Northside Nostalgia: 1930-40


Northside Nostalgia Part 1: The Beginning

Part 2: 1870-1900

Part 3: 1900-1910

Part 4: 1910-1920

Part 5: 1920-1930

Called Shot?

The Cubs carried over their success in 1929 to the 1930's, eventually going to three World Series in the decade. Hack Wilson and Rogers Hornsby faded from the scene, but new stars emerged. 1932 was the first full season for Stan Hack and Billy Herman, who would become mainstays in the lineup.

They won 90 games in 1932 behind a terrific pitching performance by Lon Warneke, who won 22 games in 277 innings. Unfortunately, Chicago ran into a Yankees team managed by Joe McCarthy that won 107 in the AL. They steam-rolled the National League champions in four games.

The most famous moment is of course Babe Ruth's called shot home run. You know the story, the Cubs taunt Ruth, he points to center and takes Charlie Root deep for a round tripper. There is no actual footage of the Babe pointing to center, instead he points at the Chicago dugout.

I contend Ruth never called a shot, instead, he trash talked the Cubs bench in return and then backed up his dissing with a dinger. Which honestly is more impressive. I also believe he flipped a double middle finger at the Cubs dugout around third base. I'll post the video and let you the reader make your own conclusion.

Bricks and Ivy

Boston Ivy, not English.

Boston Ivy, not English.

In 1935, the Cubs won another pennant behind a red-hot finish. They won 21 consecutive games in September, but didn't get a Brad Pitt movie out of it like some people. Herman, Hack, and Gabby Hartnett or Triple H, as they were never called, led the way. Alas they fell in the series to Hank Greenberg and the TIgers in six games.

After Bill Wrigley died in 1932 his son Phil became team owner and decided to renovate the stadium named for his father in 1937. Bill Veeck junior, son of the Cubs president who died in 1933, had an idea. He proposed planting ivy on the outfield walls and on the outside brick of the stadium. English ivy was soon replaced with heartier Boston ivy and the rest is history. As for the ivy on the outside of Wrigley, people kept stealing it so it was taken off.

The Gloaming 

Hartnett running to the locker room.

Hartnett running to the locker room.

In 1938, the Cubs were chasing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the standings. By late September they were just 1.5 games out of first before a three-game set with the Bucs at Wrigley. Dizzy Dean, past his prime with an injured arm, pitched a gem to win game one of the set.

The real drama would come in game two of the series. The score was deadlocked at five in the bottom of the 9th inning. With darkness falling, the umpires decreed the game would be called after that inning. If called, the contest would have to be completely replayed the next day. The Cubs final hope was Gabby Hartnett, who fell behind in the count 0-2 against Mace Brown.

Then Brown made a mistake and the Chicago backstop launched a drive to left in the twilight. The walk-off winner put the Cubs in first and they won the pennant three days later in St. Louis (which is always nice). An Associated Press reporter called it the Homer in the Gloamin' after a popular song, Roamin' in the Gloamin'.

Alas those pesky Yankees, this time featuring a young Joe DiMaggio, swept the Cubs again in the World Series. An interesting side note of this series was the fact color footage was filmed of a game at Wrigley Field.


The Cubs success on the field was coming to an end as Phil Wrigley took full control of the team. Under his leadership, the Northsiders would make the post-season just once the next 40 years. Despite this fact, let's try to have fun the next few decades shall we?


Leave a comment
  • In those days players would often barnstorm in the off-season to make a bit of extra cash. One trip (in the 50's actually) took a group of current and former MLBers to my small Texas hometown, where they played a game against remnants of our minor league team and various local ringers. The game was memorable for two reasons: 1) for the first time I heard the "f-word" spoken by an adult (Clint Courtney, catcher for the St. Louis Browns), and 2) the pitcher, then in his 50's, was none other than ancient Charlie Root. My father, a rabid Cub fan who grew up in Chicago, told me the called-shot story at that game.

  • Babe Ruth, what a character, what a ballplayer. Americana and Baseball!

