Recent and Current Chicago Cubs’ Eras Similar to 1960s and 1970s

William S. Bike
4 min readNov 19, 2022

Two seven-year eras of contention, followed by a rebuild

The Chicago Cubs are hoping to get back to the joy of 2016 through their current rebuild.
(This image was originally posted to Flickr by apardavila at This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

By William S. Bike

For the Chicago Cubs two seven-year eras of contention, 1967–73 and 2015–21, bear remarkable similarities.

In both eras the Cubs contended for seven years straight and had some of their greatest teams.

The 1967–73 team was the Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and Fergie Jenkins Cubs, and the 2015–21 Cubs had Anthony Rizzo, Krys Bryant, and Javier Baez. The big difference was that in the second era, the Cubs made postseason play five times and won the World Series in 2016, but in the first era, the Cubs never even made the playoffs. But way fewer teams made the playoffs then — in fact in 1967 and 1968, there were no playoffs other than the World Series — a team either won the league or went home. Under the current playoff system, the 1967–73 Cubs would have made the playoffs in six of those seven years, and probably would have won a pennant or two, and maybe the World Series.

For example, the computer analysis I did for my book The Forgotten 1970 Chicago Cubs: Go and Glow shows that if they would have made the World Series that year, they would have won rather easily.

In both eras in the seventh year, the teams started off really well, leading their division into mid-season, but then they fell off drastically. In 1973, Cub management kept the team together until the end of the season and then started trading off stars for youngsters in a rebuilding effort. In 2021, they didn’t wait and started trading off their stars for youngsters in mid-season.

In the 1970s, after three lean years from 1974–76, the rebuilding effort put the Cubs back in contention in 1977. The rebuild from 2011–2014 lasted three years too. So if the current Cubs are on that pace, 2023 will be another non-contending year, but they should be back fighting for the playoffs in 2024.

But we don’t know which players will be on the team. In the post-1973 rebuild, they got some good players like Bill Madlock and Andre Thornton, but ended up trading them for different players.

William S. Bike

Author of "Winning Political Campaigns," a how-to book on all aspects of political campaigning, and commentator on history and baseball.