The Cubs Roar Into Aledo, Illinois | HistoryNet MENU

The Cubs Roar Into Aledo, Illinois

By Adam J. Kugler
10/28/2016 • HistoryNet

The crowds were wild! No doubt, there was a large crowd on hand for the game that was to be played. The Cubs were playing a couple of exhibition games while they were waiting for the make-up game against the St. Louis Cardinals. That game was originally set to take place on October 6, 1923 and the Chicago Cubs, being the first-place team did not want to remain idle from the September 30 date to October 6. The Chicago newspapers were not in full coverage of the two exhibition games that were to be played.

The first of the exhibition games was played in Belvidere but no record exists of the identity of the opposing team. The Cubs of course holding a record of 82-69, which was 13 games over .500, were not expected to lose to the Belvidere club, but as anyone knows, anything is possible. However, the game went off without a hitch and the Cubs beat the Belvidere Club 3-0.

Their next exhibition game was played in Aledo against the Aledo Legion (Aledo American Legion) on October 4, 1923. The Cubs used four pitchers in the game against the Aledo Legion, which will be explored later.

After the game in Belvidere was played and won, it was announced that the game against the St. Louis Cardinals was being moved to a double header on October 7, due to their being an air show in the St. Louis area on the October 5. The Cubs were still scheduled to play the Cardinals on October 6, 1923 and so it would leave them with another day off to get to where they needed after the scheduled game against the Aledo Legion.

Tiny Osborne did a good job as the first pitcher to throw for the Cubs that day. He was followed up by two other great pitchers: Vic Keen and Guy Bush. However, there is a mystery as to the identity of the fourth pitcher. According to the Chicago newspapers, the fourth pitcher was Gabby Hartnett. This is a puzzling mystery because Hartnett was a catcher and a part time first basemen. However, not being able to prove that he was the catcher the editor of the Chicago Paper at the time decided that he must have been one of the men who was throwing for the day. It was not entirely impossible that the Cubs would use a man in this capacity to see how he was able to play in that position.

The Aledo Legion would end up losing a heart-breaking game to the Cubs who won the day with a 9-2 victory. After that, the Chicago Ball Cubs were able to move on to St. Louis and play the three scheduled games: the originally scheduled game on the 6th and the double header on the 7th.

There were many people who came from as far away as Burlington to watch the Cubs play the Aledo Legion. It was a great privilege to take on a team which had the best record in the National League at the time in an exhibition game.

In the last inning of the game the Cubs made a bold move and brought up a one-time Aledo native, “Peachy” Graham, and put him behind the bat. He had been playing semi-pro ball for a while, but Boss Killefer was willing to put him up in as the pitcher and see what he would be able to do against his hometown team, who were all out to see the Cubs take on the Legion.

The game took place in one of the biggest venues in Aledo at the time. While trying to use a model, historians have been been unable to locate where on the fairgrounds the game actually took place. It is possible that the game took place where the grandstands are on the grounds now, but that is not for certain. The Cubs vs. Aledo Legion exhibition game was thought to have drawn in a crowd of 2,000-4,000 fans and being that it was a nice day and the roads were in good shape, it was possible they drew in more fans than any other event that took place there.

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