Holy Cow! It's a Cubs tribute puzzle! It's just 13 days after the Cubs won the World Series, and just three days since Mr. Kahn's last NYT Crossword byline (!), but none of that matters, because, well, it's the Cubs.
This one almost enters the realm of a "stunt puzzle," with so many entries being tied to the theme in any way possible. There are the three fifteens, including WORLDSERIESRING (39A: 2016 award for each Cub), but there's also bonus material like EVERS (16A: Tinker to ____ to Chance (Cubs double play combo)), GOAT (17A: Curse of the Billy ____, Cubs "jinx" that ended in 2016), MOPUP (60A: Finish pitching in a lopsided game), and even RAMPS (49D: Stadium walkways).
And speaking of stadium RAMPS, it was on one of those in Wrigley Field, during a 1984 Pennant drive game vs. the Mets, that Frannie and I, with our "standing room only" tickets, sat and talked. We had gone to the game with other people, as it were, but we connected during a pregame walk through the stands to the IVYCOVEREDWALLS, then sitting on that ramp, then talking all the way home in the back seat of the rented van. The connection was ELECTRIC, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But enough about me, let's get back to the puzzle. It starts and ends Cubs, from 1A: "My Kind of ____ (Chicago Is)" (TOWN) (B) (First confident answer) to SOSA (69A: Cubs slugger with 609 home runs). Sure, we have TIGE (1D: Buster Brown's canine sidekick), CCLIV (30A: The year 254), the very odd-looking, but fine, I guess GOUP (56D: Ascend), and the regrettable STUBBLES (5D: Targets of close shaves?), but hey, whatever. GO CUBS!