Cubs.

ernie-banks-04

The Cubs weren’t desegregated until 1953, when they signed the great Ernie Banks, five years after Brooklyn and Cleveland broke the color line in Major League Baseball.

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When I moved from L.A. to Chicago in 1973 the Chicago Cubs finished in 5th place with a .478 winning percentage. You could buy a seat most days, day of the game. The opening day line-up was Glenn Beckert, Jose Cardenal, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, Don Kessinger, Rick Monday, Joe Pepitone, Ron Santo and Billy Williams. The highest paid player was Billy Williams who made $150,000. Most of the team made $15,000 a year ($350,000 in 2016 dollars).

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“As a human?” Okay. If you say so.

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One year I caught a Billy Buckner foul ball after it bounced off the back of a big drunk guy sitting next to me at Wrigley. After the game I went down to the field and asked Buckner if he would sign it and he flipped me off.

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Remember Dave Kingman?

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Along with all the well-deserved bashing of the Cleveland Indians’ racist mascot, it is worth remembering that the Chicago Cubs remained a segregated ball club until 1953 when they signed the great Ernie Banks. Cleveland signed Larry Doby months after the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line, signing Jackie Robinson in 1947. Boston didn’t sign a Black player until 1959. Pumpsie Green.

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Southside Jerry: 42 tickets sold at $10,000 to yesterday’s game. 32 of them behind the Cubs dugout. That’s what was reported. Interesting.
 Me:  I heard that last night too. I’m not sure what it means other then that there are rich people who have ten grand to spend on baseball seats. Screw ’em. That’s true about your White Sox team too. All of pro sports. Like those who can afford to buy front row tickets at some rock concert. I know you agree that sports is probably not even close to being the worst part of corporate bullshit. And nobody who got excited about the great Cubs’ win last night that I know is rich. None of that takes away from what was on the field. And the truth is, at least for the moment, it didn’t cost us a dime to enjoy it. Except for a bowl of popcorn and a sleepy morning.
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From my daughter, a Cub fan who teaches all immigrant students in Brooklyn: In honor of the Cubs victory, I cancelled my homework assignment for the weekend. My Dominican students understand; everyone else is confused but happy.

8 thoughts on “Cubs.

  1. I was at Wrigley one day when Buckner struck out, like, four times. On his last strike-out his bat “slipped out of his hand” (as happened often when he had a bad day) and hit a kid in the forehead. He walked over and got the bat back. When he made the error that cost the Red Sox the series, years later, I considered it poetic justice (for him; certainly not for Boston).

  2. Pingback: Cubs. — Fred Klonsky | gramirezblog

  3. The Air
    if anyone told me a year ago the cubs would be the World Champs I would just nod my head and wonder about their sanity.The same goes for our Presidential race, ‘Donald Who”.2016 will go down as the year of the impossible.

  4. Is it just me or does anyone else see a resemblance between Joe Maddon & Fred? (& I mean this in the most complimentary way, Fred.)
    Go down to the parade if you like crowds, but, also, stick around for both the NO Dakota Access Pipeline Rally* AND the NO TPP Action (I will post links to info. later).
    *Really–November is National Native American Heritage Month, & this is how they are being treated in N.Dakota–sacred land bulldozed, pepper sprayed,
    attacked by dogs.

  5. We had season tickets when they had to have deals. They had a 3 pm game package. Loved it a cub game once a week.We ran into the whole cub Team before a flight out in 1970…I have all the autographs.I can’t see that sort of thing ever happening again.

  6. In 1953, we were in the fourth grade of John C Le Moyne, the Chicago Public School on the east side of the Addison el tracks from Wrigley Field. When school let out on a day the Cubs were in town [no night games until 35 years later], we’d run under the el to Sheffield where they would let us in free for the last couple of innings. We were all very excited about the signing of Ernie Banks, not because he integrated the team but because he wasn’t Roy Smalley, the hole-in-his glove shortstop he replaced. Most of us didn’t know he was African American until some kid got an Ernie Banks baseball card in a bubble gum package. Those were simpler times. The real estate developers hadn’t renamed our neighborhood “Wrigleyville” yet. Everybody knew it as “over by the ballpark”.

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