Editor's Note: The following post is by Joe Ragont, who shared his memories of Uptown with us a few weeks ago. If you have memories of your own you would like to share, write us at email@example.com. Thanks again for sharing, Joe!
When I was fifteen, I spent the best summer of my young life working in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse.
Each day I arrived, eagerly ready to work on whatever assignments the equipment manager, Yosh, would give me. Yosh began his career as a batboy in the early thirties and faithfully worked year after year in the Cub organization. Although the Cubs didn’t have a good year in
1954, I certainly did. I was in my glory, being around my heroes, spending time in the dugout during the game and even filling the role of batboy when the opportunity presented itself.
I shared my duties with another lad and would get there early and stay late, especially on doubleheader days. We made sure there were fresh uniforms in each player’s locker and their spikes were shined (the shoes were all black back then). Before the game we would run errands for the players, getting them hot dogs and sandwiches, mailing letters, etc. In those days the players paid for their own equipment and food. No big buffets provided by management and no equipment supplied by sporting goods companies.
Each morning, before the park opened, the pitchers would take batting practice. This gave us a chance to go out and shag fly balls in the outfield. Pitchers, for the most part, are pretty poor hitters which is why, I’m sure, they took BP before any fans got there. But for us, it was a great time of playing ball in Wrigley Field.
The clubhouse was a great place to be when the team won. The place rocked with laughter and jokes as everyone celebrated. However, after a loss the scene was much different. Players got dressed quickly, said very little and used an alternative exit, mostly to avoid the press.
Win or lose, I wouldn’t trade that summer for anything. Being with stars like Ernie Banks, Bob Rush, Hank Sauer and manager Stan Hack sure beat stocking shelves at the local A & P.