Chicago Cubs: 2008 team built drastically different than this year’s club
By Jake Misener
The 2008 Chicago Cubs won 97 games and reached the postseason. Still, they were constructed very differently than the roster heading into the 2018 season.
When Lou Piniella took over as manager of the Chicago Cubs, I just knew things were going to be different. After an 85-win 2007 campaign, Sweet Lou led the North Siders back to the postseason again in 2008. Of course, the team enjoyed absolutely no October success, getting swept in the first round in both years.
How so, you might ask, were these teams different? In virtually every way imaginable. Let’s start with Piniella himself. An old-school, no-nonsense baseball guy, his first season managing the Cubs marked his 20th year at the helm of a Major League club. What do people remember most about Piniella? His ejection antics.
But, hey. It worked. He won Manager of the Year three times during his career, including during the Cubs’ 2008 campaign and led the Cincinnati Reds to the 1990 World Series title. Now, the quirky Joe Maddon leads the Cubs – and he couldn’t be more different than Piniella.
Old school v. new school
Don’t get me wrong. Both men have tremendous baseball IQ. But they come from distinctly different lines of thinking. Maddon epitomizes the new school approach to the game while Piniella is about as old school as it gets.
In his three-plus years with Chicago, Piniella posted a .519 winning percentage and two postseason appearances. Maddon, heading into his fourth season as the Cubs’ manager, owns a .602 winning percentage, three-straight LCS appearances and a World Series title.
But enough about the men who led these respective teams. Let’s look more closely at the rosters and their make-up.