With the recent success of the Chicago Cubs, the St. Louis Cardinals no longer reign supreme in the NL Central
Over the last three seasons, the Chicago Cubs have installed a winning culture on the North Side of Chicago that was lacking for the better part of 100 years. In 2015, the Cubs narrowly missed winning the NL Central crown, ending the season three games behind the Cardinals.
With their division title in 2015, the Cardinals claimed their tenth. Much of that success was due in part to the dominate Cardinal teams from the early 2000’s. Lead by Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols (whose rookie season was in 2001), the franchise won five division titles from 2000-2006.
This dominance was continued as the Red Birds won three straight division titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
During the most recent stretch of Cardinals’ success, the Cubs spent their time in the cellar of the Central. In 2013, for example, the North Siders lost 96 games, finishing 31 games back of their rivals.
As the Cardinals dropped to 90 wins in 2014 from 97 a year earlier, the Cubs improved to 73 victories. Still, the Cubs lay buried 17 games back and in last place while their foes dominated the division.
That same season, 2014, was a sort of turning point for the Cubs as a team. It was Jake Arrieta‘s first full season with the Cubs, in which he finished ninth in the Cy Young voting. Also, Javier Baez made his first appearance on a big league roster, playing in 52 games and hitting just .169.