for the Cubs, and Corey Kluber, who had won games 1 and 4 and was pitching on three days' rest. Kluber came into the game 4–1 in the postseason with a 0.89 ERA.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a home run for Chicago off Kluber, becoming the first player ever to hit a lead-off home run in a World Series Game 7. The Indians tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single by Carlos Santana after Coco Crisp doubled and advanced to third on a Roberto Pérez sacrifice bunt. The Cubs scored two runs in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly by Addison Russell (Kris Bryant running aggressively to tag up from third on the short fly ball and slide under the tag at home) and a double by Willson Contreras. To start the fifth inning, Javier Báez hit a home run to center making it 4–1 on the first pitch he saw to knock Kluber out of the game. ALCS MVP Andrew Miller came on in relief and gave up a walk to Bryant and RBI single to Anthony Rizzo to push the lead to 5–1 (Bryant's aggressiveness again instrumental as he was attempting to steal second on the hit, allowing him to score all the way from first). In the bottom of the fifth inning, Hendricks retired the first two batters. A two-out walk to Santana persuaded Joe Maddon to relieve his starter. This move, along with others throughout the series, would be highly criticized afterward, as it appeared to some that Hendricks was pulled out too soon. (Maddon also drew criticism for having Javier Báez attempt a squeeze bunt with two strikes and Jason Heyward on third base in the 9th inning—Báez bunted the pitch foul for Strike 3.)
Jon Lester, who had started Games 1 and 5, came on in relief for the first time since the 2007 ALCS, coincidentally also against the Indians. David Ross committed a throwing error that allowed Jason Kipnis to reach base and put runners on second and third. A wild pitch that ricocheted off Ross's helmet allowed Santana and Kipnis to score, narrowing the Cubs' lead to 5–3. To atone for his blunders, the 39-year-old Ross hit a home run to center, in his last official at-bat of his career, in the top of the sixth to make it a 6–3 game, becoming the oldest player to hit a home run in a World Series Game 7.
Lester retired the first two batters in the eighth inning, but was pulled after a José Ramírez single. Maddon opted to use Aroldis Chapman, who had thrown 42 pitches in Game 5 and was used in Game 6 despite the fact that the Cubs had already built a large lead. Brandon Guyer promptly hit a run-scoring double off Chapman, making the score 6–4. The next batter was Indians center fielder Rajai Davis, who had hit 55 career home runs in 11 seasons entering this game, and who was hitting .132 in the postseason up to that point. Davis hit a dramatic 2-run home run off Chapman, just barely clearing the left field wall and the left field foul pole, scoring Guyer and tying the game, making the score 6–6. Davis's home run was the latest-occurring game-tying home run in World Series Game 7 history. Many fans and Chapman himself believe he blew the lead due to his unnecessary use in Game 6. “Chapman, 28, said he felt ‘a little different’ in Game 7 and that fatigue affected him."
The Cubs squandered a scoring chance in the top of the 9th. David Ross led off with a walk and Jason Heyward grounded into a fielder's choice to take pinch runner Chris Coghlan off the bases. Heyward stole second and advanced to third on a throw to second by Yan Gomes that got away from Kipnis. Javier Baez attempted a bunt with two strikes, fouling it off for the second out. Dexter Fowler would eventually ground out on a spectacular game-saving play by shortstop Francisco Lindor to end the top of the ninth. Aroldis Chapman returned to the mound for the bottom of the ninth and promptly retired the Indians in order, facing Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, and Francisco Lindor, the Indians 1, 2, and 3 hitters.
With the game tied 6–6 after nine innings, a sudden cloudburst resulted in a 17-minute rain delay. During the delay, Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward called his teammates into a weight room behind Chicago's dugout and told them, "We're the best team in baseball. . . for a reason. . . Stick together and we're going to win this game."
When play resumed in the top of the tenth, Kyle Schwarber led off with a single off Bryan Shaw to right and was replaced by pinch-runner Albert Almora. Kris Bryant then hit a deep fly ball to center, and Almora tagged up and advanced to second base in what was called the "savviest baserunning play of the season." After an intentional walk to Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist stepped up to the plate. Zobrist had been 0-for-4 in the game but he delivered a clutch RBI double into the left field corner, scoring Almora and breaking the tie, making the score 7–6. Zobrist later said, "I was just battling, grinding up there. Fortunately, that last one he left over the plate and up to where I could just slap it down the line, and that was all I was trying to do."
After another intentional walk to Addison Russell, Miguel Montero, who had replaced Ross at catcher and was hitting just .091 in the postseason, singled into left, scoring Rizzo and making the score 8–6. Trevor Bauer, the loser of Games 2 and 5, relieved Shaw and got out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Heyward and retiring Baez on a flyout to escape further damage.
