Video of Cubs Game from 1938 Shows Changes, Striking Prophecy

Eye on Baseball’s Dayn Perry recently published a brief piece that included footage from a Cubs game in 1938. While the reel itself actually claims to be from 1937, the title of the YouTube clip contradicts that.

A little sleuthing from Perry identifies the game in question as the home opener from April 22, 1938 against the St. Louis Cardinals, a game the Cubs lost 6-5. Joe Marty was easily the player of the game for the Cubs, posting a 2-4 line with a home run and 4 RBI.

But for my money, the real hero here was Ripper Collins, the first baseman who went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts — no, he wasn’t Javier Baez’s great-grandfather. That might not sound like much, but I don’t care. The guy’s name was Ripper. We need more cool nicknames like that; I’d even take another Razor Shines.

All the talk about the Wrigley renovations has people lamenting changes to the historic venue, but it’s not as though the place has been frozen in time. A quick look at the images of the scoreboard tells you that it’s not remained static.

The fans have changed a bit over the years as well; I don’t see any shirseys in the assembled masses. But you know what I do see? Cigars, lots and lots of them. We’ve traded coats and ties for jerseys and tees and Stetsons for ballcaps. Oh, and we’ve even started letting women come to games. Okay, to be fair, I think I may have seen two dames in the footage.

Even without sound, it’s evident from the video that a day at the ballpark was an escape, something to be savored. Though I wonder whether they were complaining about beer costing a nickel more than in past seasons. Regardless, this is a pretty cool glimpse into the past.

But it seems the old adage is true: the more things change, the more they stay the same — sometimes eerily so. At one point in the video, I was pleasantly surprised by the innocuous portent I caught. To see what I’m talking about, have a look at the prominent sign on what is now the United building; it first appears at the 1:02 mark. Take that, Nostradamus!

For more info on the video itself, including the backstory on the uncanny sign, check out this great piece by Kyla Gardner at DNAinfo.

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