Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

Cubs Jim Gleeson Scores The Tying Run – July 23, 1939

Cubs Jim Gleeson Ties Game & Giants Lose Their Ninth In A Row

Jim Gleeson scores July 23 1939 photo International News

Home On A Fly

New York – Gleeson, right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, comes home from third after (Mel) Ott, right fielder for the New York Giants, caught (Rip) Russell’s long fly in the sixth inning of the game which the Cubs won 7-5, at the Polo Grounds, New York. (Ken) O’Dea, Giants catcher is set to catch the throw-in. Loss was the Giants ninth in a row. photo: International News 7/23/1939

81 years ago today the Giants and Cubs were in the midst of the pennant race, not beginning their seasons as MLB is doing today. There was no pandemic, just a World War brewing a couple of months away when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Continue reading

Former NL Home Run Champ Now Works At A City Swimming Pool – 1948

Hack Wilson, Former NL Home Run Champ Glad To Have Any Job

Hack Wilson 1948Baseball is going to begin its abbreviated season, as if anyone cares. I certainly don’t. The spoiled players and clueless owners are greedy beyond all belief.

So here is a lesson in humility for all the ballplayers complaining about their pro-rated multi-million dollar salaries and owners crying poverty.

72 years ago today Hack Wilson made the news.  Here is what the original news slug says:

Baltimore, MD July 20, 1948 – EX-HERO Of BASEBALL – – Hack Wilson, the former home run king, chats with kids at the city swimming pool where he works. Municipal authorities had put him to work as a park laborer recently when he came in looking for “any kind of job.” Wilson, now 48-years-old, set the National League’s home run record of 56 in 1930 with the Chicago Cubs. AP Wirephoto

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Jackie Robinson Steals Home…Again

May 18, 1952 Jackie Robinson Steals Home

May 18 1952 stealing home  photo AP

New York, May 18 – Artful Dodger Steals Home
Across home plate in a cloud of dust comes Brooklyn Dodger second baseman Jackie Robinson as he completes one of baseball’s most daring maneuvers — the steal of home. Chicago catcher John Pramesa tries too late to put the ball on the speedy Robinson whose fourth inning larceny came with the bases full at Ebbets Field today. Cubs pitcher Willie Ramsdell was the victim of the play as Robinson beat the throw to the plate. The Dodgers beat the Cubs 7-2. (AP wirephoto)

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After Ed Walsh Won 40 Games In A Season, White Sox Owner Charles Comiskey Cut His Salary

In 1908 Ed Walsh, Won An Astounding 40 Games & Requested A Salary Raise To $7,500 For 1909

White Sox Owner Charles Comiskey Instead Offered To Reduce Walsh’s Salary

Walsh Then Held Out…And Lost

Ed Walsh atOld Timers Ceremony Chicago IL Feb 3 1944

The Battle That Never Ends

Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown (left), Chicago Cubs pitcher just after the turn of the century; Urban (Red) Faber (center), former Chicago White Sox Spitballer, and Ed Walsh big moose of White Sox hurling fame before World War I, discuss curve versus spitball at Diamond Jubilee dinner of The Old Time Players’ Association at Chicago, IL, Feb. 3. – Associated Press Photo 2/4/1944

For six seasons Ed Walsh was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Today his name is rarely mentioned among the early pitching greats such as Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Pete Alexander.

Walsh’s greatness was recognized by his peers however and he was the guest of honor at the 1944 Old Time Players’ Association Dinner. As can be seen in the above press photo Walsh was glad to see old teammates and former rivals.

ed walsh white sox pitching

Ed Walsh photo Charles Conlon

From 1907 -1912, Walsh won a total of 178 games. In 1908, Walsh pitched 464 innings in 66 games, winning 40 while posting a minuscule 1.42 ERA. As the White Sox battled for the pennant down to the last week of the season, Walsh pitched in an incredible seven of the last nine games of the season.

On September 29, Walsh pitched two complete games beating the Boston Red Sox in a doubleheader by scores of 5-1 and 2-0. Continue reading

1945 Cubs Sluggers and A 1948 Indians Championship

The Last Time:

Cubs In World Series, 1945; Indians Were World Champions, 1948

Cubs May Have Had Sluggers, But They Still Lost to Tigers in ’45; Indians Prevailed Over Braves in ’48

1945 Cubs Sluggers: Lowery, Secory, Nicholson, Pafko and Sauer photo: William Greene

1945 Cubs Sluggers: (l-r) Lowery, Secory, Nicholson, Pafko and Sauer photo: William Greene

The news photograph above was captioned “1945 Cubs Sluggers.” That may be a bit of a misnomer as Harry “Peanuts” Lowery hit seven home runs in 143 games, the most he ever hit in his 13 year career.

