Nine, six, five, three and one.
No, those aren’t the most recent Powerball numbers, but the total number of seasons, winning seasons, postseason appearances, division titles and World Series championships for the Cubs during Theo Epstein’s run as team president.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that Epstein’s resignation as president came just a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
Because in the season of giving thanks, it’s obvious what Cubs fans should be thankful for this year, and that’s Epstein’s nine-year run with the team.
Epstein arrived in Chicago in October 2011, tasked with leading the Cubs out of mediocrity and to their first World Series title since 1908. After back-to-back playoff appearances in 2007 and 2008, they were in the midst of a three-season drought when Epstein came to town, two of which they finished second-to-last in the NL Central.
Epstein set out to build a culture of sustained success on the North Side, one where the Cubs got to the postseason more often than not. The club went through some growing pains under his watch, with three more fifth-place finishes (two being last place) amid a rebuild from 2012-14 — including a 101-loss 2012 campaign.
Spoiler alert: things got better after that.
The Cubs made the postseason each of the next four seasons, their longest streak in franchise history. They made three straight trips to the NLCS during that span (2015-17) and won two straight division titles (2016-17).
If not for a…