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Here’s some color film of the 1938 World Series at Wrigley, 80 years ago

These old home movies are awesome.

Flagstaff Films

If you’ve seen old baseball films, most of them prior to the 1960s are in black and white.

Thanks to the folks at Flagstaff Films, we now have quite a number of brief color films of Wrigley Field both inside and outside prior to the first two games of the 1938 World Series, played 80 years ago this month. The Cubs were swept by the Yankees in that WS, but these films are amazing. George Roy of Flagstaff Films told me that they had been shot by a freelance photographer and purchased by them from a MLB player from that era.

There will be, in all, 16 of these short films posted to Twitter by Flagstaff Films — and you should check out their website for information on the rest of their sports video work, which includes the HBO series “When It Was A Game.” Here are the seven videos posted as of Friday morning, with a few comments about each one.

One thing you can clearly see in this video is how Wrigley Field has indeed been restored to the look it had in the 1930s. The terra cotta facade you see outside the ballpark now is an almost-exact replica of how Wrigley looked in that era. The truck that says “WORLD SERIES PICTURES” is from the Chicago Times, a predecessor newspaper of the current Sun-Times. The now-famous Wrigley marquee wasn’t red as it is now — it appears to be a dull brown in this film. It’s cool to see the old cars and buses. The “YANKEES CUBS” at the right of the marquee was an exterior scoreboard, used to inform passers-by of the score within.

Of course, the game on October 12 shown on the marquee never got played; that would have been Game 6.

In “Episode 2,” you can see some more old cars and the exterior along Addison, then the exterior of the bleachers with people lined up to get in. In 1938, the current bleacher configuration was in its first full season, having been completed in September 1937. The brick wall you see is the original exterior brick bleacher wall dating to 1914; portions of this wall survived until 2005, when the bleachers were first reconstructed.

Note the “GATE 9” signs over the bleachers. It’s interesting that the Cubs chose to put “GATE 10” signs over the current bleachers; had they wanted historical accuracy, they could have used “GATE 9.”

Toward the end of Episode 2 you can see a metal facing on the side of the left-field upper deck which does not exist today.

In this video, which briefly shows exterior shots of Wrigley before going inside, you can see the ivy just beginning to grow on the bleacher wall. Also note the scoreboard didn’t have the now-famous clock on top; that wasn’t added until 1941.

You can also see the Chinese elm trees the Wrigleys tried to grow on the steps leading up to the scoreboard. Those died; too much wind up there, apparently. Now, there are some boxes with bushes on those steps.

Several buildings shown on Waveland are still standing, although one of them (the tan-colored building at the corner of Waveland and Kenmore) now has a rooftop club on it.

This video also shows a long line to get in, as well as some of the buildings on Addison. Almost all of those, save one (the low brick building with the little round edge on top, next to the building on the corner of Addison & Clark) have been torn down for the Addison & Clark project.

It’s striking how much paper trash you see flying around the streets in the first three videos here, far more than you’d see today. People seem to be much better at putting their trash in proper receptacles in 2018 than they were in 1938.

This episode ends with a bit of Cubs batting practice.

Episode 4 shows a bit of Cubs fielding practice. No. 22 taking a ground ball is Dizzy Dean. Then the Yankees enter the ballpark and wait in their dugout for batting practice. Among the Yankees shown are Myril Hoag (9), Johnny Murphy (19) and Steve Sundra (32), not among the better-known Yankees.

In this video, you can see some of the pre-game setup as a marching band comes on the field and sets up — while Yankees batting practice is still going on!

Perhaps the best thing about this video is seeing Joe DiMaggio (5) and Lou Gehrig (4) take BP. Gehrig looks fine and healthy in this video, but by early the next season he would be forced to retire from ALS, which took his life in 1941.

There are some people shown in suits, most of whom I don’t recognize — except for Connie Mack, owner of the A’s, shown near the end of the video.

The two managers, Gabby Hartnett of the Cubs and Joe McCarthy of the Yankees, greet each other before the pregame ceremonies. Other Cubs who are not identifiable are shown. It’s too bad there’s no audio with this one.

Again, it’s too bad that there’s no audio available with this one, which shows the Cubs walking onto the field with the marching band. Toward the end of the video you see the scoreboard — painted brown in those days — showing only the Yankees/Cubs linescore, with the rest of the board blank.

Hmm. Team names instead of city names. Maybe they should go back to doing that again.

As noted in the tweets, there will be nine more parts of these videos posted to Twitter by Flagstaff Films over the next few days, while this year’s World Series is ongoing. George Roy told me they mostly show game action from Games 1 and 2 — and it’s just as well if you don’t look at the scores — shot from an area probably in the upper deck between first base and home plate.

Thanks to George Roy and Flagstaff Films for sharing this great bit of baseball history. What’s amazing to me is how much of the area around Wrigley Field looks much the same now, despite all the changes, as it did 80 years ago.