January 23, 2022

Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales Stays Busy in Retirement

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

Jack Bales, Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus, remains busy and focused in his retirement as he promotes his latest book, The Chicago Cub Shot for Love: A Showgirl’s Crime of Passion and the 1932 World Series (The History Press, 2021). Besides participating in podcasts and interviews, he has presented numerous Zoom PowerPoint talks to various groups around the country about how a young woman, Violet Popovich, shot Cub shortstop Billy Jurges in his hotel room on July 6, 1932. It was “an episode of unrequited love,” according to the baseball periodical The Sporting News, and the shooting indirectly led to Babe Ruth’s famous “Called Shot” home run during that year’s World Series. “I spent quite a few years researching and writing the book,” Bales said, “but it was all a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The Zoom talks—with dozens of marvelous images and photographs—have gone over very well, but then, this fascinating story of baseball history and true-crime intrigue deserves all the credit.”

Public libraries have also been emailing him about Zoom presentations for their patrons—and buying his book as well—and Bales does not foresee retirement boredom creeping up anytime soon. The Chicago Cub Shot for Love landed on at least two “best books of the year” lists, including the Washington Independent Review of Books’ “The Best Book I Read All Year” in the December 29 issue. The reviewer writes in part: “Bales does an impressive job of melding his exhaustive research with a fast-paced tale to bring the story of Chicago Cub shortstop Billy Jurges and showgirl Violet Popovich to well-deserved prominence. . . . A book to be savored. . . .”