Frank Secory hit no homers in 35 games. Bill “Swish” Nicholson, the only true slugger in this photograph led the National League in homers in 1943 and 1944 with 29 and 33 home runs respectively. In 1945 Nicholson led the Cubs with a mere 13 home runs in 151 games. Andy Pafko hit 12 home runs and drove in 110 runs in 144 games. And Ed Sauer had two homers in 49 games.

As a team the 1945 Cubs hit only 57 home runs. On the other hand their pitchers allowed only 57 home runs.

In the closely contested World Series, none of the “Cubs sluggers” hit a home run. National League MVP Phil Caverretta hit the only homer and led the Cubs with a .423 batting average.

Claude Passeau and Rudy York before game 1 1945 World Series photo: International News

Claude Passeau and Rudy York before game 1 1945 World Series photo: International News

Before game 4 of the World Series began, this photo was taken. The caption reads: Continue reading

These Are The World Champion 1908 Chicago Cubs

Players on the 1908 World Champion Chicago Cubs In High Definition Photographs

Joe Tinker Second Baseman of the 1908 Chicago Cubs

Joe Tinker, Shortstop 1908 Chicago Cubs

For the moment it seems all of America is talking about the Chicago Cubs. As everyone now knows it has been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series four games to one against the Detroit Tigers.

But what do you know of the 1908 Cubs team?

Maybe you’ve heard of Tinker to Evers to Chance the famous Cubs double play combination immortalized in a newspaper poem by the once legendary Franklin P. Adams. It should be noted that off the field Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers refused to speak to one another. Besides the trio of Cubs Hall-of Famers, you probably know little of the 1908 Cubbies.

Johnny Kling, Catcher 1908 Chicago Cubs

Johnny Kling, Catcher 1908 Chicago Cubs (check out that bat!)

The 1908 Cubs are comprised of forgotten names. Their achievements are just dusty remnants that reside only in the record books. There is no one alive today who actually saw the 1908 Chicago Cubs play.

They were a hardened lot, these players. They usually had to work at other jobs in the off-season. It was a time when baseball players scrambled for a job on one of 16 ball clubs. They had to be constantly looking over their shoulder because there was always some youngster trying to take their $2,000 a year baseball job.

At least we can see what they looked like. We’re bringing the Chicago Cubs of 1908 back to you in high definition photographs. All photographs are from the Library of Congress and can be clicked on for enlargement in great detail.

With their heavy flannel uniforms, small fingered gloves, heavy bats and grizzled looks, here are some of the 1908 Chicago Cubs:

Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, Pitcher 1908 Chicago Cubs

Mordecai “Three Fingered” Brown, Pitcher 1908 Chicago Cubs

Mordecai “Three Fingered” Brown, really only had three fingers, his index finger was a stump that was the result of catching his hand in a corn shredder when he was seven-years-old. That accident gave Brown an odd spin on his fastball which confounded hitters. He won 239 games while losing only 130 in his career. His ERA was 2.06, the third lowest in history for pitchers with over 2,000 innings.

In the 1908 World Series Brown was one of two star pitchers, winning two games against the Detroit Tigers. Brown was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.

Orval Overall Pitcher 1908 Chicago Cubs

Orval Overall Pitcher 1908 Chicago Cubs

You would think anyone named Orval Overall would be remembered just because of his name. A short career doomed Orval to obscurity despite a 108-71 lifetime record with a 2.23 ERA. There was no Tommy John surgery when Overall hurt his arm and his career was over in 1913 at age 32.  Overall won the other two games for the Cubs in the 1908 World Series.

Johnny Evers Shortstop 1908 Chicago Cubs

Johnny Evers Second Baseman 1908 Chicago Cubs

Johnny Evers was considered one of the scrappiest and smartest players to ever play the game. Evers batted .300 in 1908 and .350 in the World Series. If you enlarge the photograph you will see a man who had lived quite a bit. This photograph of Evers is from 1913 when he was only 32. Continue reading

Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason

It Still Happens – Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason (And Making A Difference)

sandy-koufax-singles-world-series-october-12-1965This photograph of pitcher Sandy Koufax shows a rarity.

In 20 times at bat, Dodger great, Sandy Koufax got only one hit in postseason play.

Koufax is leaving the batters box after stroking a single in game six of the 1965 World Series driving in Ron Fairly. Koufax’s single gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh in an eventual 7-0 shutout over the Minnesota Twins. It wasn’t Koufax’s hitting that won the game, it was the complete game, four hitter with 10 strikeouts that he hurled. Still to everyone watching, sans Twin fans, Koufax’s hit was a pleasant surprise.