Carl Edwards Jr. was called on to finish off the Indians in the bottom of the tenth, but after retiring the first two hitters (Mike Napoli and José Ramírez), he walked Brandon Guyer, who took second base on defensive indifference. Rajai Davis, following up on his eighth-inning heroics, lined a single to center, making it a one-run game, and the score 8–7. Maddon called on Mike Montgomery, who had zero career saves. Montgomery retired Michael Martinez (who had scored the game-winning run in Game 3) with an infield grounder fielded by Bryant, who threw to Rizzo. This ended the game and the World Series, with the Cubs winning the series and ending their 108-year World Series championship drought. Zobrist was awarded the World Series MVP award after hitting .357 in the series and delivering the go-ahead hit.
After Game 7
Rizzo called the rain delay "the most important thing to happen to the Chicago Cubs in the past 100 years. I don't think there's any way we win the game without it." Cubs president Theo Epstein said that when he heard about the meeting called by Heyward, "Right then I thought, 'We're winning this game.'"
The Cubs became the first team to come back from a 3–1 deficit to win the Series since the 1985 Kansas City Royals. They were also the first since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to do so while winning Games 6 and 7 on the road, and the second team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 as the visiting team, with the 2014 San Francisco Giants also having achieved that feat in Kansas City; almost one year later, the 2017 Houston Astros did the same thing in Los Angeles. Yet another Game 7 would be won by a road team in 2019, when the Washington Nationals did so in Houston. With the Game 7 victory, Joe Maddon is 3–0 in postseason series against Terry Francona, having also won the 2008 ALCS and the 2013 Wild Card Game against him. Game 7 was the 60th extra inning game in World Series history as well as the first extra inning Game 7 won by the road team. In the previous four times in 1912, 1924, 1991 and 1997, the home team won all four extra inning Game 7s.
With this loss, the Indians now have the longest championship drought, which stands at 72 years. Their last title came in 1948; however, when this series began, the Cleveland sports curse had already been broken, with the Cavaliers having won the city's first championship since 1964 by defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Like the Cubs, the Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 deficit, and won a deciding Game 7 on the road (in this case, it was in Oakland, California, the then-home city of the Warriors).
Composite line score
CHC: Kris Bryant (2), Dexter Fowler (2), Javier Baez (1), Anthony Rizzo (1), David Ross (1), Addison Russell (1)
CLE: Jason Kipnis (2), Roberto Pérez (2), Rajai Davis (1), José Ramirez (1), Carlos Santana (1)
Total attendance: 277,603 Average attendance: 39,658
Winning player's share: $368,871.59 Losing player's share: $261,804.65
Fox televised the series in the United States, under contract with Major League Baseball giving it exclusive rights to the World Series through 2021. Joe Buck was the network's play-by-play announcer, with John Smoltz as color commentator and Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci as field reporters. Fox Deportes also aired the Series and provided a Spanish-language simulcast over-the-air via Fox's SAP audio, with Carlos Álvarez and Duaner Sánchez announcing.
Sportsnet in English and RDS in French televised the series in Canada. Sportsnet used the MLB International feed produced by the MLB Network; Matt Vasgersian was MLB International's play-by-play announcer with the Toronto Blue Jays' play-by-play announcer Buck Martinez as their color analyst and MLB Network correspondent Lauren Shehadi and analyst Mark DeRosa as field reporters. Alain Usereau and former Montreal Expos player Marc Griffin handled the French-language telecast for RDS. BT Sport televised the series live in the United Kingdom and Ireland. WAPA-TV transmitted the series to Puerto Rico, with Rafael Bracero at the helm of the station's sports commentary of the series.
Initial reports often utilize "fast national" ratings, which are subject to revision. Game 7 had over 40 million viewers, the largest audience for a baseball game since Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, while the series as a whole was the first to average double-digit ratings nationally since 2009.
ESPN Radio's national network covered the World Series through affiliated stations, with Dan Shulman providing the play-by-play and Aaron Boone serving as color analyst. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer appeared as a guest analyst for select innings of Games 1 and 2.
Locally, the teams' flagship stations broadcast the series with their regular announcers. In Cleveland, WTAM (1100) and WMMS (100.7) carried the Indians' play-by-play with Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus, while in Chicago, WSCR (670) carried the Cubs' play-by-play with Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer, and Len Kasper. The affiliate stations of the teams' regional radio networks were contractually obligated to carry the national ESPN Radio feed; even so, since both WSCR and WTAM are clear-channel stations, most of the eastern and midwestern United States was able to hear the local broadcasts.
Following the team's win in Game 7, Cubs fans congregated outside of Wrigley Field and the surrounding Wrigleyville neighborhood to celebrate the championship. On November 4, the team's victory parade began at Wrigley Field and headed down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue at downtown for a noon rally at Grant Park. Country singer Brett Eldredge sang a cover of "Go, Cubs, Go" during the rally. The city of Chicago estimated that over five million people attended the World Series parade and rally celebration, which would make it one of the largest human gatherings in history. After the season, the Cubs chose to make two traditional White House visits during then-President (and White Sox fan), Barack Obama's final week in office on January 16, 2017, and during President Donald Trump's tenure on June 28, 2017.
- List of World Series champions
- Curse of the Billy Goat
- Curse of Rocky Colavito
- 2016 Japan Series
- 2016 Korean Series
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