January 18, 2020

Bales’ Chicago Cubs Book Reviewed in The Free Lance-Star

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." It's due out this spring. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales’ new book “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team” was recently reviewed in The Free Lance-Star. The review states, “It is truly a perfect book to start a baseball season with. Not reading it before the season started certainly does not make it a less perfect book, but what a book to whet the appetite of any baseball fan and a must-read for fans of the Chicago Cubs.” Read more. 

Bales Discusses The Chicago Cubs Origins on Sports Podcast

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." It's due out this spring. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and humanities librarian and baseball historian Jack Bales (Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team) was interviewed by the Good Seats Still Available podcast to delve into the surprisingly rich history of Major League Baseball’s long-time North Side Chicago franchise well prior to 1903, when they formally adopted their now-signature nickname.

http://goodseatsstillavailable.com/listen/2019/6/15/episode-117-the-chicago-cubs-origin-story-with-jack-bales

Bales' new book covers the Cubs' formative years.

Bales’ new book covers the Cubs’ formative years.

EPISODE #117: The Chicago Cubs Origin Story – With Jack Bales (Good Seat Still Available.com)

Two New Baseball-themed Exhibits in Simpson Library

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

The next time you’re walking along Campus Walk, stop by Simpson Library and enjoy the two new exhibits on the first floor, arranged by Reference Librarian Jack Bales and Convergence Gallery Supervisor/Serials Assistant Tammy Hefner.

One of them features photographs and baseball history from Bales’ new book, Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team (McFarland, 2019).

The other exhibit focuses on the strange story of jilted lover Violet Popovich, who in June 1932 made headlines after she shot her Chicago Cub boyfriend, Billy Jurges. Violet’s wound was superficial, and she was booked on a charge of attempted murder. Billy recovered, and in a few weeks he was back on the baseball field. Although he refused to sign a complaint, Violet signed a singing contract with a local burlesque theater, billing herself as Violet Valli, “The Girl Who Shot for Love.” Preceding her on stage were the theater’s “Bare Cub Girls.”

Violet Valli adThe photographs and detailed narrative are based on Bales’ research and his award-winning article, “The Show Girl and the Shortstop: The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges” (Baseball Research Journal, fall 2016). “It’s an incredible story,” Bales said in a recent interview. “We’re talking attempted murder, stolen love letters, blackmail, a burlesque show, sex, and, of course, baseball. What else is there?”

UMW Libraries to Celebrate Bales’ Cubs Book Release

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales

UMW Libraries will hold a gathering to honor Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales in celebration of the recent publication of his book Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team. The festivity, which promises baseball, books and even hotdogs, will be held Monday, April 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center located on Hanover Street.

Bales, who grew up near Chicago and became a diehard Cubs fan, covers the team’s  rarely addressed formative years. In true librarian style, he cites thousands of original sources—though the amazing read isn’t limited to baseball lovers.

“Comments have been positive and gratifying, especially from people who don’t particularly enjoy baseball,” says Bales, who’s assisted generations of students with research and taught hundreds of library classes in his nearly four decades at UMW. “They’re getting caught up in the stories and the vignettes of the players, as well as just the whole period that is covered—19th-century America.”

To view the invitation and RSVP, go to:

Meet the Edit Sober Secret Society (The Free Lance-Star)

Jack Bales Writes Baseball Book

Jack Bales, Simpson Library’s Reference and Humanities Librarian, has finished researching and writing his book on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, tentatively titled Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.  Bales uses–and cites–more than 2,000 sources, including newspaper articles, memoirs, and archival records, to chronicle a history of the team from its nineteenth-century planning stages to 1902, when a sportswriter referred to the young players as Cubs in the March 27 issue of the Chicago Daily News.  The book will include 30 photographs and other illustrations, some of which Bales found by poring over numerous reels of microfilm. His history will be published next year by McFarland & Company, a leading publisher of baseball books and academic nonfiction.

Bales Receives McFarland/SABR Baseball Research Award

Jack Bales, Humanities Reference Librarian, has been awarded the McFarland/SABR Baseball Research Award for his article, “The Show Girl and the Shortstop: The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges.”  Jack’s article appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Baseball Research Journal.  This award is given by SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, to recognize research projects that have advanced understanding of baseball.  The award, which includes a cash prize, will be presented at the SABR annual conference.

Bales Publishes Article in Baseball Journal

Jack Bales, Reference and Humanities Librarian, had his latest critical baseball study, “Baseball’s First Bill Veeck,” published as the lead article in the fall 2013 issue of The Baseball Research Journal.  Bales’s biographical piece in the peer-reviewed journal is the first major work on William L. Veeck Sr., who as president of the Chicago Cubs from 1919 until his death in 1933, helped mastermind two National League pennants (1929 and 1932) and built the foundations for two others (1935 and 1938). Bales used largely original source materials for his lengthy article. The Baseball Research Journal is the publication of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Making a Point: Did Babe Ruth Call His Shot? (Chicago Side Sports.Com)