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Cubs historical sleuthing: Ticket edition

Just when is this ticket from?

The photo of the pair of Cubs tickets shown above was sent to me by BCB reader Kevin Kosgard, who said he found them at his dad’s place.

Here’s a larger view:

All right. The clues we have here so far are:

  • The box seat tickets cost $1.65 each.
  • The game was on Wednesday, June 8.

The first thing to find out, then, is when box seats sold for $1.65. I asked Mike Bojanowski to check through old scorecards.

The scorecards don’t list ticket prices before 1940, but the $1.65 price was effective through 1943. This sign, which Mike owns, was one that was placed in Wrigley Field in some general park renovations done in 1937-38:

So, the general time frame we are looking for is 1937-43. It’s possible that $1.65 price went back before 1937, but there’s one more clue on the ticket. It’s signed by Philip K. Wrigley, team president. P.K. Wrigley took over ownership of the team when his father William Wrigley died in 1932, but William Veeck Sr. (father of the future White Sox owner) was team president until he died in October 1933, when P.K. took over that title.

There is just one day on which June 8 fell on a Wednesday from 1934-43 and the Cubs played at home.

That’s June 8, 1938, so that’s when these tickets have to be from. The Cubs did win the N.L. pennant that year, but that particular day was not good for the Cubs. They got swept by the Giants in a doubleheader, losing Game 1 4-2 and losing Game 2 4-1. The doubleheader sweep snapped a five-game winning streak and dropped the Cubs into second place in the National League with a 29-18 record. They would not go back into the top spot in the league until the famous “Homer in the Gloamin’” game, the Gabby Hartnett walkoff homer, September 28, part of a 21-5 month of September.

The tickets are a fascinating look into Wrigley Field history. You can see the date was stamped onto the ticket, and the seat numbers written in by hand. In many future years, they stopped writing the date and some tickets from the 1940s and 1950s had just a “book number” or “ticket number” on them, making it impossible to tell what date some tickets from that era are from.

As far as the actual seat location, I’m sorry to report that I haven’t been able to find anything that confirms the exact location of “Box 102” in 1938, but here’s a good clue from this 1938 sleuthing article I posted here in 2019:

The photo was taken May 30, 1938, so only a week or so before the game of the ticket shown at the top of this article. You can see it’s down the first-base line, and box 72 is on the left, box 73 just to the right of it. Thus the numbers of the “boxes” would go up as you go further down the right-field line. Therefore, my educated guess is that “Box 102” was close to the right-field corner in 1938. In addition, you can see that the tier numbers (“T” as shown in the photo) go up as you go farther from the field. So “Tier 7” as shown on the ticket would be toward the back of the box seat area. I would say a rough equivalent in Wrigley Field today, to the 1938 seats shown here, would be around Section 30, row 10. (Here’s a Wrigley Field seating chart from 2023.)

This is a fascinating look into Cubs and Wrigley Field history. Thanks to Kevin for sending this along, and a reminder that if any of you have photos or items like this you’d like me to sleuth, send them to the email listed on my profile here.