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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: A Cubs vs. White Sox mystery

Just when was this?

This one should be easy, right? It’s got a date and an opponent, and given that this is a long-ago photo, it has to be a pre-season exhibition game between the Cubs and White Sox.

Here’s the full photo:

That’s an old-fashioned Green Hornet Chicago streetcar; those vanished from Chicago streets in 1958, so it has to be from before then. The cars visible at the left are definitely pre-1950, so that winnows it down to a narrow stretch. The Cubs and White Sox played a postseason “City Series” off-and-on between 1903 and 1942. During the World War II years they stopped it and played pre-season exhibitions. In 1949, the North Siders and South Siders began a “Boys Benefit” game to benefit youth baseball in Chicago, but that was played mid-season.

So, the mid- to late-1940s is the time frame.

This Chicagology post lists many of the Cubs/Sox exhibition games, including a number or pre-season contests played in Chicago between 1943 and 1948. But there’s no game in any year listed as being played on April 11.

Off to the Tribune archive I went, and therein I found the answer. This game was supposed to be played Friday, April 11, 1947, but the weather had other ideas, per Irving Vaughan in the April 12 edition of the paper:

The White Sox and Cubs couldn’t unveil their talents as scheduled yesterday in Wrigley Field because the premises were damp, but they’ll make another attempt this afternoon when the seat of operations shifts to Comiskey Park.

So that’s it. The teams were supposed to play that Friday, but the weather did not cooperate. Per the Tribune’s weather reports, it rained most of that day with temperatures in the 50s.

The Chicagology link above notes that the White Sox won the April 12 game 3-2, and the Cubs won at Wrigley Field April 13 by a score of 5-3. If you look at the right side of the photo it appears there’s another number after “11” and I suspect the marquee read in its entirety: “WHITE SOX CUBS APRIL 11 13.”

Just another slice of Cubs life from long ago, 76 years ago this spring.