The 1925 Cubs finished last in the National League, and so changes were to come for 1926. One of the biggest was a new manager -- Joe McCarthy, who had come from a successful stint managing Louisville in the American Association.
The Cubs got off to a bad start in '26, but they began to win in midsummer and in late August, ran off an eight-game winning streak. The last of those eight was a win over the Reds in front of what was then considered a huge throng -- 35,000 in the still upper-deck-less Cubs Park. And one of the key additions to the team, purchased from the then-independent of the PIC, was 23-year-old pitcher Charlie Root, who had a huge game that Sunday afternoon. Irving Vaughn of the Tribune explains:
Mr. Carl Mays regards himself as a highly important factor in the national pastime, but to the Cubs he's just a pitcher and not an especially great one at that. With his submarine ball, bean ball, control, etc., he may have his profitable days, but yesterday was not one of them, and the McCarthy pepper pods now boast a winning streak of eight in a row. With their minds centered on keeping that coveted string of wins intact, the Cubs battered Mr. Mays until he was mercifully yanked, and then battered some others for a 5 to 1 triumph over the pennant dreaming Reds in front of 35,000 screeching customers. And while Mays was patching himself together, Charley Root was swinging the Red batters around by their shoelaces and enjoying the thrill of a lifetime over a home run with which he definitely decided the fight.
Translation: Root pitched a complete game, scattering 10 hits and allowing just one run, and his two-run homer in the sixth inning capped a three-run rally in the Cubs' 5-1 victory.
Root would go on to a 16-year career with the Cubs; his 201 wins are the most in franchise history and he still holds several other team pitching records. He pitched in four World Series for the Cubs; sadly, he never won a postseason game. Meanwhile, the 1926 Cubs had a 14-game improvement over 1925, finishing fourth, seven games behind the pennant-winning Cardinals (the "pennant dreaming Reds" finished second, two games out).