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

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To choice, red-cheeked tomatoes we add sugar. spices and lemon peel for a luscious melt-Inyour mouth spread. Pure delight on toast! Doctor of Philosophy TIA PENNY By LUCRE He cannot read the time by sun Or tell which red-leafed plant to shun Or rightly gauge tomorrow's weather By putting sky and wind together. The wild things' tracks across the snow, Spelling "friend" or spelling "foe," Are lost on him. He makes it clear That one great need has brought him here: The extent of ignorance in this section Demands complete and skilled inspection, With program outlined for correction. He'll make report on hill folks' lives— If he survives. THE SATURDAY EVENING POST 113 4 E'VERBEST THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE CUBS (Continued from Page 21) had created a desire for gum in the public consciousness; Wrigley ran ads in Chicago papers in the dead of winter exhorting the patrons to look ahead to Happy Hours with the Cubs the following summer. Another bright idea was hiring psychologists and efficiency experts for the team. Nothing came of it. The learned gents could not teach the hairy heroes how to hit or throw a curve ball. The most important innovation Wrigley brought into baseball was his insistence that his product be presented in a clean, attractive package. His ball parks in Chicago and Los Angeles are by far the most beautiful and comfortable in the country. He ripped several thousand seats out of the Chicago park to relieve congestion and he tore down the unsightly red-brick outfield wall, replacing it with a graceful, vine-covered fence. His ushers were outfitted in smart uniforms and performed their duties with military precision. The enormously profitable food-anddrink concessions— retained by the ball club—established new standards of quality and cleanliness. Wrigley gave his product a resplendent wrapper, only to make a rather discouraging discovery. The customers weren'tbuyingthe inferior product, the slipping ball club, he was selling. Wrigley today is up to his ears in war work, but the team is a chronic headache that makes demands upon his time and attention. His wrapping machinery is packaging articles for the armed forces, in millions of units, it never handled before. Yet P.K. had to take time out to carry on the final diplomatic negotiations in the Novikoff holdout and early in June he was so distressed by the team's miserable slump that he called a secret meeting in the clubhouse. "Forget the pennant" was the gist of his speech to the players. "Let's try to upset applecarts from now on." Historians trace the decline of the Cubs back to October, 1933, to the death of William L. Veeck, who had been the shrewd, tough general manager of the team since 1919. Veeck had covered baseball for the Chicago American, writing under the name of Bill Bailey, and was a loud and caustic critic of the elder Wrigley. His accurate sniping annoyed Bill Wrigley and during one of those "put-up-or-shut-up" arguments Veeck was offered the job of running the ball club. Much to everyone's astonishment, Veeck proved to be an unusually capable executive. During his regime the Cubs supplanted the Giants as the ranking power and gold mine of the National League. Veeck's passing, following within a year the death of the first Wrigley, left the Cubs without an experienced base- ' ball head. Phil Wrigley appointed William M. Walker, a fish-and-oyster man who was a member of the board, presi- dent and general manager. The setup lasted a year. Walker wanted Gabby Hartnett to succeed Charlie Grimm as manager. P.K. insisted on retaining Grimm, who had been appointed by his father. When Walker resigned, P.K. assumed the presidency of the club with Charles "Boots" Weber reluctantly agreeing to serve as general manager. Weber speaks in a whisper and suffers from claustrophobia, an ailment that prevented him from traveling with the team. The Cubs pulled a stunning stroke to launch P.K.'s regime in style. They won twenty-one straight games in September, 1935, to overhaul the Cardinals for the pennant two days before the close of the season. In 1938, after Hartnett displaced Grimm, the Cubs gave the same dose to the Pirates, who had completed all World Series arrangements down to printing the tickets and building a new press box. Baseball people were of the opinion, however, that these successes were founded upon the players Veeck had brought to Chicago. They looked upon Wrigley as a lucky dilettante. When the Cubs, in 1940, fell into the second division for the first time in fifteen years, P.K. made two moves, inspired by sheer hunches, which generally are regarded as the causes of the present difficulties. He turned the operation of the team over to Gallagher and Wilson. They have yet to finish in the first division. In pulling Gallagher out of a hat, P.K. undoubtedly was influenced by his father's fortunate choice of Veeck. The analogy is striking in every detail. Gallagher, like Veeck, was a baseball writer for the Chicago American and pulled no punches in upbraiding the management. Like Veeck, Gallagher had no business or executive experience. The anvil chorus says the parallel ends abruptly at this point. The first deal Gallagher made was an ill-advised transaction that provoked the antagonism of the clients, who take extensive pleasure in reminding him of it at every opportunity. Gallagher probably presented the pennant to Brooklyn in May, 1941, by trading Billy Herman, the best second baseman in the league, for Charley Gilbert, Johnny Hudson and $12,500. Neither Gilbert nor Hudson finished the season with the Cubs and Mr. Wrigley needs $12,500 as urgently as you need another neck. Wilson was sprung on the populace as a total surprise. If it had not been for six dramatic days in the 1940 World Series, he still would be a coach at Cincinnati. Although it was obvious that Hartnett was no ball of fire as a manager after 1938, Wrigley expressed his approval of him. In response to a direct question, Wrigley told John Carmichael, of the Chicago Daily News, that Hartnett would be re-engaged for 1941. Wrigley always has been absolutely truthful and forthright in his relations with the press, but something happened between his vote of confidence in Hartnett and the unexpected hiring of Wilson. That something was the World Series, which brought Wilson out of obscurity freshed because after-shaving lotion ingredients are right in the shaving cream. So—Fitch's No Brush SUPPLIES ALL 3 SHAVING NEEDS and tests show razor blades last longer! 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1943_09_11--020_SP The Decline and Fall of the Cubs
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