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Cubs historical sleuthing: A film from the 1930s

This one took a while.

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — A friend of mine, who knows I like to sleuth out Cubs historical photos and film, sent me the link to this video last week:

Here’s the description from the video’s page at YouTube:

I located this vintage 16mm home movie taken by my grandfather in 1932 or 33 of a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field. After parking the car near the baseball field, my grandmother Hulda exits the car. Standing in front of the car on the right is my grandfather John Hargreaves. The other men are unidentified.

Well, that should narrow it down, right? 1932 or 1933 was the starting point. Unfortunately, even though the pre-1937 scoreboard is visible in many of the shots, there’s no point at which it’s clear enough to read the teams.

So other means would be necessary. Starting at about 35 seconds into the video, there’s a shot of a player in the visitors dugout. The shadows are pretty intense, but you can clearly see the visiting team is the Braves. The uniform style matches what they wore on the road through 1935.

So I started looking through games from the 1932 and 1933 seasons. At first I thought I had it: August 16, 1932. But not all the player numbers matched. There was no 1933 game that matched the player numbers visible, either.

I was stumped, so I sent this video to Mike Bojanowski. After looking at it several times, here’s what he sent me:

I think I have it, it’s July 13, 1935, a doubleheader. The Cubs won the first game 10-2 and won the nightcap 3-1. The second game includes everyone I can ID except Gabby Hartnett, who caught the first game, and Hartnett appears several times early-on. Braves pitcher Bob Smith and Cubs pitcher Bill Lee both appear at the end, it has to be the one.

Hartnett is shown getting a base hit in the video, he did have one in the first game; toward the end (1:54), Lee (No. 15) is shown batting. Whether the batter shown reaching base immediately afterward (there is a jump cut) is Lee, I can’t tell, but Lee did have two hits and drove in two runs.

These are the Cubs uniform numbers I can confirm from the video: Hartnett (9), Lee (15), Billy Herman (2), Billy Jurges (11), Phil Cavarretta (43) and Augie Galan (51). There are two Braves catchers shown, Shanty Hogan (8, game 1) and Al Spohrer (9, game 2). The Braves pitcher seen wears 17, that’s Smith. A Braves player wearing 4 (Wally Berger) is apparent.

As to the street scene, it’s likely Clark Street, because of the streetcar. The street on which they are parked dead-ends onto the street with the streetcar. There are not many such intersections in the area. My guess, if forced to make one, is that they’re parked on Eddy Street, which dead-ended opposite the old storage co. building, which the brick building to the left resembles.

I concur with Mike’s conclusions, and add that based on these Braves uniforms, the sock style shown in the video was worn only in 1934 and 1935. Cavarretta (who later became more famous wearing No. 44) played in only seven 1934 games, none against the Braves, so this has to be a ‘35 film.

That doubleheader sweep comprised wins five and six of an eight-game winning streak for the Cubs. They finished the day 44-32, in first place, nine games ahead. That lead dwindled to 2½ games on September 2, but that’s when the ‘35 Cubs went on a 21-game winning streak, clinching the pennant with their 100th win September 27. Until 2016, it was the last time any Cubs team had won 100 games.