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Cubs historical sleuthing: Early 1940s edition

There’s tremendous detail in this eight-decade-old film.

Flagstaff Films

Our friends at Flagstaff Films have unearthed another great old Cubs film. Here it is:

It didn’t take too long to sleuth the year. First, the Chinese elms are still standing on the steps leading up to the scoreboard, so this has to be among the first few years of the bleachers that date to 1937. Second, there’s no clock on top of the scoreboard. That was added mid-season 1941.

With the marquee showing that the visiting team was the Cardinals on August 12 and 13, that narrows it down to 1938, 1939 or 1940.

That made it easy. The only year among those three that the Cardinals were at Wrigley on those dates was 1940. The uniform style also matches 1940.

This game happened Tuesday, August 13, 1940. (The August 12 game was rained out and made up as part of a doubleheader in September.) The Cubs entered that game at .500, 54-54, and lost 5-1 to the Cardinals. Hank Leiber hit a home run in the fifth inning for the Cubs’ only run of the game. The attendance was 7,367 and the game was played in a snappy one hour, 38 minutes — with no pitch clock!

Here are some of the players seen in the film:

At :37, No. 2 is Gabby Hartnett, still an active player but also the manager. Though he took BP, he didn’t play in the game.

At :46, No. 4 is future Hall of Famer Billy Herman.

At 1:04, walking toward the camera is No. 24, Jim Gleeson.

At 1:14, No. 9 is Leiber, who would homer in the game.

At 1:18, No. 18 is Zeke Bonura, who had been a power hitter for the White Sox earlier in the decade.

At 1:44, No. 31 is Dom Dallessandro.

At 1:49, some Cardinals players are visible including Bill DeLancey (15), Johnny Hopp (12) and Eddie Lake (1).

At 1:57, No. 41 is Vance Page.

At 2:06, No. 12 is Rip Russell.

I asked Mike Bojanowski to have a look at this video and see if he could identify some of the players where you don’t see uniform numbers. Here’s what he found:

He couldn’t ID the player next to Ken Raffensberger. Can you?

This is another great little slice of life from Cubs history, more than 83 years ago.