Thursday, January 30, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 30

Today's Featured Cub: Davey Johnson

Davey Johnson had a very distinguished playing career before he became a manager. He was a four-time All-Star, three time Gold Glove second baseman, two-time World Series champ, and once hit 43 homers in a season, but by the time he came to the Cubs, those days were in his rearview mirror. The Cubs got him from the Phillies in August of 1978, and he played with them for the last few months of his big league career.

He went into coaching shortly thereafter and has since won six divisional championships and a World Series title (with the 1986 Mets) as a manager.

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Davey Johnson

(Topps 1979 Baseball Card)

This card has the stats from his final big league season of 1978: 138 at bats, 19 runs, 32 hits, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, 20 RBI, and a batting average of .232

Nickname of the Day: Doc

Charles Watson was born on this day in 1885. He pitched for the Cubs very briefly during the 1913 season, then jumped over to play in the Federal League in the first season at what is now known as Wrigley Field. Why was he called Doc? It's elementary, my dear Watson. He was nicknamed after the famous sidekick of Sherlock Holmes.

From The Pages of History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born on this day in 1882. Just over fifty years later he would become president of the United States. The year he ran for president, he spent a memorable afternoon at Wrigley Field, during the 1932 World Series. FDR was in the ballpark the day that Babe Ruth supposedly called his shot.

Wrigley at 100

(Photo: Wrigley Field postcard, 1940s)

On this day in 1904, Andy Frain was born. Frain's first job was in the stockyards, but he quickly discovered that he had the skill of keeping peace. He approached the owner of the Blackhawks first, and after he did a good job for them, he pitched his services to William Wrigley, the owner of the Chicago Cubs.

The year was 1928, and Wrigley Field was known as a place that ushers would take bribes to allow people into the good seats. Frain offered to give back Mr. Wrigley's money if he wasn't completely satisfied with his performance as an usher. Wrigley was so impressed he hired Frain to run the entire show, and gave him $5000 for uniforms.

Those uniforms became his company's trademark.

In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, the Notre Dame blue and gold Andy Frain uniforms were on hand at every major sporting event in Chicago, including football, baseball, and hockey games. They also kept the peace at political conventions, the Kentucky Derby, and more.

Here are a few tips for keeping the peace, directly from the mouth of Andy Frain...

*"Never trust a man with a mustache or a man who carries an umbrella"

*"No muscle is gonna clip me. I never had a nickel. Finally after a lot of hard work I made something of myself. They're gonna take that away from me?"

*"Ninety percent of the public wants somethin' for nothin'. When you run a big sports event, every one of those seats is there to be cracked. They throw every gimmick in the book at you."

*"The only color I'm interested in is the color of the customer's ticket."

*"There's nothing like a six-footer in uniform to control a panicky crowd. Besides that, a tough guy isn't so likely to give you an argument if you're lookin' down on him. That's psychology."

*"Never let a standee sit down. Once they sit down, you can't get 'em up."

Andy died in 1964. His sons carried on the company until 1982 when they sold it to a group of investors from Cleveland. The people that bought it went belly up a few years later and the Frain brothers repurchased the company once again. They finally sold it off for good in 1991.

Cup of Coffee

Future Cub Vin Campbell was born on this day in 1888. He got his cup of coffe with the Cubs in their most momentous year, 1908. He got his chance only because the Cubs were decimated with injuries. Outfielder Jimmy Sheckard was out with an eye injury, reserve infielder Heinie Zimmerman was out because he was beaten up by his teammates for causing Sheckard's eye injury, backup catcher Pat Moran was spiked, starting pitcher Chick Fraser was hit in his pitching hand with a line drive, starter Orval Overall had a bad back, and a flu bug was sidelining utilityman Solly Hofman, reserve Del Howard, and most importantly, first baseman Frank Chance & second baseman Johnny Evers. Campbell got only one at bat on June 6, 1908.

Other Cubs Birthdays

~Matt Alexander 1947 (Cubs 1973-74)
Matt was an outfielder/third baseman who known for his speed. In only 60 at-bats with the Cubs, he managed to steal ten bases. He stole nearly a hundred more before his big league career was over despite only hitting .214.

A/V Club
Think the Andy Frain guys had it easy at Wrigley? Maybe, but they sure didn't at Chicago Stadium. A bit of it is captured on this video. You can see the old Andry Frain uniforms. The orange jackets are the off-duty cops.