Raising the Cubs’ W – for Wilmington Co.

AVALON—The Chicago Cubs celebrated its first World Series win in more than a century in 2016, ending a 108-year championship drought in a hard-fought seven-gamer versus the Cleveland Indians (who now own the longest championship drought in baseball). One of the sub-cultures of Cubs baseball gained significant attention during the South Siders’ historic run: Raising The W.

Every Cubs win was followed by the raising of a rectangular blue flag with white trim and block letter ‘W’ (also white). The use of ‘W’ in sports signifies ‘win.’ But did you know this flag actually traces its roots to Catalina Island, where the Cubs, for a few decades, held its annual Spring Training seasons?

The Catalina Chamber recently shared a photo of the ‘W’ flag on its Instagram page, with a caption explaining its history and connection to the island.

“William Wrigley, Jr. purchased the Santa Catalina Island Co. and the Wilmington Transportation Co. in 1919 from the Banning Brothers. The ‘W’ flag was originally flown around Catalina Island and Wrigley Field as an indication of the Wilmington Transportation Co.,” Catalina Island’s Chamber of Commerce social media team stated on the Instagram post.

“Over time, the ‘W’ was raised at Wrigley Field to indicate a “Win” for the Chicago Cubs,” the post continued. “Though the Wilmington Co. no longer exists, the ‘W’ is still flown and is symbolic of Catalina’s connection to Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs and the Wrigley family.”

The Cubs franchise held its Spring Training seasons on Catalina Island from 1920 to 1952 (although the Cubs played its preseason games on the mainland during World War II, when the island was used as a lookout station and training grounds).

Cubs’ ownership moved its Spring Training operations to Mesa, Arizona, where the South Siders still play to this day.

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