As the Cubs celebrate their World Series victory with a parade through downtown Chicago today, America is thinking back on just how long it's been since the Cubs have been able to celebrate a baseball championship. To help you get your mind around it, here's a reminder of what the world of classical music was like in 1908.
1908 saw the premieres of works by 35-year-old Sergei Rachmaninoff (Symphony No. 2), 33-year-old Maurice Ravel (Rapsodie espagnole), 48-year-old Gustav Mahler (Symphony No. 7), 51-year-old Edward Elgar (Symphony No. 1), 45-year-old Claude Debussy (Children's Corner), and and 33-year-old Charles Ives (Two Contemplations, including The Unanswered Question).
When the Cubs prevailed over the Detroit Tigers in the 1908 World Series, Herbert von Karajan was an infant — while Olivier Messiaen and Elliot Carter would be born later that year. Other major figures who had yet to be born included Benny Goodman (born in 1909), Samuel Barber (born in 1910), and Bernard Herrmann (born in 1911). Dmitri Shostakovich (born 1906) was still a toddler.
Chicago's newly-built Symphony Hall was used for fans to follow wire reports from away games. Boston's Symphony Hall was still less than a decade old, and one of the "Big Five" U.S. symphony orchestras — Cleveland — wouldn't be founded for another ten years.
Just think what classical music fans filing back into Symphony Hall after the baseball scoreboard was removed would have thought if they'd known that the next time the Cubs won a series, music would be predominantly streamed via radio signals on handheld devices — with millions of different recordings available on demand.
Elsewhere in the world in 1908, Robert Peary set off for the North Pole, the first Model T rolled off the assembly line, and William Howard Taft was elected president. With only 16 teams in the Major Leagues, Cubs fans reasonably guessed they had a decent chance of seeing another world championship within the next several years. It turned out to be more like 108.