A Game From Cubs History: August 22, 1936

Courtesy Mike Bojanowski

The Cubs and Reds celebrated a significant anniversary at Wrigley Field on this day.

The Cubs lost this game 6-4, despite Billy Herman's 44th double of the year (he wound up with 57, tying his own team record, which still stands) and a home run by Gabby Hartnett. It came just before a six-game winning streak which put the Cubs briefly back in contention; they faded and finished five games behind the pennant-winning Giants.

The reason I chose this game, despite the defeat, was that there was a pregame ceremony that afternoon celebrating the 60th anniversary of the National League; each city had its own celebration and August 22 was the date chosen by the Cubs. Among the events was a game played by people dressed to be the old-time players (60 years after the league's founding, most of the originals were deceased), described in the Tribune:

The Chicago Nationals of 1876 beat the Cincinnati Reds of 1876 by a score of 3 to 1 in the featured phase of the Wrigley field celebration of the 6Oth anniversary of the National league. While the victory was merely a demonstration of early baseball under the rules of 6O years ago, many rejoiced that the Chicagoans were able to beat the Cincinnatis even though the triumph did not count in the 1936 standings.

The celebration, which was completed before the present day Cubs and Reds took the field, was a grand success. The old time game was played and explained in a revealing manner and the pageantry and introductions of old time players present were interesting aspects of the carnival.

Among the old-time Cubs players in attendance were Jack Pfiester, Jimmy Slagle, Jimmy Archer and Mordecai Brown. More festivities followed:

Jack Bramhall's band led a parade which preceded the game. Among members of the parade were figures representing Gen. U. S. Grant, the sultan of Turkey, who visited Chicago in 1876, Buffalo Bill, other noted personages of the day, and the modern Cubs and Reds ensembles.

As the presentation ended with a few words from Three Fingered Brown, a huge cake was carried out to the center of the field. Brown cut it, and out sprang the 1876 athletes in the full glory of mustachios and padded uniforms.

Now why can't we have this in modern baseball? Let's do the 2013 opener that way: a huge cake in the middle of the field, cut by Tom Ricketts, and out come the 2013 Cubs.

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