Saturday, May 9, 2009

Early Cubs Footage

Back in 2006, Paul Lukas, the guru of sports uniforms whose UniWatch column can be found at ESPN Page 2, alerted me to an interesting video on YouTube. The video can be seen here.

Originally billed as footage from the 1929 World Series at Wrigley Field, research reveals that almost half of the footage is actually from 1930.

The park is definitely Wrigley Field from the era. Here is the scoreboard in center field seen at 1:44 of the YouTube video:

Compare this with a photo showing the scoreboard in center field at Wrigley Field during the 1929 World Series from the Chicago Daily News collection at the Library of Congress's American Memory web site.

Chicago Daily News negatives collection, SDN-069131. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.

The first clue that the footage is not all from 1929 comes from 00:30 to 00:43 of the video, which shows the Cubs wearing their 1930 uniforms. Here's a still from 00:31 of the video:

In 1929, the Cubs wore uniforms that featured a wishbone "C" with an image of a bear-cub inside it. In 1930, however, the club featured the letters "UBS" inside the wishbone "C," combining to make the word "CUBS." Compare the photo above to the drawings of the 1929 (top) and 1930 (bottom) Cubs uniforms at the Dressed to the Nines online exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame's web site:

By the way, the Cub at far right (with the noticeably white hair) is coach and former major league player Jimmy Burke. Though the Library of Congress lists the photo below as "unidentified," it is clearly of Burke:

Chicago Daily News negatives collection, SDN-068569. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.

From about 1:05 to 1:42 or so, the Cubs are seen carrying a large flag and, directly behind them, members of another club are seen with uniforms that clearly have some sort of markings on the backs of their jerseys. Here's a still from 01:13 of the video:

And here's another from 1:29 that shows the unusual markings on the back of the visiting club's uniforms (at far right):

From 1:43 to 2:05 it becomes clear that what the players were carrying was a pennant and it is being raised on the flagpole next to the scoreboard in center field. The pennant says: "CHAMPIONS / NATIONAL LEAGUE / 1929". Here are stills from 1:56 to 2:05:

During the flag raising, the scoreboard is visible. Here's a still from 01:44 of the video:

Note that at the top of the scoreboard it shows that the "CUBS" are playing "BOSTON." New York is at Pittsburgh (the game is in progress around the sixth inning or so), Brooklyn is at Cincinnati, and Philadelphia is at St. Louis.

According to the Retrosheet web site, these clubs played one another on June 21, 1930. Indeed, the partial line score from the Giants vs. Pirates game on the scoreboard matches Retrosheet's line score for the game.

These clues pinpoint the date of the footage as Flag Day, June 21, 1930, an appropriate holiday to raise the National League pennant. The Cubs paraded toward center field with the pennant, followed by the visiting club, the Boston Braves, who in 1929 and 1930 wore an Indian head logo on the back of their jerseys, as seen at the Dressed to the Nines online exhibit:

The same indian head can be seen on the back of the third baseman in this photo of Kiki Cuyler running to third as the Cubs host the Braves at Wrigley Field in 1929:

Chicago Daily News negatives collection, SDN-068978. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.

The Chicago Daily Tribune of June 22, 1930, published the following photo of the Cubs with the pennant that is clearly from the same event:

Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1930

The caption, in part, reads: "Champion Cubs celebrate the formal raising of the National league pennant with a double victory over the Boston Braves. ... The entire Bruin personnel parades before the crowd of 42,000 with the 1929 bunting, which was later unfurled in the stiff northeast breeze."

From 2:06 to 2:37, the two teams parade back to the infield, with the Cubs on the third base side, and the Braves on the first base side. And from 2:38 to 3:14, action is seen from the doubleheader played that day. From 3:11 to 3:14 one can even see Cubs southpaw pitcher Bud Teachout deliver a pitch.

Note that at 3:01 there is clearly no bunting visible on the fa├žade of the second deck:

But soon afterward the footage switches from Flag Day 1930 to pre-game and game-action from the 1929 World Series. Note that at 3:29 the bunting one would expect to see at the World Series is now visible:

The rest of the film does indeed appear to be from the 1929 World Series at Wrigley Field, though it is not clear if the action is from Game One (October 8) or Game Two (October 9).

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