An exhibit of books and photographs on the Chicago Cubs will be on display at Simpson Library until October 14, 2011. Titled “Before They Were Loveable Losers: The Pennant-Winning Chicago Cubs,” the exhibit details noteworthy events in the team’s history, particularly its National League pennants from 1929 through 1945. It also examines the careers of some of the notable ballplayers on those teams. The exhibit, in the first floor lobby, is open during regular library hours.
Jack Bales, reference and humanities librarian and compiler of the exhibit, said that although “world champions” is a term not often associated with the Cubs, “various teams and players over the years have nonetheless either made their marks on baseball history, or, at the very least, achieved some degree of enviable success.” In 1906, for example, the Cubs won 116 games and lost only 36, still a major league record. The World Series winners of 1907 and 1908 featured baseball’s most celebrated double-play combination: Joe Tinker to Johnny Evers to Frank Chance.
Some of the players whom Bales features include Hall of Famer Hack Wilson, who, as one sportswriter said, “was built like a beer keg, and not entirely unfamiliar with its contents.” Wilson batted in 191 runs in 1930, a record that will probably never be broken. Another player is catcher Leo “Gabby” Hartnett, whose hit on September 28, 1938, as darkness was descending on Wrigley Field, resulted in the Cubs’ most famous home run, the “homer in the gloamin’.” One exhibit case is devoted to Babe Ruth’s “called shot” in the 1932 World Series, in which Ruth supposedly pointed to center field before hitting a long home run.