1. They both had a fantastic earlier nickname.
Sadly, history has denied us a World Series between the Chicago Orphans and the Cleveland Naps. Chicago’s squad was dubbed the Orphans in 1898 after ownership refused to renew manager Cap Anson’s contract, leaving the players leader-less. And Cleveland got that moniker in 1901 thanks to team captain and future Hall of Famer Napoleon “Nap” Lajoie, not a general team sleepiness.
2. They’ve both previously won two World Series.
Cleveland got theirs in 1920 and 1948; the Cubs went back-to-back in 1907 and 1908. Related to this…
3. Both preferred the first half of the twentieth century.
Besides being the period when both teams won all their of World Series titles, the Cubs also racked up 10 pennants before hitting a bump in the road that lasted, oh, seven decades or so.
5. They were both brutalized by Hank “The Hebrew Hammer” Greenberg.
The Detroit Tigers first baseman annihilated the America League from 1933 to 1940, hitting 58 home runs one season and driving in 184 runs another as he won two MVPs and his Tigers won three pennants and a World Series against the Cubs. (Indians in this period: nothing.) He enlisted during World War II, only returning to baseball in 1945, at which point, after four years away from the game, he batted .304 with seven runs and seven RBI against Chicago in the ’45 Series to steal a win and basically ruin the rest of the Cubs’ century. And this doesn’t technically relate, but Greenberg was also nicknamed “Hankus Pankus”, which is delightful.
6. They both had a movie where they adopt a child.
1993’s Rookie of the Year finds the Cubs discovering an ace in a 12-year-old pitcher, making their film slightly less implausible than 1949’s The Kid from Cleveland. It was billed as “the story of… a kid… a city… and 30 godfathers!” See, in addition to defending their 1948 World Series championship, the Cleveland Indians (playing themselves) are inexplicably compelled to take care of a troubled teen. Considering that Cleveland immediately started a streak of nearly 70 years without a title, it’s baffling there isn’t more talk about the Curse of the Kid.
7. They both had a Wild Thing.
Now somebody lift their fans—one set of them, anyway—from the darkness already!