Courtesy Mike Bojanowski
Sound familiar? A hot start, then a June collapse -- the story of many Cubs seasons.
Things finally fell apart post-war for the Cubs in 1947. They went back to a sub-.500 team -- they wouldn't have a winning record for 16 more seasons -- and really didn't have any good players apart from Andy Pafko and Bill Nicholson. The pitching staff was a disaster, although three other teams were worse.
But 1947 didn't start out poorly. In fact, the Cubs roared into first place on a 14-7 start, and stayed near the top until June. When they won their fifth in a row June 14 at Wrigley Field over the Phillies, they moved back into the top spot, as Edward Burns reported in the Tribune:
Eddie Waitkus and Marvin [Gus] Rickert, Cub roomies who recently moaned thru 19 straight failures at the plate, yesterday turned in a much more cheering parallel -- each knocked a two-run homer off Dutch Leonard, essential factors in a 6 to 3 victory over the Phillies. The success was the ninth straight for the Cubs over the Chapman Chums and the Chicagoans this afternoon will make it 1O straight if Johnny Schmitz can beat Schoolboy Rowe in the series final at Wrigley field. The outcome gave the Cubs a run of five straight triumphs since they plunked into fourth place after losing their fourth straight last Tuesday. Yesterday's victory, coupled with the Reds' 4 to 3 success over the Giants, moved the Cubs back into the National league lead. Hank Wyse was the winning pitcher. The cherubic young man turned in a fine performance up till the time he tired in the ninth and pitched homers to Buster Adams and Andy Seminick. When he also pitched a single to Pinch Batter Don Padgett, Manager Charley Grimm called in Emil Kush, who stifled the Philadelphians pronto.
Interesting use of language, in addition to capitalization. That was Tribune style, as you have likely noticed through this series; "field" wasn't capitalized after "Wrigley", nor was "league" after "National". At the same time, things like "Pinch Batter" got the capital-letter treatment, and Grimm's name was spelled "Charley" at times, "Charlie" at others.
That next day? Despite the fact that Schmitz was probably the Cubs' best pitcher, and Rowe -- once a Tigers ace, in the 1930s -- was nearing the end of his career at age 37, the Cubs lost that June 15 game 6-1, the first loss of what wound up being an 8-24 streak. The Cubs wound up 69-85, a dismal sixth-place finish in the eight-team N.L.
Here's the full 1947 scorecard; click on it to open a larger version in a new browser window.