  • In Underwhelming News: Jon Heyman reporting a deal with Descalso.

  • Sure am glad the Wrigleys don't own the team now.

  • In reply to John57:

    I'm going to defend the signing of Descalso. Living in Cardinals country I've seen him play lots, off and on. Daniel is a quality bench guy and his pedestrian numbers might be misleading. He is never intimidated and has attribute, on both sides of the ball. I think Cub fans will like him.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree! Seen him play against the Cubs when he has with STL, and being an AZ resident I’ve seen him play a lot with the Dbacks. To throw out an overused, yet appropriate adjective, gritty is how I’d describe him. He’ll make great plays on D that you wouldn’t think he’d make, and he puts in good at bats, even in critical situations.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm not criticizing the move, I agree it's a good add for veteran depth. Still, underwhelming at this point in the off-season.

  • fb_avatar

    "Dirty Dan" returns to the NL Central. Not a bad signing IMO.

    I just hope we are not done. Still need some bullpen help and a stick.

  • Theo has to thrift shop because of his terrible signings having the cubs payroll jacked up.

    If the dodgers get harper the cubs "window" is closed.

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's hard to find something wrong with the signing of a journeyman utility infielder, but your vendetta against Theo doesn't allow for any other viewpoint. And if your "window" depends on signing Harper or any other FA, you don't have a window at all. How many WS appearances did Washington make with Bryce on the roster?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    It's not a vendetta at all, it's calling it like it is.The dodgers are the team that has won the nl pennant 2 years in a row while the cubs have fizzled out in the playoffs 2 years in a row(and let the brewers strong arm the division from them in the process).The dodgers still have plenty of good cost controlled young talent and have been linked with harper this offseason and will get cory seager back, if they sign harper they will be the favorites and again have the young talent to add to their team via trade unlike the cubs.The cubs need to worry about the brewers and cards.

    the dodgers arent the nationals btw, they've won multiple postseason series unlike the nationals and eliminated the cubs unlike the nationals.They are a much better overall team

    All that production over talent talk seems like wolf tickets right now

  • In reply to bolla:

    It's calling it like you see it, which is your prerogative, of course. When it's stated day after day after day (after day after...) it gets old. We get it, you don't like the job Theo is doing. It's sort of like your inability to talk about Javy without a shot or two at Bryant. I'm well aware of the Cubs record the past two years (the past 50, in fact) and can tell you they have achieved more in my lifetime since Theo came aboard than at any other time. My point about Washington is that Harper didn't get THEM to the WS, despite the predictions every year, and he won't get ANY team to the WS unless the rest of the team plays like their supposed to. But I'm sure the Dodgers could use another fan, if you'd rather root for them.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I’ve said I appreciated the run the cubs are on currently. I don’t see why mentioning how Theo has emptied the farm, handicapped the payroll and how his draft choices/acquisitions are overrated and not as good as we thought(production or trade value wise) is an major issue that is hurting this teams ability to improve , it’s the truth.

    For example the marlins want Cody bellinger for Realmuto.the dodgers refuse to include him or buehller in any trade talks , and can still offer other good young talent and I can’t remember the last time they had a top 10 pick. The cubs are no where close to this type of flexibility

    I recall you saying you couldn’t wait for the offseason so we can see changes.

    We can be homers who ignore these facts while the brewers embarrassed the cubs on September and October or the cardinals who beat the cubs up last season added a bonafied cubs killer,will get a top pitching prospect back and still can sign Harper if they want.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I disagree with your statement. The Cubs window will be open indefinitely if they don't spend "stupid" money on FAs.

  • Theo and Jed said - veteran leadership. Hence the move. Not an everyday player. Good signing. I like left handed bench depth. Better fielder than TLS.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    And more power. Solid signing.

  • These past couple of years with the Dbacks he has shown improved batting. Not great, but improvement from when he was with the Cards

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    This interests me as well. I just don't get all the angst over the signing of a small cog in the Cubs machine. Seems like a decent risk to me, and doesn't cost much if he doesn't work out.

Leave a comment