SDN-063323, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum
The Cubs were crushed on this date, but one player was on an amazing early-season hot streak.
I haven't done any losses in this series yet, but the Tribune headline for the recap of the game at Cubs Park April 18, 1925 caught my eye:
THE BRUINS SEEM TO HAVE LOST TO THE CARDINALS, 20-5
And the subhead:
You don't get that kind of thing from today's newspapers. Nosirreebob. (Who's Bob?)
Here's how that recap, by Irving Vaughn, began:
According to our best expert accountants, Killefer's Cubs lost a ball game yesterday. That they didn't lose their lives or their shirts or something else was no fault of the St. Louis Cardinals. Last night all the Bruins were accounted for and there were no shirts missing, but nobody is quite certain about the other things. However the estimate is that the St. Louis gang slammed, slapped, poked, pounded, etc., a flock of Cub hurlers in a highly amusing battle to the tune of 2O to 5, all of which was due to an epidemic of distant clouting that included seven home runs into the left field seats, one triple, seven doubles and more singles than we care to mention. A few fielding blunders also were reported, but errors don't amount to much when mixed in with thirty-six hits, which was the grand total of the two teams' attack.
Five of the seven home runs were hit by Cardinals -- by Ray Blades, Jim Bottomley, Taylor Douthit and Les Bell, who had two. The Cubs had a pair, one each by Hack Miller and Gabby Hartnett (pictured), and therein lies the real story of this game.
It was the seventh game of the young 1925 season. Hartnett, by now an established star in the National League who had hit .299/.377/.523 with 16 home runs in 1924, smashed his fifth home run of the season.
Five home runs in seven games. In those seven games Hartnett was 9-for-17 with two doubles, five home runs, 13 RBI and a batting line of .529/.556/1.529. Small sample size and all, but that's still one hell of a hot streak.
Hartnett wound up the season hitting a solid .289/.351/.555 with 24 home runs -- the most any Cub had hit since 1884 -- and 67 RBI. That year's Cubs were never in contention, finishing last for the first time in team history with a 68-86 mark and going through three managers (Bill Killefer, Rabbit Maranville and George Gibson). But if you look at the team roster for that year, you begin to see the seeds of the late 1920's/early 1930's dominance begin to fall in place. Guy Bush. Charlie Grimm, acquired from the Pirates. Building a core, if you will. Lessons from the past, perhaps to be learned today.