NEW YORK — The world was a much different — and cheaper — place in 1908.
That, of course, was the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series before their Game 7 extra innings victory over the Cleveland Indians in the early hours of Thursday morning.
In 1908, a Hershey candy bar cost just 2 cents. That’s only 51 cents in 2016 dollars, if you adjust for inflation.
A Hershey bar today costs you three times as much – $1.59 on Target’s web site, according to Food Timeline and Oregon State University political science professor Robert Sahr. Official government inflation numbers only go back to 1914.
A box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was only 10 cents, 108 years ago. That’s $2.56 in today’s dollars. A 24-ounce box now costs $3.45 on Jet.com, the e-commerce site being bought by Walmart. So it looks like cocoa has been a hotter commodity than corn!
Baseball players also weren’t making nearly as much money in 1908 as they are now.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Cubs ace pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown took home an annual salary of $3,500 in 1908. That works out to only about $90,000.
A rookie in Major League Baseball today earns a minimum salary of $507,500. And World Series MVP Ben Zobrist made $10 million this year. That doesn’t include his signing bonus, or any other incentives.
Fans didn’t have to pay as much to see the game Wednesday night either.
A seat in the grandstands at Chicago’s West Side Grounds (Wrigley Field didn’t exist yet) cost just $1.50 for a World Series game in 1908.
The stock market looked a heck of a lot different in 1908 too. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading around 63. Yes, 63. Two digits. It’s currently hovering around 18,000.
And the companies in the Dow were nothing like today’s leaders in finance, technology and retail. No American Express, Apple or Home Depot obviously.
Amalgamated Copper, American Sugar, Colorado Fuel & Iron, National Lead and U.S. Rubber were some of the leading components.
So was U.S. Steel, which still exists today but is nowhere as big as it once was. (Or even as big as it was in the late 1950s when Hyman Roth told Michael Corleone in “The Godfather Part II” that the mafia was bigger than U.S. Steel.)
GE is the only Dow component that still is in the index today. And it only joined in 1907, replacing Tennessee Coal & Iron.