14 March 2013

Cub Spout

Most owners of sports teams either can't accept or can't understand that they sell "a product" that relies both on its cast and on the connection to what fans want. As described in Roberts Ehrgott's Mr. Wrigley's Ball Club, Wrigley gum scion Philip K. Wrigley hornswaggled together for his Chicago Cubs' Jazz Age rosters future HoFers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Rogers Hornsby, Joe McCarthy, Lewis “Hack” Wilson and Gabby Hartnett and then sold the experience of coming to Wrigley Field by taking advantage of emerging communication possibilities as well as figuring out how to bring women (who brought more men) to his games.

The Cubbies have not won a World Series since their back-to-back 1907 and 1908 crowns — there is something about a billy goat that is supposed to explain this, but it came many years later — but that doesn't take away from the comedy, drama and sale of the romance of baseball at a time and in a city famed for its flappers, mob gunners and jazz.

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