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1943_09_11--020_SP The Decline and Fall of the Cubs

CHICAGO DAILY MEWS PHOTO Most famous Cub fiasco was the $185,000 purchase of Dizzy Dean. CHICAGO I, ,I1 %ENS PHOTO When he traded Billy Herman, Gallagher presented the 1941 pennant to the Dodgers. The people's choice, Lou Novikoff, showed up the Cubs' new pinch-penny policy. 21 RUSSILL V. Wel With every other seat in the park occupied, the circle marks the private box of the man who wasn't there— Cub owner P. K. Wrigley himself. As this scene indicates, Wrigley isn't much interested in baseball. sucker who spent, among other things, $185,000 for Dizzy Dean and $115,000 to acquire, then get rid of, Chuck Klein. The Decline and Fall of the Cub Empire is ascribed to reasons that represent every evil from absentee ownership to amateur meddling; blanket indictments charge incompetent management from the front office to the dugout. Apologists mutter morosely about the terrible luck that has dogged the team in its player deals and claim the rough ride Phil Wrigley, the owner, has been getting is a very bum rap against a good guy. Ultimately, though, the squalling baby no one wants to acknowledge is left on the doorstep of Wrigley, the wealthiest and least-known executive in the National League. The chewing-gum magnate is astonishingly naive in baseball matters and is given to impulsive decisions which seem to be splendid ideas at the moment, but never quite work out. Wrigley has no genuine affection for baseball. He admitted as much when he assumed control of the Cubs in 1932 upon the death of his father, William Wrigley, Jr. In an interview with two newspapermen, P.K. said he knew little about baseball and cared less for it. The newspapermen persuaded Wrigley to withdraw the statement, pointing out that the customers hardly could be expected to show more enthusiasm for the team than the fellow who owned it. Once Wrigley was in baseball, however, he made every effort to cultivate ari interest in the game, an attitude consistent with the two principles that have motivated his life. Wrigley worships the memory of his father and detests inefficiency. The elder Wrigley was an ardent baseball nut and made his son promise he would carry on with the Cubs. For eleven years P.K. has taken an active leadership in the affairs of the team and he has given more time to it than the investment or the pressure of war work warrants. That the net result is a worsening mess is the hair shirt in the Wrigley wardrobe. Every other enterprise in the vast Wrigley holdings is self-supporting. Although the turmoil and publicity of baseball are alien to Wrigley's temperament, he made a careful study of the game after his father's death and tried to apply to it the methods that sold gum. Constant repetition of advertising (Continued on Page 113)


1943_09_11--020_SP The Decline and Fall of the Cubs
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