1914 was a transitional year for the Cubs and for baseball. The creation of a third major league, the Federal League, robbed the Cubs and other teams of players. Johnny Evers, player-manager, was traded to the Braves.
Remember Hank O'Day, the umpire whose ruling helped the Cubs win the 1908 pennant? He was hired as team manager, two years after he had managed the Cincinnati Reds. It didn't help. The Cubs floundered around until June and July, when a 25-7 run pushed them over .500 and to within 2½ games of first place.
They could get no closer. On September 8, they met the Reds at West Side Grounds. A 4-3 win, their fifth in a row, brought them to within three games of the league lead. I.E. Sanborn in the Tribune:
Frank Schulte's bat conspired with the boots and blunders of the Reds to eke out a ten inning victory for the Cubs yesterday in their final battle of the year with Cincinnati, and it kept Chicago in the congested National League pennant marathon. The score was 4 to 3. Schulte came to the scratch four times with Cubs on bases, and three times his hickory drove home a tally. In the first inning a single converted a fumble by Groh into a run. In the third a long fly enabled another Cub to cross the platter, and in the tenth Wildfire's third safe swat sent home the winning tally after the Reds ought to have had the side out.
It didn't matter, as the Cubs proceeded on a road trip to Pittsburgh where they were swept in a four-game series by the Pirates. 1914 was the year of the "Miracle Braves", who came from last place on July 4 to win the pennant. The Cubs went 9-17 after September 8 and the Braves were 25-6; the Cubs finished fourth at 78-76, 16½ games behind.