Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Solving a mystery

I got the following e-mail and picture the other day...

"Rick, my name is Keith Iverson out in Rockford. I have a old Cub’s team photo ( 8”X10”) from I would guess the 1930’s - sometime. ?? I would like to confirm the year of this photo, and also see who each player might have been. Can you help me out, or direct me to a web site where such info might be available. Thanks for any help you can give."

This was my response to Keith after spending a little time with the picture. If you have any further info, let me know...


It's either the 1933 or 1934 Cubs. There are a few clues that helped me figure it out.

Clue #1--The big guy on the far left back row is Babe Phelps (also known as Blimp). He only played with the Cubs in 1933 and 1934. (He was the backup catcher). In 1933 he only had 7 at bats. He probably wouldn't have even been in the team picture in 1933, so my guess is 1934, but I can't be 100% sure.

Clue #2--The guy sitting on the far left in the second row from the bottom is Babe Herman. (photo) He also played on the Cubs only in 1933 and 1934.

Clue #3--Hack Wilson is not in the picture. Hack's last season with the Cubs was 1931. So it's after '31.

Clue #4--Charlie Grimm is sitting next to the guys in the suits (on the left of them), which means he was probably the manager. He became manager in 1932 and left in 1938.

Clue #5--Rogers Hornsby is not in the picture. He was the manager until mid-season in 1932.

Clue #6--The big guy in the last row (three in from the far right) is Pat Malone. (photo) His last year with the Cubs is 1934.

Clue #7--Phillip Wrigley is not in the picture. He inherited the team from his Dad in 1932, but didn't take over the day-to-day operations until 1935. I don't think his father is in the picture either, although the fattest guy in the suit does resemble him slightly. (Doubtful, however, because he died in January of 1932, and as I mentioned, Rogers Hornsby and Hack Wilson would have been in the 1931 Cubs picture, and Babe Herman and Babe Phelps were not on the team in 1932.)

The entire list of the 1934 roster is here, and the 1933 roster is here.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
Rick Kaempfer