By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was much more than a casual observer in watching his team clinch a postseason series Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field. Chicago’s 6-4 win against St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLDS marked the first time in franchise history that the Cubs had ever clinched a postseason series on their home field in their 141-year history.READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Delays General Iron Permit To Move To South Side Over EPA Concerns
Before Tuesday, the Cubs had only won three postseason series in their history. They were victorious in the 1907 and 1908 World Series, both of which were clinched in Detroit at Bennett Field. Chicago’s other playoff series win came when it topped Atlanta in the 2003 NLDS. That Game 5 clincher came at Turner Field.
Ricketts and his family bought the Cubs in 2009. They never were above the .500 mark for more than 12 days total in any season in the seven years of ownership until this year, when Chicago went 97-65 behind a young core of blossoming talent.
“My heart stopped six or seven times during the game,” Ricketts said Tuesday on the field during the team’s celebration. “That is amazing.”
Ricketts was in awe that Tuesday was the first time the Cubs got to celebrate a clincher on their home field in the playoffs.
“I really did not know that, but I had a really good feeling about winning tonight,” he said. “We have had such a great season, and hopefully we will carry it with two more celebrations.”
Every World Series champion that advances from the wild-card gets four celebration parties along the way. The Cubs have two down and two to go now after beating the Pirates in the win-or-go-home playoff last Wednesday and outlasting the Cardinals thanks in large part to a power barrage in Game 3 and Game 4, when they homered a combined nine times.READ MORE: Chicago Night Clubs Gear Up For Looser COVID-19 Restrictions As State Prepares To Enter Bridge Phase
“You have seen every move we have made along the way,” Ricketts said. “It has always been about rebuilding from the bottom up. We concentrated on getting high talented young players here. When we hired Joe (Maddon) last year as the manager, we felt we were ready to compete.”
The Ricketts family paid $855 million for the team in 2009. The net worth of the franchise is estimated at $1.2 billion and climbing today. Ricketts has implemented a plan with Crane Kenney at the helm of the business operation and Theo Epstein leading the charge on the baseball side.
With the renovation of Wrigley Field in full swing and the fine young players at the big league level and lower, the ownership group is feeling great about the future.
“I don ‘t think anybody wants to play us right now,” Ricketts said. “We are playing loose, Joe has everybody focused and we think we are ready.”
The formula for consistent success is in motion for Ricketts and his group. The Cubs will play the winner of the Mets-Dodgers series, which will be decided by a Game 5 on Thursday night in Los Angeles. The NLCS starts Saturday at a time to be announced.
“We are not satisfied yet,” he said. “We still have a long way to go. We are playing against 1908 (the last Cubs championship). We have to be that team that goes all the way. These guys want to do it. I think they will.”MORE NEWS: Saint Joseph Catholic School Principal On Administrative Duty After Former Teacher Charged With Child Sex Crimes
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.