World Series teams featured former Illini in each of their last championships

By The Daily Illini sports staff

It has been a long time since the Cleveland Indians have won the World Series and even longer for the Chicago Cubs. Besides the championship droughts each team has endured, they also share another pretty big similarity. In their last championships — 1948 for the Indians and 1908 for the Cubs — a former Illinois baseball player played a leading role on the team.

Lou Boudreau, Cleveland Indians

The 1948 World Champion Indians were led by Lou Bourdeau, one of the best Illini to ever play the game of baseball. Boudreau won the American League Most Valuable Player Award for that season, managed the team and had a hitting average of .273 in the World Series against the Boston Braves. In 1970, Boudreau became the first and only Illini baseball player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His No. 5 Illinois jersey was retired April 18, 1992.

Carl Lundgren, Chicago Cubs

The 1908 World Champion Chicago Cubs also featured a prominent Illini ballplayer on their roster. Pitcher Carl Lundgren played with the Cubs for eight years and helped the team win back-to-back titles in 1907 and 1908. Despite his huge contributions, Lundgren failed to crack the World Series rotation because he fell in the rotation behind Orval Overall and future Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown. Lundgren also had a strong season; he recorded seven shutouts on the year. Later in his career, Lundgren returned to the Illini as a head coach, and went on to coach his teams to a 209-78-14 record over 14 years. He also won five Big Ten titles.

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