The Dodgers went on to win the seventh game and Koufax was named the series MVP.

Koufax was one of the worst hitters ever, compiling a miniscule .097 career batting average over 12 seasons. But no one ever came to see Koufax hit, they came to see him pitch. As bad as a hitter as Koufax was there was always the slim chance that he might get a base hit. And when he did guess what? It was exciting.

The use of the designated hitter in the American League and the DH’s use in World Series games only in American League ballparks has effectively eliminated the thrill out of watching the pitcher impacting the game with his bat.

So in this day and age when it is considered a shock when a pitcher comes to the plate and gets a hit, it is refreshing to see pitchers in the 2016 postseason hitting and making a difference in many games.

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner was actually used as a pinch-hitter in game two of the NLDS playoff game against the Cubs.  In that same game, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks singled in two runs and reliever Travis Wood blasted a home run against the Giants pitcher George Kontos.

Then in the next game of the series Cubs starter Jake Arrieta hit a three run homer against the Giants. In the fourth inning of game 4 Giants pitcher Matt Moore singled home the go ahead run in a losing effort.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw helped his own cause in game four against the Washington Nationals by doubling and scoring the go-ahead run in what ended up being a 6-5 L.A. victory.

If you polled baseball fans most would say they want more offense and never have pitchers bat. Continue reading

Gangster Al Capone Goes To A Baseball Game

Hall-of-Famer Gabby Hartnett Signs Autographs For Al Capone and His Son – 1931

Al Capone sees a Cubs game with son as Gabby Hartnett signs autograph 1931 9 10Associated Press Photo From Chicago

Al Capone takes his son to the ball game surrounded by his watchful lieutenants. Chicago’s gang chief and his 12-year-old son, Al Jr., get Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs to autograph a baseball just before the Cubs defeated the White Sox, 3 to 0, in a charity game before 35,000 spectators at Comiskey Park, Chicago, Sept. 9. Pictures of Capone before the public are not frequent, and a pose with his son is rare. He affectionately calls the boy “Sonny.”

Note the watchfulness of one of his bodyguards directly behind him. A pop-corn vendor evidently rubbed his shoulder and he looks ready to protect his chief. 9-9-31

This photograph made me wonder if Al Capone’s bodyguards were licensed to carry firearms and if they were packing heat when they visited Comiskey Park? It certainly looks like the bodyguard is reaching into his jacket to pull out his “roscoe” or maybe it was his wallet to pay for the popcorn.

One other thing to note: “Sonny,” does not look thrilled to be at the ballpark, much less getting an autograph from Gabby Hartnett.

Jackie Robinson Forced Out At Second By Ernie Banks 1955

May 11, 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 11 Game Winning Streak Comes To An End

Jackie Robinson forced out at second base as Ernie Banks leaps over him May 11, 1955 photo: UPI

Jackie Robinson forced out at second base as Ernie Banks leaps over him May 11, 1955 photo: UPI

The New York Mets recent 10 game winning streak in 2015 may be a sign from the baseball gods that good things are in store for them. For inspiration the Mets can look back 60 years to the winning streak the Brooklyn Dodgers assembled on their way to their only World Series Championship.

The caption for this news photo says:

Chicago: Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn, forced at second in 7th inning of Dodgers – Cubs game here 5/11 as shortstop Ernie Banks throws to first for double play on grounder hit to second baseman Gene Baker by Carl Furillo. Umpire Art Gore calls the play. Cubs won 10-8 halting Dodgers’ winning streak at 11. photo United Press 5/11/55

What many fans may forget is that the Dodgers opened the season on April 13 and won their first ten games. By the time their 11 game winning streak was broken by the Cubs on May 11 they were 22-3 and held on to first place for the entire season. Continue reading

Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs Player-Manager circa 1912

Frank Chance, Subject of Baseball’s Most Famous Poem

Frank Chance 1912These are the saddest of possible words:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,

Tinker and Evers and Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble

Making a Giant hit into a double –

Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:

“Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Just what is a “gonfalon” anyway? It is a pennant or a flag.

When columnist Franklin P. Adams wrote the poem “That Double Play Again” (later retitled “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”) in 1910, Frank Chance was the manager and first baseman of the Chicago Cubs. With double play partners Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker, the three would be immortalized first in the popular poem and later in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Chance played for the Cubs from 1898 -1912 and was claimed off waivers by the Reds after the 1912 season. A month later he was claimed off waivers again from the Reds by the Yankees. In 1913, Chance became the manager of the New York Yankees and played a few games at first base.

He managed the Yankees for two seasons, leading the team to 7th place in 1913 and 6th place in 1914.

Frank Chance died at the age of 48 on  September 15, 1924. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946, 22 years after his death by the Old Timers Committee.