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Cubs historical sleuthing: The ‘Girl Score Keeper’

It’s from Spring Training on Catalina Island off the California coast.

Bettmann / Contributor

Getty Images says:

Kay Brown. She’s Only Girl Score Keeper In United States. Kay Brown, who as official scorer for the Chicago Cubs is the only girl scorekeeper in the United States. Her team defeated the New York Giants in the first series game of the spring season here by a score of 10 to 2.

This photo is obviously from Catalina Island, where the Cubs held Spring Training from 1921-41 and again from 1946-51, after having to train on the mainland due to World War II travel restrictions from 1942-45.

There are clues here even though we don’t see any players, beyond the score (Cubs 10, Giants 2). The hairstyle and dress are clearly from the early 1930s, and this photo was found in a group of photos via Getty that were from that era.

So that’s where I started looking in the Tribune archive.

This game was played Saturday, March 4, 1933.

The Tribune recap of this game, written by Edward Burns, described the four-run fourth inning you see on the board this way:

The game was a goose egg affair until the Cubs cut loose against Schumacher in the bottom of the third. Jurges started the inning by rolling out to Vergez, but McCarron batted for Malone and singled off Jackson’s bosom. Jackson picked up the ball and threw past first, McCarron taking second. The second of Bill Herman’s series of hits was a single to right, McCarron scoring. English forced Herman, but Cuyler beat out an infield roller, English stopping at second.

Babe Herman walked, filling the bases. Stephenson singled to left, Cuyler and English scoring and Babe Herman stopping at second. H. Taylor singled, scoring Babe Herman.

Most of those names should be familiar to you from the 1930s Cubs. It took me a while, though, before I found “McCarron” — and that’s because his name is misspelled in the article. The New York Times published a note February 18, 1933 that the Cubs had signed a “recruit” outfielder named Paul McCarren, who had played in 1932 with an International League team that split time between Reading, PA and Albany, NY. Here’s McCarren’s baseball-reference page, which has scant information about him, though it does note he played for a Cubs affiliate in Peoria, Illinois in 1935. That has to be the guy. He never played in the major leagues.

As for the Giants mentioned, Hal Schumacher was a pitcher for them from 1931-46, and Johnny Vergez an infielder for the Giants from 1931-34.

It’s not known what became of Kay Brown after this photographic bit of history with the Cubs in 1933. But the Cubs did indeed win that game 10-2. There were probably photographers around because the Cubs were the defending NL champions. In 1933 they finished third, six games behind the pennant-winning Giants.